Friday, December 6, 2013

PIGS.TO. HAND. 12/6/13

I declared to Zack I'd Pig the next time out on FB. Swapped my days off from Friday to Thursday thinking the **** would be thrown in the fan on Friday. Eyed a stretch I started fishing last Fall. I've floated down to it in the past at much higher water, then dragged the kayak back to the start bridge. This time, I started walking up to the three major pools, pulling the kayak behind me. Predictably, this sucks. Water was super clear, I could see fish spooking ahead of me in the shallow water. Tried to be quiet. Just above a very public bridge I spooked a nice fish from under a rock. Mental. Note. 8-)

It was a mile and a half until I got to the first pool. I had counted 5 smallmouth on the way. They shot out from under rocks in 18" water as I came near. Mental. Note. A bald eagle swooped overhead, not timid at all. It was his domain and he came close to me as if to say, "Are you for real?" Temps were dropping, it drizzled intermittently. No rain coat, hope five layers of winter gear, fleece, fleece coat, winter coat, and waders will keep me warm. Then I thought, "Why is that Eagle in that Sycamore?" He's looking at fish with his mouth drooling. The eagle had picked my side of the pool for me. I soon climbed up the bank to see what he was looking at from 15' up. I spotted a slot along an eddy too shallow to hold fish in the clear water. Pockets of "gray" and an occasional flash from a sucker.

I tested shallow fnf, but no takers. There was a pod of carp, huddled together. As my eyes adjusted, was that a bass down from them? Yes. I threw a black jig and cranked it through the water until I let it drop just past where I thought the bass was. Wasn't long when the fish jetted out at speed, frantically looking for the small jig, then angled down, to suck it in. Draw!

Gotcha! 19.25" Sight fished winter smallie. The fish had come 5' or more to get it in 2.5' of water.


I went back to my yak to paddle up and fish along the length of the slot. This produced two 15.5"-15.75" and an actual dink. Now it was on. I need to try the next two pools. Another .5-.75 miles up. The first had a long deep slot along an inside bend below a creek inlet. Perfect right? Couldn't find anything there, despite fish there in warmer times. Thing is, if that eagle isn't checking out those fish, I may have walked up or paddled through them first. That damned bird gave me the idea to spy from the high ground first, then move in to fish.

The third pool, I abandoned the kayak for a huffed the high bank. Fell twice because of frozen ground beneath thawed ground on an extreme slant. I was jigging in front of a beaver hole when my jig found the gill plate of a 26" carp. Spot was too unwieldy for a picture. Nothing else biting in the slack. Hmm, could my smallmouth dreams be up there near the current in all those boulders? As I move up from boulder to boulder along the bank, I spot a large flathead wedged between two boulders, half eaten shad laying in front of his face. After a jillion tries, my hair jig connects below his lip and I drag him out of the rocks with an "Ummpf". The he opens a can of whoop-ass on my 8'6" noodle rod. I mean wow. Just wow. After like 5 minutes I get him on a boulder and measure at around 30". Probably one of the fish I caught last Fall 2012 at 28". Then I slip and fall again and he's gone. :( Bruised but not battered.

There's a large table sized boulder with a gap underneath that just looks too suspicious to me. The first retrieve with the jig get a solid thump and 18.25" smb to hand:


Then I dead stick in front of the boulder. Produces this 17.75" smallmouth, in quick succession, I cannot contain the happy any longer.


I worked up to above the pool, crossed, then worked from the other side, heading downstream on foot. Darting presentation. A thump and amazing fight alerted me the water temps must be well up in the 40's for a fish to go on 8 long powerful runs. Another 18" smallmouth bass:


Next cast gets hit by something big then rubs off the hook on a rock. Guess I hung on another carp as they were out on the prowl through there in subsequent casts. 20 or so casts along a ledge and I pull a 15.5"er to hand. Head back to the kayak for the 2 mile float back. I intend to hit the spots I've already caught fish, or spooked fish before I saw them. Nothing in Eagle Spot. I nail a 16" anchored downstream, then a 13" 20' further on. Both were from a shallow trench near the main channel but next to water slowed by rocky point. Mental Note on this new winter hole. The float back is comfy. I love kayaks for this, no slipping or bending ankles on worn studs, felt, and algae slime.

