Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thank You!

Not a sentimental person...I'm a fisherman...catch some and lose some.  But wanted to say thanks for the support.  The 29th marks my 1 year anniversary to blogging.  

1st post, The beginning

Thanks for the support!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Salt in my life - Day 2

Woke up bright and early to the sound or rain and thunder, it was 4:30 am.  I hadn't planned to get up that early b/c the bite on day 1, really didn't happen until lunch.  But, with nothing better to do, I hit the road around 5:15.  When I got to my planned starting point, I could see storms building north of me.  I sat and waited until the rain passed.

My plan was to head into the wind, just in case the forecast of 5 mph SE winds became 20 mph, like the previous day.  At least, I would have the wind at my back...unlike the day before.

Getting right to the point, I paddled about 2 miles out.  Stood up, and realized the tide was really high.  The reds had to be way up in the grass.  I suspected, I wasn't going to fool any with artificials in the AM hours.  I tried anyway and confirmed my thoughts.  Not a bite for hours. Started to think, this might be my first skunk redfishing.

Didn't see any reds.  Didn't hear bait being crashed.  Not sight or sound of any activity.  After a few hours, I decided to set down and just wait them out.  I knew the tide would fall around 3pm.  I had a few hours to kill.

Killing time

After eating lunch and checking in with my family, I decided to go exploring.  I wasn't expecting to catch anything.  But, I don't get down here very often, so I wasn't setting on the sidelines any longer.

I stood up and started polling around.  Didn't get far and saw a red.  1st red of the day on the fly. Skunk avoided...but I know it'll happen eventually (especially now that I said it).

Saw a wake and some bait dancing on the surface.  Made a presentation and caught a speck.  That wasn't expected...did it again...and another speck.  Awesome!

I stayed put and caught several more...most were under size but I was catching.  So I kept doing it, until I saw a really big shadow....looked like a huge 3' bull red but was blackish.

I decided to make a my fly was traveling towards the shadow, it surfaced and I saw a dorsal fin.  My clouser landed a few feet away, it turned and I saw the gills plates flare...crap!  Don't take my fly, plz don't eat...saltwater is the only place I've ever, NOT wanted something to eat my bait.  I guess it released it or just missed but I kept my fly!!

When they eat...they EAT!

Figured that area was ruined since there was a black tip mucking up everything, I moved on.  Found a shallow area and could tell the tide was flowing out...then I saw a nice red cruising in and out of the grass.  NOT again...corn maze game all over.

But this time I played with the fly rod.  Here's how it, out, back in and out, reversed.  I get a shot...foul on grass.  Don't move...start pleading with the red, to go back in the maze.  Eventually he did.  I shake free.  Anticipate where he'll be next and present.  He came out right where I expected...I strip...he chased, ate, and missed...but in the excitement, I set and the fly came at me.  Instantly, I put it back down beside the red.  He ate and missed again.  Now, he looks like a dog chasing it's tail, searching for my fly, that I kept putting down, and pulling back out.  Trying to get it in front of him....but he won't stop turning.  Finally, he locates the fly swimming and torpedoes it.  Success after a 10-15 minute stalking!

The day was shaping up to be a workout and test of perseverance.  I considered packing it in
several times, but kept telling myself, "wait for the fallout".  It'll be worth it, I hoped.  Just be patient.

And then it happened, the water started to drop, and I located fish.  They weren't very active but a few were cruising the grass line.  I managed to fool several and considered the day to be a success.

It's about 5 pm, and I'm exhausted so I started heading home.  Not expecting much to change.  I happen upon a wind blown point and saw 2 really big reds, setting in "I got your back formation"...each facing in opposite directions.  I slowly stop the kayak, grab my stake out pole (broom stick) and stake the scupper.  Put the paddle down softly, replaced it with my fly rod.

The question was, how to present to 1, w/o spooking the other.  The red not facing me is the larger of the 2...maybe 34"s and I really want it.  So I present, with a side arm cast hoping to wrap the fly line around the smaller red and not line it.  Probably could have just made a regular cast b/c I'm not that good...but somehow it worked and I had a perfect presentation.  I slowly stripped to the red and inhaled it.  At that moment, he went completely loco!  He put me into my backing within seconds.  I was scrambling to turn my kayak toward his run but had to unstake first.  I was using my hand to apply drag to the reel and as I stopped to remove the stake, he ran again!  Another 25' gone.  Stake removed, I started the chase, enjoying the sleigh ride.

Anyone who's caught a big red knows, a red that big isn't done after a couple runs...gone again, and again!  When I get him close, he dives under the kayak, and bulldogs the bottom.  After what seemed like 20 minutes, I try to net him...nope.  That's not going to happen.  Get the grips and pull him into the kayak.  Awesome!  Quick pic, and spent some time reviving him beside the yak.

Went back to the point, hoping to see that other red...I'm not that lucky, it wasn't around.   Discovered the point was also the entrance to a pond.  Of course, I decided to check it out.  Just as I got into the cut, I spooked a big red and it ran out (that's my kinda luck), waking the cuda, as it swam underneath me.

