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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Old timey plugs


Some old fashioned plugs I carved out of basswood. The finish is just painted on with a brush, it would have been better with an airbrush I'm sure but I'm pleased with them. The last two have a crackle finish to add to the old timey look.



Monday, May 30, 2011

Three Days...Four Trips


Friday found me back at the gravel pits where Frank had caught his giant fish and I had caught a good fish a couple weeks earlier. The water was way up. Way, way up actually. I caught my bass by running and gunning a spinnerbait thru the flooded willows while Frank did just as good or better by camping on his honey hole where water flowed thru the cut from one pit to the next. As I brought my spinner bait by a flooded clump of willows a big bass hit. It was easily the best bass I've had on in years. Just as I thought Id land it it wrapped around a small willow twig and snapped the 14lb test like sewing thread. I ended up catching several nice bass and some pretty white bass but it was all something of a a letdown after losing the giant fish.




The next day found me at an old abandoned farm where I had found a pond on google earth. The old farm was really run down and spooky. No paths were in the waist high grass and I had big hopes. Two hours later and I only had a big panfish hit my plastic worm.




Later that night, feeling like I'd missed something I went fishing again. This time in an old gravel pit. It was inky dark with no moon but I'd been here many times before. A small bass hit my plastic worm on the first cast and it was game on as I caught bass steadily for hours.


The next night found me and Brenda at my friend Mikes apartment complex. I really hadn't expected much and was there as much for the company as the fishing. Sure enough the only fish we caught was a bass around a pound, again hitting my plastic worm.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Voice of America Park



This weekend in a quest to find more places not blown out by THE RAIN THAT JUST WONT STOP I tried the Voice of America Park in West Chester. This Warren County Park has a huge fishy looking lake with almost a mile and a half of shoreline. Right away a nice bass struck my spinnerbait as dark storm clouds gathered.


As I was unhooking the fish, big serious splats of rain began smacking the surface of the lake. Me and a kid that was catfishing took refuge in the gazebo that hangs out over the lake below the visitor center.


Soon high wind and blowing rain had us soaked.


After the storm passed, already soaked to the skin, I decided to go ahead and fish in the light rain that now fell. And thank goodness I did as bass after bass hammered the spinnerbait as I brought it along the face of each cattail bed.


Turned on by the rain the fish bit all evening and even a channel cat hit my spinnerbait. Ive had catfish hit a lure numerous times before but this was a first as I was buzzing the spinnebait along just under the surface and he came up and hammered it like a bass.


Conditions like this are perfect for one of my favorite fishing techniques, buzzing a spinnerbait. Swim the bait just below the surface so that it produces a bulge and wake without breaking the surface. Every now and then stop the bait for a split second, this pause often triggers a strike and was key at VOA. I'd say at least half the fish hit as I varied the speed or stopped the bait especially when I stopped the bait right as it passed some bit of cover or break in the cattails.

I'm not sure if the fishing really is that great at VOA or if the rain and weather combined just right to produce one of those magic days. A bit of both I'm guessing, that it's a pretty good place to bass fish and I happened to be there at just the right time but I'm not complaining after the awful spring we've had so far...

Saturday, May 7, 2011



Shul in Tibetan is defined as "an impression: a mark that remains after that which made it has passed by; a footprint, for example. Shul is used to describe the scarred hollow in the ground where a house once stood, the channel worn through rock where a river runs in flood, the indentation in the grass where an animal slept last night, the torn ruins of a lost civilization. All these are shul: the impression of something that used to be there."

There's this place I go to fish, go to get away from it all that always brings this word to mind. It's a lake made from an old rock quarry. Set in a beautiful but desolate setting, the lake seems natural, like it has always been there, part of the landscape. Like the way Machu Picchu or an old lighthouse becomes the landscape in the way a metal pole barn or a cell tower can never be. The "impression" of the old quarry, just a big empty place a mile from the road.


The same word Shul in Yiddish means temple and for me this also fits. A temple in the way John Muir saw nature as a temple. John Muir said the clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness. Among the dark pines on the hill overlooking the lake I am far more likely to set for a bit and ponder whether or not I've lived a good life than I've ever been prone to do in a man made church. I'm also just as likely, here away from distraction, to spend an hour trying lure after lure trying to unlock the secrets to the lakes fishing. But maybe thats right too, in the way zen teaches us how we can learn to live our lives well by paying real full attention to each task we do, to Live each momment in the now. Or maybe I'm just an old sentimental fool trying to find meaning in a pretty place just because I love it.

The secret this last trip lay with a rebel minnow plug. The first three casts netted three fish. On the first cast a fish struck and I said aloud to myself, "Well, there's one", and then "well, there's two" and so found myself doing something I allmost never do, which is count how many fish I caught. This place has always been generous with fish and I knew I caught alot here. But I try to make a pointed effort to not count. How is catching eleven fish less somehow than catching twelve? The image of tournament bass fishing as shown on TV has always been distasteful to me, and I found a fascination in just how caught up in the numbers I became as the mornings fishing went on. It wasn't just a bass, it was number twenty two or twenty six instead of the fish that so hit so hard by the log or the bass that jumped twice. Later someone asked me how I did and I said "I caught Thirty One" and realised I'd learned a lesson, that obsessing on numbers, how many, how big, can take something away from a trip, at least for me. I'd taken my place of refuge, my "shul" and turned it into something else. Something less than wind in treetops, less the play of morning light on the water, less than the excitement of the strike or the shrill cry of a hawk overhead. But I'd come and found out something about myself and why I fish, why I like it here so much where I'm almost always alone, fishing with just the sky and the pines as witness.





Grey Fox...





The thickets and woodlands bordering the river are more often the home of the grey fox than it's more famous brother, the red fox. While the red fox loves nothing more than the open fields and pastures away from the riverbank, the grey fox is right at home. The gray fox's ability to climb trees is shared only with the Asian raccoon dog among canids. Its strong, hooked claws allow it to scramble up trees to escape predators such as the coyote, or to reach food sources. The grey fox is omnivorous and eats everything from rabbits and mice to wild grapes, and the myriad of small creatures that abound along the river.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

flood pics...








I think whats so remarkable about this year is not that there was a giant flood but a series of a half dozen separate crests at flood stage.

Heres some older flood pictures...





hobart facing west


king ave 1959






buzzard babies...

Hatched fron the eggs I showed you about a couple weeks ago, they seem to be doing well




Monday, May 2, 2011

Super fast smallie fly...

With the water FINALLY starting to fall it's time to think about some smallmouth fishing. Here's a super easy smallie fly you can whip out in no time...

Thread a bead on a size 2 or 4 hook.


Like with every fly wrap the shank with thread to keep things from sliding around. Then tie in a tail of mylar and just a bit of deer hair.


Tie in a piece of pearl core braid brown and wrap it forward to form a body


Next tie in a saddle feather and using hackle pliers wrap it around a couple times and tie it off


Ill often stop right there and use the fly as is. Sometimes I'll tie in a wing of mylar and a few whisps of bear hair for a different look.


I call the fly the Junction simply because thats one of my favorite spots on the river to use it.