Sunday, June 29, 2014

Great job to my cousin!!!

All the hard work payed off for my cousin this weekend.  He won the co-angler event on Kentucky Lake. Proud!!!  I only know 1 other person that loves to fish as much as me.  Much deserved...great job!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Buffalo River-Family Camping trip-June 21-24

My earliest memories of floating the Buffalo River go like mom drops me off at me dads (recently divorced at age 7)  in long pants.  He cuts them off at the knee and we go camping/floating for a week.  Best days of my life, dad caught hell for ruining my perfectly good khaki's.  For the past 3 years I have taken my 2 kids on the same float...Hwy 14 bridge (Dillard's Ferry to Rush ~9 miles)...this is probably my 30th yr to float some section of the Buffalo River.  Just good times with family some fish caught along the way. Enjoy and if you haven't been....geaux now!!!

Buffalo Point

Swimming at the park

Crooked Creek-Buffalo was chocolate milk
Buffalo River

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Day on the Little Red River

Had to be in Central AR Thursday so I packed my 5wt and got up early Friday morning and headed to the river.  It was a beautiful start to the morning, cool temperatures and low units scheduled until I had all day to find a few Brown's.  Launched the cuda and paddled 2 miles up river.

A little fog on the river at 6am
Time to wade

It didn't take long to run into the stocker bows.  It seemed slow the 1st 2 hours only catching around 15 or so...which is slow.  The sun got high enough and I was able to see why, they were doing the dart back and forth dance, where they run to it and run away from it 3 or 4 times before disappearing.  I had a 9ft leader attached and knew it needed to be 12ft.  So I added 3ft of 3x and tied on an olive size 6 bugger with some flash and that was the ticket.  For the next 6 hours it was a catch fest.

You know it's going good when you can't keep count of the fish caught but know you lost more than you got.  Easily over 50 bows.  On the way I decided to try a black bugger and was rewarded instantly with this small brown.  Nice fight and quick release after a photo.  Ended up catching 3.
1st of the morning

2nd of the day

Last brown for this trip

It was a great day to be on the river.  Warm enough to wet wade a few places...the cold water was instant relief during the afternoon.  I need to get back to the LRR more often.  Those hard fighting browns are swimming in my brain for sure.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Morning bass fun

With the kids in camp this week I have time to get out early and try my luck.  Took the 8wt and 2 baitcaster's.  Left at 4am and drove an hour north toward a lake known for holding huge bass.  It's a smallish lake around 1300 acres and get's a lot of fishing pressure so it can be a tough bite at times.
Big fish, ~5lbs and ~20".

Last yr I lost the largest bass I have ever seen (easily over 10lbs and it was witnessed) when it wrapped me around a tree and made a dive leaving me sick to my stomach as I watched it swim away.  My goal this trip was to catch a monster bass on a fly. didn't happen.  Seems like bass in my area have transitioned to summer patterns.  I threw the fly for the better part of 2 hours without any interest...away it went.  As the sun got high I could hear fish schooling and knew I could catch a few on small swimbaits (wish I hadn't put the fly rod away).  So I chased the schools for an hour and caught 3-4 small 1-2lb bass.  Now that I've put a few fish in the yak I wanted to target some big LM bass so I worked the lilly pads with a large worm targeting 6-7 fow.  At around 10am I got a solid thump and pulled this 4.5/5lb'r out of the pads.  It was a great fight, he ran back into the pads and wrapped me several times.  I love the feeling of reaching into salad and pulling out a solid fish.
(Cuda 12 hatch) From the top buckle to the end of the hatch is 20 inch's.

That was the best fish of the day.  I ended up catching 6, mostly 1-2lb bass.  Not a bad day but 3/4lb bass are the average size at this lake.  So I sum it up as slightly above average trip.  But no complaints b/c I was on the water and that's where I want to be.

Most bass were this size.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sore hands and tired bodies, the GOOD LIFE!!