Now I'm approaching my bridge and tossing jig downstream. Remember that mental note fish in the beginning? I throw the light jig downstream, where I would be if I were him, and Bingo! Fish on. Didn't realize he was this nice. 17.75"


It's 4:45 when I get loaded up. I contemplate adding a couple more pigs above a second bridge, consider the 15-20 minutes it would take to drive and then walk to the spot. I drive home.

11 SMB (19.25", 18.25", 18", 2-17.75", 16", 3-15.5-15.75") 26" carp, 30" flathead


Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Indecision

I can't decide if I should fish today. It's been cold with lows in the teens the last few nights. Highs above freezing in middle 30's. Today calls for high of 37 and sunny. Water is low for this time of year. When this happens eddies freeze up quicker. Running water in motion freezes much slower than the slow moving water we have now. I fear I might do a 45 minute drive to have ice flows covering my fish.

So, I have to decide whether it's worth going out with a low probablility of pigs.

In any case, this time of year is perfect for a kayak. The fish aren't in the fast stuff so that's where I travel as not to spook them. Passing the hole and anchoring downstream.

Who am kidding? Just describing it makes me want to go. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

There's a Good Girl 11/23/13

I was fishing a cold, crisp, sunny, November afternoon, the kind where you stay in and do chores around the house.

I had made my way to a choke point in the river where it splits and an island provides a couple extra eddies. On one side, a cliff of rock and limbs, impassable. Therefore, I fished from the wooded side, not wanting to get wet in the cold. Always better to stay out of the water completely, if you can. I had two slow leaks in my waders just above the knees and meant to not let the water in. I carried an 8'6" light action rod for crappie and light tackle. The reel meant for gamefish was packed with 8# flurocarbon. The lure, a jig, typically of three colors, lightest to darkest from bottom to top, white, lime green, black. A strip of flashabou down the "lateral line" and two 3D holo eyes to complete the illusion of a live fish in cold water.

To the right of the main push of current was a couple of boulders which created a long eddy line on the wrong side of the river from me. Just about too far to cast to. If you landed the cast too close to the shore, a 3' leader dragged bottom. Land the cast too far into the current and the jig would be carried too fast for a proper presentation. Add the cross wind blowing line at 20+MPH. I had finally figured out the current speed that should hold a smallmouth bass and how to keep it there. And so it was, I fell asleep daydreaming of what might happen the rest of the day, my plan of attack for hopping holes. I mentally juggled the order I'd fish them and return to them when to fish them again, when my float was just gone. Missing! The one inch weighted float was under the tree branches and now gone! I lifted the rod, and sure enough a bass was connected to the line. A nice fight for such a small fish on that wobbly rod through the fast current with my float half under, now half out of the water.

Often in cold Winter or Fall river fishing, one fish reveals another. I lengthened my leader and threw again going for the maximum chuck and hope of coming closer to the opposite bank. After five wind gusts knocked down each cast in turn, I finally managed the other side. The jig slowed the downstream drift by ticking bottom and lifting over rocks. The float mosied into the depths. A smile lit my face. On the lift, all I felt was heavy throb, throb. The smile widened, impossibly large now. The noodle rod bent nearly double, the fish exploded deep in the current trying to reach the close eddy on my side. Then in turned and burned downstream. Someone had forgotten to tell her she doesn't fight well in the cold. The the real danger began, the headshaking. The body mostly gave up, giving way to a rapid side to side jerking motion intended to twang the hook out. Freedom would not happen so soon for this fish today.




There was more success, I found fish on the closest eddy as well as a couple other places, but that was the highlight. Went home early at 3 just because.

