Thursday, November 27, 2014

We interrupt your Thanksgiving for a fishing report - Taneycomo bows!

Spent the weekend plus a few days playing tourist in Branson, MO.  In between Silver Dollar City, The Butterfly Palace, and numerous other family friendly activities I earned enough points and redeemed them for a few hours below TRD.

Table Rock Dam.  Day before the winds were 20-25 mph.  Low crowds, should have fished this day.
 The fishing was great considering there were about a million other people casting small fly's to the same trout.  It was my first experience fishing Taney, but not my last.  However, next time I'll have my kayak and get away from the crowds.  This trip I was dropped off and picked up at the hatchery, so I was restricted to covering water by foot.

Just below the hatchery - scouting trip.  Shoulder to shoulder next day
I timed the drop-off perfect.  They had just stopped generating and the water was falling out as I was wading in.   I was the first to a great location I scouted the day before and had a fish in hand in just a few casts.  I proceeded to catch a few more on a BH scud and noticed the crowd was growing around me.  After another hour my curiosity got the better of me....this being my first trip I wanted to explore the water, so I moved.  I left my prime location and walked downstream.  Upon leaving 2 guys jumped in my vacated was that kind of day.  I love my kayak for get'n me away from the crowds and I really missed it this trip.

My first MO Bow - beautiful colors

Only took a few pics b/c my time was limited.  The fish and scenery are worth fish'n among the crowds.

The next spot was a deep hole and the fish were thick.  The problem was, there had been at least 5 other fly casters in the same area.  Oh well, it's what was available so I fished on.  Decided to switch fly's a few times and ended up catching a few more on a purple BH sowbug.  The fishing wasn't fast and as usual I missed about half the takes.

Around 3 pm my time on the water was over.  As I walked back to the hatchery, I thought about how awesome this vacation had been.  I was with my family having a blast and found a few hours to land a few MO Bows.  What else could I ask for.  Thankful!!!

Thankful not to have stepped on this also!!!  Dude it's 30f what are you doing??

Critter in the center 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

....needs a pinch of salt (part 2)

I decided to sleep in on Tuesday.  The 6 hour drive, fishing, and making camp on Monday had me moving a little slow, but I wasn't lacking motivation.  I knew my fishing time was limited, only 2 days, so I prepared an extra cup of coffee Monday morning when I left home at 12am.  I left it in my truck all day and night.  It was cold but drinkable on Tuesday morning...that saved me at least 10 mins.  Grabbed a bagel, lunchable, water, some granola bars (nothing sexy...just calories) and I was driving out of the GI state park in 5 mins...almost, I got stopped by some friendly kayakers who I wanted to know where I caught my specks.  After a brief conversation, always willing to share my experiences with other friendly yakers, I was on the road and headed to a new spot, someplace I had no experience.

Started nice and sunny.  That changed.

I could see the clouds moving in fast and knew sight fishing would be limited today.  But within 10 mins I spotted a red crashing bait, it took 2 casts and fish in the net.  CPR'd and moving...

Clouds made it too dark to sight fish
Covered about a mile before I stopped at a fishylookn spot, it was too dark to sight cast, so I searched with a spinnerbait with TTF killer flats minnow.  Blind cast a point and hooked up.  I could tell it was a speck by the head shake.  Surprised by the result, I repeated, and agian...nice speck.  Time for an audible...can't sight fish and the specks are aggressive.

I must have got lost in the fish'n because all of a sudden I was surrounded my birds...not sure if I drifted into them or they converged on me.  But for the next 2 hours I caught about 2 limits of keeper specks...all 12-15".  Not many undersized, and it was cast after cast.  They only wanted the SB with flats minnow in purple/chart.  I tried jigging on the bottom and swimming in various colors.

The specks had these falling out of their mouths

Just a few of the birds and you can see the specks busting the top (top right in pic) 

At 9:30 they moved on and so did I.  Went look'n for reds in the dark.  It started really slow, I found a few but spooked them b/c I was sitting on them.  Like typical reds, they panic and torpedo my kayak...

It took an hour or so, but the clouds dispersed some and the sun made sight fishing an option.  I located a great flat that was almost void of water.  It had a canal running through it and I could see reds cruising it, searching for something to eat.  No worries I got what ya need...

What I'm look'n for as a sight fisherman

Didn't take long to get one in hand.  A few others followed.  It was turning out to be a great day.

30" baby bull
Found this baby bull crashing bait along a grass line.  I got really excited and accidentally put the spoon in the grass.  Knowing I only had 1 chance, I tried to slowly pull it came out like a bullet...heading right at the big landed and the red turned.  I expected to see the torpedo maneuver.  However, it torpedoed the spoon...I wasn't prepared and had to reel in my slack before I could set.  Again, despite my best effort, sometimes they just want to be caught.

