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Monday, September 24, 2012

A grown up smallmouth

I wish I had a more exciting story, you know like one of those river monster episodes where he makes it sound like its a miracle he even survived at all. But the truth is I went to a good hole within a mile or two of where I grew up, a hole I've fished probably hundreds of times before. I threw a suspending minnow plug and on the second cast the fish simply ate it. I can't even throw in the part about how it was a miracle I landed it and the hook fell out as I lifted it out of the water cause she was hooked solidly with both trebles. And I guess if you fish enough your bound to get lucky every now and then and with the end of the season being near I'd fished 9 out of the last 11 days. So anyways here's the fish, I like her alot... big smallie S5031019

Saturday, September 22, 2012

old muddy

I woke this morning to find the river a bit off color from last nights storms. Not muddy just a bit colored up compared to the clear water of the last few days. I fished right outside Loveland for a couple hours before starting work at the visitor center. Here the river goes around a bend out of sight in a big long hole with a gorgeous riffle at its bottom. I worked the riffle first with a bright roostertail, zip. So then I tried deeper with a grub, nada. A suspending minnow, zilch. Rebel craw, same result. Thinking the water might seem to the fish more off colored than it was because it had been so clear before, I dug around in the pack and found old muddy. Old muddy is the little two inch version of a cordell spot. Bright silver that you can see flash in any water and like its big brother noisy as all get out. Two casts in and a big drum slams it, boy they sure can fight. Then almost unbelieveably the next cast to the exact same spot and a shovelhead thumps the bait. This is after 45 minutes of fishing with no strikes. I ended up with seven fish, the drum, the catfish and six smallmouths including this guy... 18inch S5030999 S5031012 S5031013

fly rod smalljaws

Hit my favorite spot on the LMR this evening. Started off catching a few whites off of a riffle. S5030966 Then dropped down to the next riffle which is deeper and has some big rocks in the riffle too. I was using a wooly bugger tied with tinsel and gold. Behind a big three foot around rock a solid smallie hammered the fly. S5030976 I was feeling pretty good about getting him on the flyrod and caught three more about ten or eleven inches in that spot. Down at the end of the hole is a long rock in the riffle thats 5 feet long and maybe a foot around. I threw the fly upstream of that and let the fly sweep over the rock. Just as the fly got deep enough I could no longer see it I had a strike. I set the hook and a really good smallie cartwheeled skyward. He was all over the place leaving me feeling anything but in controll but I finally landed him. S5030982 After that I landed several more smaller bass and ended up with 17 fish on the flyrod, definately one of the more memorable trips this year. S5030974

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dawn at the Dam

S5030959 Went this morning early for a few hours at the dam in Hamilton. Hooked a big shovelhead ( one of the best I've had all year) and had him on long enough for my arm to get tired and then poof he was gone....was reeling in my lipless crankbait and a smallmouth grabbed it right as I was pulling it out of the water. He went crazy on two feet of line. S5030940 Caught three more smallies about that size and the smallest shovelhead of the year all on a crankbait. So then I switched and tied on just a small baitholder hook and nothing else no weight at all. I'd hook a nightcrawler a couple times thru the middle and leave each end dangling to move in the current. I threw this just above the rock bar below the dam and let it work around in the current, then pick it up and cast again. S5030954 For a bit there every other cast it seemed produced a nice channelcat. I'd drift the bait along with the bail open holding the line in my free hand. Then tap tap and the line would start to slide off. Usually all I catch here are mostly small channels but some of these were dandies. S5030950 S5030949 So I'm just fishing along catching nice channels and then thump and the line goes. I set the hook and wham the rod bends double and line starts screaming off. I eventually land this guy... S5030941 A bigmouth buffalo! not the smallmouth ones you usually catch here. The buffalo hump isnt as high as the smallmouth's but this is the roundest fish you will ever see, I bet it weighs 30 percent more than a carp of the same length would. S5030961 Heres some more fish pics from the last week or so I havent gotten around to posting... S5030966 S5030965 S5030964 S5030929 S5030927 S5030926 S5030924 S5030905 S5030903

