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Monday, June 18, 2018

94 degrees....

Decided to run out for a quick trip late in the evening to beat the heat, glad I did. In fast shallow water on a paddleswim fished on a 1/4 ounce jighead.

Friday, June 15, 2018

6/15 hot weather smallies

Sneaking out of my normal haunts a bit and fishing a lowhead way upstream. It paid off nicely with some nice smallies that were holding in a really fast seam of water. On a clear with green back and mylar curly shad on a 1/4 ounce jighead.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Down with the flu. It had been seven days since I fished. Seven whole days! Pretty much a record for this time of year for sure. But it was all made up for in one magical hour this evening. On a curly swim fished on a 1/4 ounce jighead in very fast water...

Thursday, June 7, 2018

My old friend Notch

Just in case you had any doubts that catch and release doesn't make a difference.... Here is a trophy smallmouth from today in the first photo. In the following two photographs is the same trophy smallmouth I caught twice last year. All were caught within five feet of the same spot over the span of eleven months. You can see it is the same fish by the distinctive notch in it's dorsal fin. Smallmouth live a very long time and this fish is probably well over a decade old. And it's a known fact that smallmouth in rivers live in same section of stream their whole lives. IF you practice catch and release on smallmouth bass and give that 17 or 18 incher the precious gift of time you can have trophy smallmouth in your piece of river. I'm not a catch and release nazi and I understand keeping a few channels or some crappie isn't going to hurt a thing. (and it's just plain yummy) But science tells us you cannot do the same thing with stream smallmouth. You might have just as many but they sure as heck won't be big, at least not for another 10 or 15 years.....

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

good times and bad times

I try to fish and haunt stretches of water and woods that don't have a lot of people. But you do occasionally run into a few people and some of those you might in the course of a year or two run into a lot. That was the case with the kids. Three boys and two girls in their late teens. At the time their section of river was about the best fishing around and I'd run into them once or twice a week at least. Me, I'd be smallmouth fishing while they were catfishermen. And very good ones, one boy would seine bait and everyone, girls and boys would wade the riffles and pools throwing minnows. They would usually build a stone corral in the edge of the river and fill it up with 5 to 10 pound channels by days end. Then they would take each one out, hold it up for a photo and let it go. But the days they fished weren't really what made them memorable. Every day seemed an adventure, swimming one day, building a huge bonfire the next, shooting a riffle in inner tubes the next. Or just standing on one foot on a rock in the middle of the river with both both arms and their leg stuck out balancing, acting goofy, trying not to fall in. The kind of things kids used to do when summer seems endless and there was so much and so little to do all at the same time. They literally spent their summer the way kids would have forty years ago. The way it seems only kids do in movies nowadays. I'd be fishing and look up to see them strung out across the river wading a riffle upstream. One kid with a cooler on his shoulder, another with sacks of provisions, maybe a couple with armloads of firewood. The girls in bikini tops and jean shorts, the boys shirtless and everyone tanned golden brown and beautiful. I didn't talk much to the kids, we kind of just gave each other our own space, but when I did they were polite and friendly, and respectful to an old man, again like kids of forty years ago. For three years I saw them like this, sometimes just a glimpse way up the river of them but it seemed like they were just part of the place, as I guess I must have seemed to them. But you could almost feel time was running out even if they couldn't. The boys were getting tall, looking like men and the girls were, well growing up and I made sure not to look too long at them in their bikini tops. Everyone was well past driving age and it seemed any minute their lives would start and they would be off to the Army, having kids and paying rent. But they seemed determined to hang on for one last glorious summer and if anything were on the river even more. I never saw them paired off like boyfriend and girlfriends but more like Huck Finn or the sandlot kids, a gang of kids with absolutely nothing else they would rather do. I envied them a lot, this endless summer.
Then the next year summer came. It got warm, fish were biting, the water perfect swimming weather, and they were gone. A huge section of what was always wild and empty river really felt empty now. It actually took me most of the year to stop expecting to see them.
Then the next year two of the boys came back, fished a few times and even towards the end of the year brought one of the girls. I couldn't help but think how it must have different for them, with jobs, maybe kids and responsibilities waiting for them back home. But like with everything the only constant is change. Even the river changes, it's no longer the best spot on the river though still a good one. I don't go there a couple times a week like I used to but I still go there often enough. And last fall there was the boy seining bait, a man really. And a girl was standing knee deep fishing a minnow in a pool. I normally groan and go the other way when I run into someone on the river but it made my heart glad to see them. I'd missed them, or at least missed the idea of them and endless summer.
Another person I run into on the river breaks my heart. I fish this spot, not because it's all that great but because it's handy. If I only have twenty minutes or a half an hour I can park the truck and be fishing in a minute or two. The complete opposite of the other place really. Here there is a bridge you walk under to get to the fishing and this year a couple people are living under it. A guy that looks to be in the 50 to 60 year old range and a woman. He is pretty much what you would expect, hey buddy, how's it going, a get along, go along homeless guy that's done it a while and knows the ropes. Her, well she is another story. I'd guess she's in her late twenties and absolutely gorgeous. Not just pretty like most women guys call gorgeous but the real deal. Like Hortencia beautiful and one of the prettiest women I've ever met in person. Like I said I try to go the other way when I meet people on the river and I've never been good talking to people I don't know, much less beautiful people so I know nothing of her story. I do know from a daylight fishing trip she sleeps on a blanket on the dirt under the bridge with her stuff in a five gallon bucket and a small pack. I guess she must be on the needle though part of me hopes she's just down on her luck and will be gone the next time I go there. I hope so, the last thing I want to see is her skeleton thin with bad skin from something like heroin. The time before last that I saw her she was walking down one side of this chain link fence towards the road while I was walking down the other side towards the river. When we got even with each other I said hey and stuck five bucks thru the fence. She took it and said a simple quiet "thanks". Like you might do if you were just down on your luck and a bit ashamed of it. I hope so. Out of all the people I've met on the river she might just be the one I'd most like to never see there again..

