Thursday, February 26, 2009

Feeding the Pigs- Fly Jigs 2/26/2009

I got out for a quick fish after lunch today. Yesterday was near 60F and sunny. With low clear water, I skipped it. Instead opting for cloudy drizzle that would have bass on the prowl. Temps were in the high 40's fog turned to an on and off rain. Brought my FrogToggs to keep me dry.

On the way to Honey Hole I plunked up a dink in a slower, rocky area.

Honey Hole is caused by a slight bend in the stream that sends current along the other side of the river. The pool is close to 200 yards long and 50 yards wide. At different times, fish can be on the current seam at the head of the pool, against the bank, or out in slow current behind boulders.

My first cast at the top of Honey Hole's eddy produced a float dunk and a hard fighting 19" SMB.

That was the only bite until the rain started. I started thinking the rain turned off the fish, when I moved down the bank 25 yards and hit three more smallmouth bass to 17". They all fought hard.

That action soon gave way and I moved another 15 yards downstream, I knew there was a spot there somewhere. It usually held a few fish. Boulders and 4-5' of water. My float dunked with light action. Hell broke loose. Zig, Zag, dive for a nearby tree, turned and finally lipped! Wow. The Smallmouth Bass measured 21". Hitting a black, pink, and blue fly with red flashaboo.

Not a few moments later, the float was again dunked. This time a more sluggish, heavy fight ensued. Carp. 2'.

After 'releasing' the carp I threw back over and a few moments later, another heavy, more agile fish was on the fly. It frigging jumped. When I finally lipped it, I couldn't believe it. Just made 20". I had found the honey for sure.

Wake me, this doesn't happen in Indiana in February.

One more fish 14" and I headed home back to the top of the pool where my float dunked in current. Another big fish, this time my jig flung out when the beast rolled near the surface. Enough to be heartbroken normally.

8 smallmouth bass (21", 20", 19", 17") 24" Carp. 3 hours- 1 big pool.

Didn't even bother to try another spot and fish to the usual time. I'm taking the money and not pressing my luck.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Winter Smallmouth Spook

Today was sunny and 36F. Creek was still dropping, almost to summer levels. Spooked some bass just like in summer. Clear water and bright sun are bad in winter too. Spooked about a dozen fish out of a winter spot. Too much sun, not enough security, this could be tough. I would have to be careful.

Hail Mary nabbed this golden redhorse out in a deep slot in full current.

Finally scouted ahead to a new winter spot, a large eddie below a riffle on a slow curve. Making longer casts past the eddy out into the current and Squibbing the float in to avoid spooking fish. I stayed low and attacked from direction my shadow would fall away from the fish. Got 6 smallmouth bass in about 30 minutes. Here's the largest just hitting 18".

Again they wanted movement to the fly. Wonder if this inversely relates to action imparted by current. The less current, the more action imparted needed. nearly stepping on minnows in the shallows gave me the idea of how to make the fly jig look 'panicky'.

Smallies saved the bite until after 4pm today when the sun was in the trees and not overhead.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pig Smallmouth Bass enjoy the fly jig sandwich 2/22/2009

This one makes me smile to tell. One of the great things about fishing for me is when a theory or hunch pans out, when one action causes a chain reaction that reveals more about smallie behaviour. Turn right instead of left and no results. Turn left...

This winter, I've made a habit to get out and try Float and Fly on new streams and new winter holes on familiar streams. It's paying off in information and the numbers have been surprisingly good. Travel time and long walks eat into fishing time, but it has paid off immediately with fish at the new holes.

MC and I set out for a winter honey hole by 1pm, one long walk through the woods later at 25F and 15mph winds, the eddy had a 1/4" of slush ice from yesterday's 'snow'. We tried to push the 50 yards of covering ice into the current, but the thinness made it impossible.

We hit another spot and finally decided to hit one of the inside bends I caught fish at yesterday. Mike nabbed a fish on a tube and I one on FnF. My float sunk and this 17"er came to hand. The fish had a viscous back wound from flood projectiles or a heron.

