Sunday, June 29, 2014

OWWWW! 6/29/14 Remove that Hook.

Most of you know this year has been a strange one for me, moved, divorced, fished less, found a new woman who likes to fish (I'm teaching), commuting 60 miles each day to work, I have less time to fish or be on INSA forums. She's done really well considering I just taught her, loves to cast. So far she's gotten a few in the 15" range, including a buzzbait bass. Well, we were out wading after a storm and the water was up a little. I found a crankbait bite as the water was stained, fish pushed close to shore or behind cover.

She wasn't having any luck on a tube, so I gave her a crankbait as we hit a wide, shallow flat. The kind you catch fish in all summer in less than 2' of water behind cracks and crevices. She caught a 15"er on the crankbait, but I mostly wanted to get to the next hole, where I expected the bass to be clustered. I forged ahead. I should have pulled back when a cast whizzed ahead of me and landed on the bedrock 8' in front.  :D Even though overhead was open, she wasn't used to the casting angle. Later she said she felt 'uncomfortable' casting with me standing in front.  :shock:

I should have known:

Her cast hit me right in the arm. Odd, it stayed there. Should have fallen to the ground at least. Uh-oh, it's in my arm. Uh-oh, deep in my under forearm. No multi tool on hand.  :(  A year or so ago I decided a multi tool was a heavy item to carry over a long 5+ mile wade. I was regretting that decision now. Worse, I did not have one in the car. Sandy was visibly worried. My first order was to let her know I was ok. Then we pushed the barb through the skin. Human skin is strong! We walked back to the car and then to Walmart to buy a multi tool. I snapped the hook off and backed it out easily. Fortunately, nothing vital was hit. I could have gone on fishing but a storm was coming up so we went home.

Step two on this diagram is how I remove hooks. In this case, it was much further in.

To her credit, she's ready to go back out.

Lesson: Always have a hook cutting muti tool on you or in your car a short distance away. Debarb trebles for newbs, or don't use them. Listen to your instincts. I should have told her not to cast because the water was shallow, but I didn't. She should have told me she wasn't comfortable casting with me in her swing side.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Float 6-27-14

I took the Commander 120 for another drag and float. Water on this wide, shallow stream was kicking pretty good. Lots of canoe and kayak traffic had conditioned the bass somewhat to accept more noise.

It was hot, so hot. Turns out my camera was low on batteries and perhaps malfunctioning. No pics. Worked tubes, Sammy 100, Wake bait. Bite was good, but I absolutely wore out in my new shirt and walking upstream before the float. Lost a 2' plus bowfin up close. Kind of scary standing waist deep.

Boat was again pretty wicked.

27 SMB (18", 17", 16", 2-15")

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Putting the Wilderness Systems Commander 120 Angler Through Its Paces 6/15/14

On Saturday, I set out to try out my new hybrid kayak. I'd taken the Wilderness Systems Commander 120 angler package on a local lake to test paddle.  First, the boat looks amazing. What a cool color scheme. I found everyone looking at my cool camo pattern kayak as a I drove down the highway. I had a couple people ask me about the boat at the gas station. More curb appeal than I'd lent thought to.  Take a look at this:
And this:

Commander is an open top boat, so an angler can hop right in and climb right back out without any problem. It will take on water from wading boots, so a sponge is in order. It took a little while to figure out how to place my spinning rods so they wouldn't sit in that boot water. It comes with a track mounting system so you can locate the many optional accessories in a modular customizable fashion. Put those rod holders, camera mounts, cell phone mounts, depth finders wherever you want.

Only thing I've had time to add was a tow rope. I use this to clip the boat to my belt as I waded upstream against torrid current. Where I needed to paddle the commander easily went upstream. I looked for shade on the sun strewn stream today. Quickly found one, two, three, supercharged fish to 17.25" long in that shaded side pocket. Exciting! When fishing by himself and angle should put thought to floating down then paddling back tot the bridge for quick action. Use that boat to line up casts, that would be hard to make on foot. Likewise dragging the boat up fishing upstream then turning to float and throw topwaters like buzzbaits can be devastating. It was today. 

I soon picked fish on square bill crankbaits, walk the dog lures, a spinnerbait, 4" tubes, and finally twin spin counter rotating buzzbaits.
Smallmouth were aggressive in the 4 hours I fished, 20 good smallmouth bass caught. I landed 5 over 16", up to 17.5". Mostly thinner, spawned out smallmouth bass. Spawn mostly done at this point.
On the float back, I was amazed how responsive the boat was, it didn't spin too much or ignore my turning strokes. Here's a 16.5" fish caught on a crankbait just next to heavy current. Got out of the boat and lined the cast up right. This fish fought like crazy in that current.

I really enjoy fishing this kind of slightly stained, higher water. In the areas of river with more slope or gradient the river really pushes, causing bass to find the side rest areas to ambush. Allows me to leave out large areas of water as fish less. One must check the water willow islands and rocks just off the faster current for fish. Nice to have aggressive eaters in predictable areas.

Monday, June 9, 2014

What Have I Been Up To? 6/8/14

Transitions can be a hard thing. Commuting 8-10 hours a week from Bloomington to Indianapolis has seriously cut into my fishing time. Suppose I need to solidly look for work in Bloomington. For now, I've been taking Sandy out wading a small creek here or there. It's gone far better than I would have hoped. She's doing really well with casting. Seems to like the casting and is coming around on the actual catching. She can cast a tube pretty well. Look forward to seeing how she can do on bigger water with less distance between fishable spots.

Last time out she got 5 SMB and a goog. Two in the 15" range and another 14" smallmouth. I have her fishing tubes and buzzbaits. Thrilled when she got a 15"er in current on the buzzbait. Nice!

No pics of me. I managed a couple nice ones between chatting and retying lines. One absolute chunk over 17",  a 16", couple 15"ers. We probably hit close to 15-20 bass. Not bad for a few hours