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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Big Girl

She hit the instant the bait hit the water. In the perfect holding spot right up against a big chunk of concrete where some swift current poured around it. On a USB swimbait fished on a plain jighead in waist deep water in a Southern Ohio River.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

angry beavers and big buck bassin....

Today was just the opposite of yesterdays city fishing. Today was out in the middle of nowhere. You walk about a quarter mile down a tractor path and then skirt the edge of this huge soybean field. You know one of those giant ones where the barn on the other side is tiny and the people just specks.
While fighting my way thru the strip of weeds where field meets woods a huge buck jumps up that was bedded down out in the waist high soybeans. Although his rack wasn't grown it was already way out past his ears and high. The camera was in the knapsack so no photo. Then seventy yards further up jumps another even bigger buck, I swear he looked like a Boone and Crocket deer for sure.
Then finally I made my way up along the riverbank. All along the river was beaver sign after beaver sign. Then I could see a beaver swimming towards my bank. The ground was a high sand bank and I could walk silently. I slipped closer with camera in hand. Thru heavy brush I could see the beaver climb out then disappear on the other side of a giant sycamore log that was at least waist high. Slowly I crept up to the log and stuck my head over. A beaver looks huge when it jumps two feet in the air and is only three feet away. I'm not sure who was more startled me or the beaver. Needless to say no photo this time either. A half hour later I did manage a photo of a pretty smallmouth bass though. Still a bit murky the river is getting better looking every minute and so is the fishing. Today's fish were again on Vic's new USB swimbait. I'm loving that thing.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Big city fishing

A bit of industrial fishing this evening. Caught about ten on the new USB swimbait. Structure was a couple pipes and some concrete rubble in a stream with a kind of bad reputation. But the smallies don't mind a bit of steel and concrete if the waters clean enough.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Concrete ships???

During world war II the world was running low on steel and the US needed ships to supply it's fleet fighting the Japanese. Part of  the solution came in the form of the amazing McCloskey ships. Built out of rebar and concrete these ships traveled all over the globe supplying the navy during WWII.
Also in the era before the construction of the amazing Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel cars relied on a ferry to cross the Chesapeake. If you have ever been to the Chesapeake you can see what an ordeal that must have been. And the dock for the ferry was exposed to the forces of nature. Well after the war the government had more ships than it knew what to do with so nine of the concrete ships were partially sunk out in front of the ferry in 1949. Half in the water and half out to protect the landing from the waves. Then the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was opened in 1964 and the ferry was no longer needed. But the ships remain off the coast of Kiptopeke State Park. Spooky ghost ships with plants growing on their bridges and sea birds nesting on them.
Kayaking among these sleeping pieces of history was pretty high on my bucket list of adventures and it didn't disappoint in the least. Kiptopeke itself uses the old landing as a fishing pier and I spent one night there catching one sea trout after another under the lights. Baitfish by the thousands were attracted to the lights and even in the near 100 degree heat fish were biting at Kiptopeke. Even blue crabs swam around under the lights trying to get their share. I imagine at certain times of the year the fishing must be pretty spectacular at this place.
When one morning broke calm we loaded the Yaks and made the trip from First Landing and spent half a day exploring the concrete ships. A kayaking adventure I'd highly recommend to anyone.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The search for the ultimate swimbait...

So I dunno, I guess the closest thing to a title I'd have with the Vic Coomer Lure Company is field tester. I'm the guy who fishes 150 plus days a year, writes a bit about it and hopefully gives reasoned well thought out private feedback on different prototypes, colors sizes, etc. That involves everything from color or size changes in already established product to "hey this guy in Iowa says he has a mold to make 89 of this thing at a time, see what ya think". You wouldn't believe some of the weird things I've got stashed out in the garage.
Thru all of this has been the never ending search for a great paddletail swimbait. Not just a good one, a lot of guys sell a good one, but a great one. I've probably thrown more different versions of a soft plastic swimbait the last couple years than anyone alive. Some good, some okay, some not so good, some downright awful. Swimbaits with ridges, swimbaits that were round, swimbaits that were flat.
And the whole time comparing, taking notes, well this one does this well, that one does that well, and everything seemingly a compromise. This one swims well but doesn't look realistic. This one looks realistic but it doesn't fish as well. Like I said, everything a compromise.
Until the USB came along. It's pretty much bits and pieces of all we have learned about soft plastic swimbaits all rolled into one package. Not too big, not too small, ultra realistic profile, as perfect a set of eyes as you are ever going to find. And, drum roll please, just absolutely wonderful action. Slow along the bottom or throw it out and reel it back as a search bait, it doesn't matter that paddle just keeps thumping at any speed. Perfection in motion. As good as it looks in pictures or in your hand, it looks even better swimming back to you in clear water.
The last few versions Vic has left on the front porch this summer for me to try out when I get home of an evening. And I'm like a kid on Christmas eve, I can't wait to get home and see them. Yeah, I get way too excited about fishing, is there such a thing as a lure nerd? Come to think of it maybe that's my title instead of field tester, lure nerd.  I've been fishing this thing for a while now and it's been killing me not being able to talk about it while Vic built up inventory and ordered special packaging. ( they will come in a special stiff plastic insert that protects them that slips inside the normal plastic bag) But finally the gag order is off and I'm allowed to finally talk about it.
It's called the USB because that's what we have been looking for the whole time, the USB or Ultimate Swim Bait. And I think this comes closer to being just that than anything out there offered by anyone. I'm kinda a little bit excited about it can't ya tell. Like I said, a lure nerd. And it catches everything that swims, so far I've caught largemouth, shovelhead catfish,  hybrid stripers, channel catfish, and oh yeah, it's fast become my go to lure for big river smallmouth.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sometimes a fish doesn't have to be large to be big...