13 SMB (19.5" 4-14") 1 Green Sunfish 3.5 hours

Monday, November 25, 2013

11/22 and 11/24/13 Fall Kayak Floats

11/22 Fished Friday too. Air temp dropped from 42 Friday to 32 Saturday to 25 Sunday. I said what the hell and fished them all. ;)

Fished large water in the kayak on Friday. First time I've been out there in the cold, so it would be a challenge. I tried all the places where bass were concentrated on our wades, or the next logical place for the bass to travel. Caught one bass early on a lucky strike jerkbait that imitates the famous Megabass one-ten. The last rain had removed leaves from the water column. Eddies still had them, but you could work a suspending jerkbait. Probably too much water to fish by myself, so I relied on the jerk. No additional jerkbait success. I did nail another channel catfish in one large pool, about 16-17" long on float and fly. So just when I'm thinking the fish aren't biting, I come upon a shallow cleft nestled in between two riffles. The correct deflection for high current was there. Just not the depth I'd have liked. Mike and I had spooked fish in this spot a month ago on a wade.

First cast- bass. This continued for 30 minutes and 9 smallies, 4 of which were in the 14.5-15" range and fought like crazy.

Pushed on quickly to my large pool target, where I'd caught a couple of high 18-19.5" bass in the early Fall late Summer period. I found one fish. A nice 17.5", who hit a hair jig.


Headed back in, the current in the side eddies was all right for paddling so I made better time than I thought. Really just that one spot I nailed them. So much potential. Really didn't feel like I learned anything fresh on WInter hole location. Water faster, but still to low to pack them tight.

11SMB 17.5", 3-15" 1 Channel Catfish, 1 Northern Hogsucker

11/24 Sunday- Cold (25F) and sunny. Brown tannic meant it was hard to see much down in the water until I was on top of it in the kayak. Again tried a couple large pools. 3 fish quick at the first spot, all 14-15.5". Floated down to a spot where a pig eyeballed my kayak anchor then swam away. Pulled another 14" in an eddy next to an ice flow. A 12" at the original spot on the way back up. Bummer. Only wanted a drift, fights less energetic, in contrast with the previous two days. Still I could have done better without the kayak and walked the high bank for visual clues.

As it got colder, I could only get bit on hair jig by dead drifting it under the float. Total change from Friday, where they were after that jig on the bottom, or Saturday, where they wanted the jig hopped or drifted.

5 SMB in 5 hours.


Monday, November 18, 2013

11/16-11/17 First Float of the Fall

Water has been really low and fish are scattered amoungst the pools. Making it hard to find the big girls. Floated down through a couple holes Saturday. Had to meet friends at 6, so I didn't go far. Brought baitcaster to chuck spinnerbaits, fnf rod. I tried jerkbaits and crankbaits, there really wasn't anywhere you could retrieve them without catching a leaf. Basically, where they were supposed to be, water too low to concentrate the bass for easy catching. Had to work the huge pool methodically, then they mostly turned up right at the front. Picked a 15"er early floating down with another 12". Next couple hours, worked one pool, lost a couple fish and consistently caught a smallmouth between 12-15" until I felt it was getting close to time to go.

Headed back up and nabbed a couple more to 15". Went 10/12, mostly on the long rod.

10 SMB (3-15", 2-14") 4 hours

Sunday got a later start than I'd hoped 12. Should have gotten out early considering warm overnight temps. Same presentations, but I brought a spinning rod instead. Kayak was in the car in case I wanted to try a float. Ended up walking the high bank trying to spot the structure to cast to in a huge pool 300-400 yards long. Spotted several nice smallmouth in the shallows along one bank. They spooked from my slow movement. Surprising, but not.

At the top of a pool, I pulled a nice 17.25" smallmouth off a boulder. Bass went airborne twice. A dink not long after. I walked one side of the pool form 10-12' above everything I saw spooked, by the time I got to the end and turned around, I could guess where I might need to fish. On the slow wade back I picked 6 more to 14". It started to rain hard at that point, when the lightning started I headed towards the car and hell was unleashed. Put on a raincoat and headed to a second spot got a dink there. The wind was kicking so much fishing was useless. Packed it in at 3PM after being drenched
through my "raincoat".

Both days it was hard to present properly, hitting leaves throwing off the cadence and bottom feel, but when you found a fish, they were willing. Unfortunately, they weren't stacked up, so no easy fish standing in the same spot. I stayed right in that one pool, worked methodically.

