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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Raptor Inc



Raptor Inc the local bird of prey rescue brought some awesome birds to the Scenic River and Trail Center in Loveland.

Wading...

Went wading for a bit tonight. The water was awesome finally, hopefully it doesn't go to pot with the rain in the forcast. Met Dandrews as he was leaving other than that saw two beavers and no fishermen except for the resident green heron that is there every single time I go. I didn't catch any big fish but I did catch three smallies that were 16 inches long. One slammed the lure as I was lifting it out of the water and then went crazy with only a foot or two of line out. That was awesome I found myself laughing out loud. I caught maybe a dozen smallmouth mostly on square billed crankbaits and a pretty shovelhead that might of went 8lbs on a grub and a couple channelcat. No pictures tonight. I had my camera but didnt realise it wouldnt digest an 8 gig card till I tried to take a fish picture with it. Oh and I snagged a big carp maybe 15 pounds on the grub too. Right in the back of his dorsal so he could pull like he a harness on, that was pretty fun. All in all a pretty swell night.

Like a drowned rat (river rat that is)


So the weather said severe storm warnings for like owen ripley switzerland counties as I left work. Cool thats a long ways away. I might just get in a hour or two of fishing. Its too cool to storm big here anyways...

I drive, walk, wade to the spot. Sweet no rain in sight. Just then I heard the first rumbles of thunder. Right as a pretty good smallie hit. Ok lets see the water is this high. If it raises an inch your leaving. Because I have to wade that stretch to get out. the only good way out. Whack another smallie hits as it starts to sprinkle. By the time I get it unhooked you cant see ten feet its raining so hard. I make a rock cairn right at the waters edge to mark the waterline and go back to fishing. The water is the clearest its been in seemingly a month at least. And the fish were on the feed big time. I mostly used a small silver super spot and they loved it. I lost track of how many I caught but I'd guess around 20 smallmouth plus two channels including one of the smallest catfish Ive ever caught. The heavy rain only lasted ten minutes or so then it settled down to alternating bits of light rain and no rain. Perfect fishing weather. Most of the fish ran your typical 10 to 14 inches but there were two or three better fish. Finally I was thinking I need to leave but still fishing when a decent smallie slammed the lure right in front of me and came out of the water somersaulting end over end seemingly head high as it spit out my lure. Smiling I thought now thats the perfect ending and reeled in and headed home in the growing darkness feeling like I'd somehow gotten away with something and stolen a day out of the bad weather.

Early

I started up the bike trail long before the first streaks of dawn brighted the sky. Lightning bugs twinkled on and off. Drawn to the openess of the trail compared to the woods on each side, I had a flying, moving set of runway lights to guide me on down the trail. The woods grew thicker and the lightning bugs subsided. In the dark woods I had to look at the open swath of sky above to guide me. Something scurried in the bushes and I flicked on the flashlight to find a surprised coon climbing to safety up a small tree, his eyes shing back like twin flashlights of their own. I'd timed it right and the sky was brightening as I found my path that led away from the bike trail and down to the river. Crash! I startled a doe that then froze and let me walk by at twenty feet, her eyes shining even brighter than the coons. The Little Miami was muddy and somewhat up. I'd been expecting that and had some nightcrawlers tucked away in my pack. The GMR was lower and clearer than here but I was missing my home water. I managed a few channel cats but that was almost beside the point. Sometimes the fishing is just an excuse to greet the day outside. My tackle was pointedly simple. Just a baitholder hook and nothing else. I'd throw the unweighted nightcrawler in the foot of the riffle and let in swirl and spiral down into the gyre below the rapids. Every now and then the line would quit floating free and easy and I'd be fast into a small catfish. Downstream I could see a great blue heron only in silhouette as it joined me trying to catch its breakfast. As I left, from the path I could see another doe on the riverbank downstream. The river and woods was alive with life this morning. Too soon I was back at the truck and off to start a too busy day.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chocolate milk and big smallies

