Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Resolutions

My 2012 fishing resolutions.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ice Fishing 30-12-2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ice Fishing Photos

Just a bunch of big pictures. Mom came out for a bit but couldn't take the cold long-term. 

Ice Fishing

Dad and I got out on the ice again yesterday. The rain had put a ring of water all around the edge of the pond that we had to vault to get onto the good ice in the middle. But once on the good ice we did fairly well on perch. We caught bigger perch than before but we couldn't catch any of the pickerel and smallmouth we caught the first time.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

First Ice!

Merry Christmas. I fished today!!!!
Dad and I drove up onto the mountain to look for some ice. We walked out onto a pond I had never fished before and tentatively poked some holes on the edge. Then deeper. Then deeper.  Soon we were standing on 2.5 inches of ice over 6 feet of water.
So we whipped out the jig rods (Marty’s isn’t selling bait yet) and went to work. I happened on the sweet spot after about three more holes. Two little perch to start the season! Then dad came over and caught a big pickerel and a bunch more perch while I punched more holes looking for more fish. I didn’t find them. So I poked a hole about 6 feet from dad and started jigging. Low and behold I caught a 3 pound smallie! Then we packed it in and resolved to come back better prepared for a full day on the ice. 

All the fish took jigs tipped with Gulp! Maggots. Also, I got another chance to test out the Orra S and after a legit fish I am happy to report that the drag is just fine! I'll do a review of it sometime in February. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cossayuna 2.0

1.12 miles. Into the wind. With my pink snow shovel paddle. In my canoe. Solo.
And it totally didn’t pay off. Then it started to rain.
My second attempt at Cossayuna and bass was a flop. I broke ice at the launch and paddled to my favorite spot on the lake. After anchoring up I began to work it meticulously with a drop-shot. And then it started to rain. And it was 40 something. So I paddled back.
Once I got the canoe back in the truck the rain stopped.
Merry Christmas! I think I’ll be on ice Monday! 

Seriously questioned my decision to come

My totally sweet craft

Bleak geese

I used the anchor to pull the canoe through and over the ice

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fishing in December

 Today I fished again. I’ve threatened to have a Last Day of Fishing twice now (here and here) I promise I will not rule fishing out again. But, it is pretty cool to fish from home in soft water in December.
The canoe found its way into the bed of the truck and I searched for a paddle. I came up empty and settled on a pink, plastic snow shovel from the garage. New Orra S freshly spooled I headed to Cossayuna.
It was a perfect day for the canoe; the wind was moderate and decreased to nothing. The sun was warm and I did not require fingerless gloves.
I paddled out to the island and fished my way around the edge of the point and the deep water around it hoping for a drop-shot bass. No bass. Perhaps one bass bite. But, I managed a nice perch on the east side and then ran into a school of them on the west side. One, two, three, I quickly put at least seven in the canoe. Then it was off. Dunno if they had left or I caught them all (I like to think I caught them all).
My initial impression of the Orra S was very favorable. It’s not as smooth at reels twice as expensive (duh) but it seems nice and crisp, the drag appears fine (perch and a rock are not much of a test though), and it is lovely and light. The reel also looks pretty cool. I’ll fish with it for at least another month before I write a full review. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Ideas

Tis the season to write blog posts about potential gifts. However, let me preface this with a warning: if you are buying for a discerning angler (and not some #LBA angler yourself) do not take any of my suggestions. Rather, ask your intended gift recipient exactly what they want - model number, length, size, weight, color – everything. Not doing so risks getting them something they will use once and then put down. Buying an off-list gift for a fisherman is like taking a high school player high in the draft. It may be totally worth it and awesome- but there is a great chance that it will suck. Unless you yourself are a discerning fisherman with knowledge of the recipient’s styles and tastes (like me buying for dad) I don’t recommend it. In fact, you are best off purchasing a gift card (they happen to be 10% off at TackleWarehouse right now) so the fisherman in your life can resupply an essential or purchase their newest desire.
That said; I’m making a list anyhow. I’ve used some of the products and can freely recommend them, others, I’m simply excited to try. As a note, I am affiliated with Pure Fishing.
Devil Spear- I’ve had the opportunity to explore this bait a lot in 2011. I was initially somewhat skeptical; it looks weird, doesn’t smell like much, and it looks weird. But, I’ve flipped it and dragged it and swam it all around Claytor and Champlain and I’ve had a lot of success. The bait has amazing action and you can do so many things with a ¼ or 3/8 ounce bullet weight and a 3/0 hook. When you crank it in you can feel as much thump as a swimbait yet it slips through thick cover with the greatest of ease. It also has plenty of colors and won’t break the bank.
Optimum BLT- I’m not a swimbait fisherman. Or at least I wasn’t before this year. Every year my swimbaiting efforts met with abject failure. Now, it’s a confidence technique. It’s probably a combination of right time/right place and a little of right bait- but, I can’t recommend these highly enough. The weighted insert does have a tendency to fray your line but, if you ask nicely, Optimum will likely send you some of the line sleeves they put in the TOTL models and that solves the problem (I keep meaning to blog about how to do that, one of these days…). I primarily throw the 3.5 and 5 inch sizes.
Bandit 300- This bait saw a lot of use post-spawn in Vermont. I caught a lot of fish on it. It dives deeper than many baits its size and comes through weed very well. Also, it has good hooks and comes in a million cheap colors.  
Abu Garcia Revo MGX- Yeah, it’s crazy expensive. But, I have heard nothing but praise for it and I might convince myself to get one. It sports a new braking system that is apparently the greatest thing since sliced bread. And of course, it has a Revo drag –so you know that is going to shine. This reel might just be worth the money.
Gulp! Alive Leeches- I just flat out caught a ton of fish on these over the summer. And a leach bait won the Northern Regional Championship. So maybe it’s time to take a tip from the walleye guys.
Snag Proof Phat Frog- Ish sold me on them at the Classic last year and I determined to pick a few up. I caught TONS of bass on them this year. They have great hooks, cast a mile, walk exceptionally well. Totally fantastic baits. Way better than the frogs I fished previously (though I might be wrong, I have a tendency to pick a frog and just throw it- so I didn't throw many other froggies this year).