After those three fish we headed up through some shallow bedrock to try a theoretical winter hole a half mile upstream. When we got there, the eddy I wanted was covered in ice again. This time I pushed the 20 yard flow out to sea.

I was dancing my fly when it sunk and a dink came to hand. Right from under where the ice had been 10 minutes before! Soon I was getting bit again, by this 18.25" bass.

Then a couple more 13-14" bass. I was squibb walking then pausing the fly occasionally. Almost fleeing the fly from the spot I now knew held a large amount of fish. A variation of jerk, jerk, pause at a much slower rate. Perhaps moving 8" in 15 seconds. My float sank again as Mike watched, I landed another 18" smallmouth bass:

Mike tried everything but couldn't get bit. Same colored fly, same general area.
A couple more 13-14" bass. One more hit while slowly squibbing the float, this one felt big, the fish made an incredible run towards shore and the rootwads of a tree to my right. I was just able to turn him. Wow. Another chunk 18.25" smallmouth bass.

If that dink fish hadn't hit my fly after I pushed off the ice, I never would have located the next 7 bass. Usually, with FnF the fish will reveal their location like this, then one can nab some more until they spook or move off. All 8 of those bass and the sucker came from a 10' by 10' area. It would have been easy to overlook. This would be a fine example of having patience to fish a winter area knowing many fish populate the area- giving me the confidence to keep at the spot. I knew there was a good chance to find them. So from here I have another go to hole to add to the collection.

Why did I pick that hole? Far enough removed from people. Sammytime 2007, several blowups from big fish I never caught in the past. This summer, attacks from big fish or sightings passing through. I spotted a depression in that area in summer filled with rough fish. So summertime scouting paid off and float and fly nabbed me three nice fish I couldn't get at with conventional warmwater gear.

10SMB(2 18.25", 18", 17", 2-14-14.5")1 Golden Redhorse in 4.5 hours of fishing.

Determination or stupidity? 2/21/2009

Mike and I fished Saturday, hitting the creek just in time to get that wet, melting snow driven by 15-30 mph winds. The snow and sod quickly stuck to your boot felt, soon we were wearing high heels.

Fish weren't having anything of it at the first two holes. We spent three hours trekking through woods, picking up fossils, and a potential Indian tomahawk/hoe. A bald eagle flew overhead- we had a great look at the majestic bird. By the time we decided to turn back, Mike had to hit the road.

I drove to hit another spot, another long walk through cornfield, the sun came out a little. On an inside bend below a riffle. First cast, my float dunked and a 14" fish came to hand. I then went on and got 5 total from dink to 16.75". Winds were crazy. I drove to anther spot while trying to dry my gloves and hat. Managed 6 more in two spots mostly 14"ers.

Saw lots of birds out there today, strange ducks, geese, and the eagle. Winged ants crawling around in the snow. Looks like they've been tricked.

All 11 fish came in the 3 hours after Mike left. That's about as cold as I've been with wind, dampness from melted snow and temps that dropped into the low 20's.

Last couple times out the bite hasn't started until after 2pm.

11SMB (16.75", 15", 4 14")

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Guest Writer FnF Report

Got out with INSA board member Zack P. Here's his report:

BT invited me along for some FnF today. I wasn't sure about taking the day off right after having Presidents day off, but the cabin fever from not having caught a fish since November got to me, and I found myself driving to the middle of nowhere to meet up with Brenden.

I was so excited to get out, I got there way early. BT finally arrived after a brush with the fuzz on the drive over.

He had a few spots picked out to try. The first few spots produced nothing, so after a while we packed into my little car a clanked and clunked our way to another spot(anybody know a good place to get shocks replaced?)

Things weren't looking good at this spot either as we tossed bobbers around for a while with no response. I mentioned something about putting on a tube, and as I started working on tying one on he pulled in the first bass of the day on the tube he had just clipped on (damn his snaps). Nothing else happened in that hole so we moved on.

