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.