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Sunday, July 12, 2020

summer nights...

A recap of the weekends fishing. I've been having some luck right in the middle of the night, like 3 or 4 in the morning catching hybrids in the river. On Vic's Proswim fished on a heavy half ounce jig head in the fastest water I can find. Which of course makes the exceptionally hard fighting stripes seem like freight trains when they hammer your swimbait and take off on a run in heavy current. I also snuck out for an hour right in the middle of the heat of the day and managed to catch a nice smallie. Those same super fast riffles that hold hybrids in low light conditions often hold a nice smallie smack dab in the middle of the day. Fast highly oxygenated water is a magnet for any smallmouth that takes a notion to feed once things settle into a summertime routine.

Three Knives....

In my gun case sit three knives. One was my great grandfather's, and one belonged to grandfather. And now sits one that belonged to my father. All togethor as a set, while not valuable to anyone else, they are one of my most precious belongings.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

the early bird...

A decent stripey fish on a swimbait about an hour before sunrise. In the fastest water I could find in a tributary about four miles up from the Ohio River

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The hybrid hilton...

It pays to explore new water. This past week I've been fishing a new place. A completely new place, which after 40 years of going several times a week is kind of a big deal. I try to explore at least a little once every week or two but finding completely new water is rare.  Here a small river hits a long diagonal rock bar and ninety percent of the current is pushed all into one slot right along the bank. A classic summertime fish trap. The only problem is access. You park on one road walk it a hundred yards or so till it dead ends into another. You walk that another hundred yards then down some railroad tracks. Way down some railroad tracks. I haven't timed it but its got to be 15 or 20 minutes. Then when you get there the obvious spot to fish from is horrible to reach down over a shoulder high cliff. The first time I fished it I thought, well, I might have to swim to get out as I lowered myself  over the undercut cliff hanging from a small tree trunk with my feet dangling in midair. But once you get down there you see some exposed tree roots that almost let you climb out comfortably. A bit of rope tied to a tree has since made things easier. I fished it last week in daylight to get a feel for the place and blaze a few trees so I could find it in the dark. But I really wanted to be there before daylight and be fishing just before sunrise which I did the last two mornings.
Turns out the swift slot right along the cliff is full of saugfish right before daylight, I've caught several every trip on a ribeye paddletail. But what excites me is what happens right before daylight. Then throwing a lipless crank both days I've had big hybrids strike. A nice hybrid in really swift water is a glory to behold as it will make your drag scream for mercy.  Most places get a nickname, I think I'll call this the Hybrid Hilton. Then as full daylight came I switched back to the ribeye one morning and found a big smallie hanging out where the saugfish were in the dark. It's been a nice couple days.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Long and skinny

So I ran out this morning about an hour before daylight with some curly shads, pro swims and jigheads and nothing else. Just a quikie trip. SIGH... nothing to measure a fish with. I was expecting to catch a few stripey fish as the sun came up then hightail it home to do a few chores. I did catch a few, just not very big ones. Then right as the sun came up right in the same seam I where I was catching the stripes I got a strike on a pearl pro swim. I set the hook and a very very long smallmouth hurtled skyward. A few more jumps that had my heart pounding and she was mine. I'm thinking this fish is real old. Long, big head and skinny as a rail. A quick couple photos and a release. An angry swipe of her tail that showered me with water and she was gone...

Friday, June 19, 2020


I'm not normally much of a saugfisherman. Yeah I'll catch a few nice ones every year but it's usually the biproduct of fishing for striped fish or smallmouth. But the last few nights I've stumbled into a nice pattern for catching saugthings in the river at night. I'm a big believer in the best time to go fishing is when you can. And well the only time I've had to fish is at night so that's when I've been going. And I've been finding some fish pretty regularly the last couple nights. The place is where the river turns then goes over a fairly strong riffle. The main force of the current hits and has dug a small cliff about head high. This cliff goes for about the length of a cast then the river turns and pours over the river. Right where it turns the fish are glued to the bank, maybe a foot at most off the cliff and right in the fastest slot of water. The only place to stand is upstream. You cast a paddletail swimbait or a big curly shad on a 3/8 ounce jig head down the bank and just crawl it back up to you. Taking a minute or two for each cast as the bait hangs there swimming like crazy in the swift current. I thought a minnow plug like a rogue would be great but the water is just too swift if that helps give you an idea of just how fast the water is moving here. I'm fishing from about three am till daylight when the fish quit, they are definitely on the night shift at this spot. Once you do it enough to get comfortable with it fishing at night has a set of rewards all it's own. The river is a different place at 3 am. You hear the wind more. You hear owls calling. An unseen deer blows, a beaver slaps it's tail. Eventually you realize there's even more going on at night than during the light, it's just that our senses are poorly equipped to let us join in. Obviously you need a piece of river you know very well, it would be easy to get a mess of trouble otherwise. A good sensitive rod like my rod from Little Miami rod company helps. You can get away with heavier braid at night which helps with the feel as well. Then a tiny box with some jig heads and swimbaits, maybe a minnow plug or two and a topwater and a decent headlamp and you're all set. Try it you will never look at your river again quite the same after you have gotten to know it at night.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

its getting pretty out there...

after dark

A bit of nighttime action. The most memorable fish has to be the gar. He had the shank of the rear treble on Vic's lipless crank inside his bill with one hook of the treble jammed over the top bill and one hook jammed over the bottom bill. Like really jammed on there and stuck. Nothing was actually hooked into the fish! It's a good thing gar can breath air a little bit because it took me forever to get him free and I was the only one of us who ended up bleeding.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

stripe time

Been catching one or two fish like this each of the last few days before daylight. Kind of an interesting pattern I've not heard before. The fish have been on the outside of bends. You know where the current digs a head high cliff and the bank continues vertically underwater and the current is just about as fast as it ever gets. Right before the sun comes up or even in complete darkness before the sky brightens. (hence the lack of more photos, they were terrible) Anyways right before daylight you might hear or see since its been a full moon, a pop, pop, pop as a hybrid or two busts bait right against the cliff. I was throwing Vic's lipless crank with a pearl with a red head. You had a few minutes of action before the sun comes up and things quit.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

socially distant

Spent the last few days wandering around Tennessee, catching stripes, sturgeon and huge drum on 2oz jigs below TVA dams one minute then catching miniature brook and rainbow trout out of tiny brooks on the flyrod high in the mountains. Sleeping in the car and out on the rocks. Drinking hot chocolate made on the backpacking stove one day and waiting out a storm eating deviled ham on saltines under a big leaning tree the next. In other words just living the good life...