Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hit a new stretch of a small creek that feeds out of a lake by about 12:30. It's filled with bass of spotted and smallmouth variety. Today they wanted the baby fluke. Bigger fish weren't present. Which helped confirm my suspicion I should be fishing closer to dark.

Water is really low and clear everywhere. I got 15 from dinky to 13" on baby fluke 3-4 hours. On the walk back, I swum a tube slowly upstream and missed a good bite. Tried again and was a little shocked to see a 17" Sauger (thanks Curtis) on the end of the line. First this year, I believe.

Left and hit the mother stream, hoping to hit some wood piles at dusk. Caught a 16" on a tube. Had a violent blowup pitching Sammy at a laydown. 3 Dinks.

Hit an 'S' curve with wood piles, worked a buzzbait from every angle just to get a tap. Went with the tube. After about the 6th or 7th cast to one particular laydown, I felt a tick. It was on. A quick, violent struggle and I had beached a thick, long smallmouth. It taped 19.5". Ended a long dryspell on bigger smallies.

Totals were 20 bass (19.5, 16) 1 Sauger and a chub 6-7 hours

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A note about this Blog

If you're going to have an obsession about stream smallmouth bass fishing, you might as well chronicle the adventures and misadventures, the successes and failures so you can think about it again later when the details have worn thin.

Almost as much as I enjoy the fishing is talking about it later. Strategize like a general about what worked, didn't work, and might work based on what happened that day. Many times out with Mike or Jim we've unlocked a key ingredient in one trip. Theory in discussion would later pan out in big fish or big numbers on other days. Testing our powers of observation, channeling into a hunter's cunning, presenting that perfect presentation.

There it is, reaching for perfection. Stream smallmouth fishing offers the opportunity to constantly improve one's knowledge, skill, and instinct. Though an angler will never be perfect, fishing offers us the opportunity to reach for perfection on so many levels.

One more perfect plan, one more perfect cast, one more perfect fish. Never going to make it. How fun to try!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Return to an old favorite 9/20

I hadn't fished my old favorite in a month and a half. The last couple of years of high water Springs and extra nutrients in the water have it fishing weird. The big fish are there, but smallies seem to be gone from a lot of places. Numbers are way down. 40-60 fish days have become 8-20 fish days.

When I say gone, until recently the water hasn't been clear enough to see much in the water. A sickening brown with floaty brown algae unlike anything I've seen this side of the 2009 White River.

Returning this Sunday, I was surprised to see the water a more normal color. The algae growth was what I would expect this time of year. I saw plenty of fish. Suckers, Quillbacks of size and everywhere. Didn't see many Smallmouth Bass, but that doesn't mean they weren't wedged under rocks.

We were expecting rain. It never happened. Grossly disappointed. I wanted a prestorm feeding binge to lift my spirits over rough time at work.

Started off well enough. I nailed 4/5 fish on one of my homemade buzzbaits in the first 15 minutes. This was the nicest bass, a bit over 17".

The next hour saw no action in places there always is. I caught a 15" on Wakecrank splashdown. In the next 5.5 hours, I caught 2 smallmouth and a Goog.

Unhappy about the results, I waded downstream and fished a deep pool with multiple laydowns. I pulled the buzzbait across the front rootwad of one laydown. Just as the dual prop bait was about to climb over the next log a enormous smallmouth launched deep out of the rootwad at it, flipped in the air, landing on the second laydown and then the water. Complete. Whiff.

It's always hard to guess how big a jumping fish is. From 50' away it looked like a legit 4-5 lbs smallmouth. Very thick. Tried the whole bag of tricks to get a second strike. Tube, fluke; cast after cast hoping to piss the moster off. I waded downstream then came back to try again. Nothing.

Very promising area. Easy to walk to. Several linked pools with lots of wood that are probably hard for novices to fish efficiently. Pretty safe against sustenance fishermen as well.

Wish I would have hit another small one.

7 SMB (17"+, 15) 1 goog in 7.5 hours

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I been hitting small, clear streams, hoping to find some stupid fish. Tired of the silly patterns some of the others are on. September has been mostly micro flows. It's been fun.

Tried a new stream. Hardly any water in it. Water clear. Bedrock bottom and limestone cliffs. Bedrock kept it from having many deep holes. They were few and far between. Creek was filled with huge bait fish of all types most were in the 4-6" range.

When I did find a hole the bass were easy to catch provided I was silent and made long casts. Since there wasn't any current and the trees are losing some leaves it was hard to work many baits. All fish came out of the deepest holes. Nothing in shallow runs all day.

Everything came on the Wake Crank. I couldn't get bit on anything else. Most were absolute chunks. It was obvious these fish were well fed. The thickest on average I've seen in an Indiana creek.

I was having back stiffness, I stopped after 4 hours, followed an old abandoned railway back to the car. Ready for the storms tomorrow and some big creek big fish.

10 Bass-9 SMB (16.25", 15, 3 14-14.75") 1 KY Spot, 1 Chub

Monday, September 14, 2009

Smallmouth Fishing Effort by Month 7/2007-9/2009

I started keeping track of my stream fishing efforts in late 2006. Finally, by June of 2007 I had a system of things I felt were important to count. Unfortunately, that doesn't include my hours fished totals for the first half of 2007, so I have to throw that data out for anything other than fond memories.

Think it will be interesting what the data will show over the next couple years. The purpose of this chart is to show patterns in catch effort of smallmouth bass by size and number at different times of the year.

Anglers are fond of throwing anecdotal comments out there about one thing or another. There are simply so many mysteries to stream bass fishing, the only way to get any real answer is to fish a lot and keep accurate data. Tourney largemouth fishing is where most research study $$$ go. Most of my questions go unanswered.