White out conditions on the way home from the rain. I stopped the car at one point, as the rain was coming down horizontal and near zero visibility. Semis were overturned on the highway. Back in Indy, a double rainbow!

9 SMB- (17.25", 14") 3 hours

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spinnerbait Delight

Was delighted to get back to Indiana this weekend to see we had been hit by enough rain to fill some streams up a bit. Headed out Sunday with FnF rod. Ice on the car in the AM, maybe 45 F when I started fishing. Wasn't really excited because it looked like crud. The FnF rod ended up dropped back in the car, as I discovered a spinnerbait bite. Two rods is too much for me when clambering over slick rock all day trying to make speed. If they were going to hit a spinnerbait, that was for the best.

Water was dark brown, visibility in the 1' range. First time wearing waders in a long time. I noticed holes in the breathable waders, but they mostly held up today. Headed up above the bridge and tried some FnF, but when I clipped on a spinnerbait and brought it towards myself along a cliff wall and nice bass was suddenly on there. 17.5". A couple casts later, after congrats smoke left over from Mike, a 17"er to hand. :) Dis changes things.




I headed downstream, spied out what I thought would be the wintering hole side of another giant pool. Making short tosses of the spinnerbait, as I headed down. Slow seemed to work. Soon, I had a 16" and a 15" to hand. It took a long while until the next fish, truth be told, today's fishing was like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. Fast current, but not fast enough, or cold enough yet to rule out areas. Leaves in the water everywhere. Even the SB would foul on them every other cast, or slide down the snap. Kind of hate them, but, hey, the water was brown, and it was working. At this point, I should have driven to the next bridge and hole hopped. I opted for a wade down, with only one late Fall wade to indicate where bass might be. I did know to skip a couple shallower large pools, this saved some time, but struck out on a couple I know hold some really nice fish.

There really was too much water in the many wide pools I hit to bounce a tube, and too many leaves for a crankbait. I walked down until I found can't miss spots. A 15" came to hand in a side channel, then a dink LMB. Remembered a log I wanted to hit from the Mike wade and made that my destination. At that point, I put a white chatterbait on. It proved to be the ticket, yanked a chunk 17.99" smallmouth from in front of the log and giant boulder. Picked another 13" on the CB and began the long walk back. Just a tiny LMB after that.



Shadows fell. It got colder quick. Thought of heading back up to the first spot to get double digits, instead headed back up my near vertical climb back to the car.

Ok, a lot less maneuverable in waders. Yick!

Found a couple places that will be good wintering holes for sure. If we add more water, I'll hit them in the kayak next. Need to get those bass out of the middle before I come back with FnF. Pools are too big, more cold water will bunch them up and out of their hidey spots.

Nice change of pace today to fish dirty, cold water with vibrating baits after 3 weeks off from fishing.

9 Bass 7-SMB (17.99", 17.5", 17",16", 2-15") 2 dink LMB

Thursday, October 17, 2013

8 Perfect Moments 10/14/13

Ok, this one's going to have a lot of pics, because ultimately, I can't decide which ones are best! We didn't take any pics of anything under 18" (except 49.5" Triple) , but still a lot of good ones. All new stretch for this one.

Things started out with a couple decent 12-14" smallmouth bass at a shaded choke point on a smoke purple/green tube. I felt it looked like a shad. Whatever, they were on it early, if you could find small enough water to comb.

Perfect Moment #1: I was throwing the tube over into some deep water near a large stone. Trying to keep it still and deep. I was in the middle of a complaint about fishing a tube after so much topwater mastery. Tube stopped. Set hook. Whoa! Heavy. Immediately knew that was not a bass swimming too slowly, too powerfully. We were standing groin deep in the icy water and what the hell was this thing. Went on 4 ridiculous drag peeling runs. I looked for a place to land the fish and saw a "beach". FLATHEAD. It was 9-12" longer than my 23" mark on my rod.





