Follow by Email

Friday, May 31, 2019

Muddy water smackdown

Got to where I planned to fish to find things really muddy. Not up but muddy. Oh well this year it seems you fish in mud or you don't fish. It never rained on me but thunder rumbled ominously in the distance for much of the evening. And it was obviously raining somewhere as the stream rose four or five inches while I fished. Which seemed to really put the fish in the mood. Nothing on the topwater tonight but probably a dozen on the biggest curly shad fished on an underspin. The idea was to give the fish something they could find down there in the mud and it seemed to work. Fish were out of the swiftest current but right up against it. Caught another pure striper mixed in with the hybrids again tonight. If some of these guys survive a few years they are really going to make things interesting here in southern Ohio. Saw a deer feeding on the other side of the stream, had a beaver swim by ten feet away, caught some nice stripes, just an absolutely swell evening.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Hit the river late with every intent on fishing a bit after dark tonight. That is till every mosquito seemingly in the state decided to try and eat me alive. I'd look down and there would be three or four on my arm at the same time. Needless to say I didn't make it till after dark like I'd hoped. I did catch one good hybrid and a few small ones on the paddletail swimbait before giving in. The fish hit in waist deep slower water off to the side of a fast shallow riffle. 

Monday, May 27, 2019


Caught the stripey trifecta tonight. Some white bass, three hybrids and a true striper. The white bass on clear with silver grubs, the hybrids on a paddletail swimbait and the stripe whacked a zara spook. The hybrids and the striper didn't come out to play till the last 45 minutes of daylight.


What an exciting morning. I'm up on top of this little 6 foot high cliff working this zara spook back to me. Maybe a rods length to my right a couple big rocks stick out and create this really strong seam. As I'm lifting the spook up out of the water this huge hybrid comes streaking out of the seam and swirls at the spook. I make a 15 foot cast and like five foot back a gigantic sploosh and the spook goes flying thru the air and the instant it hits the water is hammered again and knocked back in the air. I walk the bait back and two casts later this repeats itself. I walk the spook back till its hanging right below the rod tip. And hovering under the bait is the giant hybrid. An upper 20's in length fish in the 9 to 11 pound range I'd guess from staring straight down at it from atop my little cliff. What a view. Then it just ghosts back into the seam. 15 minutes later a beaver swims downriver and as i'm watching it a toilet flushes under my spook and I feel the fish for just a split second but don't hook up.
Up the bank the main current hits the close bank and I flip the spook upstream and reel and walk it frantically and a big smallmouth whacks the bait and jumps like four times. I'm on top of another high bank and its like how do I land this fish???? The fish is pretty whipped and I shove the rod thru this bush to hold it and climb down the bank on some roots to land the fish! It was just about the longest skinniest smallie I've ever seen and not anywhere near the heaviest smallmouth of the year even though it was one of the longest.
Another cast up the bank and another big smallmouth comes up and blasts the spook but doesn't get hooked.
I've definitely got plans to return for a rematch with the big hybrid and smallmouth. Maybe an after dark trip with a big prop plug or a jumbo curly shad....

nite time...

Some night time hybrid action. The bite completely shut down once the sun was up and hit the water. On a big popper I bought out of a bargain bin at a tackle show and the usual paddletail swimbait. Caught two good ones and two small guys.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Peaches in the summertime...

I'm a big fan of old bluegrass and mountain music. One really old song, shady grove talks of "peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall".  Which I always took to mean everything has a time and a place. Of course this song predates container ships from south America and fruits being picked green and then ripened by exposing them to ethylene gas but that's another story. Anyways back to the point, peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall is the way I try to fish. What, today, is going to be the best stream fishing? Where would be best? What's in season so to speak. The people that know me know I'm crazy about smallmouth fishing and do it well over a hundred days a year. Which you would never guess by looking at my facebook posts lately which have been mostly pictures of hybrid stripers. And I've gotten some messages asking where are the smallmouth pics. Well, the places I catch smallies at have been either flooded or the smallies have been spawning. Studies show that something like 15 percent of river smallmouth don't spawn every year. And its been my experience that many of those are larger fish so some years when the conditions are perfect I just keep smallmouth fishing during the spawn just not targeting spawning fish. Well conditions have been anything from perfect so I've switched to hybrids. Which conditions have been swell for. High water has them running way up my smallmouth streams which means I can stay away from the dreaded Ohio river dams and fish for them in peace. I know the last time we had a high water year like this guys caught wipers all summer all the way past Dayton in the Great Miami which is a long long ways from the Ohio. So I'm hoping even though things are going to swing back to smallmouth fishing here soon that even us small river and stream guys can keep catching some stripes mixed in with our bronze all summer. Not quite as big of stripes tonight as the last four or five nights but a few more in number which made up for it. On the paddletail  swimbait just below and around a set of old stone bridge abutments that set in current.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

as darkness decends

Caught a pretty good one right at dark tonight on the ole paddletail swimbait. Cool evening saw an eagle in the distance, a beaver, and coolest of all an otter. I usually only run into otters here in southern Ohio a couple times a year so that was really neat.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

blast off...