I try to let the charts speak for themselves. The trends are interesting. With more data, I may have something useful.

I wouldn't say the results above are typical in Indiana. A lot of hours were spent on the water, observing, and listening.

I also keep track of each stream's fish stats, but you don't get that data my friends!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Report Log Jam September 5,6,7,12

---------------------------------------------------------------------Been getting in this habit of getting up earlier on the weekend than I do to go to work. Of course, this involves stream bassing. Get out fish early, return to base. So in a strange way, going to work, I can rest. Looking forward to the work week? That is new.

Fishing this weekend had some hot action, but topwater bite was still spotty to non- existent.

Got started Saturday the 5th, AM at daybreak. Fish were slapping hard at buzzbaits and missing entirely. 1 out of 8 with a lost 14"er. Went to the Splashtail 90 for a similar effect with better hook up ratio. Got bit less. They wanted loud and clackity. Finally hit a good deep bend and pulled 3 nice fish including this 18"er that destroyed the 1/8 oz buzzbait.

Had a huge blowup on Sammy 100 and competition strikes that resulted in a 12"er. Sun came out and the topwater ended. All tubes from there on. Caught a chunky 16.5 and a bunch of Googs. Bite died midday, so I went home after 5.5 hours with
20 SMB (18, 16.5)
Saturday the 6th, my wife had to work, I headed out to a different section of the same stream. Worked a long, deep pool with the usual tube, fluke, grub, Sammy, Wake crank combos. Finally got bit at the top on a grub, then lost her. Found my way to a 'Y' junction and pulled 3 dinks on a tube. I realized I had picked the wrong section for a tube bite. Too many wide deep pools and not enough targets for the tube.

I left as the rain came in. Plan B was a small river I fished 25 miles of back in 2007, with pretty good results. I arrived to cool and very clear water, Visibility to 4'. There were actually a few holes that might have been that deep.

Baby fluke bite was on. I tried with the texposed rig, but they just wouldn't hook up on the G-lock. Went to the nose hook and started slaying. Lots of dinks, but some very nice chunk 14"'ers here and there. Anything with a little depth held fish. The bass were everywhere. Sycamores produced 4 or 5 fish. The rain poured, I got soaked, and slew, and laughed. I got some bigger fish hopping a tube, with 3 16"'s being the largest. The constant action was the joy. Resolve to catch fish after fish kept me going despite cold pouring rain. Rip it to get their attention, let the fluke sink to get bit.

Here was a very brown 14" smallie that was too cool so I had to snap a pic of him:

I fished maybe 6 hours and got 42 SMB (3-16") 9 Googs and 2 Creek Chubs.
On Sunday the 7th, I had to fulfill the guided trip I donated to the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance. My guest Stan was a fly fisherman/spice salesman from Chicagoland. As it turns out, I left way too early, got a speeding ticket, caught 5 dinks on the baby fluke out of Big Pine, talked to landowner for an hour about butchering cows and hogs and other such talk waiting for Stan at 10am. Stan had gotten lost and we had our time zone mishap. When we finally got on the stream, it was bathwater clear. I let Stan take most of the first shots at all the holes. He needed to get close; clear water with sun did not add up to many caught fish. Baby fluke action was on again as I landed 5 on it of decent size to dink out of the first good hole.

Stan landed his first fish. We caught one here or there flossing boulders, when a train of ATV's and jeeps that had muddied up our water came into view. The best part of the wade was foiled . They looked pretty nervous about what they had done. Been seeing a lot of tracks on the creek beds lately across the state.

We got above and actually caught some fish 15 minutes upstream of the mud flow. Stan caught a nice 15 on the fly and a goog. I caught a couple dinks. We hit a pool where fish swam the circuit. I could basically keep casting to the same spot, catch a fish, cast back to a new fish in its place- all 12-15". Above the riffle Stan lost a headshaking "fish of the day".

As we moved away from the path of the ATV's the fishing got better as the sun went away. What did we expect on Labor Day?

I got a 16.5" then this 17" (put on a show). Fishing was easy. Not sure Stan was stripping his streamer/wooly bugger fast enough to get bit. The quick erratic rip seemed to turn fish aggressive.

I think I had around 23 Bass 21SMB (17, 16.5, 15) 1 KY Bass, 1 LMB, and a Google eye. Hardly fished in about 6 hours. Good time!
Saturday the 12th, Mike and I fished three new small streams looking for lots of action.

At the first, I waded downstream, while he got ready at the truck. I hit this 17"+ smb dragging a tube upstream, then a 15" on the next cast. The stream was pretty small and pretty dry, but shows a lot of promise. I spotted a 30"+ flathead on the prowl in the same small pool. Mike caught a nice 14", but there was simply too little room to maneuver and be stealthy with two people. After an hour or two we headed out.

We stopped at Deer Creek by Greencastle, as from the bridge we saw visible riffles. At first, it looked very promising. Certainly the cliff walls were beautiful. Mike nailed another smallie on a tube in the one deep pool we found. As we walked upstream it was apparent this creek once had great habitat. It was now filled in by sod and silt form nearby farms. Simply disgusting. Hardly any flow to it. We walked far looking for another hole but it was all flat without any depth and filled with silt meters deep.

We scouted another small stream that proved interesting indeed. Again we had to walk way too far for fish, but when we did get to some holes, they were filled with smallies and some spotted bass as well. All the action was hopping or dragging tubes, although I did nail the largest fish on a Splashtail propbait on the power walk back to the car. Fished about a total of 5 hours with lots of driving and lots of walking. Some good basis for future trips with the first and last streams.

BT 22 (17.25, 16.75)
MC 12 (15.75)