Did I say the water was ice cold? Trees were casting a shadow over quite a few pools. We arrived at a bend where I had a large swing and a miss on a Sammy. Sunlight fell everywhere. We climbed up to a higher vantage point and could see the bass swimming around, or just sitting there in the sun. I tubed a dink from under a rock and spotted what looked like a 16" bass on patrol.

Perfect Moment #2: I threw behind that fish, maneuvered the tube into position, it spun, as if it could hear something it couldn't see. I budged the bait a foot onto a slanted rock. The fish kept looking. Pause, pause, pause, in place twitch, twitch. The bass rocketed over to the slanted rock, tube disappeared. All in one motion. It got bigger on the way in and measured over 18". Phenomenal to watch that unfold.


Picked another deep at 15.5" on the tube. We didn't know it then, but that would be the last tube bite of the day.

We moved up and spotted three huge Asian/grass carp in the 36" range. Along some willows I worked a walk the dog with a couple chasers. When the bait fouled I streaked it quickly away, which drew more interest. 16.25" bass to hand, followed by a larger fish which came right in the water willows at my feet after his buddy.

Lots of walking and shallow gravel runs passed. We must have passed a mile mile and a half of nearly unfishable water.

Nearly Perfect Moment #3: I made a fifty yard bomb cast to a water willow shallow area and overshot into the willow. My resulting shaking pried the Sammy just loose in the water. Immediately smashed. No hookup. I told Mike, "If that would have been a pig, the angels are looking down."

Which Brings Us to Perfect Moment #3: To me, this was one of the coolest moments I've had with Mike in one of hundreds of cool moments. We finally got to the top of a long gravel straight run with no depth. We had not done much casting for a while and lots of trudging. It made a semi swirl in direction to a riffle with a lone, large boulder. Looked like 12-18" of water, fully shaded. Mike throws to the rock with his Sammy 100. His lure quickly gets bit and followed. He yells out there's like 5-6 fish visibly following the lure through about a foot of water. I can't see a thing because of the glare and shadow. First one bass hooks up, then another. He's got his line high, pointing in the shade where he see the bass 40' from shore. While fighting those fish, he has presence of mind to be my artillery observer! I threw a perfect cast into the melee. Whack!

We both land fish. Three all told. The results are 49.5" of smallmouth bass to hand. Two 16"ers and a 17.5" for Mike. Amazeballs!




The middle of the day was characterized by lots of fishing very good looking water, but not many fish. We hit one water willow line pool. Mike nails a 15.5" bass, then I get a 17" followed by 6 other fish the same size or larger. They mug my Sammy and one other hooks up, for a second. I throw and nail a 16", but that's it for a while. Until Mike nails a 15" behind a rock after he misses my bait three times.

Things start to heat up around 4PM. We've covered more ground, to ensure we get off the water before dark. Mike and I both catch 15"ers. A large fish whiffs horribly at one riffle. The river has gotten sexy as hell, riffle-pool, riffle-pool. Mike sees a 20"er he nearly steps on.

Perfect Moment #4: Dead sexy push water crowned by molars of bolder, as if it were a giant maw water pours through. Mike throws to a bolder blocking current above. Woosh! Destroyed. The bass zigs and zags in between the teeth and finally comes to hand on a bed of leaves and river rock. 18"!


Perfect Moment #5: We're still in the same pool here, moving up through the middle like a couple of gunslingers drawing on targets to either side of the river. Nothing doing in the mid pool all day. Was almost a complete waste of time. Had to be in sun, near water willows, at the front, or back of pools. Well, we were almost finished with "maw" pool. The front looked like a dud. Glare made it hard to judge what was ahead. I threw to the shallow side near some roots. Surprised by a strike, but it didn't seem too significant. Turned out to be a fighter and largest smallmouth bass of the day at 18.5".



Perfect Moment 6: Mike plays with a couple pigs, one getting loose at the back of push water after a short hookup. We nab a bunch of 15-16"'s. Quickly. I waste time fishing too much pool, when Mike casts ahead and seems to fighting a fish, swims towards him, to hand at 18" and change! Nice pics!