Monday, June 4, 2018

6/4 smallies

Finally after not fishing for like five whole days with a broken down truck I was able to get out on the creek. The cooler weather had the smallies backed off just a bit from the super fast water they were in during the recent hot weather. 1/4 ounce jighead and a paddleswim fished slowly swimming just off the bottom in about waist deep water next to fast water

Monday, May 28, 2018

Early morning giant...

With the forecast calling for blazing hot temps and some chores to do around the house I was up and out right at daylight for a quickie trip before the day really got started. Last year I lost a really big fish, one of those fish that haunts you. This morning I was back at that spot. A big bend in the river covered in concrete rubble. In one place a little point of concrete juts out and the whole force of the river seemingly pours over it in a raging torrent. Just the kind of place I'd think a big fish would hide on a hot day. I fished a paddle swim on a 3/8 ounce jighead. Yep, 3/8 ounce that's really heavy for a stream which tells you how fast the water was as the jig still getting swept downstream pretty rapidly. Whap! And the line began screaming off the reel. I'm thinking wow, I've never hooked a hybrid way up here before. I'm fiddling with the drag looking at the reel. When I heard the fish jump. JUMP?!? OH, lord it's a smallmouth! More drag peeling and then she jumped again. Yep it really is a smallmouth!
Then twice more. Okay, stop it already!! But the fish stayed buttoned up and I landed her without too much drama. Probably as big a fish as I've ever caught here in southern Ohio. But I have to confess, I'd run out with just a rod and some paddleswims and jigheads in a ziplock baggie and nothing else. No tape measure. So I can't say for sure just how big she was. Which, I guess really doesn't matter, she was big enough and in great shape, fought like a demon and jumped four times. The perfect fish.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

