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Saturday, November 30, 2019

winter crankbaits

I haven't been able to fish much lately but having the long holiday weekend let me sneak out for a bit. I found a few fish in about waist deep water on a gravel hump that separates a slow hole from the main flow. No go on the soft plastics and suspending minnow plugs but I did catch some fish on a new lipless crankbait that Vic is bringing to market. A lipless crank is actually a top notch winter lure. You just fish it differently than you do in the summer. Every one that knows me knows I'm a big fan of fishing a lipless crankbait at night for saugeye and summertime shovelheads but I'm fishing it completely differently for wintertime smallmouth.  I'd cast it out and let it fall to the bottom on a tight line. Then let it set for a few seconds then lift it off the bottom then let it fall to the bottom again on a tight line almost like fishing a worm. Lift fall lift fall. Every fish hit as the lure settled back after being lifted. Some days the fish like you popping it sharply off the bottom while some days an easy lift does the trick. I've even had days where you reel down to the lure and kind of shake it in place like you would a shaky head and barely move it and this does the trick. Today the fish actually hit the bait pretty well but some days in winter you just feel the weight of the fish on the line as you start the next lift. I'm not normally a big fan of fluorocarbon for smallmouth but I do like it for wintertime lipless cranks. It gives you sensitivity but with a larger diameter than braid which makes the bait fall back to the bottom slower.
Nothing of course beats wading a summertime stream for smalljaws but I do enjoy the stark beauty and silence of the river in winter. A silence that actually seems to magnify the calls of ducks winging up the river or the faraway music of a flock of sandhills high overhead. The winter river is a noisy quiet place. It seems dead and lifeless at first but by the time you are done it seems I have more wildlife encounters per hour spent on the river than any other time of year. Today was no different, in the distance I saw a huge flock of sandhills and watched a couple deer feed quietly on the opposite riverbank.

Monday, November 11, 2019

A bit of catch up.

I've been working a lot, that combined with the short days has really put a damper on my smallmouth fishing. I've caught a few this past week or so, just nobody really worth a photo. I've been catching several saugfish after dark on a new minnow plug Vic is coming out later this winter as well as a few stripey fish. I ended up feeling a thump one night and sinking one of the plugs trebles solidly into the paddle of a big spoonbill. Thank goodness it didn't break me off since the plug was so solidly embeded into it's bill imnot sure it would have come loose on its own. The big carp wasn't snared but actually ate a three inch grub. That seems to happen a bit more often in the cold. I guess as food gets harder to come by carp add a bit more meat to their diet. Then on my way home from tagging some more venison for the freezer I stopped at a wildlife area pond and caught some nice gills.