Mike got worn out by our pace, had a couple line issues during the peak of the bite as we rushed to finish the wade before dark. I went on a crazy run that was 4-17-17.75"'s and 3 16"'s in the last hour. Flirted with a couple doubles of my own of bigger bass. The backs and fronts of every riffle. We had maybe 10-12 dinks all day.

Perfect Moment 7: Managed to get to the bridge just as it was getting dark. Another 20 minutes and we'd have been in the black. 27 bass over 15" on the day over 6+ miles of river. Never did get a huge bass, but heh, can't complain. Still don't believe it.

Perfect Moment 8: Butt in seat driving home with so many awesome replays.

BT 37 SMB (2-18"-18.5", 17.75", 2-17.25", 2-17", 5-16-16.75", 5-15-15.75") 32"+ Flathead Catfish
MC 15 SMB (2-18-18.25", 17.5", 2-16", 5-15")

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wading Indiana for Smallmouth Bass in the Fall 10/12/13

Thought MC was coming, turns out he wants me to take days off to go fishing with him it's so good. He was on call. Dunked my boots alone in water by noon. Walked down part of the way, waded down the rest. Plan was to turn around and fish all that undisturbed water.
Turns out, the woods didn't last long and the nettles were thick through much of them. I opted to fish on the edge, making a cast here and there. Finally, just fishing down. Creek is on average 50-60 yards wide. I could move without spooking everything. There was a wind meaning no topwater. Leaves fell everywhere. A fish here or there on a senko. Mainly hard to fish going downstream. There were a couple areas cleared by slow current I could throw a Sammy in, the first produced a 16.25" smallmouth. The second, a ridge along a cliff line, at the top of a very large pool produced an explosion and a really nice 19.25" smallmouth bass.




The fish was followed back to me by one about the same size. Moments later, I hooked a 14" largemouth bass that was mugged by a squad of larger smallmouth bass goons. They failed to hook up, but I think I got them on the way back up wading. Continued down. The wind stopped, the skies got gray, it rained a sprinkle for a moment. The wind stopping really made it possible to fish. Soon the leaves were mostly submerged or piled in eddies. GAME ON. I had 7 bass when I turned around. It was 4:45PM. Plan had failed, 3 hours to fish 2.5-3 miles, I had wanted to pick it apart, but now there wouldn't be time. A 16" bass smashed my WTD, then the dinks showed their faces a bit. By the time I got back to that cliff, fishing from the sames side retrieving my lure straight down the strike zone, I nailed a 17" and two more 15"'s.

Here's a fat 17.5" that streaked to the bait before destroying it. Great fight too!


Airmailed another 16" who had been dumb enough to stay in the spot I spooked him in on the way down. Picked a bunch of quick 12-14" bass in quick succession. It was starting to get dark, fish were still biting I got O'Dark thirtied finished with 28.

28 Bass 27SMB (19.25", 17.5", 17", 3-16", 4-15")

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Beat Marches On 10/6/13

Mike and I fished a new stretch of river on Sunday. I had been up til 3 playing cards the previous night, but met up by 8:30am and on the water around 10am. Big fish from new water are just better than a big fish from the same water, we decided  8-) . Despite being late in the year, we thought we'd give a new stretch a try. Bigger water, warm, clear despite 2 days of rain, had barely come up. Like fishing in the IMAX theater all day, a fantastic voyage of reds, greens, browns, oranges, and grays. I under dressed. In typical MC fashion, he had several extra garments to borrow.

I threw a Sammy 115 early, connecting with a 17.25" and 18"er early. We mostly had lots of slaps that missed entirely. Nothing else seemed consistent.

After those fish we duelled Sammies, but it was slow until about the middle of the wade where mini crankbaits caught some fish, then MC caught fire and caught like 8 or 9 in a row, including a 16" and 15". Fish were biting light again. This later gave way to the worst whiffing. We fishermen had many blow ups  failing to even hit the lure. Frustrating. Problem was, nothing else covered ground and drew strikes. This culminated in a couple of lucky fish 15-16" bass to me.  The smallmouth were hooked in the dorsal fin and cheek only. One particular 15"er was followed back to me by a 18"-19 fish. It peeled off after coming within 5' or so. Not long after, Mike's lure was attacked by the same fish from 12', peeling drag. Unfortunately, he was at a straight on to the bass' mouth, a poor hooking angle. The pig quickly came off. We were both downtrodden.