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Heartbreak on the Little Miami

Zipped out to fish the LMR before work today. The smallmouth were hitting pretty good. The rivers back down and just a little bit off color. Worked my way down to a long run below a riffle where the river runs about a hundred yards in a big curve about chest deep. Fished down it catching two small bass then turned around and started back up throwing a quarter ounce jighead tipped with a metalflake three inch grub. Thru across and let it sweep down on a tight line and thump. Up came a huge smallie easily the best of the year. She cartwheeled into the air with her going one way and my grub going the other. I just kind of stood there stunned with that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know that same feeling you get when the car breaks down and you really cant afford it right then...well nothing to do but keep fishing. five or six casts later and thump...but this time the ultralite bends double and the fish bores across the river. well, its not a smallie. Ten minutes later I finally land a beautifull shovelhead. Not a big smallie but a great fish on an ultralite and six pound test. I think these cool nights are getting the fish going pretty good this week. S5030894

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Big Bass and Beavers

cbass Caught this big old girl where a two foot wide trickle of water poured over a tiny beaver dam into a gravel pit. It seems like every time I find somewhere water is entering or exiting a gravel pit I do good. I've finally gotten to the point thats the first thing I look for at every pit I go to. I caught her slow rolling a white spinnerbait with a colorado blade. Sometimes in the really clear water of these pits you can do well by going big. Ill throw either a finese lure like a grub or a big flashy spinnerbait or plug. S5030777 S5030778

Friday, September 7, 2012

A douple dip of paying dues...

AT first light my brother let me out about five miles from the truck. In between was all lovely woods, hopefully full of ginseng. Five hours later I staggered out of the woods with five paltry ginseng plants. This woods had taken the full brunt of the drought. All the plants Id found were just about gone and dried up. Two I found only because there was red berries on a bare stalk. No leaves at all. P1060491 deciding to try and salvage the day I decided to go fishing at the site of the old kings dam. On the way down the bike trail I saw several deer and two wild turkeys. So I'm thinking hey thats a good start, its going to be a great evening. I get down to the river and wade in. Right away I catch a smallie and as I'm unhooking it I hear a deer blow behind me. I turn and see two deer bounding away from the rivers edge. Yep it's going to be a great evening... way away in the distance I can hear a storm. I'm thinking that sounds like its going around, should be just close enough to cool things down nicely. Just then the wind began to blow a bit as I made a few more casts. About that time lightning struck so close I just about jumped out of my skin. Two minutes later all the leaves were just about ripped from the trees as the wind hit hard. With the wind came more lightning. And rain. Buckets of rain. big buckets of rain. I backed up against a pile of rubble from the old dam to hunker down and wait things out. OK this will really turn the fish on after all this dry weather. Sure enough as I sat there I swear I saw fish swirling below the riffle between sheets of rain. But more flashes and thunder booming all around. Im ok with fishing in the rain but not lightning... So I sat getting wetter and wetter as it rained harder. Thru the heavy rain I could see the river coming up just a bit and coloring a little. Then poof no more rain. Even the sun began to peak out from behind the clouds. But across the hole I could see huge streaks of muddy orange water as runoff poured into the river. Ok I've got a vibrating crankbait with a rattle this will be ok. But withen minutes the whole river was orange and worse the storm had washed every leaf in the state into my section of river, you couldn't retrieve two feet without fouling on leaves. So driving home soaking wet and defeated I took the senic route home and drove upstream. Halls creek which had been dry yesterday was waist deep and going fast enough to drown in. All the way to Todds Fork the river was a mess. Crossing the bridge in Morrow looking upstream the river was beautifull. I bet the fishing was really something up there tonight... P1060495

