Tuesday, August 26, 2014

INSA CAMP and Fish 2014 Report Part 1

The Indiana Smallmouth Alliance gets together to camp and fish once a year the weekend before Labor Day at the end of August. It's a chance to blow off steam and meet up with other like minded river smallmouth bass fishermen. I created this event back in 2009 as a take off of Eastern Smallmouth "Rodeos". It's been a giant ball of fun each year. Camp, fish, float, wade, BBQ, beer, Kubb Spiel, hang out.

This year, we returned to Lafayette, IN area. My plan was to float the Tippecanoe with the Commander 120 and Zack. Standing and fishing were I may. The Tippecanoe is one of the few large rivers in Indiana with great smallmouth bass fishing. Plan was to float beneath the Oakdale Dam down to State Highway 18 takeout. Both Zack and I got caught in rain and bad traffic on the way up. We weren't ready to fish until after 11am. 3 other guys hit the Tipp, so we left it to them and did a local wade.

This used to be a great stretch on a small, bending creek with nice gradient, abundant water willows, lots of riffle pools. As with most of Indiana's sod bank lined streams floods have changed the streams a lot as of the last few years. This hasn't improved the fishing any. When Zack and I arrived we had 12" of visibility, but we gave it a go anyway. Fishing was decent early as I threw an over sized 2.5 square bill chartreuse crankbait. By midday, the sun had come and the fishing was not good. We were bemoaning the lack of pigs on a pig laden creek in the past. I picked a 16.5" bass on a tube in a shallow nothing pool. It gave us some hope. I tubed a fish here or there, but mostly we'd catch one fish on any lure we tried but were unable to pattern or rely on typical smallmouth behaviour. At the end of the wade, I had 21 and Zack 11. We decided to go above our take out bridge and make a few more casts. I threw over by a sycamore root wad. My tube never did manage to hit bottom in 3' of water. I did not feel a strike. My rod bent double.

The bass looked huge down in the water. I was thinking 20"+. I guess lulled by dinks, bass only went 18.5". I was saved!

BT 23 (18.5", 16.5") rock bass
ZP 11
When we got back to camp, it started to downpour. My gear and clothes got soaked inside Matt's tent. I went home that night as others packed it in on the event. We never had rain before!
Southern Indiana hadn't been hit by the storms very hard, so I was on my way home(for some more fishing).Little did I know what adventure it held. (continued in part two)

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