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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Leviathan (ode to carp)

corpulent golden carp
finning in the mud
Ill give you a try
retie my leader
look again and
adjust my fly
loop unfurls
cast is true
fly sinks into
the milky blue
the hook is set
the rod bends long
the fish takes off
like a train from
a johnny cash song
I worried now
how this fish is tracking
a few more feet and
she will be in the backing
pulled down the pool
like the old man in the sea
out in his dingy
the line peels off reel thingy
finally tired
finning on her side
a bit of carpe carp
and the prize is mine...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The last week in Smallmouth

Fishing every minute I can trying to take advantage of that all too short fall feeding frenzy...








Monday, September 16, 2013

Morning on the river

A couple deer or is it chupacabre? in the dark walking in.

A state record swimming in the Little Miami?

So I was back at the hole. The hole where the week before I'd caught 19 inch plus smallmouth on back to back trips. But a cold front had blown thru and the smallie bite had kicked the proverbial bucket. In the last couple days I'd caught nothing but small bass and not a lot of them. But I'd caught the only decent fish last trip in the tail of the pool. Every year I catch big smallies up in the head of the pool but never down in the tail. It was a couple hours till dark so I decided to take my time and fish the entire length of the hole. I think what makes this such a good place is that the entire length of the hole has a rock bottom with almost no silt at all. The rivers low right now so I tied on a small square billed bomber alphabet plug. Silver with a black back and a bit of purplish cast to it. The first cast or two were right in the slick where the water speeds up before spilling over the riffle. Then I cast a bit further up. Still close to the riffle but in deeper, say waist deep water. Thump. Something big hit the crank. But it just bored slowly upstream slowly pulling drag. I just assumed it was a catfish. Then it turned and ran back downstream again. Slowly but you could tell it was a heavy fish. And so it went for a minute or two as a gained a bit of line each time. Finally it rolled and I saw golden brown and thought oh wow its a big saugeye. I beached it and had it just about unhooked before I realized it didn't have any of the keys that tell you it was a saugeye. There was not the big spot at the base of the dorsal that saugeye and walleyes have. And there was not the white on the anal fin or tail like saugeye have. Jeepers this thing is a sauger! I didn't think they made em that big. I looked it over as carefully as I could and couldn't make anything out of it but a sauger. I measured the fish carefully, it taped out right at 25 inches. The thing fought better on land than in the water and I'd already dropped it once. I snapped a quick picture of myself and the fish then held it in the water for a minute or two before snapping a couple more. I was worried about the fish making it at this point and didn't take enough pictures of its fins to satisfy everyone that it was a sauger. Ive caught some grief over that. I then held it by the tail and worked it back and forth in the water till it was strong enough to swim away under it's own power. When I posted the fish on the Ohio game fishing forum the majority of people thought it was a sauger but a few doubted my ID. Too big it's gotta be a saugeye. Even though you can plainly see in every picture theres no white on the fishes fins. But in ever picture its dorsal is folded down. I really don't care about that though, I know what I caught. If I was in it for bragging rights the fish would be dead and in the freezer right now. But come January I'll know the state record is swimming in the LMR. You see the current record is 24.5 inches long, a half inch shorter than this fish. My fish wouldn't have broken the record today though. That other fish was caught in late winter and weighed 7.31 pounds full of eggs. But, but come January my fish will still be alive and full of eggs of its own...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

birthday bronze

So today is my birthday. I'm not much of a birthday person. So I decided to spend it doing what I love most, wading the LMR. Right away on a minnow plug I felt a thump and set the hook into something solid. But it turned out to be a foul hooked carp. But a mirror carp with a few huge scales, very cool. Then a half hour later a small walleye, a real rarity in my part of the lmr. Followed two casts later by a saugeye that was a twin to the walleye in size. Which is to say small. By then I'd gotten to where I wanted to be, which is three riffles up from where you hit the river. The same riffle I caught the 19 3/4 at last trip and a 20 two or three years ago. Needless to say, your not going to see any pictures of the riffle. I call it deer riffle. I've seen more deer here than anywhere else I've ever been on the river. It's the Cades Cove of the Little Miami. Sure enough on the tiny island at the top of the riffle I can see the back of a deer above the vegetation, It raises it's head and turns out to be a small buck. A fork horn I think. I begin casting as the buck wanders off into the woods on the far bank. Five or ten minutes later I look up and see a doe stepping out into the head of the riffle maybe 60 yards up from me. It steps gingerly out into midstream followed close behind by another. They pause giving me a few stares before continuing across and up into the woods also. I decide the minnow plug isn't cutting it anymore and tie on a lipless crankbait. The first cast across the seam where the riffle empties into slack water and something nails it. Its fighting doggedly in the current. A catfish I'm thinking. Then it hurtles two feet straight up out of the water like it was posing for a magazine ad. Then again and again. I finally work it into the shallows and land it. 19 1/4, a very very nice birthday present indeed. After snapping a pic or two I release it and pull a pop out of the pack and just sit on the bank a while watching evening spread over the river. I hear a bird of prey cry and see an osprey winging downriver carrying a fish. Too soon I gather my things and hurry out as it gets too dark to see well. I could stand a few more birthdays like this one...

