Friday, April 30, 2010

Todays Pics

Too late for a whole post but I thought I would just throw up some pics from today. A couple of friends and I went down to the New to do a little bass fishing. They struck out but I got about 10, nothing big. Lost about a 2lber early though. Got them all on 1/8 ounce Speed Traps and Strike King Coffee Tubes with a 1/16 ounce Bagley shaky head inside them. I am going back tomorrow so I will put up a full post tomorrow or Sunday.
Tight lines!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

SML Wrap Up

Saturday I fished my last VT Bass Fishing Team Club Tournament of the season, next one will be sometime this fall L. It’s a little sweet and sour for me, I had a ton of fun fishing all year but I’m pretty excited to get back to VT and fish lakes I know and love. I have not been impressed with the fishing in Virginia (except for the Potomac). They were challenging and new to me but I certainly need more time on them and reservoirs in general to get to know them and learn more about how the bass behave. You can read a lot but for me there is no substitute to time on the water and the simple truth is that I need more of it on Claytor and Smith.
Back to the point. Andrew and I pre-fished on Friday and it went pretty well. We caught some fish on slower presentations and found pretty good numbers of fish, we also found a bunch of bedded males that we thought would squeak past the 14 inch mark if we needed them. That evening after mulling it over we decided to try along some coves were we had seen a bunch of beds, we planned to catch a few of the bed fish to try and get a limit while throwing a topwater to try and get some cruisers and post-spawners as well. To be honest, that strategy was a complete flop. Nothing on top and only a skinny 15 incher off a bed. So, we changed things up. We jumped coves and started fishing rip rap where we had caught a few yesterday. We fished jigs and lizards down it and caught nothing. I did however pick off a 12 incher on a spinnerbait which led us to our next “pattern”.
After we finished fishing that set of shoreline we decided to find some wood because that was about all we had yet to fish. At about that time it started to cloud up a little, blow some and spit a little rain. Gotta say, I wish it would have stayed nasty all day, we scooted over to a cove we had spotted pre-fishing that had no houses and began fishing laydowns with spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. I very quickly began catching bass; unfortunately all but one was short. We had fished about ¾ of the cove and had the best fishing we would get all day, unfortunately it was starting to clear up by the time we cranked and headed to fish the cone corner we had yet to fish. We recognized that the fish might be less prone to a spinnerbait so we mixed it up a bit with a lizard and a small Speed Trap to see if the bass wanted something a little more subtle. Nothing doing. Then we ran around a bit trying to find another cove with similar wood to see if we could replicate it somewhere else even though the bite there had died. We had no luck; we found one nice cove and one that was way too deep for our taste, neither produced.  
That was pretty much the end of our day, we ran back down to the launch cove and fished the point (which is actually pretty good looking, broad and long with a lot of 10-12 foot depth) all the way back to the launch. We caught 2 fish in the process one of which was 14 inches to help us to our 3 fish total. We caught them both on docks with drop-shots and pretty much decided that’s what we should have been doing all day.
We finished with 3 fish for about 4.5lbs and 5th place, Wyatt and Pat dominated 1st place with 15lbs of bass. It was a bummer of a tournament for me; I always see good fish in that lake but can never seem to catch them. It frustrates me, especially because so many of the Elite Series pros slammed them last weekend.
Hopefully I get some time on the water this weekend, I would love to fish Claytor but if that doesn’t happen then I will almost certainly make it the New. Tight lines everybody! 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

SML This Weekend

Thought I would pop up a quick post about my weekend. I have another Tech Bass Fishing Team Club Tournament on Saturday so; tomorrow after classes my partner and I are heading down to Smith Mountain Lake to do a little pre-fishing. The tournament is Saturday and we head out just below the Hales Ford Bridge. Should be a blast and I have really high hopes. Feel free to drop me a comment if you have some SML tips, Andrew and I have a combined 2 days experience on that part of the lake. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Busy Weekend!!

