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Tuesday, July 17, 2018


The last couple days have been a bit hard when it comes to smallmouth fishing but the channels have been going crazy. Fishing mostly a grub on a 1/4 ounce jighead I've actually caught more catfish than smallmouth, I think seven channels to five smallmouth. Though I did manage one swell smallmouth that hammered an electric blue grub in a foot and a half of fast water as the jig tumbled over the top of a big chunk of concrete rubble.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Skinked but not skunked

Fished the broken up remains of an old dam today. Sat my pack down to have a drink and had this young five-lined skink run right up on my pack. afraid it might hide in all the junk and end up cooked by the heat in my truck I shoo'd it off but it ran back out and posed for a few pictures. You can tell it was a young one by the bright neon blue tail which fades when they get older. Caught four nice smallies and lost a piggie on a curly swim fished where some fast water rushed over a piece of rubble.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The run...

I enjoy reading books by Larry McMurtry, He is the Pulitzer prize winning writer of Lonesome Dove, The last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment among others. One book is called Cadillac Jack and it's the story of a picker. You know one of those guys that travels all over the country hitting garage sales and auctions and old junky farms finding things to resell. Well towards the end of the book the hero Jack has a run. Seemingly every where he goes he buys something swell and rare till it finally ends in this flea market where he buys this Mongol parchment worth a fortune this couple had their depression glass for sale wrapped in. What's this got to do with fishing???? Well I've felt for a bit now that I've been on a bit of a run myself and sensing that I've tried to squeeze in as much fishing as possible into a schedule that's been pretty full lately. I think in anything that is a combination of luck as well as skill such as pool or hunting or poker(or fishing) when fortune smiles on you, you ride that pony for all it's worth. And nearly every trip I've caught some swell smallmouth for a while now and I guess like in the book the run peaked...
Ninety two degrees, 4:45 pm, a little place where the sweet spot is only maybe eight feet long and six feet wide. The water pours over this stairstep of natural boulders and then is shunted sideways by a big chunk of concrete so it dumps into this little pocket that also has water dumping into it from the riffle above. It ends up being a little U shaped slot with water falling and rushing into it from about a foot higher on three sides.
I can get close because of all the fast water and pitch a curly swim underhanded into the U. It sweeps down thru the U and just as it's leaving it swirls around behind one boulder about the size of a bushel basket before moving on. I didn't even feel the strike even though I probably only had ten or twelve feet of line out. Instead it just tightened up and the fish was on. I set the hook twice. In this kind of take it seems the fish is always spitting the lure back out and when I can remember I'll set the hook more than once. The fish swirled once right under the surface and I could see it was a really big fish. I've only had on a few fish that I knew for certain, "well this fish is over 20 inches". I've had plenty I thought might go 20 on but only two or three that I knew for sure were at the time. Well with ten feet of line out and the fish right there in a foot of water it was obvious it was going to go at least that. What it didn't do was stay ten feet away. In a few seconds it had traveled the length of the riffle and was jumping on the other side of the stream 40 feet away.
After years of trying to baby big smallmouth and losing them my philosophy is land em or lose but don't play with them. Besides it's better for the fish to release them not worn out from a long struggle. So I had the LittleMiami Rod bent into the cork though it probably still took another minute to land the fish on 8lb test. I've caught a couple fish longer in the Little Miami and the Great Miami but considering this tributary stream was maybe a third or half as big as the Little Miami the fish has to rank as one of my best catches ever out of southern Ohio. I'll be honest I snapped a few quick pics, turned her loose and just headed home. With a quick stop at the Wendy's drive thru for a celebratory Frosty. I'm guessing it's all down hill from here for a bit but I don't mind.

Monday, July 9, 2018

another swell day

Yesterday's fine fishing carried over into today even though the weather was much warmer. Today I was more in the mood to wander and hit four spots on the river for just a half hour or forty minutes each before hopping back in the truck and heading to the next one. One big advantage to that is about the time you are starting to roast you head back to the truck for something cold to drink before hitting the next place. I stuck in a couple photos of the kind of thing I'm looking to fish when it's this hot. One's from today and one pic is from last week but they both illustrate pretty well the kind of very fast, shallow water I'm looking for when it's hot. In both these pics I'd wade across river just below each and make short accurate casts to each little pocket I come to or into the boil right below where the river pours over the top. Most strikes are the instant the lure lands or just a half second later. If you wade up from below and make a longer cast up to each spot then most of your cast is worthless. I want a short 15 or 20 foot cast or even better be able to wade close and pitch underhanded. Just be ready to get bit as soon as the lure hits. I'm most comfortable pitching a grub in this situation but I imagine a swimbait would work just as well. Notice that although they are very fast pieces of water they are not long 25 or 50 yard riffles but short and waist deep water is just a few feet away. For me these short very fast sections of river are worth more than miles of fishy looking normal water when the heat is on...

Sunday, July 8, 2018

and the beat rolls on

Day two of the break from the heat had the fish on fire right at daylight. Had a three inch grub tied on from the last trip and never had a reason to take it off. Fished from daylight till about an hour and a half later then had to go because of plans with the family. Fish were in shallow fast water which made the drag scream when a good one hit. Probably the best fishing in a month while it lasted.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Summertime...and the livin is easy

a lovely day

Wow, what a difference 24 hours makes. Ten degrees cooler, no humidity. Simply a swell day to be outdoors and alive. I decided to take advantage of the weather and take a trip that requires a long walk. Which would have been a death march the last few days but was a joy today. You can float to the spot but that takes longer and is even more of a pain than just hoofing it. I'm lucky if I fish it more than once or twice a year. The spot was man made sometime in the distant past but I'm not sure what it was. Some kind of wing dam maybe to divert the main current is my guess but I'm not sure. What it does now is make most of the stream really really shallow. Like ankle deep worthless shallow. But on the far bank it creates a 50 yard long waist deep fast run with a cobble bottom that has smallmouth written all over it. I'll be honest I've never made a killing the day a heat wave breaks, the day you would think you would tear them up. And today was no exception, I only caught one fish. But what a beauty. No jumps, but one long run after another and even one thru the ankle deep stuff that had water bulging like you see on those TV shows of guys catching bonefish on the flats. I'll take a one fish day like today anytime.