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Friday, July 27, 2012

Jaws

S5030666 Every morning Id set out before dawn to try and catch sharks. I'd asked around and done a bit of reading online and the story was that off the beach here in july the game was either flounder or sharks. Well a twenty inch flounder was considered a big one and the idea of catching them just didn't excite me so I opted for sharks. I learned right away the hard way that although my tackle made the small sharks fun it was woefully inadequate for the monsters that swam in the mouth of johnston creek at the beach's end. I caught a small one and was in the middle of unhooking it when the clicker on the other rod took off screaming. I set the hook hard and nothing happened line just kept screaming off the reel. Finally the fish turned but only when the spool was showing thru the little of my remaining line. I got the feeling the fish just turned of it's own accord rather than anything I did. The whole time I had it on I had the rod bent right to the point that I felt any more tension and either the rod or the 20 lb line was going to break. After a couple minutes the fish just simply began swimming away. Down to just a few feet of line left I applied even more pressure trying desperately to turn the fish and Snap! the line broke. It was a very very big fish, big enough to make me vow to never swim in low light or out too deep around here. I did manage to catch quite a few small sharks in the one foot to three foot range and briefly have another big one on. Next year I'll be back with some real tackle to put one my size up on the beach... S5030512 S5030675

Monday, July 23, 2012

Turtle Tracks

Every morning while heading out to fish at Hunting Island I'd run into or tag along with the volunteers who walk the beach looking for sea turtle tracks.Loggerhead turtles born on Hunting Island will return to this beach to lay their own eggs. Female Loggerhead turtles begin to drag their huge bodies up onto the beach. This usually occurs at night or in the early morning. Once a female has found her desired nesting spot, she will dig a hole using her back flippers. She will lay about 100 - 160 eggs into the hole and when done, she will cover the hole with sand, again using her back flippers. She then will return to the ocean and will not return until her next nesting season. The huge turtles would make tracks in the packed sand of low tide that I would never leave a track in. In the week I was there I found three sets of tracks where a turtle had hauled out to make a nest, two within a couple hundred yards of our tent. The volunteers then find the nest and stake it out to prevent people from disturbing it and cover the nest with a mesh that lets the baby turtles out but keeps animals from digging out the nest. S5030455 S5030456

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Beaver in the Little Miami

DSC_0922 Completely unknown in the Little Miami when I was a kid, if you night fish anywhere along the Little Miami and are quiet chances are you might just see a beaver. One of my most memorable encounters happened just a few weeks ago. I was sitting on a rock bar just upstream of the old King's dam catfishing when a beaver hauled himself out on the rocks ten feet from me. In the dark all I could see was the beaver silhouette as he sat grooming himself for at least a minute before moving upstream. Right above me was a pretty fast moving riffle and I was amazed at how effortlessly he moved against the current. The beaver you see in these photos I saw in Turtle Creek which is a small creek that runs into the Little Miami at South Lebanon. He was huge! I'm guessing around fifty pounds! Even if your not on the river at night if you look closely you can find beaver sign all along the river. Although they do not build the classic beaver dam on the Little Miami they den in the bank all along the river. The easiest beaver sign to spot is the chewed up tree stumps or trees partialy cut down. Almost every river bottom has these if you look closely as you explore the Little Miami DSC_0929 DSC_0940

Fawn in Todd's Fork

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Nighttime on the LMR

With yet another 100 degree day it seemed like night time would be the best time so once again I didn't even start fishing till after midnight. The fish cooperated and I caught four shovelhead in the 4 to 7 pound range on a lipless crankbait. All right on the bank on the upstream side of a big rock bar adjacent to a big hole. Then I hooked this guy... buffalo The big buffalo was hooked right outside the mouth so even though I probably snared the fish I'm not completely sure. Buffalo feed primarily on insect larvae and other aquatic invertebrates and some algae though I have caught them on small jigs before. I do know that like all buffalo it fought like a mule before I finally managed to land it.I then caught an axe handle gar on a sinking minnow plug. The treble hooked the fish right in the seam between the two sections of the lower jaw and took forever to unhook. I've found with this type of fishing that a pair of pliers really is a big help, especially unhooking a shovelhead that has inhaled the lure. A bit later another fish thumped the crankbait and it turned out to be a little better shovelhead S5030210

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fish Ohio Channelcat

Anxious to see if the pattern of big catfish feeding shallow at night in this heat was still on last night I fished a big rock bar jutting out into the Great Miami. Since it was in the mid nineties again I didn't start fishing till three am. Things couldn't have started out any worse. I'd been there about five minutes when I had a strike. Setting the hook hard, the lure hung up for a spit second before hurtling back like it was shot out of a rifle. The 1/2 ounce lipless crankbait hit me right in the chin and the rear treble buried itself in me halfway between my chin and lower lip. right where I couldn't see it. After finding a big log to sit on I tried unsuccessfully to unhook myself with a pair of pliers. Finally I tied a length of line into a loop and slipped this over the hook. Then whack a sharp yank on the line popped it out followed by a long string of curses. But maybe it was a case of paying your dues because right away I was into fish. I caught a shovelhead about five pounds then a nice channelcat and then this big saugeye: S5030203 And after that a really nice shovelhead that hit right on the bank, really tearing things up in the shallow water: S5030206 It took a while for things to settle back down after that and I sit for a while admiring the gorgeous full moon. Then right before dawn another good fish nailed the crankbait. I thought it was another shovelhead till the bumpy head rolled up. I figured it was a good blue cat till I landed it and saw the outer margin of anal fin which was rounded and not straight. It was a whopper channelcat! I took several close up photos to make sure I could check later at home and sure enough a channel. It takes a 26 inch channel to make Fish Ohio and this guy was almost twenty eight. A night that started off so badly ended up pretty good after all. S5030212