Monday, September 2, 2013

19.75 Little Miami Smallmouth

After such a good morning yesterday I decided to see if I could repeat it today. I got to the river about an hour before dawn. Right away a fish blew up on my buzzbait throwing water every where but not getting hooked. I tried for a few casts then tied on a minnow plug hoping the fish would hit that. Nope. So I worked my way up to the riffle with the minnow plug still tied on. After about ten minutes I thought I was hung and gave it a bit of slack then yanked the lure shot free and was nailed by a beautiful 17 inch smallie. A few minutes later I caught a small fish and then another nice fish just under 17. I cast back to the seam where the fast water from the riffle makes a hard line against the slow water of the pool. Wham! line screamed off the reel. But it hugged the bottom doggedly. No smallmouth here. But an absolutely gorgeous channel cat. One of the prettiest channels Ive caught all year and santa claus fat. It was then I noticed two does downstream about 100 yards standing on the opposite bank watching all the commotion. After unhooking the channel and snapping a few pics I waded back out to where I could reach the seam again. I cast and the minnow plug came back spinning on the surface. I thought the line was tangeled on the hooks but nope all the excitement with the channel had broken the bill on the minnow plug. Rather than wade back to the bank I tied on the buzzbait that was in the chest pocket of the waders. I cast across the seam nothing. Then again slightly downstream. The buzzbait gurgled back till it was only maybe ten feet from me and Whoosh! It seemed someone threw a brick in the water. But nope it was a big smallmouth shooting across the riffle with line peeling off the reel. Most smallies I love to see jump, this one I stuck the rod tip way under water trying to keep it from jumping. No luck it rocketed skyward but stayed attached. After a few more heart pounding runs I finally lipped the fish. Try as I might I couldn't get 20 out of her twice I got 19.5 and twice 19.75 with the tail pinched. Man I love September smallmouth fishing. Makes you wonder just where the heck these guys are all summer. Walking out the two does were stll there aross the river watching. A very very nice morning..

Sunday, September 1, 2013

flyfishing class

Thanks to everyone who attended the fly fishing class at the Scenic River and Trail Center in Loveland. And thanks to Toby from Orvis who did a great job teaching everyone.

Dawn on the LMR

I left the truck about an hour before daylight. I had to be at a flyfishing clinic at nine so it was a headlamp start or no start. I'm glad I did. The river was actually pretty off color from the rain but not unfishable. I've had some of my best days in this weak coffee colored water that I used to moan and groan about so now I'm actually pumped up to see some color in the water. Right away a good 14 inch smallmouth clobbered my buzzbait. Then nothing for a little bit. So I switched to a minnow plug. Wham something hammered it in a current seam and began peeling drag. It turned out to be a gorgeous 17.5 inch silver bass. This is the furthest upstream I've ever caught a good one. Right in the heart of the middle section of the river, or I guess as the LMR hybrid posse calls it thee upper LMR. I then switched to a buzzbait and had a 17 or 18 inch smallmouth clobber the bait and jump four or five times before breaking my heart and getting off. But thankfully the fish weren't done every few minutes a nice smallie would hit the buzzbait in a fury. I think I ended up with four in the 16 to 18 inch range before I had to pack it in and head for work. The little parking lot Id started out from now had 14 cars where there had only been me a few hours ago. Walking back to it along the bike trail, I tested my theory that the more serious the biker the bigger jerk they were. I said good morning to seven got one response. Walkers birdwatchers, casual bikers all go out of their way to be friendly. But see a guy in spandex and with a $100 hemet on and he's never going to even nod to a guy walking along with a knapsack and a spinning rod. Got to truck right on time and pulled out with a big grin on my face after the best two hours of smallmouth fishing I've had in at least a month. Looks like its starting...