Thursday, September 6, 2012

GMR in the fog

Went last night to the dam in Hamilton on the Great Miami for a couple hours after work. It was nice, the drizzly weather kept all the wierdos inside. Didn't see anyone, didn't see any bodyparts floating by, couldn't see the beer bottles. If it wasnt for the trains passing across the river you would never know where you were at. A great place in the fog.... Fished two hours and only had one strike but it was a pretty nice fish. Seemed to fight awfully well for its size, or maybe not being able to see helped with that feeling River here looks like it never rained, low and clear. P1060472 Sorry about the photo quality but everything was covered in mist including my camera.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ginseng Hunting

DSC_0504 The woods was a long rectangle bordered on all sides by roads but with the fork running thru the middle of it. Because of the steepness of the terrain along the fork there was left a strip of woods in places close to a mile wide and it was about eight miles lengthwise from road to road, broken up only by a couple tractor paths and one soybean field in a flat down by the water. My brother had dropped me off two weeks ago at the upper end and I'd walked the creek all the way out scouting things out. It might be eight miles by road but the fork twisted and turned almost back on itself so much that a walk started right after first light had me scrambling to get out by dark. This time I had a good idea of where I wanted to go and where I wanted to hit the creek, which was about halfway up. So I left the truck at the bottom and walked the road for an hour before cutting across to the woods. A small hollow led down to the main creek. This wasn't where I wanted to be but it was just downstream and a can't miss landmark to guide me in. About halfway down it started to rain. I was expecting showers and rain but this was something else entirely. It was one of those rains that make you pull over if your driving. No overpasses for me to park under tho. I found a big oak that leaned a couple feet to one side and backed up into the overhang the best I could to wait it out. After 15 minutes of feeling like a fire house was turned on me things began to settle down to just a rain and I started out again. When I reached the main hollow I did not go down inside it but instead walked the edge to where I was originally headed. For on my scout I had found something here that had stopped me cold. I'd worked up the hill seeing ginseng semi regularly then topped out on this little flat. Not really a good looking woods but there was some baneberry and maidenhair fern so I was still looking. Well I looked ahead and here was a big three prong, then I saw a four prong standing proud, then three or four other big plants all bunched up. About ten feet away there was ten or twelve more and I just felt real still and calm knowing where I'd be on opening day. So here I was in the rain and even before I found my spot I dug a half dozen big plants. And then I was there. In an square roughly a hundred feet by a hundred I guess I dug a pound of sang. I sat down next to a big four prong and had lunch, a half a loaf of raison bread. I've learned that I need lots and lots of carbs during a ginseng hunt and nowadays I tend to load up on bread of some kind. Up and down the fork from here I'd only seen a handfull of ginseng but I hadn't scouted down the hill towards the fork from here. I slowly worked down the hill zig zaging back and forth finding a plant here and there. Towards the fork the hill flattened out and the remains of an old woven wire fence stretched more on the ground than up, held up here and there by old rotten locust posts. The path of the old fence was marked by something else too. Growing right up thru the old wire was ginseng. Old big ginseng that had been there for decades. There were twenty or so in sight and I had to look further before digging those, I just couldn't help myself. Sure enough further along was another big plant and just in sight two more. Almost all of this ginseng was yellow or at least burned a golden shade of green by the drought. I had to be carefull or the top would seperate from the root while digging and I'd have to search and search for the root. No matter how much ginseng I found today it was obvious the year itself was going to be just okay because most ginseng would be gone for the year in a week or two. But right now those golden tops shown out thru the woods saying dig here, dig here. I forced myself to slow down and dig carefully, these were old big plants demanding respect with one to three inch necks of bud scars. Every year the new years bud leaves a scar and these build up in a neck and some of these plants looked to be as old as me. Finally after a couple hours I dug all the plants out of the old fence and had dug another twenty or so down to the fork. Bone weary I headed for the truck with two and three quarter pounds of ginseng, truely an opening day to remember. SOC_9236