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Saturday, May 23, 2020

socially distant

Spent the last few days wandering around Tennessee, catching stripes, sturgeon and huge drum on 2oz jigs below TVA dams one minute then catching miniature brook and rainbow trout out of tiny brooks on the flyrod high in the mountains. Sleeping in the car and out on the rocks. Drinking hot chocolate made on the backpacking stove one day and waiting out a storm eating deviled ham on saltines under a big leaning tree the next. In other words just living the good life...























Saturday, May 9, 2020

Three days on the Great Miami

I was given my late uncles canoe last summer. A big stable wide, pick up truck of a canoe. Right away I started making plans for this year. This is the story of the first of three floats I plan to do this month on the Great and Little Miami rivers. It was going to be a four day float but with record cold in the forecast which would knock the fishing in the head I shortened it to three. What shape the river was in, just the right amount of flow, perfect clarity. I ended up the first night camped about a hundred yards away from a great blue heron rookery. What a ruckus, chicks begging for food, birds squawking, gliding in and out looking like pterodactyls. What I didn't expect was that they would keep it up at night. I don't know if it was the full moon or what but I fell asleep to and woke to the sound of the mob, a definite first. The first night I ate one of those little tinned hams heated over the fire. What I didn't finished I cubed up and the next evening used to catch a nice channel for supper. I also caught a nice saugeye on a curly shad that I also ate. Both fish were filleted and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic, wrapped in foil and baked in the coals of the campfire. Life just doesn't get much better than sitting by the fire tending the fish and watching the full moon rise across the river if you ask me. I have a habit of getting up way too early because of my work schedule. I found making a batch of hot chocolate and setting on a log watching the sun come up is pretty swell too. The fishing was more than I could have asked for. The winning lure was the classic pearl with a black back curly shad. I caught some fish on a ned rig, a skirted jig, a grub and a willow leaf spinnerbait as well but I kept going back to the curly shad. I also had a giant fish on a suspending minnow plug. Either a big shovel hit the plug or I snared a really big carp or buffalo as it towed the canoe around a few seconds before pulling off. I also found on a huge rock bar two small stone axes or hammers. I can't imagine what the world was like for the last guy to hold them in his hands.
My father last year gave me his old tackle box, one of those giant ones that opens in both directions with little cantilevered trays. I remember as a kid loving to open that box and playing with the lures and dreaming. Anyways in that box were two Heddon crazy crawlers, a topwater with weird metal arms that fold up on the cast then catch the water and make the thing flop across the water looking to me like a tiny bird trying to take off when you retrieve it. This winter when setting up tackle bag for this year I put in those two crazy crawlers thinking that if something as wild as a whopper plopper or a buzzbait sometimes would turn on the fish I'd try these guys. Anyways on the day it rained mid morning the rain quit for a bit, the wind was still and the water was smooth as glass. I had to try it. On about the third cast the crawler is about ten feet away plopping along and in the clear water I see perfectly an eighteen inch smallmouth come up and just murder the plug. The first of two fish ohio smallies that hit the crazy crawler before the rain started back up. They certainly aren't the biggest fish I've ever caught or even close to the biggest this trip but they are among the most memorable I've ever caught. Big fish this trip were a fish a quarter inch under 20 and two a bit over 19. Two on a curly shad and one on a willow leaf spinnerbait. The fishing was almost an embarrassment of riches, I lost track of the 17 and 18 inch fish caught over the course of the trip, fish that normally one of would make for a fine trip. Between the unreal fishing, the sentimentality of using my uncles old canoe and dads old lures, the native American artifacts and the normal enjoyment of camping on the river it was close to the perfect trip in my eyes.
















Saturday, April 25, 2020

a dandy



I'm torn between I did the right thing by sticking to a game plan or if it was just plain luck since it was like fourth time in a week I've fished this exact same spot with nothing of any size to show for it till now. She jumped, I'm thinking maybe the first fish this year to completely clear the surface and pulled drag like crazy. On a curly shad fished in calm spot maybe two or three feet deep right up against some very fast water. Saw two eagles and caught a maybe 14 inch fish in the same kind of water. Hopefully the rain doesn't blow out the river for too long

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Lately....

I've been fishing some lately. Unfortunately I have been so busy that I haven't had much time to write about it. Most of my smallies have came on a curly swim or a paddle swim. If there has been a theme it's been that I've been more likely to just feel weight or pressure on the line than a thumping strike. It's been a week of when in doubt set the hook. The minnow pictures are from a tiny creek close to the house fishing bread and tiny bits of worm on size 20 hooks stolen from the fly tying bench. That was so much fun, I really need to do more micro fishing this year. It's jut about as much fun as any fishing I do. I thought it interesting that I'm wearing everything from a jacket to a tank top in photos from the last week or so. I'm a lot more comfortable smallie fishing when conditions are the same for several days in a row than up and down like this. I think that's why I sometimes struggle a bit more in spring.