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Thursday, August 16, 2018

What a difference a day makes....

The story actually starts yesterday. Starting to feel a little stale from non stop smallmouth fishing this summer I'd decided to take a couple weeks and chase stripey fish. Or maybe I just hadn't gotten them completely out of my system from a couple recent trips to Tennessee. But anyhow here I was thirty miles south of my normal smallie waters chasing stripes. I caught a smallish one maybe three pounds and it was getting late around thirty minutes to dark I'd guess. I tied on a zara spook and made a few cast with it. I was standing just above a short but fast riffle and firing casts downstream. Against the current like this you could walk the spook almost in place retrieving it slowly but with lots of action. Blam, a fish knocks the spook a foot in the air end over end and then clobbers it right when it hits the water. Zing the drag just pours out line. Okay plenty of room to play it, no use to pull the hook so I let it run knowing it's a big fish. It runs then takes a sharp right turn and begins running back towards me. Right past the only rock in a hundred yards of wide open river it could get hung up on. I've got the rod held high overhead trying to clear the rock. No go. I wade right in, blowing out the spot but this is a fish big enough you would do that for. Ping! brand new 20 lb braid popped. strong language was used....
Today. Okay you really don't have time to fish, you would only have an hour at most. And not at dark which is primo stripey time. Yeah but rain rain rain, what if it blows out??? So there I was. It was early, too early for the spook I thought so I put on something new I've been playing with. Back in the winter at one of the fishing shows I bought a couple Evilution spinnerbaits. These guys have like a mini alabama rig sprouting out of the spinnerbait wire with four willowleaf blades. I know down in Tennessee Alabama rigs are all the rage for purebred stripers, I didn't see why a little castable version wouldn't work on our hybrids. I took the skirt off and replaced it with a paddletail swimbait Vic had given me for even more of an Alabama rig look. It actually worked in current really well. Willowleaf spinnerbaits usually do but it turns out so do four willowleafs. Same riffle as last night. Blam, and what rockets skyward but a big smallmouth!! Lovely fish it jumped three times, one a cartwheel end over end. Not a fat fish but really really long. Then ten minutes later not really a strike, one second I'm reeling it in and the next line is screaming out, a dandy hybrid this time. What a fantastic little short trip! I feel pretty lucky tonight.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

fish portraits

Monday, August 13, 2018

summerbass...

This fish made me happy. I've had a bit of a slow week at least for smallmouth and then this fish just put on a heck of a show. Tailwalking one second then digging under a rock the next then seemingly three feet straight up, it was the kind of fish we hope for every time we go out. So strong and just right there on the edge every second till it was landed. Thank you fish.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Dam hand line fishin...

So today I headed out on a different kind of fishing adventure. I brought the trusty spinning rod as a crutch in case I needed it but I was hoping to catch some fish on a handline. Turns out I could have left the rod at home. Everyone I know has been catching a bunch of channels lately so it seemed like the time was right to try it so I headed out to a local lowhead dam. My rig was simple, maybe a bit too simple. Some 50lb test mono wrapped around a plastic bottle with an egg sinker, swivel, and hook. I also brought a minnow bucket and a cast net. I'm no great shakes with a cast net but I am getting better and it makes getting bait as fun as the fishing sometimes. What I ended up with were mostly shiners. You hook the bait and twirl it in a circle overhead letting go at the right moment to send it out where you want. It takes a bit of practice but it's not really that hard. There is a million videos on you tube if you haven't seen someone cast. You can actually cast a pretty good ways without slinging off your bait and next time I'll have more line. There were a couple times I actually cast all of what I had. Then you just hold the line and feel for a bite. Which to me was the funnest part of the whole thing, the direct feeling you get of the fish hitting your bait then feeding it a bit of line as it took it. The hardest thing I found was setting the hook without the long lever of the rod. I missed several and had a few come off after just a few seconds. Fighting the fish is actually pretty straightforward and with the heavy line pretty easy. I guess if I had hooked a 50 lb shovel it might not have been so simple. All in all it's actually a pretty effective way to fish bait and I might have to come up with a rig I can keep in the pack.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Checking on the kids...

Since I've spent most of the last couple weeks in Tennessee I figured I'd better check on my smallies now that I'm home. No big numbers but I caught a couple good ones on a clear with black flake grub in shallow fast water. What I found numbers of was channels. I caught seven on the grub. Yep seven on a lure, no idea what was going on there. I bet the channel fishing would have been epic if I had some bait with me. This was right as the wind came up and it began to darken before the storm so I guess they went into a bit of a feeding frenzy. The channels, like the smallmouth were up in about a foot of very fast water right where the riffle ends and the pool begins to start.

Tennessee...

Tuesday, July 31, 2018