Its been busy at work. So today was a mad dash out the door with a rod and a zip lock baggie full of swimbaits and jigheads. With smallmouth I'm usually guilty of having ten colors of soft plastics along with a variety of other baits with me all the time. But when chasing stripey fish I'm pretty content with Vic's paddletail swimbait and a couple zara spooks. With hybrids I think where and when are much more key than what 90 percent of the time. It's a case of "well with these water levels and these temps I need to try here, here or here".
Anyways I'm fishing a beautiful living room sized eddy of waist to head deep water off to one side of a fast riffle when whack and the rod bent double as a very big fish screamed off downstream. Then the rod went straight, no fish. The jig hook was straightened. D@#%!! that was a fish that would have gotten a Kaboom out of ole Gibbs too.
Then after retying and maybe ten minutes of casting, another strike and another fish just blasting off. I know I make fun sometimes of these things because they don't jump like my beloved smallmouth but the truth is nothing this side of the ocean pulls like these things and they are a close second on my list of favorite fish. And this fish just seems to zoom out of the eddy into the fast water in a split second. After three or four more screaming runs I get lucky and land this one. What a swell evening this turned out to be...

Monday, May 20, 2019

A bit of everything

I guess I ordered the variety pack tonight. Caught some smallmouth, some hybrids, some white bass and even one small true striper. This is like the 3rd or 4th small true striper I've caught so far this spring here in southern Ohio which has me feeling pretty good about catching some good ones a few years down the road. All on a Vic Coomer paddletail fished in fast rocky water in a small stream that dumps into the Ohio river.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Highs and lows

Although several rivers here in southern Ohio are completely blown out at the same time there are several that are in perfect shape. The storms of the last few days really hit hard where they hit but they seem to have missed as many places as they hit. In fact even the blown out streams have tributaries that look like they haven't seen rain in weeks. So if your section of river is a muddy flooded mess right now a stream ten minutes down the road might be fishing really well. This nice stripe hit a paddletail swimbait in a current break off to the side of a strong riffle right after daylight.
Turkeys cackled from the trees across the river, ducks flying low and fast upstream, wildflowers bursting into bloom everywhere. It was a magic morning afield.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

mud fishing

The river has crept up a bit the last two days. But the weather was fabulous so I went fishing anyways. Visibility was virtually nil so expectations were low. Sometimes fishing is just an excuse to spend time along a river and this was what I thought today would be. So I started off taking photos of wildflowers, watching redtails fly overhead and throwing a few obligatory casts. I'm walking along and here was this clump of willows that in summer was normally dry but now had water gushing all round it. The clump of willows created a current break which along with a curving bank created a slack water area maybe ten feet long and six or seven feet across. I pitched a paddletail  swimbait underhanded up close to the willow clump and blam! a big smallie just nailed it. The Little Miami rod bent into the cork as the fish screamed away. A few wild jumps and I landed a gorgeous smallie. Hmm... I continued up the river but now looking hard for little cuts out of the current. The next spot was a channel behind a small island that would be way too shallow in a few days but now was full of muddy water and on the far side was another pocket of dead water. Sure enough two casts an a nice smallmouth again hammered the swimbait. As did a half dozen other fish out of similar spots over the next couple hours. None as big as the first but a really nice average size. I know legendary baseball announcer Joe Nuxhall used to say "if you swing the bat you're dangerous".
Which I guess is sorta what happened today by going fishing even though it seemed like a lost cause.
The fish don't get to stay home when the rivers up, the river is their home.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

allmost bit off more than I could chew... (weather wise)

Took the new Jackson kayak out for her maiden voyage. It's amazingly stable and a great fishing platform. And just light enough that an old man like me can handle her. Which was important tonight since I portaged below a lowhead dam fished there a while then floated downstream to take out just above another lowhead. I caught a couple small shovelhead on a grub and a few smallies on a willowleaf spinnerbait below the dam. But the real quality smallmouth fishing came a mile or so downstream where the river bends digging out a deep hole that water pours into over chute in a riffle that has some very big rocks in it. Here some great smallmouth just absolutely hammered Vic's paddletail swimbait on a 1/4 ounce jighead. No guessing if you had a strike tonight. Just a solid thump and the rod bent double before you could hardly set the hook.
And then the weather hit. The sky got black and big nickel sized rain drops began splatting on the rocks. Dark was going to come early and I was still a ways up the river. Time to just secure everything solid to the yak and head for the take out. Which I made in time to load up the kayak with just enough light to see by. Very impressed with the Jackson Bite as a river boat. Not overly heavy like some boats more suited for lakes or float trips with a couple guys to help carry the load. At 72 pounds I can still unload and load the Bite by myself and launch it at less than ideal places. And the thing has cargo space like a floating pickup truck for overnight floats this summer.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The past few days...

I've been fishing quite a bit the past few days but haven't gotten around to posting so here is a bit of a catch up post. The rivers here in southern Ohio have been up and nasty for seemingly forever. Even now they aren't in good shape, just barely on the edge of lure fishing water. If I had more sense I probably should have chased cats this week. But I did find a creek running quite a bit clearer than the river and where its water mixed with the muddy river water I found a white bass bonanza, I guess I've caught forty or fifty the last few days but by and large they were pretty small fish. I did catch two small pure stripers and a few wipers mixed in. In the muddy river water next to the clearer creek water I caught a few sauger every day, They were very small mostly nine or ten inches long with only a couple going past a foot. All the stripey fish and saugfish came on a chartreuse metalflake grub. I caught a few decent smallmouth out of the river itself on a smoke metalflake grub making short pitches to a concrete wall directing current under a bridge. The only casts that connected were ones where the jig landed within an inch or two of the wall.