It’s taken me a while for motivation to coincide with free time but, the time has come for my weekend fishing recap! Because of the April 16th memorials on campus, we got Friday off so I ended up with a three day weekend. Nonetheless, I was still jealous of Massachusetts because they get Patriots Day.
Greg and I took advantage of Friday to go fishing and watch an Elite Series weigh-in. We went to the New River (which is apparently the second oldest river after the Nile (per a friend, I have NOT verified that)) and fished for smallmouth. Greg started out throwing a grub (his go to river bait) and I started with a Bagley Killer-B in a rainbow troutish color. We were working a section of the river that had ridges running perpendicular to the flow, the river was also very wide at this point so we could wade comfortably way past the middle. Pretty soon though I switched over to a dark green craw Speed Trap after noticing that almost every minnow I spooked was very dark in color. Then I caught a fish! It hit near a primo looking spot, in a slow spot near a big rock with a deeper cut behind. It was a gorgeous 12 inch smallie and my first New River fish. After that fish, Greg switched over to a dark crankbait and caught on from the same spot, later I nabbed another that absolutely slammed the bait in some faster water! Twas a lovely day on the water.

After a few hours of fishing Greg and I got back in the car and made the drive to Smith Mountain Lake (SML). We watched the Elite Series weigh-in and rooted on our fantasy picks and got sunburned! It was great and Greg had a blast buying a 2 dollar Sharpie to get some autographs with! I especially enjoyed seeing the boats and, hearing all the guys actually talk about catching fish on swimbaits which gave me renewed confidence to try them again. I imagine that I will end up ditching swimmies again after frustrating myself with them but perhaps I will get lucky, whack a 5lber and never turn back!

Saturday I participated in the Big Event and fished in a local pond for a bit afterwards. I had a lot of fun working a bedding bass into a frenzy by bumping him with a jig and enjoyed fishing a jointed blue gill swimbait and getting a few very exciting follows! Then, I went to bet early for some sleep before my Club Tournament on Claytor!
Claytor was a bit of a disappointment, a bunch of things combined to make the fishing poor and Claytor succeeded in getting back onto my list of lakes I don’t like. Below, you can see what I put in my fishing log.
“Claytor Lake, April 18, 2010
Conditions were solidly post frontal, high sky and 40s in the morning rising to high 50s by the end of the day. Gusty wind out of the north, 10mph plus. Water temp was about 60 all day and the clarity was perhaps 75% of normal summer color.
We started off in the cove with the secret log in Peak Creek; Andrew caught a 5lber on a T-rigged lizard in about 4 feet of water just off the secondary point. We also found a small keeper spawning in a laydown; we couldn’t make him bite on a jig.
We fished a few more coves in Peak with no results.
We fished the Baptist Camp at the mouth of Peak and then the wood on the downstream side of the mouth. Lost one keeper who was guarding fry on a shaky head Squirrel Tail.
Then we tried the State Park marina which was packed with boats and the point inside the big creek below it. In that creek we found a spawner that we worked for an hour inside a cove with a big metal boat house. You had to go under a metal cable to get in. It would not bite.
Later we fished the cove with the wrecked tow barge in front and caught nothing.
It was a tough day for most, only 2 of the 8 teams limited”

Have a good one, that’s all for now!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My New Favorite River: The Potomac

