Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day of the Dead 12/27/12

Couldn't sleep the day after Xmas. A strange kind of chest congestion from being sick nasally 3 weeks ago. Run, exercise, everything as per normal, just a chest cough (no mucus) that keeps one awake. 3 in the morning, I can't sleep.

I decide, "Hell, I might as well got to work." Pull in the parking lot the day after Blizzardthon 2012 at 4:40am. There is 12" of snow drifted in front of the door. Hmmm, how to unlock and get in before alarm goes off with all that snow? Squeeze. The door and I get really intimate.

The two Ener-Coffees I drank wear off gradually, not until a flurry of activity finishes this week's orders and time to fish gets closer. I'm a strange combination of fishing pre-excitement and Zombie.

Who needs sleep? Get to the water at 1PM. Clear and dropped since the Blizzard froze everything up. First spot, I luck into a solitary dink after accidentally floating over rough fish school in the 'sweet' spot. Siltation has filled in a ledge that used to attract the bass there. Was always good for a few in the past, but now they seem to spread out in the pool. Darn. Maybe I need to test at higher water level to make sure. Nothing on a float and fly, but I get lucky while freelining the hair jig, a dink comes to hand. The little jig was picked up after a long pause on one of the drops. This clues me in the bite might be painfully patient one like the last time out. I move on.

I fish the bottom of a plunge pool, it normally only rarely produces in Winter. Usually dinks. I'm freelining along the slow part of the current seam. I stop the jig for a while. Kind of a 'tick', kind of a 'thunk', not quite either. Soft. Some nice bend fights. This 14-15" gorgeous bass comes to hand.


As I go through the riffle, there's a small eddy on my left, then a wide shallow pool. The only possible Wintering spot for hundreds of yards. I turn the yak and flip the tiny jig into the sweet spot. Quietly anchor, bemoaning the fact I come to a halt further upstream than intended. Another tick/thunk happens, surprisingly bulky and feisty. The big yellow bass gets out into the current, slashing like an F-16. The fish provides an exciting moment, as it tries to wrap around the front of the kayak. I hoist a hefty 17.5" smallmouth bass on board. Beauty. The cold and the colors are stunning. Pretty sure that fish got pushed into the eddy by recent high water and cold.



Nothing happens at all in the hog/numbers part of the stretch. Like they're on to me completely. Crap. Part of the problem, keeping the small jig down, then not hanging up. Still there should have been a few dumb fish there.

I drag and paddle back up to the starting pool. Spying a hill close to the river. I try my hand at sledding the kayak minus rods and fishing gear. Short ride, but it does work.

A sand bar at the end of a 400 yard pool stops current middle river. Again, I've caught a fish or two there on occasion, but usually less than a 50/50 shot of a single bass. Rewarded with another tick/thunk and then a nice fight, 16"er to hand. I try more but it is not to be. Got the overall mind voice telling me they fed yesterday during the storm. Still not bad to pick 4 bass in post front near freezing conditions with a couple nice ones. Bite was just too slow for the amount of territory.

4 SMB 17.5", 16", 14", dink

Evidently, the fishing was an anticlimax. Caffeine wore off and I dozed at the wheel twice. Pulled over and chugged a Dew. Not a fan of that. No sir.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter is Here! 12/22/12

Took my kayak to quick float some spots. Visibility was 12-14". Water was up higher than it has been in 6 months. Algae flushed onto all the dead willows, but seemingly off the bottom. Nice.

Wasted the first spot, either they weren't there yet, or not eating. There was a huge ice form on the eddie that I rammed my kayak into and pushed off to sea on the way out.

Took a while at the next spot. Float dunked within 30 seconds of landing, indicating the fish was attracted to the drop (or was right there). Big fish, maybe a carp? Just don't let it head shake free. Heavy on the noodle. Finally to hand. A big smile popped out when I saw the yellow fish. Another 20" smallie. The third lately measuring on the money at 20". I accidentaly snapped this pic, after which my camera battery depleted, so sadly no more pics. Thought I had charged it. Darn.


It took a lot of patience and water reading to get bit. 'Combing' would describe it. A 50 by 10 foot section of strike zone. The first fish came within 3' of shore on a long cast. The rest would be short casts and long drifts. I let the jig bounce and drag to slow the float. Some of the strikes were not dunks, but a slight change in direction indicating a bottom pick up. I also tried freelining hairjigs quite a bit. Not one bite. With the water colder now, I just couldn't keep it as slow as watching a float. Soon a 14"er, then a 15". I lost one on the surface that looked every bit 18"+. Then another 14-15"er. Weird. Looked at my hook to see it was the shape of a 'P' with only a small opening to hook MR. Bass. I had bent it up with forceps removing from the pig. After that fix everything came to hand incl a nice 16". Had burned the spot, so I loaded the yak back up and went to the next one.

This large pool was just how I like it, high. Didn't take too long before I had a thick 18"er to hand. Took forever to find the next about 6' down hailmary shot. 13". Left and tried one more mamouth pool.

Here it took awhile to find the sweet spot. When I did, a 13" and fat 17.5 gave fine tussles. Booked upstream in the yak to hit a couple slow bends. Kept hanging my line in trees on the backswing. Disaster. Probably wasted 20 minutes that way. Floated out. Loaded up in the car and set out again, trying to get the last bass and make double digits.

Managed the only dink of the day at my feet at dusk. I'll take it. 10 feels better than 9 after two lost fish early.

10 SMB 20", 18", 17.5", 16", 15", 2-14"


Monday, December 10, 2012

Nothing too Exciting 12/10/12

Wanted to fish Sunday. We've gotten drizzle for a few days, so I figured it might be worth it to get out. Check that, been sick all week from fishing last Sunday and needed to smell the breeze. Got an early start, but as I pulled up to the destination with kayak inside the prius, I realized I'd left my waders home.

Now once, I put on dress shoes and waded in the Summer when I forgot my boots. Breifly contemplated a float without waders, wet crotch, cold. Forget that. Drove 50 miles home and back to get the waders.

Fishing was....ok. Had to work hard deep with freelined hair jig. Water was still crazy clear. Without much light on the day, I could still see down 5'.

Hit 10 SMB to 16" and a 20" carp.

We really need it to pour for a couple days to scour the algae and leaves up onto the bank, push the fish into predictable (more). Right now bass are in some ridiculous places for this time of year and any mistakes spook fish.