Sunday, January 20, 2013

More Winter Fire 1-20-13

I went to a different river today. Surprised visibility was in the 18" range, but you couldn't make out much. Nice sun shining on NW side of the river. Almost all fish came from sunlit pools. Planned a stand and fish, float, fish bigger pool, float, get out stand and fish, drag back up, hit 'em again on the way back up.

1st 17"er of the day!


First spot, I start out free lining the float and fly jig parallel to the bank and through the eddy. Don't feel the strike, but suddenly weight and a nice fish darting everywhere! Surprised by the fight. Yesterday's 52F high had warmed the water a little, despite the dropping temps (30F). I get a few more out of the yak using the FnF, including a 15"er that got in current like a jetship. Fun.

Floated to a nice eddy right at a riffle above a large pool. My kayak anchored right along the swift current. I'm free lining the jig again. Thunk. Nice fight, 14". This looked promising. I anchored along the shore in the back eddy, hitting the spot with the sun shining brightest. Dual rods going with FnF deployed, I slow fished a tube. It had been sitting there a while when I felt a bite. She hooks and darts, then off. Didn't feel huge, but they almost always start at 12">>>>+ That fish gave away the location of the pod in my mind. I had two fish to triangulate, so now I went in with over lined float and fly. After a few drifts the float moves! Lifting the rod gently, it quickly doubles over and explodes into action. Another bigger fighter. To hand measures 17", my battery on the camera then depletes so I have no more pictures to show you. Still, 3 from that eddy was a new high.

I float down to the big pool, where the fishing is hard because the area where bass usually are is filled with new submerged wood. I get a LMB on FnF and hang up like 10 times before I move out in frustration.

The next target is a run ending in a riffle. The run widens out and has an old tree to the left. Always caught good stuff above that riffle, figure they have to collect over on the slack side near that tree. I've been here in the Winter several times, but it hasn't proven very good until now. I fished it purely free lining the FnF jig for the first time and it turned out to be the highlight of the trip.

I love this technique, because you never mistake a bite, rarely miss fish (assuming you set hook gently), best of all you can tell how much movement will get you bit. Generally, this is better I find when the water has warmed up some. It hurts when too much movement hampers the bite. A couple 12-14"ers right away, I pull the jig free of a larger fish, which I only just saw. Pull it out of another without a hookup-exuberance is the enemy, dropping back down in the same spot I see a fish nail it. By now I'm standing on the log trying to get into the ominous darker water with my piddly casts. Further, further, balance, balance 20' out onto the tree there is a lone stump that sticks up about 5' above the water. I lean against that and nab two more bass just feet from where I stand.

Finally in range, I toss to the area in the eddy that tells me depth, correct current speed. A short throw of 15' or so, pulling line out so the jig drops down. Waiting, shake a rod tip, wait, dart it, let it drop, wait. Thunk. Heavy! Explosive. I'm on a tree with basically one hand usable. Bass trys for under the log and every which way. I can't bend over to land the fish without going in the drink up to my chest. I jump towards shore 6', landing in the waist deep leaves, while keeping pressure on the fish and swimming him over the log. Thick as hell, measuring 18".

I fish the downstream side of the log and nail a 14", then a white crappie in the most unlikely of places. By the time I've left the spot, I'm at 12 SMB and a crappie. Drag the kayak through the woods on upstream. At the large pool, I nail a 16" fighter. Move up to another spot and pick a dink, then try a chartreuse crankbait along the roots parallel to the bank-undercut. Yep. Big fish on the crank, but only the rear hooks. I fight it nearly to me enough to see another 17-18" thick smallmouth. Dragging the fish against the backswirl while it headshakes=bad. It comes off. Damn!

Last produces another 17"er that goes nuts. Fly jig.

16 Bass 1 LMB, 15 SMB (18", 3-17", 16", 3-15") Crappie. If I executed a little better, could have been 20 fish day.

3 days in January produce 37 SMB (19.5", 18.5", 18.25", 18", 17.5", 4-17", 16", 5-15") 2 carp 24-26", 2 Quillbacks, and LMB and a White Crappie.

People, THAT was glorious.


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