Early morning mist over the local Wildlife Area. Big Gills on a little fly rod. Thanks fishing gods, I was needing that...

Got the muddy water blues....

With the rivers blown out I did the best I could to find a few fish in the mud. I finally located a few fish in a quiet but still muddy backwater right where it met the raging mess that was the river. Three white bass, two largemouth and four hybrids on a grub. Nothing spectacular but considering the considering the conditions I was pretty happy with myself.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

little water

Had a wonderful couple hours on a tiny little creek that feeds the Little Miami River.  Hardly anywhere was much past knee deep and I couldn't find anywhere that water reached my waist. But it's delightfully hard to get to and full of spunky smallmouth that felt big in such tiny water. On a prop-r topwater which made things twice as fun.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Time not spent on the three rivers...

I spend an inordinate amount of time fishing three rivers here in SW Ohio for smallmouth bass.  They are pretty much my home waters. Let them be unfishable for a week and I'm okay. I love fishing below the big dams on the Ohio but they are too far away to fish every evening. Same with mountain trout streams. I'm okay with wading tiny creeks with the fly rod or fishing a farm pond or gravel pit for big bluegills or largemouth. But that seems a bit like a bachelor party at a strip club, fun at the time but not something a gentleman (or a river rat) spends a lot of time on.  This is all coming from a guy that fishes a half dozen states most years. But time after time, three or four days a week year round I can be found haunting these three rivers. And once they are unfishable much past a week I start to feel it. Just this morning I turned the alarm off and slept in on a perfectly good morning rather than hit the pond I'd planned on fishing.
But a fisherman has to fish. I'd rather spend an evening trying to catch minnows out of a ditch with sewing thread than attend a birthday party or go out to dinner with too large a crowd or any of a thousand other indoor activities that don't involve water but instead too many people.
Like I said a fisherman has to fish and with my smallmouth streams not cooperative I did find a way to spend some quality time on one of my favorite rivers by catching catfish. I caught six. Two nice channels, three small ones and a shovelhead. Unlike many of my smallmouth fishing addicts I don't look down on catfish at all. If pressed to name my favorite fish I'd name smallmouth first and then hybrid stripers and shovelheads tied for second. In fact I've written before on how I think your average nice channel cat has much more in common with a 20 inch smallmouth than a 10 inch smallmouth does. And it shows in how I caught these. I was hoping for a nice smallmouth so I hit a favorite stretch of one my rivers. Just one problem it was a up and muddy and still rising. Not so perfect conditions to catch a big smallie but perfect for cats. Six cats, all on Vic's paddletail swimbait. Zero smallmouth.
Then a trip to a pond for some big bluegill on the fly. Which got a bit exciting when a big largemouth hammered a small bluegill on the way in. I began stripping line off the reel like crazy feeding line to fish as it slowly swam off with my bluegill. After what seemed like forever I tightened down and set the hook. The little 4wt bent into the cork with the weight of a fish way too large for it. After having the fish on for over a minute and thinking I might actually have a chance the hook just came free. Or at least out of the bluegill. It's hard to say if a tiny fly in a bluegill in a bass ever actually made it into the bass.
I think we are now at about two weeks without a smallmouth bigger than 18 inches. It's probably been January since that's happened and it's getting old quick. But the water on a favorite stretch of nice fish water should be perfect in a couple days so maybe we can fix that....