MattD had a get-out-of-jail free card for Saturday. Since noone had taken the bait for a Clusterfrick, we decided to deathmarch a long wade in extreme forcasted heat. Sounds great, eh?? We waded a 5 mile stretch of river.
We must have just missed a mammoth river party, because we counted about a case+ of beer cans, three deflated rafts/tubes, a lawn chair and plenty of other recently discarded trash as we waded throughout the day. The creek itself was shallower the first 3 miles. It had been more a numbers stretch in the past, where the second half numbers and size. In 2007, a near 22" came out of the wade.
Weather was queer indeed. Started windy and partly cloudy, you'd figure the fish would love that. I couldn't get anything going topwater or bouncing a tube. Matt had downsized his fluke and was nailing the dinks. Hard, laborious fishing. Matt works each rock expertly with that little fluke. Zigzagging it just right to draw neutral fish out of their lairs. Still, action was pretty weak. We figured 11am we'd revaluate.
At 11, Matt had 7 fish and I had 1. We figured going back would kill too much time, so we kept ahead. I finally started working the baby fluke and it started paying off in dinks, until I snagged a zombie eyed 15.5" in the cheek. I went on a run until Matt almost stepped on this fish, who legitimately took the bait in its mouth. Hope was born that we could get some decent bass after all.
Clouds came on and a topwater bite happened for a few. Fish were chasing my wake crank...until it got hot.
Again, only baby fluke was consistent. I saw a bronze shape appear under my fluke as I was jerking it. It was right at that magical visibility line, that with weather conditions like we had (sunny), it wasn't crossing any higher in the water column. That fish was interested. I had to wait too long to get the fluke down in the zone and any action would bring the bait up away from the strike zone. Matt had a lone tiny split shot on his, so I told him to cast in near it and he landed a nice 17"er straight away.
Later in the day, I was thinking about the Sammy 100 gently dropped in near wood, then left to sit, bob it, sideslip it one way, sit it, bob it- might draw some bigger fish out. Right above the middle bridge my Sammy got destroyed performing this maneuver close in to a lay down. The bass taped 17.75". Matt pulled a couple more from that spot. We moved up and things looked promising
I had a giant blowup on Sammytime, the fish wouldn't connect, nor would the follow up fluke.
We waded to a sort of Indian burial ground for white trash smallie lures. Warding us away from a sacred smallie ground? Not one, but two lines dangling from a tree, both with fresh lures tied on, both in nut deep water. Matt wanted them to add to his collection of found things, thinking one might be a rooster tail. Only slightly upstream was a nice lay down for Sammy. I tossed in and repeated the magic, then suddenly without a splash a big bass was on the lure. It jumped and looked huge. Landed the fish. The Sammy had hooked a gill plate and made the head look enormous during the fight. It measured 18.25". Looks like the smallest fish we took a picture of. Perspective ?
18.25" T-Rex hands:
With pig landed and released, we were free to retrieve our tree bounty. One was this tube rigged with a 1/16oz crappie jig and size 4 hook:
The second was a Matzuo style swimbait, with a crappie spinner attached with the blade replaced by a full on spinner bait willow blade. Matt declared he was going to catch fish on each lure. While trying to do so with crappietube, he snagged a wee craw crankbait off a laydown.
[quote]Nature of the Challenge: Catch one fish on each found lure. Swimbait, crappietube, and wee craw.[/quote]
Then he...ah, like, did it. A 12-13" on crappietube, then a 15" at some push water on the swim bait, finally for the million wee craw nabs nice a 17"+ from a very cool riffle channel. Lord knows what would have happened if he had found another couple lures. Here's a pic of the 17".
$1,000,000 Bonus fish...oops.
I was completely spent. The last two miles of knee busters had taken its toll along with the inability to get bit on tube. I had some insane swats at Sammytime as the evening burned. Each increasingly far from hitting the bait.
The thing about Matt, he nails the dinks. Not a back slap. The dude channels dinks. He'll pull 4 dinks off a rock with that fluke you just stepped on. He has an amazing, perverse ability to land a high percentage of them. While mortals get bit and swing and miss on a lot of those 7-11"ers. Prowler nails like 75%+ of 'em. Do not try to catch more fish than him. If you do shut up and move on.
Anyways, we were a good team, neither spoiling water for the other behind. Can't say that about many.
MD 27 SMB (3 17-17.5", 15)
BT 16 SMB (18.25", 17.75", 15) Nothing else reaching 12"