first campout of the year

Finally! I made it to my camping spot with about an hour of daylight left. A beautiful big rock bar with a couple good smallmouth and hybrid riffles at the top end and a nice big slow eddy at the bottom for some night time action. Camp didn't take long, a small tarp hung boy scout tent fashion between two trees and the rain fly off my buddy Dan's tent that he was pitching spread out underneath for a ground cloth. Then before I did anything else I went down to the slack water and threw in some groundbait to chum up some fish for nighttime. I was pretty proud of my chum. A couple cups of ground venison burger, some dog food, a can of corn and some oats and breadcrumbs all dumped in a bucket. On top of this I'd poured some cooking oil and dumped in a cup each of corn meal and flour. All this was stirred well and sat overnight to blend, soften, and soak up the oil. The idea was the big chunks would lay on the bottom as chum while the flour and cornmeal would disperse in the water spreading scent and also attracting minnows. I then baited one rod with a baitrunner reel and cast this out while I gathered some firewood as dark rapidly approached. I was rigged up with a slipsinker, bead, swivel, and a baitholder hook. I baited up with a nightcrawler and then hooked a PVA bag full of chum on the hook also and cast this out. If you are not familiar with PVA bags they dissolve after about thirty seconds in the water so your bait is lying there with a nice little pile of chum all around it. Dirt cheap too, you can buy like 50 of them for just a couple bucks on Amazon. By the time I'd gathered firewood and arranged camp a bit a channelcat had taken the worm. Dinner! I cleaned the fish, sprinkled on salt, pepper, and some cajun spice then wrapped it in foil. After the fire had burned down to some nice coals I raked some aside and baked the catfish on these for about ten minutes. I don't know if it was the setting or what but I thought it was wonderful.
A swell calm night with the occasional carp or catfish to liven things up till I finally reeled in and climbed under my shelter. I wake up at five thirty every morning for work so I was up and at em at daylight even with just a couple hours sleep. I fished Vic's triple wing buzzbait right below the riffle catching a few nice smallmouth as the sky just started to brighten. The smallmouth in the photo hit with not more than a rod's length of line out which will make sure you are awake. Later as things brightened more I put on the paddletail swimbait I've been catching hybrids on lately and moved right up to the fast water of the riffle catching a few smaller smallmouth and two swell hybrids. I sat on a big rock and had a big muffin for breakfast and then began to break down camp and head home for a nap. What a great trip, if you haven't spent the night by the river watching the fire listening the water you just don't know what you are missing...

Thursday, May 24, 2018

spare time...

quickie trip right after work for an hour. Caught a hybrid and lost one in some super fast water. Looking forward to the long weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

well earned fish

So things started out really slow. Two and a half hours in and I had a 6 inch smallmouth and a 10 inch largemouth. I decided it was time for a major move so I pulled out and headed for another spot on another stream. Halfway there and I'm thinking yeah I gotta go... I found this little park with a one hole privy. I jump out of the truck and run inside. Now in the wild I've seen wolves, rattlesnakes, copperheads, alligators, had numerous bear encounters. Nothing, nothing was one tenth as scary as the big spider inside the toilet. INSIDE the toilet!!! I may never sit down to a nice relaxing dump again. Ever. A fishing spider I think which is the largest spider we have here in Ohio. INSIDE the toilet! I grabbed some toilet paper and headed for the woods.
And then back on the river I experience the agony of Da Feet. That is I have a very big Hybrid striper come off right at my feet. I'm thinking Okay maybe this isn't your day. But then a few casts later blam! a big smallmouth nails my ribeye swimbait and rockets skyward three times. This time I manage to land her and everything is alright with the world. Well almost, I'm still a little traumatized by the toilet experience....

Monday, May 21, 2018


whew, it got hot this evening. I should have checked the forecast before work this morning and dressed for the weather, so I only fished an hour or so. Still lucked into a half dozen smallies on a clear with gold flake grub fished in some very fast water.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


Out early to sneak in a little fishing before everyone wakes up. Which I guess I did do as I walked right up in the middle of a homeless camp. Guy and a girl were sacked out on a blanket on the rocks under the bridge. They had an old grill, a suitcase, some wet clothes strung up on a rope, a small fire and not much else it looked like. Didn't look like fun. Later, on the way out, they were awake and listening to him talk to her you could hear the mental issues, drugs, booze or whatever in his voice. Pretty sad.
On a brighter note there were some nice hybrids also up and at em early chasing bait literally right up on the bank. I caught a good one just as I was raising the lure out of the water. That gets exciting. On a quarter ounce jighead and a three inch clear with gold glitter grub on a little gravel bank just off of some very fast water.

Friday, May 18, 2018


A bit of fishing before work turned up this awesome saugeye on a Vic Coomer paddletail swimbait fished slow across a waist deep riffle at about 430 in the morning.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Caught quite a few stripey fish the last two days. Paddletail swimbait on 1/4 and 3/8 ounce jigheads in very fast water. seemed to me the faster the water the better your chances of catching them....

Sunday, May 13, 2018