"The solution to any problem -- work, love, money, whatever -- is to go fishing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be." --John Gierach
Monday, April 27, 2015
Spey Rod White Bass...The Most Fun You can have with Your Clothes On!!
This last weekend was my third attempt at chasing white bass this Spring so far. Of the previous two outings , one was a total bust (as in skunked , never even had a bite) and the other attempt produced three fish (all about 10 inches long). I don't claim to be an intelligent man, especially when it comes to fishing...apparently two beat-downs just wasn't enough for this old guy so I decided to venture out this past weekend and try my luck again.
Several things lined up favorably that culminated with me making the decision to give it one more shot. First off it was a rainy , stormy day which in my experience never hurts when chasing white bass or hybrids. Secondly, when I looked at the generation schedule for the tailwater I was hoping to visit I saw that they were scheduled to run decent water for a good part of the day. And last but not least , I simply couldn't find anyone who wanted to go hit one of my favorite smallie rivers with me.
I wanted to drag Joe along as well but he's deathly afraid of thunder and lightning , cowers in his bed like a little puppy when a storm rolls in. As much as I would have enjoyed his company I didn't want to subject him to sitting in the backseat of the truck feeling scared while the days storms rolled through so I decided to just go solo on this trip. I awoke before the sun made it's appearance and the first thing I heard were the raindrops hitting the gutter outside my window. The truck was already packed and ready to go so I wasn't about to let a little rainstorm keep me from fishing...but an hour later start wouldn't make any difference on a rainy day either so I rolled over and went back to sleep. By the time I arrived at my destination it was around 10:00 , considerably later than I had planned on but I was hoping the low clouds and rain would keep the fish on the feed all day.
I had heard reports of some fish being caught so I was kind of surprised to find the banks relatively void of fishermen. There were a couple of die-hards toughing it out in the rain but not enough people to make me think the fish were actually biting. This was starting to look more and more like the last two wild goose chases I'd been on...oh well , at least I was fishing and not at work. That's always enough to bring a smile to my face!
After donning the rain gear and rigging up a couple of rods I headed down to the water to see if anyone wanted to play.
To my great surprise I hadn't made more than a half dozen casts when the first white bass of the day decided to eat my baitfish imitation. Not a big fish , but bigger than anything I'd tied into on the previously mentioned trips so it was a start.
Several casts later fish number two was in my hands and from there things just got better as the day went on. I was using the 7 weight spey rod and have to say it worked great for that type of fishing , long casts were required to get to the fish all while standing on a rock rip-rap with zero backcasting room. This was just one of the situations I had envisioned this rod shining in and I was ecstatic to finally be able to make it happen.
The fishing kind of ran in streaks as the day wore on. It never really got slow but there were some hours that were better than others as is always the case when fishing. I didn't keep track of how many I caught (I'm not a fish counter) but if I had to venture a guess I'd have to say between 60 and 70. I had one streak where I caught 9 fish on 9 casts and another one later in the day where I landed 7 in a row. That's damn good fishing as far as I'm concerned , no matter what species your fishing for or how you're fishing for them.
If you've been reading this blog for long you know that I don't miss many meals , even when I'm fishing , but on this particular day the bite was so good I didn't even stop fishing long enough to eat the lunch I'd brought.
The only dissapointment of the day (if you can even call it that) was that I didn't hook up with any hybrids , all of my fish were whites and most of them smaller males if I had to guess. I didn't land anything over two pounds but if you've ever had the opportunity to battle white bass on a flyrod you know what a great fight even fish that size can deliver.
By the end of the day I had major bass thumb and a big smile on my face that even a Monday at work would have had a hard time wiping off. It looks like I can cross that successful white bass trip off my list now...sometimes even a blind squirrel can find a nut I guess!
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
First Smallmouth Trip of the Year...Small Creeks and Small Fish
Boy , it seems like it's been forever since my last post or even since I've been online period. Computer issues at home have kept me from throwing up a report the last couple of trips that I've made , but in all honesty , there really wasn't anything worth reporting anyway. It seems that Mother Nature is toying with me and opening up the heavens on just about every body of water I make plans to fish over the past month , six weeks ago I was asking for more water and now I'd just like to see it quit for awhile. Feast or famine as usual , sometimes you just can't win.
This past weekend the weatherman was again calling for rain but Joe and I managed to slip out of the house on Friday for a quick daytrip before it could mess up our plans.
Those smallmouth had been calling my name for almost a month now and I had yet to put together a real trip to chase them...I was changing that today , high-water be damned!
Of course , the storms that were forecast for Saturday moved in a little bit earlier than predicted...as in Friday morning when I'm two hours from the house and still an hour from my intended destination!
No big deal , I checked the radar and figured it would be done in an hour or so and just hoped that it wouldn't be enough to raise the water levels much. We stopped off at an access on another creek that I've been wanting to fish and havn't got around to yet just to get an idea of what the area looked like. We killed an hour there but never even got out of the truck as it was raining cats and dogs the entire time.
By the time we hit the road again and made it to our destination the rain had dwindled to a light drizzle and to my relief the water still looked good.
I'll admit I havn't done much wading for smallies , almost all of my trips are done out of a driftboat or my pontoon so I had to find a few locations that I could access by foot and still have decent sections of water to fish. With a little help from some good friends who frequent the area more than myself I already had a few spots picked out before arriving.
The water was looking really nice but the higher than average levels and flow made the crossings a little questionable at times , let's just say there were a couple of spots where Joe and I both practically had to swim across the river to reach the other side.
Just one of the many reasons I like fishing warmwater creeks this time of year...no waders to worry about topping and the water is comfortable instead of numbingly cold.
As far as the fishing goes , it was a little slow to be honest. I suppose I can't really complain about the numbers as I ended the day with around 15 fish or so , the problem was that none of them were of any size.
I'd guess that 10" was the average size of the fish I caught , the largest one might have been pushing 13". I'm not complaining about the fishing regardless of those facts , it just felt good to get out and wander around a small creek with my best buddy , the fish were just icing on the proverbial cake.
We spent the better part of the morning fishing both up and downstream of the access before heading back to the truck for a tailgate lunch. Fried chicken...potatoe salad and a cold PBR , the makings of a four-star meal for a couple of guys like Joe and I.
After lunch we loaded up and headed over to a different stream to see if we couldn't find a little more action before calling it a day. The story was the same here as our first spot , we were able to find a handful of fish but they were all little guys.
I'm just guessing here, but I think the last few weeks of up and down water on this particular system have put the fish a week or two behind schedule. I didn't see any spawning fish and saw very few fish out moving around the shallower flats or riffles as I waded around. If the weather will settle down and let the water levels stabilize for a few days i'm thinking a guy still might be able to get on a decent pre-spawn bite. The way the weather pattern is shaping up around here though, those fish might be post-spawn by the time water levels stabilize for long enough to do any serious floating. Either way I'm locked into the smallie game at this point , while the fish may have been small the limited action was enough to solidify the fact that trout fishing is just an option to fall back on at this point.
I'd still like to get out and catch a few white bass before the Spring run is over (I know , I'm running out of time there as well!) but for the near future smallmouth bass are going to be the preferred quarry. I think I've got a new smallmouth fishing partner as well after finding some good wadeable streams , I guess I'm not the only old guy who prefers wading a warmwater creek to a cold ass trout stream this time of year!
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