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Monday, September 30, 2019

Most years around this time in fall I find a sense of sadness creeping in on each trip afield. Those first fallen sycamore leaves scattered on the stones, the deer changing from summer reddish brown to winter gray, the shorter days, all these and more combine to mark the passage of time. And this feeling can push me into full blown panic trying some years to not waste the fleeting moments left in the year by fishing every available second left. I'd been fortunate this year and had caught a couple smallmouth bigger than I deserved and I'd had a few successful trips into the mountains for both trout and stripers and a day catching catfish in such numbers that I'd be branded a liar if I'd told the whole truth of it. And I finally devoted enough time to hybrid fishing to feel like I'm getting a real handle on it. So my usual frantic fall fishing has been a bit calmer than other years. But tonight I could almost feel the end of the good easy fishing standing there watching and waiting. And so I burst out the door of work racing to the river and then stayed into darkness. Late enough that you turn the rod around backwards when walking out, pointing it behind you so you don't break the thing in the bushes in the dark. But tonight it was worth it. A nice fish clobbering the curly shad as soon as it hit the water, tailwalking on the surface, pulling drag then coming off right under my feet. Then it's twin hitting on the very next cast but not coming off this time. Then smaller golden smallmouth one after another. I try not to be so greedy that I can't take a moment to admire each for a second before releasing them. It's possible, especially in fall, to get so greedy for that next fish that you find you have caught six or seven fish and not taken a good look at any of them. It's a definite character flaw I've been working on for a while. Some days with more success than others.  Tonight was a good night, the evening comfortable after the days heat, the light shining on the water but not penetrating the blue shadows of the woods, the only sounds the whispering of the river and the far off call of an owl. One of those nights on the river where I'm comfortable in my own skin and all is right with the world,

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Bear with it....

So it was supposed to be a bowhunting trip with a little bit of fishing mixed in. That was before it hit the low nineties every afternoon. So my weekend bowhunting trip to my hunting property became a fishing trip with a bit of early morning hunting mixed in. No deer were seen. BUT it does make my land a lot more exciting knowing there is a bear around. Yep, a bear. In southern Ohio. Scioto county to be exact. A BEAR!!!
The smallmouth came out of some very swift water in a  large creek that runs into the Scioto. Right now it seems the faster the water the better, which is hard to find with everything running extremely low. On a clear with glitter three inch grub. The hybrids I caught below a dam on the mighty Ohio river. Also in the swiftest water I could find. For them I used a rig I learned from some guys last year who absolutely tortured me and everyone else including the bait guys with it. A Carolina type rig using a two ounce egg sinker, a barrel swivel, about a foot long leader and a floating rebel minnow. Yeah the shallow runner you might use in a farm pond for largemouth. Turns out it will run without spiraling out of control in very fast water but it's cheap which is good since you are going to lose some.. The huge sinker will keep it on the bottom where nothing else will fish and the floating plug swims just off the bottom. You chuck it out in the swift water and just barely move it, taking several minutes a cast, or heck just leave it in one spot. the plug swims on its on in the heavy current and then suddenly the rod just loads up on its own when the fish strikes and the drag goes screaming off.
Beautiful country, a bear sighting and lots of nice fish. It was definitely one of the highlights of this years fishing to be sure.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

mad dash fish

Our busy season at work is coinciding with shorter daylight hours which makes for a mad dash after work to get in a bit of fishing. All of tonights fish were in one small spot. A super fast run that is even with the low water levels still too fast to wade. I positioned myself downstream and would cast upstream into the run letting the curly shad tumble back towards me. But the smallies would hammer the bait as soon as it touched the water, even in the super fast water. I missed the first couple strikes before realizing I'd better be ready to strike the instant the bait hit the water.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A few smallies early this morning. Same kind of spot I've been catching them lately. On a clear with silver flake grub on a seam where fast water rubs against slow water. Lately the 3 inch clear with silver glitter has been out producing bigger swimbaits in my spots. I'm wondering If the smallies are keying on young of the year baitfish right now.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A bit of catch up.... Here's some photos from the last week in fishing. Highlights were probably Miss Britney catching her first carp and her first shovelhead. I've definitely created a monster. We caught several carp on a hair rigged boilie fished over a bead of corn, The shovelheads came on both live bait and swimbaits. I actually caught quite a few small shovelhead and channel cats on lures this week. Right now the cats seem to be on. As are the smallmouth, most of those were small but I did catch a few decent ones on a clear with silver grub fished on strong seams where fast and slow water meet.

Monday, September 9, 2019


My good deed for the day. Saving a mussel trapped in a tiny pool off an extremely low river. You could see the trail he made wandering around trying to escape eventual death

A quickie trip tonight. A small shovelhead and a decent smallie on a Vic Coomer ribeye in a swift run.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Camp High Life

So half buried in the fallen leaves behind camp Britney finds this beat up old sign that had been washed down the river, a Miller High Life sign. I hung it from a tree and now it is officially the High Life Camp. Home of some of the best channel catfish fishing you are ever going to see. In fact I spent most of my time unhooking and taking photos of Britney's fish. Or to hear her tell it, she caught most of the fish and all of the bigger ones. The fishing was good enough that after an hour or so we wandered off to build a fire and roast some metts and brats. In fact one photo is of Britney starting the fire with a ferro rod and survival rod like a hardcore wildwoman of the woods.
September even though it's the best month of the year still leaves me feeling a bit blue. Knowing it's the beginning of the end of summer sometimes makes me just as happy to spend time on cooking food over the fire, looking for tracks in the mud, and good conversation around a campfire as much as my usual fishing from daylight to dark. Though here in another week or two cooling water temps will have me back spending every spare second chasing big smallies but this weekend I'm content to catch some catfish, practice a little bushcraft, and reminisce  about the summers fishing.
So the next night after watching Britney catch every fish in the river I sneak back without her. A tarp set up in a flying wedge with a fire out front. Since woodswoman started the fire with a ferro rod and knife I just had to keep pace by starting the fire with a flint and steel. The woods was still a bit damp from yesterdays sprinkling so I found a fallen poplar tree that was propped up off the ground a few feet. I stripped some loose bark off the underside and gathered some of the stringy inner bark for a birdsnest to catch fire. There is something immensely satisfying about blowing that birdsnest into fire and starting it the way Daniel Boone would have. If you hunt up Dave Bradley on facebook he will forge you a handmade steel and you can channel your inner pioneer. Probably not the most practical way to start a fire but like bowhunting or flyfishing or catching your own bait it's the journey rather than the destination that's important.
I added a little water to a ziplock baggie that contained flour, a bit of baking powder and a pinch of dried ramps for a little garlic flavor. I kneaded the baggie till the mixture formed a dough. I took this out and rolled it between my hands forming a rope out of it which I twisted around a stick and baked over the fire making a bread to eat by the fire.
Deer were seemingly ever present this trip and I must have seen ten or twelve. I also saw an osprey, a kingfisher, and a beaver. I seined out some crawfish for bait and even caught a beautiful logperch darter in the net. Rigging was simple, a baitholder hook with a couple splitshot seven or eight inches up the line. The craw was hooked in the tail and flipped up into the fastest part of the riffle. As it washed down the riffle occasionally there was a twitch in the line or it would halt moving and you would set into a feisty catfish. A simple wonderful old school fishing trip down the river, and a nice way to mark summer's passing...