Sunday, August 9, 2015

Long, Hot Wade Through Sand and Rock- Perfect 8/8/15

So next week is the INSA Camp and Fish near Lafayette, IN. Been getting back into fishing shape. Thankfully, been a finesse bite and not run and gun topwater. I've stayed on smaller streams to keep in the shade so I don't wilt.

On Saturday, I headed in the direction of a cluster of medium to small streams, sort of late in the morning so I thought I'd take my chances. On the drive, I decided to hop a few streams, The first stream I had long ago written off as sand filled ecological disaster. But last time there I pushed past the one good hole I knew and found if I was willing to walk a long way on shallow water, deep sand (exhausting) I would arrive at some holes filled with hungry smallmouth. It was this event that convinced me to get out much further upstream  on a public highway and try to fish.

Brand new water to me. This is always very exciting. I looked downstream and saw rocky cliffs, rocky riffles, and smallmouth under the bridge. HA. I did what I almost never do, I waded downstream, keeping in the shade and bedrock and I probed any depth with a 3" fat tube. The creek was very shallow. And I mean VERY. Rarely more than shin deep, but always some shade. I passed some wild turkeys which scattered off at the sight of me.

At the first riffle, I started catching smallmouth  bass on the tube, it only let up all day, when a hole had given up her goods. In the strange twilight, I could silently get pretty close if I stayed low while the fish were in shade. Longear sunfish constantly harried my lure. Peck, peck, peck, peck, drop, repeat.

Lots of nice fighting 12-14" bass. I was missing out the larger fish until I headed back upstream and fished straight up the creek on the scour side. This produced a 17.75" bass that fought like a demon on my loosened drag.

Because of the unique shade conditions and bright sunlight, the fish didn't spook very easily, if they were in the shade. I could nab one after another. And did. I had 29 smallies by 1pm (started at 11). I had caught 17" fish in this creek before, but in several tries had seen nothing bigger. When I fish a creek, in my head I'm ranking the upper limit on size of the larger bass based on what I see swimming around and what I hoover up on long wades.
Judgement was this creek would be lucky to see an 18"er. The growth rates regionally are very good. Holes aren't very stable(or deep) and there seem to be lots of bass. Also Suckers were on the small side for Indiana. This could be an indicator of a catastrophic flood, or slow growth because of overpopulation.

I was catching fish on tubes, tubes, tubes. A 16" here or there until hit an expanse of straight, silty,sun lit run. I caught a couple bass and spied a shallow combination of sycamore tree scour holes and shad from those trees. All day those proved the ticket. They provide a house to hide under for bigger fish and hold most of the depth. I did find a couple of 5' deep log piles, but these holes would be lucky to go 2' deep. They have shade and shelter.

So fishing this shady are with tube I start banging nice fish in the 14-15" range which put up incredible fights. Then Big Bertha hits, she's chased by three other bass, one a largemouth. I hope that she's hooked well. She looks really fat. I beach her in some shallow sand, grip and she's hefty enough, but alas, under 18"!

This is basically my dream, find a new stretch of creek or river, every bend and hole a mystery, unfished. The anticipation powers me on past where most people would quit.

After landing this fish, on the next cast the water erupts and I'm afraid I have got my 18" smallmouth bass! This quickly changes as I see immediate death rolls and realize its a big catfish. It's funny. I 've caught channel catfish all my life and sometimes I still balk at handling them. This one was nearly 2' long from 2' feet of water. I didn't want to get slimed or poked so I let her go without a picture.

I'm up over 52 Smallmouth and 20 other fishes, out of water and about exhausted a quick creek bath, lowers my body temperature. 7 hours of constant walking in the sand and rock has taken its toll. I clip on a Lucky Craft Wake Crank and begin the long walk back down the stream, using my sense of direction to cut much of the distance through the bean fields, which a farmer has managed to mow around the lush crops. Allows me to cut off an hour of walking. The bass are more active at 6 on the way back I land 7 more smallmouth including another 15" and 16".
Just awesome to have all day, all the time action, from these noble, hard fighting fish.

59 SMB (2-17.75", 4-16"-16.5", 4-15") 24" channel catfish, 2 green sunfish, 16 rock bass. All that, an hour away from Bloomington. Next, Camp and Fish and the return to big water and kayaks. I've got a new Wilderness systems boat to show you all I bought this Spring.

No comments:

Post a Comment