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)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Shitloads of Smallmouth Bass 9/19/13

Thunderstorms in the forecast, I set out on Thursday to extend the 18"er streak to 10 trips. Been waiting for the canoe season to end so I could blast off a long one.Figured the bass were already wet and would probably like the rise in water. When passing over an Indy area feeder, I noticed brown water and lots of standing pools. Uh oh    . Hard rains cause runoff that changes the water clarity. if those feeders were dumping into the main creek, it could be a tough day. Ominous, dark skies and heavy rain on the drive out. Left the bike at home. In this case, any bike shuttle doubled the wade length, the roads ran way out of the way. I'd do 4.25 miles up and then turn around and walk back. Or tack on a 12+ mile bike trip. Seemed like one choice really.

Nearly 3' long bike tire that wasn't trash:

All the feeders in the area were flowing mud. I was worried. Take day off to fish muddy water and end the streak fishing low, muddy water? Yick. When I drove over the main flow, angels looked down on the stream, flowing clear!

So I got parked, shoed and geared up, got moving, planning to throw WTD for pigs get the streak over early. That. Didn't. Happen. I did get 5 bass early on a small WTD, but it quickly became apparent that my 10am start time may have been an hour too late with the rain. A feeder was turning half the creek brown. Leaves were blowing off trees. The pool I'd hoped to 18" on was brown water. Intermittent dumpings finally stopped and the sun came out. Not much for a while. I did finally get above the feeder, incredibly flow was clear enough. I grinned a little. It's on, bitches.  

I decide to throw on my 1/8oz 'Wolka Buzz', I've upsized these in recent memory to variable effect. To get extra distance, I thinned the skirt and added part of the body of a senko. Believe it or not that part of a worm really helped cast the lure. On the first cast, a dink answered the call, connecting despite a lack of trailer hooks on hand. Over the next 20 minutes, I caught 18 smallmouth bass, topping out at 15". Amazed so many fish near one riffle and that they wanted the buzzbait so bad. Solid hits! Easy to walk with the river channel mostly empty I power fished for quite a while before I pulled the first 17"er of the day, pictured below. Quickly caught a 16.99, a 15" and lost one in the 16-17" range. Wow. Now things are getting good.

Numbers started to pile up, smallmouth mostly missed in the direct sun and destroyed it in shade covered pools. 35, 40, and nice bass too, some 16"'s and 15"'s, but some 12-14"ers too. At the end of one huge pool, I just abused the 15" 16"ers waiting for meals. For the rest of the pool, maybe 125 yards wide, I would walk up the middle and cast a Sammy 100 to the structure and shade on either side. The smallmouth were now on WTD's as well. Caught 3 or 4 on it until I got up near the bridge with 52. Shade under the bridge, but no smallmouth would be dumb enough to sit right in such a hugely pressure spot? WOOOMF! Missed. I threw across the creek and worked the Sammy over a log and towards the bridge piling when another explosion happened up top. ON! BIG! Finally, a chance at big girl. Swept her into some willows and just knew it was the coveted 18" bass I needed. 18.25" and fat!  



YES! Mission accomplished, but I had yet to see the river above the bridge here so I kept chugging, picking up smallies here and there. Got to a plunge pull at the top of a hill at the end of bedrock flats, was working the buzzbait again when it twirled and caught a leaf. Looked over and saw a big bass still interested in the buzz though. Normally I give up on fouled lures, but this bass came right over and nailed it. Short fight and caught before just under 19".

Waded up a few hundred yards picking good bass from crack in the bedrock or in shade near wood. Another 16.5" and I turned around with 65 bass and started back to the car, throwing a buzz bait below the bridge got answered by another big bass, this one headed for wood really quick, I had to horse her over and to me. 18.5" skinny fighter. I think they have in many cases gotten so skinny because food hasn't been getting flushed to them. Make no mistake these fish wanted food! The slight rise in water levels gave them the perfect opportunity.


In the faster plunge pools, I started picking bass off wood with a spinnerbait, two 15"ers in a row. Then a couple more fish swimming the spinnerbait in heavy current in place. Still, I headed downstream, another 15" on a buzz, a 17" on an impact strike on a propbait. A few more and another 17" on a Sammy followed by another 15". 77,80, could I hit one hundred? Only thing stopping was time and lack of a trailer hook for some cheap numbers. Got to 90 pulling the Wolka buzz upstream in front of a riffle, Boosh!

When I passed the feeder that was muddying, it was finished dumping rain runoff. The creek had cleared up below as well. It was nearly dark. I had about a mile of ankle deep water to power walk. Got to the car in the pitch black. Awesome.

I waded 8.5 miles in 9 hours. Catching 90 bass: 88 SMB (18.99,18.5", 18.25", 3-17", 16.99", 5-16", 7-15") 1 Spot, 1LMB

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Long Mid September Wade for Smallmouth Bass 9/15/13

Long wade 5.5 miles, more than half of which I've never seen. Water was cold and only the bigger fish were catchable until after noon. Then, the sun scared them into swinging but not hitting, finally the go nuts phase. Extended the streak to 9 trips with an 18" or better. Fish were schooled up. On a couple occasions, there were upwards of 12 smallmouth in schools jammed into rootwads at riffles, you'd catch one, the others would swim all over. They always came in packs. Saw the largest smallmouth I've ever seen and I'll be back to get him. Followed a dink to my feet, of course. Happened a lot today, but still got 16 smallmouth from 15-18.5". Didn't get many dinks at all until after 5pm. They had to warm up. If all the false starts had been eaters! Crankbait was off, caught maybe 4 and a walleye. Added a 14" white bass on a Sammy 100.