Croc Flops- I’m a huge fan of flip-flops and an even bigger fan of Crocs. If I wasn’t barefoot or wearing cold gear I was wearing these on the deck of the boat. They are super comfy and lucky.
Simms Facemask Beanie- I got this in time for my steelhead trip. It is phenomenal; the mask is super warm and the hat is low enough to cover my ears. Total winner. And you can wear it without the mask. Also, it is totally sexy. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Actual Finale

Today I stuck the boat in the water one last time before putting her to bed for Christmas Break. I fished Claytor for about 2 hours to run Stabil through the Merc. and hopefully put a few in the boat. The water was 47° and the air temp was 35°, the wind was gusty and cold but it couldn’t really decide on a direction. Once I got off the water it started to get sunny and nice. But while I was out there it stayed below 40° and partly cloudy.
I ran up into Peak from the public launch to get some clearer water and a little protection from the wind to start the day. I made a cast to a bluff with my drop-shot and late in the slow retrieve I got bit. The rod loaded up, the fish surged, and it was gone. Whatever it was felt really big. I continued on my way and at the nearby point I marked a fish holding on a bit of brush. I mentally marked the spot in relation to a jagged rock on-shore and let the wind blow me by. I turned around, put a cast right at the fish, and worked the bait for a few feet before feeling a subtle tump-tump! Fish number one was a keeper.
And that was it. I had one other bite and lost a jigging spoon (like usual) but mostly I just froze. I called it quits and loosened all my drags and locked the boat and put dryer sheets in the compartments before snugging the cover down for the next month and a half. So my next post will likely feature ice or trout or both. 


Hat hair
Mouse repellent 

The boat all tucked away

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Alabama Rig Decision

I have put a lot of thought into the Alabama Rig. It’s a fantastic fish catching tool. The detractors who say it is cheating because it makes fishing too easy don’t have a leg to stand on. Those who don’t like it because it is more than one bait have a legitimate point- but, I think that is a rules issue and not an ethical issue.

Rather, I think the issue with the Alabama Rig is one of fish care. I had heard about increased foul hooking (while people are fighting fish to the boat, not purposeful snagging) and I was naturally a bit concerned. Every tournament bass fisherman’s goals should include releasing fish in good condition. The striper I caught at SML on the A-Rig was hooked in the mouth and the side. It was hooked pretty deep in the side. The hooks on the jig heads being used are much bigger than standard crankbait hooks and have the potential to penetrate a lot deeper than a treble. That worries me. I’d rather stick on the safe side.

However; until it is banned in tournaments, I'll still be using it. Because I want to keep my quiver full against other fishermen and the fish.

Update (March 2013):

I think my fish care concerns were valid. And the A-rig certainly does (I think) do a bit more harm to fish than some other baits. That said, I think almost all of my fish on it have been released in decent condition and will keep swimming just fine. So, I'm still hucking it and I'll keep hucking it and I'll advocate for it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Claytor Finale

Yesterday Andrew Jackson and I made it out onto Claytor for a day of fishing prior to the ACC Championship game (which sucked). I  temporarily fixed the trailer and it was fine for a short haul to the lake. We had lovely weather all day, the wind was slight to nonexistent and it just kept on warming up as the day went on. The water temp was 48° when we put in and 50° by the time we pulled out.
We started the day throwing a scrounger and swimbait on some points in Peak and I managed some follows and nips from what appeared to be tiny spotted bass. We gave up on that pretty quickly though and started to fish some docks. Andrew and I were both throwing a drop-shot and he quickly zeroed in on the color of the day by losing a 4 pound fish. Then he missed another bite. We moved to a nearby brush pile and the game was afoot. We pulled 3 fish out of it (and lost two more) before heading out into the main lake.
In the main lake we pulled up on some brushy docks and I immediately missed a fish on a jig while fooling around eating trail mix. Then Andrew boated one on the drop-shot. Later on along the bank I caught a 3-13 off a dock. Then we lost a bunch of tackle in brush and moved on.


Made me think of ice fishing

Moving down lake, the water was much clearer. We struck out on some main lake areas and a few of my favorite spots in Dublin Hollow. So we ditched the clear water and ran back into Peak. I again lost a fish on a jig while I was fooling around walking to look at the water temp (50.8°) and I pulled one more off the same stretch of docks Andrew lost the 4-lber at (I thought it was the four pounder for a minute; the fish hit like a ton of bricks). We scratched one more out of the Rock House cove on our way back before calling it a day.