Friday, November 16, 2012

A Revenge 20" Smallmouth Bass 11/14/12

Since Zack is snarfing all the nice fish out of my spots, I figured I'd get him back by catching his fish. Been planning this. Never caught any cold water fish this way so, it'd be a challenge. Water was up 50%, visibility down a foot at least (though the lack of light made it hard to tell). Float about a mile and a half fish deep bends hard, paddle back up. On the way, one very large pool could hold a nice treat or 6.

At the first go to spot, I had trouble locating any smallies. After about an hour (waaay too long for this spot) my orange float dunked. A nice fight and a thankful first fish to hand. Further out into the current than I'd expected.

So a one mile plus journey in the yak follows. No fishing. I'm finally fishing a terrific set of laydowns and scoured roots. Can't see down in the water too good and my fly hangs up twice. Now I only tied three at Dave's a couple of weekends ago, so this wouldn't stand. I went in after it. Retrieved a float and one of the flies, by removing the float and pushing the jig off the wood 4' below. Now I had a fly jig with no float and started freelining it into the downstream wood. Thunk. Another fish. Lightbulb. :!::idea::?::!:

Thought I had another. Maybe some downstream work in the slow deep current? Pull it up river from just above the dropoff, see what results.

Knew there was a dropoff and deep outside bend on the north side, so I floated, then rear anchored to prevent souring the hole. On the second cast, letting the fly sink, darting it, letting it sink, etc repeat. Another bass. Man, were they fighting! Spirits turned completely around from potential dispair. There's nothing more exciting than discovering a new Winter area for me. You just never know what you're going to get. Next cast. Thunk. Again. Headshaking against current I lose one. Manage 3 smallies to 15.5" before they stop hitting and I seek to go around the hot zone and fish up it.

Fishing upstream works too. Only better. Now freelining has its limitations. You can't cast far (reanchoring required near fish schools is bad). Fast current will have you bewildered where your bait is on a 1/16th oz hair jig. None of these were a problem with low light. I'm fishing 5 to 6 feet down letting the bait tick, then jet it a bit, then let it pendulum down. Swimming and dropping seemed to get them going. Careful to keep it down in the zone. These fish would be within a foot of bottom.

Again and again the small jig got bit, producing amazing fights. Added 3- 15.5-16.5" bass. Was starting to wonder where the big, big girls were. (And little worry, the 12-16''s were puting a deep bend in push current and 5' down on the noodle rod). Finally, 'IT' happens. The little jig is about to tick the rock or wood I've dragged over 10 times before. Heaviness, sideways line movement. I know what that is, and the feel is way different. Thar she blows! Barely move the fish that's down there. Heart races. The whale zigged and zagged and made plays to go in wood and also to launch down the riffle. My anchored yak pulled 10'. The fish tried to surface several frickin' times. I let the light jig go slack. There was little weight to throw, so why tear a hole bigger?

Sick, just sick. One of the top 4 fights of the year. At one point, I saw it streak past the yak at speed, tiger stripes rippling. Exciting. It was Zack's fish that he lost at the C&F. Tension as I really struggled to land this hulkster in some push water on the noodle rod. Yeah, it was a big fish and you want to land it, but to make Zman taste the mustard? I had to have it. :D






Ended with 15 (20", 2-16"'+s, 2-15"'s) even a couple dinks.

4th 20"+ in 6 trips, 3 in a row. Gonna try real hard to extend the streak.


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