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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Maybe you just "stink" at fishing....

I've been reading an amazing book called  "The Scientific Angler" by Paul Johnson. Here is an excerpt I found fascinating...

"Fish biologists have long known that fish have olfactory (sense of smell) organs. What has not been precisely determined before is just how sensitive and diverse these smell detectors are in the average game fish. Within the past few years some innovative research has been done to help answer this intriguing question. Working with migrating salmon, a team of researchers ran a series of experiments using a Y-shaped salmon ladder. As the migrating fish approached the intersection of the Y they could proceed upstream either to the left or the right. The first studies showed that the fish really did not show a preference-apparently there are no right- or left-handed salmon. As expected, 50 percent of the fish turned left and 50 percent right.

Now the biologists began a fascinating series of tests. They introduced various chemical contaminants into one leg of the upstream. When they put a bear's paw into one channel all the salmon immediately ceased migrating into that side. When they put the bear's paw into the other channel they again reversed the migration. The fish were clearly detecting and reacting to trace parts per billion of a chemical coming off its paw.

If salmon had developed this ability to detect and react to the smell of a bear as a natural predator, what would they do with human smells? The researchers had human subjects experiment by placing their hands in one of the migration channels. Almost as if a railroad brakeman were throwing switches, the salmon detected the human smell, reacted and switched channels on cue. The odor coming off a human hand was clearly repulsive. In some instances, with some human test subjects, the researchers noticed that not only did the migration change, but with certain human subjects the migration stopped altogether."

So human scent repelled fish in general but certain people shut down the fish completely. I wonder if your "unlucky" at fishing, one of the fish scents on the market might up your odds more than it would most people, working more as a masking agent than as an attractant. it seems that fish are extremely sensitive to amino acids that people leave minute traces of on everything they touch. And the levels produced vary from person to person.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Wintertime fishing story # 4

When you have spent a lifetime in the woods you naturally run into a bear now and then. This is the story of the only bear that scared me a little bit. We were backpacking in the smokies and I'd fished this creek before and knew it doubled back on itself so much that if you actually walked straight away from the creek in a few minutes you would hit it much further upstream without having to have waded a bunch of unproductive water. So I'm thrashing around thru the woods and "Oh S%$, there's a bear". A really close bear maybe twenty yards away and he was just standing there looking at me. So I talked to the bear calmly letting him know I was a human. "Hello bear, how are you today?". Nothing, the bear just stands there looking me right in the eyes. We both stand there for what seems like forever. I talk to the bear some more. The bear just stands there. Then suddenly you could see in the bears body language it relax. It lowers it's head eating on something and I take a step or two slowly backwards. It raises it's head and it's got a deer leg in it's jaws! No wonder it wasn't going anywhere. "Good bear, nice bear" as I take a couple more steps backward. Now that the bear has relaxed I slip the camera out of my pocket and snap a couple bad pics as I ease back towards where I came from. Come to think of it the fishing wasn't too bad in those last couple pools...

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Not a fish I'd normally brag too much about but heck it is the middle of January. Caught three of these guys after work on a swim shad fished as slow as I could fish it on a swim bait hook

wintertime fish story #3

It was 4 am below a low head on the Great Miami. I'm fishing a lipless crankbait on a medium spinning outfit. When the rod loaded up and bent into the cork. I remember it was pretty much a standoff with the fish taking about as much line as I was gaining for a long time. Long enough that my arm began to hurt. Finally I'm gaining line and the fish is to the point where I've got it up shallow several times before it powers back out to deeper water. A couple more of those and Ill have it. Then at the end of one of these short run the fish just stops. What the?? I just had the thing about landed and it's hung up out there in the dark. Just the week before in this same place I had hooked a giant that had just decided to leave and was well on it's way to spooling me when it pulled off. I wanted this fish badly. Out comes the wallet and the cell phone. I lay the on a rock and begin inching out into the dark. Just a little further... I'm now out in the river at 4 in the morning reaching that depth where certain parts of your anatomy don't wanna get wet. The rods bucks, the fish is still on somehow but still stuck. Just a bit more... Past the point of no return and the waters up to mid chest and the fish finally swims free. A couple minutes more and I had a deathgrip on a big lower jaw and drug my fish to shore with a memory I'll never forget.