It was slow at work. Did I want to leave early? Sure. I was already set to meet Dandrews and Deltaoscar later. It wouldnt hurt to start three hours early would it? The river was down alot from yesterday. Still muddy as heck but very fishable. I started out with a big grub and caught two channel cats in a deep pocket below a fast chute. But no smallies. I switched to a medium running shad crankbait and caught a smallie about ten inches long right away. Then nothing for a while but I had a good feeling about the crank and left it on. Wham! a pretty smallie about 16 inches. Thing were looking good in the mud. Then it was slow for a while. I began to experiment with other lures and caught another small bass in about an hour but that was it. I tied the medium runner back on. A few casts later it bounced hard off a rockpile and a bass ate it instantly. It cane towards me and I couldn't tell how big it was till it rocketed skyward. It was a dandy! But I was waist deep in fast water and in no position to land it. I began to inch towards the bank as it shot around the pool. I was sure I had no chance of landing it. But I got on solid ground eventually and landed it with no more drama. It pulled the tape to 19 1/4. The rest of my trip was pretty slow with just a couple fish landed but I didnt mind a bit. Dandrews showed up and did what he does, landing a shovelhead and hooking a broken line with a fish attached. Deltaoscar showed up across the stream and put on a clinic for a while landing several bass in no time. As Dan and I worked his way to leave he landed another. It was a bit too far away to tell how big it was but he was taking a long time with it and we figured it was a good one. But when we got over there we found out why. He was hooked. And hooked bad, right in the tough part of a finger and not just a little. We ended up taking the hook off the plug and he headed for the truck and some good cutters. I thought I was hooked bad a few weeks ago but Delta's was a bad as I've ever seen. He ended up having to push it thru and cut it off, a lots of guys would have hit the emergency room over that one. All in all quite the eventfull trip.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Knee Deep 6/14

The rivers are a mess. Especially the LMR. And I wanted clear water badly. I've had enough muddy water the last few weeks to last me all summer. So I went to a tiny little stream that was about 15 feet across in most places. But there are holes from knee deep to around waist deep, though most of it barely covers your ankles. About two miles of it run thru pretty woods before it enters the LMR. And it was clear. Beautifully wonderfully clear. The clearest water I'd fished all spring. Did I mention it was clear? I was very happy about that. I hiked a bit upstream and began fishing. On the second cast a fiesty rock bass walloped my rebel minnow as soon as hit the water. And they kept it up. You had to poke around a bit to find a hole or a knee deep eddy, but when you did there was a fish in it. You could see crawdads scoot away backwards in the clear water. I saw a mink rummaging around in some twisted sycamore roots and rocks upstream in that maladroit looking but quick as a wink way they have of moving. I froze and watched the mink and listened to the music of the creek and a quote by Byron came to mind..."When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, And the dimpling stream runs laughing by".
The fish seemed to like the rebel minnow fished on top so I switched to one of my favorite lures of all time, a pop-r. And the smallies loved it. One ten inch fish jumped out of the water in a tiny backwater and took the plug on the way down. I was so surprised I didn't even set the hook and the spunky bass jumped again and spit out my lure. I ended up with 7 or 8 small bass topping out at 11 or 12 inches and three rock bass in a couple hours and walked out very satisfied. I saw a mink, a kingfisher, two great blue herons, a small snake and no other fishermen. Every time I do this kind of tiny water wading I learn all over again just how much fun it is.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hillbilly Handline fishing

With the rivers looking a little thick and chocolatey it seemed like a great time to try out a new toy I've been playing with. I love watching all those fishing shows where they travel up some jungle river to catch huge fish. And in all those shows they show the natives fishing with a handline that they twirl in a circle and then sling it way out there. Well I tried to make my own. First off I learned if your going to use line as heavy as I did you need a piece of lighter leader. Not so much because of the fish but because if you hang up you cant break it off. Lesson learned, I tied on a piece of 15lb braid stretching from weight to hook and I was in business. The timing of when to let her go wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I ended up with four decent channels and had a blast. Landing one is an experience. With no working drag, they go crazy thrashing around when you hook one. If I try it again I'd replace the main line with really heavy braid. It would cast further than the nylon rope. I'd like to have about a thirty pound leader and hook into a big flathead. I bet it would feel like he was going to pull you in.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fishin while the fishins good

