Monday, April 25, 2011

Fishing Log and Rainy Days

Rain and more rain. A lot can probably be learned with the water up and muddy. I'd love to be out right now in some of my favorite spots just to see what the rivers look like right now. Where the slow water is. Problem is, I'd like to see any of a thousand spots right now. My brain wants knowledge to sift through. At the same time, that is a lot of effort for no physical reward. So instead, I stay home. If someone wants to pay me to do this, get in touch.

Been trying to be more creative in how I look at river smallmouth fishing, setting goals on new things to try, etc. In the rain induced boredom, I found myself drifting through my fishing logs, looking for a pattern in the numbers. Sometimes this becomes an activity more like looking at the back of baseball cards. I compare years and streams over those years for some nugget of information to enjoy.

I am making this a best and worst type post, if only to throw up something to surpass in the future.

Best 5 Smallmouth Bass in inches in one day total: 93.5" (9/22/2007), 92.5"(2008), 92"(2009) Combined with another person: 95" 2007, 95"(Mike*2) 5/25/2010 9/22/2007
Most Smallmouth Bass in a day: 72  7/31/2010; 72 6/24/2008; 70 7/24/2010
Most Smallmouth Bass in a day combined with another person: 103 (Nate)7-2011; 98 Mike 8/14/2011, 98 9-2007
Most 16"+ Smallmouth Bass in a day: 15 10/2/2007; 11 9/22/2007
Longest streak of days 1 or more 18"+ Smallmouth Bass: 4-2011, 4-2009, 4-2008
Longest streak of days without a 18"+ Smallmouth Bass: 10 Oct 15.2008- Nov 16th 2008; 10 May 27th-June 24th 2008

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sense of Urgency When the Bite Is On

When one is primarily an on foot river and stream angler, there aren't too many short cuts you can take when the larger smallmouth bass spread out. There is no 25 mph zip up river to the next guaranteed spot in a jet boat.When you really get on a pattern covering ground becomes vital for larger numbers of big fish.

 Higher water helps bunch bigger bass in eddies and current seams. Hopefully, the big girls haven't just eaten when or if you get there.

You can try to stay mobile by riffle hopping in a car-if you know the river or creek well.

You can also try to float in a kayak or canoe. The weakness of floating is the massive loss of observation skills. On foot, I can climb high banks, up sycamores and log jams and really spy out what is going on. I will make more casts to a spot on foot than a floater. This will often lead to more fish. Sometimes on foot you 'mistake' your way into a undercut bank on the bank of an eddy. One which you would have never found because you would have kept your yak out of that eddy as not to spook what you are casting at. Often in a yak, you are out of control, your bait isn't presented slow enough, or you fiddle with some malfunctioning boat element. Cutting further on the casts. many times visual clues lead me to notice something I would have missed sitting in a boat.

So what you get left with when you do find a really good bite for plus size smallmouth bass is a mad dash for the likely habitat. Cutting across farm fields, through woods, over hills, whatever. To get to that next sun exposed wood jam in an eddy near current.

A sense of urgency is a keen weapon. Planning your route on a map and any short cuts you may take. Remembering where the riffles are and which parts can be skipped.

Often, you have 30 minutes or 45 minutes until you have the next chance at some big boys. It can be hard not to fish for a dink or two in some of the available spots along the way. Just remember, every dink I stop for means more mishaps and more time eaten. Time away from more 16"+ smallmouth.

Now that you've cross country hiked through the mud and over the one hundredth dead tree blocking your path, your heart rate will be elevated. Beware the loss of patience. Early in the year, patience and thoroughness mean more big smallmouth bass. Slow things back down once you get on the hogs again.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Crankbite was still on Sunday. Water had come down and cleared up to maybe 24" visibility. At the first riffle, my crankbait got nailed by a 13" smallmouth bass. Guess they didn't have to warm up much.

Lots of walking today to get to the holes.

Had a large fish flop off at my feet when he hooked my crank on a root. Looked in the 18-19" range.

Some fish on tubes, but most were on crankbaits. Here's the best fish I landed:

17 smallmouth (17.5", 2-15") 3 Googs and 2 Chubs in like 7.5 hours of which a lot was walking through woods and long expanses of bedrock.

Good exercise. Bite was probably better than my results as I had a bail problem and was breaking in a new rod with a lot less butt than I am used to.

Friday, April 15, 2011

And They Came In Twos 4/15/11

Matt  wanted to fish today, so we headed to a flow with a little bit more water in it, hoping Mr.Smallie would be in more predictable places. Got to the river about 10:30. Visibility looked like 18" and green. Water pumping.

I went with a RCLC 1.5 in Chartreuse. Got a 13" and a 17" in a slower, swirling eddie. Picked up a couple more on a tube- been going with 3/8th oz and I like it in faster water. Then a couple of dinks on the cranks and Bengs had to head out. He was nice enough to drop me off.

I was aiming for some back channels as they stay slower when the water is high.

Got a couple 14-15" in an eddy where another channel pours in gently.

Really shocked when a back channel that is dry in summer produced these two fish back to back:

Here' an alternative cut that didn't quite work out, was going for the ole' "show the fish, hide the face from the paparazzi shot"

Key was a slow, wobbly retrieve that ticked bottom or bounced off stuff. Strikes were solid. The darnedest thing, I would catch exactly two fish in each spot for the first 8 spots I caught fish. Was getting erie indeed. With one exception this continued all day.Don't know what that was about. Strangest thing. Water wasn't clear enough to be spooking all the buddy fish... :

I had just landed a thick chub on the RC, when my next retrieve seemed to brush over an unseen laydown and into another+ smallie:

I went with the "War Face" on this one:

No run and gun , deliberate dissection of the different holes, sometimes the angle was the draw or the deflection in the right way.

It rained and I knew that would have them feeding so I moved quick between holes. When the pattern became slower water, I headed to all the slower water areas I have memorized on this 3 mile wade. The water was too fast in between.

Towards the end of the day, this beast inhaled the 1.5:

Finished with 25 bass in 8 hours (18.5", 3-17"-17.5", 16", 3-15")(one was a LMB) 3 Googs, and a chub.

Monday, April 11, 2011

4/10 Float and Wet Wade

Got out for a solo float by 1230. Sun was blazing and I couldn't find any smallies in the large pools I was in. Managed 1 10"er on a Pointer 100, but had another chase from a fast run.

With the warmth, bass had moved up into runs and riffles. The pools and winter holes were mostly empty. It was windy again so I ditched the yak around 4 with one bass and a sunfish to show( both on foot) . Hit 4 dink to 13" in a fast run above a large pool wet wading. Later added a 3 Googs. Worked some riprap after 5pm and hit a nice 15"er. Headed to another rip rap area and the bite definately was on right on a current seam. Dragged a 1/4 tube. 14", 16", 19.25", 16.5", couple 12"'s. Missed some smaller fish. Carp were playing and flopping. Air was warm and water felt great on my legs.

Recognized the in riffle/run pattern late, but not too late. Spent the first three + hours combing large pools. It has been a good Spring and my guesses have been mostly on the money until today. Hindsight should have said to work ambush points in shallow water near feeders bringing in even warmer water. Was going for cold big fish and they aren't cold any longer! Should have hopped riffles in the car. What could have been....

12 SMB (19.25", 16.5", 16", 15") 3 Googs and 1 Longear.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just some weekend Smallmouth Action 4/2 4/3

15 Saturday 18", 17.25"
17 Sunday 18", 2-17", 16.5"
MD 20  20.5"

We had a mess in the 15-16" range. Mostly tubes worked slowly, though I did score 5 nice fish in 9' of water on Float and Fly.