The weather changed 50 times during the day. Rainy, windy and cold, sunny and completely comfortable, then windy, then sunny, then cloudy, etc... Weirdest day fishing in a long time. UNTIL 5. Suddenly, connections were automatic! I pick a 16.25" fish. I lose one larger. Felt like a leaf on my line until it went airborne. We fished an incredible pool almost for naught. I had to drop deuce and moved up to do so in a gully. The back of a super pool funneled between cliff and sandbar. Mike catches a dink there casting long to willows, but fails to see a funnel close to him caused by the gully's clutter. Short toss, two big fish in there. They fight over my Sammy. Good shot, but the bass looked thicker than this in person. Terrific fish just short of 19". The second fish went back to feed position, but creeped out when we offered to it.

The stretch of 2.5 miles didn't seem to want to end. We had less than 2 hours to get to the takeout and me to ride close to 10 miles to the truck on the bike. Turned out the wade was more like 4.5-5!

Mike nails a fish, I measured at 18" or maybe a hair under. Yes! We had to get moving at this point. It was a real shame because every time I march casted there was another bass. MC basically marched. If we knew where the bridge was we could have fished longer. And there was that bike ride. I pulled away a little doing this.

Final score was a little wider than when we were both going at it.

35 mile an hour  in the face winds, biking up mountains, 10 mile bike ride immediately following a power march to get off the stream, darkened country roads never before seen in person made the shuttle stuff of legend. An hour and fifteen minutes later, I pulled up in Mike's truck, to his relief. It was pitch black.

BT 32 SMB (18.75", 18", 17.25", 3-16.25", 3-15")
MC 21 SMB (18", 16", 3-4 15")

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Aquarium Plus Bass Fishing 10/3/13

The algae stain in the water is starting to die off due to our colder temperatures lately. That made this last trip kind of neat. Lots of clear water, I'd never peered down into. Thousands of fish, schools of shad 10-14", quillback carpsuckers, golden redhorse suckers, channel catfish, freshwater drum, northern hogsuckers, huge greater redhorse suckers, carp, even some buffalo fish.

Things started out fast when the rain was falling. Throwing a buzzbait, I hooked up with 7 in the first hour or so including a 16" who shot out from in front of a rock with several friends. A wind began to kick up not long after and leaves were on the surface everywhere. I couldn't walk the dog at all. Flukes were even hard to work. I could basically just burn a waking crankbait under the leaves.

Then, things changed again, wind stopped and the sun came out. Fishing stunk for a while, but the surface began to clear. Fish happened, this 17.5" smb exploded on a Sammy 100.

I'll say this, bites were light uptop, so these bass weren't getting hooked really well. I think I lost 10-15 during the fight, including  a couple 15-17"'s. Things really heated up from there and I picked this thug 18.5". The fish exploded in shallow water on the lure. Air felt great on my skin as I tried to tan up a bit.

32 SMB (18.5'" 17.5",16", 15")

Back on the Wagon 9/29/13


Fished just a couple of days after my streak ended, hadn't fished this stretch all year. Yeah, there's still some good ones in there. Wished I would have been more daring with a longer wade, but was short on time with a late start.

5.5 hours 18 SMB (18.5", 17.5", 17", 15")

Streak Ends with a "Clunk!" 9/27/13

It had to happen eventually. After 11 consecutive Indiana wades, I failed to catch at least one smallmouth bass 18" or better. Yesterday's outing failed me in my neglect of the weather forecast. I made the mistake of looking at the temperature alone as a guide. Forgot the sunny skies, super low, clear, water. Fishing was tough, 14 bass with 2-15"ers in 6 hours. Didn't even see many fish. Just can't get a finesse bite going to save my life on this newly discovered river. I have formed a mental picture of it's quality.