With Daveout of commision with a broken toe I thought I should make the long pilgrimage to smallmouth heaven and check on the kids. It seemed like the least I could do. If anything they were hitting better than the other day. Though I didn't match the big one of the other day I did manage to catch a smallie of every inch increment between 12 and 18. Did I just invent fishing for the cycle? I lost a big smallie that might have been in the class of the 19 incher (or even better who knows) of the other day but I sure cant judge them that well in the excitement of the momment. He was right there and I was almost ready to lip him too dang nab it! The smallies were right up in the current and hitting crankbaits moved really fast better than anything else. I also caught three OK sized shovelheads on crankbaits too. Makes ya wonder what the catfishing might be like after dark. Ill have to find out before summer is over.
I did best on an old rebel square bill wee-r. I kind of feel like i'm on a run like you hear gamblers getting on so I've been riding it every day till it quits. Saw a beaver, 4 snowy egrets and a night heron and no other fishermen. Life on the river is good right now guys, fish while the fishin's good...


Monday, June 3, 2013

Fish Ohio Flathead




So I set the alarm for three am thinking I'd get a bit of fishing in before work. Little did I know it would feel like October out there this morning. The wind was whipping and and it was cold. And I'm thinking this was a very bad idea. Two hours later and no strikes and it seemed like an even worse idea. But fish were everywhere just not biting. Twice I nearly gave myself a heart attack spooking fish out of very shallow water in the dark. And fish were swirling everywhere so I kept at it. Just after daylight Wham! the vendetta rod bent double and line began coming off at a serious rate. Just as I began to worry about how much line I had it turned. And back and forth it went. A smallmouth rod is not ideal for a big cat. I put as much pressure as I dared but I've learned with a crankbait you cant put the pressure on them you can with bait. The smaller trebles with pull out. I finally began to gain more than I was losing and eventually grabbed the big protruding lower jaw of a Flattie just a bit over 42 inches. I guess it was a good idea to go out in the cold after all

Smallmouth Heaven

Without giving away too much, Ill say Dave and I have been talking about how to actually get on this stretch of river to fish for a year or so. For the longest time it seemed you needed a helicopter or a jet pack to get there legally. Well I finally worked out access and we tried it today. It's still something of an adventure just to get there but its just barely possible. I'd missed one day of work in four years and I called in sick today, thats how much I thought of the place. I got there early and had a four or five hour head start on him. The fishing was in a word unbelievable. I caught three fish over 17 inches and a big ole girl that went 19. To give it perspective when Dave arrived he caught a bass and pulled out the tape measure to see how long it was. I thought now whats he measuring that for? I asked... "Umm how long is he?"... "just a bit over 14". I was shocked. Dont get me wrong, a 14 inch river fish is a swell fish. I usually take a picture of a 14 inch river fish and here I was wondering why he was even bothering to measure this fish. I'd caught, I dunno, ten that big allready this morning and several much bigger. Enough to completely throw off my sense of what a nice smallie was. It wasn't that there were millions of fish, you caught about the same number you would in any really good spot. The difference is that here they get the chance to grow up. I'm sure by the end of the day Dave wasn't measuring 14 inchers any more either. Even though things had slowed by the time he got there I saw him catch a few big uns of his own, I know one was 18 inches. I'll let him tell about his fish. I also know he lost a stud too at least as big as the 18. About 9 am I set the hook and the rod bent double. The fish just ground around and around the hole, too big for my smallmouth rod. Down below was a huge sweeping riffle that was probably a hundred yards long. Finally I saw the fish it was a very big carp. Tired the fish began to lose ground to the swift current and began going down the riffle. I could do nothing but follow. At one point the fish swept under a log hung up in the shallows. I had to put the entire rod under the water to pass it under. Somehow the fish stayed hooked and I landed it at the bottom of the riffle a hundred yards downstream of my starting point. it was a bit over 30 inches, big in the swift water we were fishing. The long riffles were perfect water for channel cats as well as smallies and I'd landed ten or so by the time Deltaoscar arrived. It slowed in the middle of the day but I landed three or four more and he landed some too. I think I caught more channels today on grubs than I've ever landed when trying for them with bait. Finally tired and soaking wet I left Dave there and headed out. I gotta give the guy lots of credit, the weather had turned lousy and he was soaked and cold but fishing hard. At the last place you can look back I paused and turned for a peek. He was fighting a big smallie that got past him in the current that had him spinning in a 360 to fight it...