At the next good hole BT caught the first fish of the day on FnF. I had a tube tied on, and was slow in getting it changed, and next thing I knew he had pulled in 3 fish in 3 casts 15-16.5". Once I got rigged up with my fly, things slowed down (spooked by fighting fish?). After a while we decided to move again and headed back to the car.

Clunk clank clunk and we're at our next parking spot. Only problem is that the next spot is about 12 miles of hiking away. When we finally got to the hole we imediately started catching fish. Floats were dunking left and right. In about 45 minutes we pulled 9 fish from that one eddy. (4 for me, 5 for BT) almost all fish were around 15 inches. (maybe a 16.5 for BT?). Bite finally died so we crossed the stream and hiked to another spot.

No luck at the other spot so we headed back. Stopped back at the money hole to see if some of the fish had turned back on. They had, at least to Brendens fly. Not sure how many more he got, another 3 or 4 I think.

Finally packed it in and started the return 25 mile hike back to the car.

Had a great time. Great to catch a fish again after all that time. Ended up with only those 4 fish, missed a few others that I should have had. I think BT ended up with something like 14 fish. I was skeptical of him using a snap with FnF (as if I'm an expert) but he convinced me. The fish weren't bothered by the snap at all, and it allowed him to switch out between lures much faster which helped.

Thanks for the invite BT! Had a great time!

It was a riot, smallies fought hard several crazies went airborne! Air temps were low 40's.

BT 13 SMB (2 16.5", 16", 4 15-15.5, 2 14-14.5")
ZP 4 SMB (3 15-15.5", 14.5)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Some new fishing products in 2009

In the never ending quest to catch the perfect fish at the perfect time, I'm trying some new things in 2009.

1) Shimano Saros 3000f 6.0:1 Gear ratio

Wore through my second Pflueger Supreme, waterproof drag on the Saros.

2)Lucky Craft Kelly J prop bait- Everything you could want in a smallmouth topwater lure.

3) Power Pro high visibilty yellow braid in 20lbs test. I'm a line watcher when working bottom. Figure I'll color the end with a green or brown sharpie, or maybe just leave it yellow and 'f' with the line vis crowd.

4)1 ounce spinnerbaits. I really want to dredge deep rootwads better for large Smallmouth. Gonna have to find a rod that can throw that heavy of a bait.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2/15/09 Winter Fly Hop

Going on yesterdays 1 fish high muddy water results(2500CFS creek), I had to head somewhere where there isn't much silt runoff to mud up the water. Target was a river with 0 adjacent farms and often high cliffs lined with trees. Found it less than half the CFS of yesterday. I headed down the highway passing over creeks and rivers- they were all up and dirty. Closed in on my target and all the feeder creeks were running green!

Water had that green tint I love. Visibility probably 8-10".

I spent too much time walking through woods and over barbed wire. 3 hours and 45 minutes of fishing took 5 and a half hours. When I did get to spots it took time to locate fish, but they were willing.

Hit a big 'S' bend and got a 3 13"ers, and a 15". Missed three bigger fish in a row. Berkley Sustain 8 lbs test seems to rubber band snap lures right out of fish mouths- going to ditch it. I have pulled a lot of flies out of fish mouths since I started using it so it's back to Pline.

As I moved from spot to spot, fish bit quick and seemed to spook. I couldn't get bit again after each fight. Smallies fought surprisingly hard. Most strikes came dead drifting the fly or on a long pause.

At the last spot- convieniently on the highway I nabbed 3 more fish to 15.5". All were skinny. Here's a pic:

Ended up with 8 all but two 13-15".

Friday, February 13, 2009

Red Army Dancers

Can't stop watching this! Last minute or so of this just kills me. A strange marriage of WWII era Soviet soldiers get down with it and Run DMC. Watch and ENJOY. Bless you, internets

Dr.Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Looking for some entertainment while at work? Neil Patrick Harris fan? Enter Dr.Horrible's Sing-Along Blog