Wintertime fish story #2

When I was around 15 or so we used to fish and camp a lot on the Ohio river. This was back in the day when you could take a boat right up to the big dams like Meldahl, even to the point of tying off in a gate they weren't letting water out of. Some of catfish fishing was incredible. We would pitch a big tent on the rock bar and camp, fishing the dam by day and out in front of camp by night. I remember dad had a mepps spinner that he fixed up with a skirt of frayed nylon rope. He would spend hours chasing gar with this thing. The trick was they would get all those teeth tangled in the rope and you could land them. I remember it worked better in theory than in practice though it did work sometimes. I do think that this kind of fishing where you are trying to catch whatever is biting,be it white bass, catfish, gar or bass or carp, is just about the best way you can ever learn how to fish. I know I wouldn't trade all those times on the river growing up for anything. Well one time my dad and were heading out to the river and it was hot. Really hot. Well instead of setting up on the rock bar below the dam and broiling like a lobster in the sun we decided we would be smart and we set up camp in this huge concrete culvert or tunnel that funneled a dry creek bed under the railroad. Man it was awesome a concrete patio out front to fish off of and back inside the tunnel it felt like air conditioning, it had to have been 10 or 15 degrees cooler than outside. We even found an old barrel that we set up as a table. Life was good. Then like the second or third night you could hear lightning off in the distance. Lots and lots of lighting. To this day I sill don't think I've ever seen a more severe thunderstorm than the one that hit about dark. There were hundreds and hundreds of lighting strikes and no way we were getting out of that tunnel. Along one side a tiny trickle of water began to run. Just an inch or two wide at first. We were perched up on cots snug as a bug in a rug and enjoying the show. The problem was it wasn't letting up. Pretty soon the trickle was a couple feet wide and an inch deep and we were really paying attention. In a bit things like pieces of styrofoam cups and other trash was washing down the culvert and it was a couple inches deep on the one side and stretched most of the way across the tunnel including under our cots. It looked pretty eerie in the light of the old gas lantern. And the storm was just as severe as ever. I remember dad saying now don't zip up your sleeping bag and we had a life jacket lying on each cot. I think we could both picture a couple feet of water flooding down the culvert and washing us both out into the river. I remember seeing at least one crayfish crawling along and sometime during the night we saw a small snake slithering along between our cots. Long story short it never did get over a couple inches deep at it's deepest but that's plenty deep enough when it' running under your cot. After a long sleepless night we packed up first thing and moved back to the rock bar!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wintertime fish story part 1

First year out of high school. I was crazy about largemouth fishing back then. Single, cheap gas, money from that first real job, I fished a lot back then, and wasn't a slacker like nowadays. I'm pretty sure I snuck into just about every single farm pond in Warren county fishing a musky jitterbug at night for big bass. Remember the shimano bantam 100? The newest bestest baitcaster in the world back then. I remember fishing with mine so much that I wore the chrome plating off the side frame where I palmed the reel at. Well my brother Vic was selling fishing lures at the Cincy boat and travel show. (Back then they actually had fishing tackle at the show) I met this slow talking guy from Georgia that owned a huge farming operation. Well it turned out he had all these ponds and lakes dug all over the property to irrigate his farm from. I forget what the exact details were but I ended up paying him like a hundred bucks for his trouble and I could camp on his land for a week and fish all his different ponds and lakes. What a different world for a kid from Ohio. Some ponds had cypress trees growing in them with cypress knees sticking up everywhere. Others had big live oaks along the banks with spanish moss hanging down. In the evening farmers in bibs and floppy straw hats would catch giant bream on 15 foot long cane poles. It was a different world and I'd never seen anything like it before. The bass fishing was slow but when you caught one it was four or five pounds. Three or four of those a day made a kid fresh out of school pretty happy. I remember fishing a huge 3/4 ounce willow leaf spinnerbait with blades like five inches long every day trying for THE fish. Finally just about the time I'd given up hope this guy crushed it. Ten pounds four ounces! To this day I remember putting it the cooler because I was going to get it mounted and the tail lapping up on one end because it wouldn't fit. That's my clearest memory of the fish, being this excited kid looking in the cooler at this fish that didn't fit.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Brrr....Wintertime smallmouth

Eight degrees!! only fish of the day but totally worth it. On Vic's three inch red with glitter grub fished as slow as i could fish it.