Go after a rain, on a cloudy day, during the rain. The stream is highly effected by bright sunshine. It lacks shade. The river bed consists of softball and golf ball round rock which conducts a lot of heat. There is a lot of wood to hide under. We banged them well with fresh tactics right off the bat the first few times Long casts, precise casts, flossing cover or drawing unspooked lunkers with new presentations worked well.

Yesterday was so bad for larger fish, I began to wonder if they had retreated to the lake. Not seeing sucker schools or many carp either. Really tough when you can't wait them out with a good finesse lure. The intensity of the sun was too much. Bass and sucker schools had disappeared.

Signs of the bucket brigade on every stretch, sadly.

Wonder if some years see more smb swim out of the lake than others.

I could have picked a better day and kept this 18" er thing going. Maybe. I'd have to hazard a guess that the last 15 trips (650 SMB-26 smallies from 18-21" in the last 15 trips.) have been the best stretch of smallmouth bass fishing I've ever had in Indiana, and that's saying a lot.

491 bass in 11 trips during the streak. 5.78 bass an hour on foot. 111 over 15". Almost 55 miles of rivers.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mike Dips His Knees in a Creek 9/22/13

I managed to rope Mike into fishing a stretch of creek far from home, the first time we both had fished this one. It was beautiful day cool, 50-70F, with a nice warming sun. The leaves were just starting to turn colors. A times, a wind would kick up and make the necessary long casts difficult. We also were completely under the shade of tall bluffs which was like suddenly being in the dark. 

Fishing pretty much started out good, tossing "DUAL SAMMY" 100 the entire day. Never let the Sammies touch, best rule. Could have left everything else at home. Mike grabbed some nice 15"ers here and there. We caught some in odd places. No rhyme or reason to where, but hit at pretty high percentage to hand.


We hit a large pool that looked pretty good. Mike had a big swipe at his lure that completely whiffed in the sun. This fish exploded on a Sammy where the sun met shade. Hit 18" by a hair. Extending the 18" streak to eleven in a row. Got a 15" shortly after. 


At the top of the next pool a couple swipes followed by excited pull away. I started to walk the dog again when a big fish had it. Made the ole first one way, then the other zig zag, rear hook popped out under a lot of pressure. Mike and I had just talked about putting new hooks on and found we were [i]both[/i] out of size 4 Gammie trebles. Surely the pig would have been stuck deeper and more often, if I'd maintained my stock. Bummed me for a while. Slower action that Thursday on another stream, threw me for a loop. When you get used to frenetic action and then there is just good action.

Certainly, we pulled more bass together than one person would have. The stream was wide always.  Not many dinks so action seemed slower as there weren't the playful misses.  During that cliff shaded straight away, wind became a problem. Pinpoint accuracy and subtle control on your Sammy get you bit more often. It became difficult as the lure would drift 20' in the breeze, or get knocked down entirely landing well short of an intended target. But it was all cool. Spending time with a good friend in an obscenely beautiful place.

On one cast to a boulder field, a huge fish went completely in the air, not touching the Sammy, only to be grabbed 10' later by a 16.5" fish. A splash at a cross stream rock drew first Mike's attention (missed by 8') then mine (bingo), resulted in an impact strike and this beautiful 17.25" smallie to hand the colors of the mountainside.


Then Mike nails a 16.5" after he almost walks into the spot. I yelled, "fish are there!" He is rewarded with his largest at that point. Not many jumpers, these bass would get square and bulldog. Dinks would leap. 

2 bass one lure:

A camera shy Mike goes on an impressive run with a couple 15"'s and a 17"er who nails his lure as it is about to plunge down a riffle. Very impressive sequence.  Fish are everywhere for a while. I airmail a couple chunky 15"'s.

The last pool was sadly under heavy shade. I picked a 15" and airmailed a strong streaking 17"er who was followed back by a larger fish. Mike picked a 12" and headed to the car, as I grabbed another last ditch 15" above the bridge.

Just a great time. Won't be many more of these.

BT 44 (18", 17.25", 17", 16.5", 7-8 15"'s) Difference was a couple airmail 17"'s and I caught more dinks
MC 31 (17", 16.5, 7-8 15"'s)