High and Dry - He was mud wrestling some shrimp...not even sure he was in the water. 

As I was landing this guy.  My wife text me, reminding me to check in every once in a while.  I sometimes forget to do that...So I get the phone out and send the "I'm living them dream, thx for being awesome" reply.  I hear a sound behind be...think'n it's a red I turn to take it's pic b/c that seems cool, right?!  SURPRISE...he didn't stop there.  He kept getting closer and closer.  Not sure if he wanted a ride or the red.

Glad it wasn't a gator

Another baby bull

The day really changed when the sun came out.  I could clearly see the reds and they were feeding.

He was just hang'n out on the bottom, not moving...dorsal fin was high and dry.
I ran across the above red sitting in about 6"s of water (pic below).  I was cruising along looking for reds when I nearly torpedo'd him.  I had to rapidly and quietly deploy my poor man's power pole.

Poor man's power pole.  Just dig in and hold on.  Warning - blisters usually accompany multiple uses.

Stumbled upon another big red crashing bait.  I took my time and put the spoon way ahead of it and waited until it got about 2 ft from it.  I lifted it up and started swimming it...BAM...I guess I didn't see this little guy and he got there first.  The big red swam around my kayak a few times as I was releasing his little brother.  Not sure if he was waiting on him or mocking me.  Good times!!

  That was was it, last fish for the day.  It was another great trip in a special place.  On the way home I drove through Rayville, LA and was greeted by this:

Every utility pole in town had a flag - that's cool

Being a veteran, I certainly noticed.  Well done Rayville.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

.......needs a pinch of salt!!

Fishing in general has been pretty good.  Bass are getting fat, trout are getting fat, everything seems to be getting fat (catch my drift)...but even when things are good, sometimes, something is still missing.  Kind of like that meal your wife/husband cooks.  It taste's great just like it is...but no matter how great it is...needs a pinch of salt!!

I don't know why my food needs a pinch of salt...but I know why I need salt.  It's an addiction to drag pulling, hard fighting, never give up redfish.  So when the arctic blast rescheduled my plans I didn't hesitate to pack up my gear and head to Grand Isle, LA. to fish ahead of the front.  I had 2 days to fish and the fish were very cooperative.   Best explained by a fish that wanted to be caught...despite my best efforts...

Had time to snap a photo before I tried to catch this fish w/ a hook-less spoon 

I found a shallow flat with feeding reds.  Pushed up on the flat slowly and saw a red cruising.  Pitched the gold spoon close and he attacks it.  He's on for a second but comes off.  I pitch back to him...again he hits and off again.  I repeat this 2 more times, each time he's on for a brief moment.  I'm getting frustrated, I can't figure out what's happening, then it comes to me...check the hook.  Sure enough he broke it off.  Unbelievably, the red is still circling my kayak...I reach down and grab the rod with the flats minnow...toss it to him and he crushes it.  That's what redfish do...they break your stuff and dare you to come back.  At this point I'm think'n, dude you could have saved yourself a couple piercing's by just swimming in the net.  I'm just CPRing anyway.

The gold spoon with hook snapped off.  TTF flats minnow worked.
So that's how the reds were behaving.  Some photos, b/c what's a blog w/o pictures.

Ran across this guy around lunch time.  Saw another on Tuesday that nearly climbed in my kayak

Not sure if he got banged up during the fight or before...swam away

There's a spoon in there

Reds spitting up shrimp - looks similar to a gold spoon to me

Released a nice leopard red

Spent 4 hours chasing reds and then used the last 2 hours locating specks.  Got to my hole and found this huge garfish resting on the ledge I like to park my kayak on...guess it's a good spot to catch some rays or specks.  I let him keep it b/c I didn't want him to freak out and spook everything around.  When I checked on him later he had moved on and I moved in and caught about 20...only kept 12 b/c I forgot how many I had in the bag.

See him? Looks like a log underwater...dude you're in my spot.

Day 1, was near perfect sight fishing wind, high sun, no clouds, and clear water.  I had a good day sight fishing 30-40 reds using spoons and TTF killer flats minnows.  Specks were caught bouncing flats minnow (purple/chart or opening night) along the bottom.

Day 2, in the works...Different conditions, wind and clouds, easy limit of specks under birds and more reds.  Part 2 here: part 2

Some unintended results.  A few reds made a last minute dive for freedom as I was snapping a pic...below was the result of such an evasive action.