This weekend I had a chance to skip school and fish the Potomac with my tournament partner Andrew Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday. I had never fished the Potomac and everything I have heard about it is awesome so I was wicked excited to give it a shot.
We got on the water around 8am on Friday and spent the whole day in Mattawoman Creek, partly because the fishing was awesome and partly because it was wicked rough and we didn’t want to run anywhere. We fished mostly jigs and chatterbaits through a variety of cover in Mattawoman with very good success. A front was moving though until about noon when it finally left and the fishing stayed good all day. Unfortunately, the front also brought some rain and very high winds so; we sheltered as best we could from the wind and still caught a lot of fish doing it. The biggest of Friday and the trip came on a laydown in about 3 feet of water, I pitched a black and blue 1/2 oz. jig next to an outer branch and she hit it almost as soon as it touched bottom. She fought pretty well and made one nice jump but Andrew lipped her expertly! She weighed in at 5lbs 7ounces, 9 ounces away from my PB.
Saturday we went back to Mattawoman and battled for spots with zillions of other boats. We had another great day, fewer bass that Friday and nothing huge but we landed probably 20 bass and our best 5 would have gone about 15lbs. The water temp had dropped 5-10 degrees over night (there was frost on the boat in the morning) and it impacted the chatterbait bite somewhat, instead of the chatterbait, swimming jigs was the way to go. It especially told toward the end of the day when we went into Chopawamsic Creek.
Sunday we got on the water later and left earlier so we elected not to make the longer run to Mattawoman and instead launched in Chopawamsic (we had been launching out of Quantico) and fished there and around the island. It was the first really nice day we had with almost no wind and sunny skies but the fish didn’t like it and we only got 4 keeper bass and a 7lb catfish that Andrew caught.
One of the things that we got to do while on the Potomac was test out some of JDC Baits’ Skip-N-Pops (JDC is a sponsor of the Tech Bass Fishing Team). We had fun rigging them and testing them out, it was far from ideal topwater conditions but man do they look good in the water! They float well and pop and spit and even walk the dog nicely. I am pumped to try them at some clear, weedy lakes in VT!
The Elite Series comet to Smith Mountain Lake this weekend and I have a VT club tournament on Claytor Sunday so it should be a great weekend once I make it through a wicked busy week. Fantasy picks later after I finish waffling and definitely a post about the weekend. Adios! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Saltwater Continues to Baffle Me

Over Easter I visited family in Charleston South Carolina though the weekend was great I, unfortunately, got skunked.
I am going to refrain from commenting on the correctness of what we did over the weekend and be solely descriptive to preserve Uncle Jay’s reputation. When we finally made it to the water around 2:30pm on Saturday we started throwing weighted flukes, mud minnows beneath a popping cork and Johnson Silver Minnows. We hopped around to a couple of spots and saw one ray, some dolphins and had one hit, we also caught a crab. The crab was very cool, it was a blue claw and its last set of legs were more like paddles than legs. Another thing I found interesting was the behavior of the dolphins. They were swimming close to the shore and thrashing their tails to splash water up on the bank. Uncle Jay said it had something to do with feeding and that the dolphins were trying to disorient bait. It sounds like a plausible explanation to me and is probably the smartest thing I have seen a dolphin do. At our last spot of the day we really put a damper on the weekend. It was only our last spot because we couldn’t get the motor to start. We eventually fiddled and swapped batteries enough that it started but we went right back to the dock and called it a day, preferring not to risk it.  
A digression. I don’t really like fishing with live bait, I find it boring and my ethics don’t really jive 100% with it. But, I enjoyed using the mud minnows as live bait because of the way we used them and the minnows themselves. I think the mud minnows were some kind of killifish but regardless they were quite pretty (I thought), I liked their pattern and green color scheme. The way we fished them was fun too, we fished them under popping corks which are apparently a popular way to fish them. We set the bait under the cork and bead rig and kept it down with a split shot. Then, we popped them forward and let the cork ride on its metal stick and clack against the beads. It was kinda cool.
Next day we planned to buy shrimp and try some different spots but, we couldn’t make the motor start again. It was something to do with the starter and Uncle Jay’s knowledge was not quite sufficient. So we took kayaks out and fished out of them. There are really only two things of note about the kayak experiment. The first is that I managed to lose my cell phone when I flipped the kayak over while playing limbo under a low branch in a creek. The second is that I saw a red fish. I was pulling into a point of grass to anchor the kayak and fish down tide of it with the popping cork when I spooked it. The fish was probably about 25 inches long and very robust looking. It got me excited to eventually catch one because they certainly look like they will live up to their repute as fighters.
A view from the kayak, pre-cell phone loss

That’s all for now, right now I plan on fishing the Potomac with Andrew this Friday, Saturday and Sunday but that is not set in stone yet. Tight lines!

Correction: I was not actually in Charleston, I was in Folly Beach.