Spent the weekend chasing Redfish in Grand Isle, LA with my brother-n-law.  Drove all night Friday and fished all day Saturday and Sunday.  Traveled over 800 miles and went 37 hours w/o sleep.  This is my favorite fish and I love SELA....worth every sleepless minute. Spent the night under the stars on the beach at GI state park and can't wait to do it again.  My BnL has never been redfishing so I spent the better part of the morning explaining everything I had learned over the last yr.  Focusing on finding and stalking reds.  The morning started slow for him but after about an hour he had his first 19" hard fighting red and I left him to go test my luck.  Picked up a few keepers and a 29" that I released.  The day really picked up at about 11am as the tide started to fall and the reds came out of the canes and even had a visit from a shark.
He's on the hunt also.
 Around lunch time I came across a school of reds and called my BnL.  He arrived and his day changed for the better.  Again, I left him catching small slot reds and went on the hunt.  That's when my day changed.  Fish were everywhere and the bite was furious.  That was the moment I had been waiting for and I broke out the new 8wt I had purchased in March specifically for targeting reds.  Crept up on a large red feeding and made a 15ft cast, then it happened....head turned and a vicious take.  I don't remember the details of the fight but he made several runs, turned, circled the yak and head shook...not in that order.  It was a battle that lasted several minutes.  He was a 26" brute that made me appreciate all the carp I had been practicing on the last month.  However nothing prepares you for the fight of a redfish.  After a few quick photos, I spent a few minutes reviving him and watched him swim away.  Ended up catching 8 over the next 2 hours on a clouser minnow.  Most were 20-22"s but this 32 or 33, I didn't look closely b/c I was concerned for his survival (he had been on the reel a long time) was the highlight of my trip.
1st red on the fly.  26" beauty

Largest on the fly 32-34 see below.  Too much fun!

Fun on the fly.  Around 32 or 33. Who care's really.

Quick photo and spent a few minutes reviving him.  He regained his strength and pulled free of my grasp. Good day got better watching him swim away.  That's pretty much how the weekend went.  Lot's of catching, 2 limits each day (only lower slots kept) and probably another 30 released each day.  We both arrived back home with sore hands and tired bodies.  Another life changed for the better as my BnL has confirmed he's ruined, fresh water fishing just won't due.  I tried to warn him.  Next adventure is in the works.    

BnL just before he caught a 28, his biggest fish ever.

Most fish caught on spoons and shad baits, various colors.  Sight fished just about everything. Not much blind casting.
2nd fish caught Sat morning. Dark line is at 27".  Still swimming.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New uses for the kayak

I didn't mention in my bio that I'm a very active person, I've completed 9 marathon's and various other extreme events .  I work out regularly, sometimes it's biking, running, lifting, etc.  That's one of the primary reason's I like fishing from my kayak and not my aluminum boat (reserved for outings with my family).  Well the last few weeks I have added a new fitness routine to my evening adventures.  I haven't named it yet, but here's how it works...fairly simple format.  I launch my kayak and fish for a few hours.
Dirt road around the lake.  Last weeks rain made it a little rough, good thing I have 4wd.

 When I get finished I beach the yak and run back to where I started.  Now sometimes that could be a 3 or 4 mile run after paddling a few hours or like last night it was about a mile (good thing b/c I ran 7 in the morning) so I sprinted back and my time was 6:30.  Just don't forget the running shoes.  This doesn't work at any lake but if you can find a road or trail to follow back it's a great reason to get out and fish with a little exercise on the side.  The lake I happen to use has a dirt road that follows the lake.  It's about 13 miles around.  I always hide my valuables before I start the run.  Give it a try and see what you think.

Caught 3 but this was the biggest.  Pulled away from a real heavy weight at the last minute.  Need more patience with the popper.

Monday, June 2, 2014

650 miles of fishylook'n spots (not in 650 words of less)

 Had a trip planned to the Ozarks in NW Arkansas to catch some smallies with my brother-n-law.  But like any good plan it started off with a change of plans.  The weather was looking a little sketchy so what was suppose to be an overnight float trip starting Friday evening became this:  FISHING 3 bodies of water in 2 days.  Now that's a fishing trip.  But that's not the best part, I had packed my gear and loaded all my stuff the night before.  I watched the weather report and was in bed asleep by 7pm.  The plan was to get up at midnight and drive 2 hours to meet my brother-n-law and load all his gear in my truck.  By 5:30 we'd  be at my favorite Ozark stream.  Too excited to sleep I was awake at 10:30, ready to go.  I killed an hour watching the weather, ESPN, and making my lunch.  At midnight I couldn't wait any longer...better to be early than late.  So off I go.
Leaving the launch in our dust