9 hours 5.5 miles 43 SMB (18.5", 17.5", 17", 4-16", 9-15") Caught more fish over 14" than dinks today. With bike it was over 12 miles.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Airmailed Pigs 9/12/13

Dropped good friend at the airport for a trip to Dublin, had to get up at 3:40am. Went into work early after the drop off, decided to fish with the extra time, hitting water about 3:10PM.

Things were slow and the wind picked up leaves on surface made it tough to not foul. The slightest leaf of algae string will cause the bait to not walk. Got on some better water and let my Sammy do the talking. Only caught bass on WTD. That's all I threw, completing nearly 4 miles in 5 hours.

28 SMB (18.99", 18.75", 17", 3-16", 3-15")

Pig streak goes to 8 in a row and 11/12 :shock: 21 smallmouth 18" or better in the last 12 trips. Just crazy.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Streak Continues 9/8/13

I set out to do some fishing Sunday, with goal of extending my 6 trip 18"+ smallmouth bass streak. Hide the bike up one bridge, then set to the put it. Horrified when I picked up my pack and noticed my hardbait box was gone. I'd left it at home on the workbench. I had tubes, buzzbaits, flukes, grubs, spinnerbaits, and a chatterbait to fish with. Not a bad selection. Problem is, I selected a river I have yet to find a finesse tube bite on. The smallmouth bass simply seem to feed on shad in there! The next obstacle, was low clear water, making spinnerbaits and chatterbaits less than ideal as well.
With that in mind, at the first riffle around 8:45am, I pull a spunky 15.5" SMB on a single spin 1/2 oz spinnerbait with one huge Colorado blade. 2 More fish quickly follow, the third causes the Colorado blade to fall off somwhere at my feet. I can't find it. Ok, I still have the twin spin 1/2 ozer. A few casts into the day, not one fish more and one of the blades on it decides to fly off!  EEK. I take the last tiny blade at put on the first spinnerbait, throwing that periodically throughout the day where cover and depth dictated.
I am rewarded with this bruiser 19.5". He came off a laydown in shade with depth. Powerful fish. That makes 7, don't know if I can get to 10. Should be interesting to try.
Got 4 more after, three on a small buzzbait, and all seemed good. The sun came out with no cloud cover, I was in trouble.
Scrounged some bass on small swimbaits in shade and riffles, but the day never got going right. Off the water by two with only 15 smallmouth bass (19.5", 2-15") 1 Goog. I really missed my hardbaits in gauging fish aggressiveness.
This stretch I had fished for the first time 3 weeks ago had more water (and fish) then after a T-storm.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ridiculous August 2013 for Smallmouth in Indiana

This Saturday, I got to the water about 10 am with thunderstorms in the forecast. I was pretty excited about this because we have had very little rain. Seems like fish have been on it by 10 if there was shade. I picked an all new stretch of river to try. Visibility was close to 2', decent flow.
Started out throwing a Jackal Ashka 60 Crankbait. Crank it down and bring it in slowly, thunk!
This bait just doesn't want to hang up on anything. Brought it through and over wood all day.
Got a 16"er relatively deep early, made for a good sign. Fish were never very far from choke points, riffles, and shade. Bring a bass back to hand off cover and there would be 2-4 more trying to steal the bait. Could not get bit on finesse. These smallies are eating shad.
On the shallower flats, I'd throw the Lucky Craft Kelly J jr. A small 1/4oz propbait. It cleans up on dinks, but I did manage a 16" early on it.
I was starting to pile up the numbers and nice medium sized smallmouth. I spied a downed tree in heavy shade to my left. The new confidence in the Ashka, I made a 25 yard cast across several submerged limbs. Shortly after landing I saw  a big bass snarf it up. Hadn't planned for this. Kept the rod high and got him over the logs. Fought the bass left and right. Just a bulldogger.
Thick fish just past 18":
Continued to be a good day. I had one problem. I was on an open ended wade. There wasn't another bridge on up to the next town some 7 miles or so away, so no hidden bike trick. At some point, I'd have to turn back. It started to T-storm and I figured I'd hit all the wood from short range, making 10-15' casts with a chatterbait, then dragging it quickly past the front of rootwads. The rain had me totally covered and I imagine was distracting for Mr.Smallmouth. Man, it was the ticket. Scored several more thick bass in the 15-16" range this way.
Ended the day with 43 SMB (18.25", 6-16", 3-15") 3 Rock Bass in about 8 hours.
Hell of an August 2013!
Thanks to the Camp and Fish I fished 8 times in August 2013. In those 64.5 hours, I landed 369 smallmouth bass and 19 'other' fish. A rate of 5.72 bass per hour or 6.02 fish landed per hour. Pretty sick for river fishing with more than a handful of outings. Size was great too.  42 over 16", 16 over 18". Never come close to 16 smallmouth over 18" in one month before!
I tied my 18"er on each trip record at 6 outings and have hit at least one 18"+ bass in 9 of the last 10 outings.
How/Why? Part I would attribute to my work out plan working- with medicine ball, squats and 130 daily push ups. It has really helped. Other keys are stretching, staying hydrated, and energized.
Teeva water shoes are working great, so no heavy boots. Nice to find a middle water column presentation in the summer that works that isn't a overly riggy fluke. Tossing the crankbait the last four outings has truly bulked up the numbers.