Best part:  At 1am it hits me square in the face.  I had left my meticulously packed milk crate sitting at the door of my garage. All the gear I needed to fish 3 different bodies of water in 2 days was now 45 miles behind me.  I realized I had left early so I just had to go get it and I'll just be a little later.  Not going to bore you with the details but a launch time of 5:30am became 6:30 (remember I was delayed by 2 hours).  I'm sure this has happened to others but it's a first for me.

Tubes seemed to work best

Crazy start to the morning now the fishing.  Unloaded and gone in seconds.  Those smallies are in trouble now.  We'll lets just say it started a little slower than I had wanted.  Threw buggers, poppers, sneaky's, anything that looked like bait fish for 2 hours without a strike.  Several follow's but no takers.  Finally after watching by brother-n-law catch his 3rd bronzeback I relented and picked up my baitcaster with a craw.

Baitcaster 3 Flyrod 0

Not the biggest I've caught but I don't care I was happy to avoid the skunk

  Spotted a really fishylook'n spot and set the craw down next to a large rock in a deep hole.  Few seconds go by and I feel a hard "Thump", reeled down and set the hook...and heard a "Crack." You guessed it, broke off on the hook set.  BUT, I see my line floating, now I'm confused, if I broke by the fish I shouldn't see line...actually it broke in the reel.  I'm in luck, grab the line and pull the monster fish in...I HOPE! I reacquire my 8lb section of fluorcarbon and nothing.  I guess it had snapped at the fish and the reel.  Now that's crazy, never happened before. So I get up and running again.  Great practice run but now it's time to go to work.  Find another fishylook'n spot, followed by good presentation, and "Thump"...reeled down and set..."Crack." gotta be kidding.  It's gonna be one of those days.  That set-up goes in the bottom of the cuda (glad to have rod storage) and out comes my spinning rod that I reserve for pulling in redfish in Grand Isle, but I'm losing my mind and I've had 3.5 hours of sleep in the last 30 hours so I'm going All In. I attach a 10' leader to my 20lb braid via double uni knot and start looking for that next fishylook'n spot.  And there it is, nice deep pool with a large rock garden in the middle.  I calm myself and make a good cast, make the craw jump a few times and sit it down...."Thump", reel down and on.  The fish gods have rewarded my commitment.  So I think.  Fish dives for rock's, line grabs tree branches, and a snake fall's into the water and starts down stream headed in my direction.  I'm not scared of snakes, good try fish gods.  Not sure where it went b/c I was totally focused on landing this fish.

This fishing picked up as the day got older.  The fly rod never produced but tubes and craws took a few hard fighting smallmouth's.

The end of day 1 came after floating 7 miles in 12 hours.  We were exhausted but managed to catch around 20 smallies each just nothing to brag about this trip.

Had a tube in it's mouth but not mine

Never know what you'll run across when in a yak.  Came across this shotgun in the case at lake number 3. It had been in the water a while based off the appearance.   Turned it into the local state park office.
Day 2 started early. I have been teaching my uncle about kayak angling over the last few months (sorta obligated to since he bought my Native in March.  We chased spawning white bass in March, LM bass in April/May but the catching has been slow for him so today we were after bream.  Stopped at the bait shop for crickets on the way to a CentralArk lake known for large bream.  No pictures per his request but it wasn't slow.  Lake number 2 ended at lunch time I dropped him off and made the drive south in search of some LM bass.  I had emptied my freezer of fish Memorial weekend so I needed a few to take home.  Caught 7 bass but only kept 4.  I don't like to keep bass but my wife loves fish and since I'm a stay-at-home dad who gets to enjoy trips like this very often..I know what I have to do. I don't alway's keep fish but when I do it's b/c my wife made me.  Checked my mileage when I got home and I traveled 650 miles in search of fishylook'n spots.  Hope you enjoyed.  Another epic journey is in the works.  Stay Tuned.