But now, I'm on alert and moving at a snails pace.  Stalking and scanning every inch of this pond.  Sure enough, I spot another big red guarding another entrance to the pond.  I'm in the pond so he's facing away from me.  Just need to not line him.  Make a good presentation, he eats, and goes ballistic...I've never seen a red jump so far out of the water.  Half his body was above the water line.  I'm certain his weight kept him from tail walking like a bass.  Another lucky break (you'll see why in a second)...since he was facing out...he ran out of the pond and I was right along with him.  Another lengthy fight, and I spent some time reviving him.

 I repeat this same scenario a few more times.  I can't believe they are still in that pond.  But, they were all facing out and as luck would have it, each time I hooked up they would run out the front door!  And the fight would happen in open water, 30 yards away from the pond.

Went back into the pond but didn't see anymore reds.  That's how the day ended.  Stayed and played the game to conclusion.  Rewarded with big reds on the fly, for sticking it out.

Missed part 1:
Part 1 here

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Salt in my life - Day 1

Gonna keep this post really simple and full of fish pictures.  Not much to tell really, I have a very understanding wife who accepts my addiction.  She gave me the go ahead and I packed so fast (before she changed her mind) that I forgot my joke.  Good thing I keep extras in my truck.

Monday the fishing was slow but steady.  The winds were pushing 20 mph and that made sight fishing difficult.  As such, I left the fly rod in the hull of my kayak.  Tide was high until about noon and then started falling.  Until that point, I was sighting a fish every 30 mins it seemed but only managed to catch about 6.

Around 2pm, the tide fell out and they were forced to the edges of the grass.  A few were cruising back and forth weaving through the grass.  If you have kids, and ever visited a corn maze, you'll understand what I'm about to say.

I would spot a red, it would vanish into the grass, come out 5 ft away, back in, back out...but 10 ft in the opposite direction...this went on forever it seemed and I kept chasing!  I would stop, and wait, scanning in every direction, hoping for it to reappear...just like when your kids run off in the corn maze and you're running after them trying to cut them off.

Eventually, I intercepted a few but most just ghosted out on me.  All the reds I caught were upper slot or baby bulls.  Nothing under 23"s.  So it was absolutely a great day.  I don't like to keep reds over 22"s but after releasing about 5 before lunch I had to start keeping a few...or explain to my wife, why I choose to catch and release, while she took care of the kids and worked all day.  No thanks!

Day 1 in a nutshell...worked really hard fighting the wind, covered a bunch of water and caught some large reds.  Loved every minute of it.  Day 2 (next post), all about the fly and even bigger reds...last 2 hours was on epic levels!

Day 2 link

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Lace Lock" video tip

As an active runner, I also check out running tips but don't usually post them here.  Yet, I ran across this video about creating a "lace lock", seems legit for running.  I'm also going to try it on my wading boots and my shoes for wet wading....and that makes it fishing related.  I'll report back.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Awareness is good!

I've gotten some "random" comments about posting fishy related material on the internet.  A few were very, passionate, and accused me of destroying the "wonder" of the "natural world".  I won't repeat the comments b/c it won't create a positive environment or intelligent conversation.  Plus, internet spats are just sad.

However, I will explain why I disagree and feel like posting is a good thing.  I created this blog to share my love of the outdoors, and more importantly, to protect the "wonder" of the "natural world".  Not to brag, or self promote.

For years, I practiced the, don't share attitude.  But decided that philosophy doesn't work b/c it doesn't create any value or stakeholders.  I'm still vague on the locations, but that's b/c I don't want to be fishing beside 100 of my closest friends.  Not, b/c I feel like it's hurting the fishery.  Rather, in my opinion the fisheries are being hurt by poorly educated anglers and a few bad apples.  We need more people with a vested interested in the fisheries and outdoors in general.  I hope my posts encourage others to get outside and experience these "wonders".  And in return, keep a watchful eye over these treasures and protect them for future generations.

I post to create awareness and hopefully some value.  Organizations like, Trout Unlimited (TU), Orvis, The Missouri Smallmouth Alliance (MSA) and many others, have learned that creating and promoting the beauty of the outdoors does more good than harm.  Creating value for people will build a community with a common goal...protect the resources we find most valuable.  There is strength in numbers.  Not convinced, check out this video from TU, Chris Wood speech.

State of Trout Unlimited from Trout Unlimited on Vimeo.

Further, I recommend wearing a PFD, safe fish handling practices, catch and release, or responsible harvesting (nothing wrong with catch and keep), and leave no trace camping.  Fishing from a kayak is also better for the environment and has some obvious health benefits.

I feel like we need to get more people kayaking, camping, enjoying the environment, and fishing in general...anything outside!  In my opinion, more people loving and protecting the "natural world" is a good thing.

Below are a few links to visit and learn how promoting the outdoors creates value and protects the resources.  If you know of others plz post in the comments.  More awareness is a good thing.

Trout Unlimited

The Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Orvis - conservation

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

3 day Ozark float - SMB on the fly

Wow!  That's about the best way to describe the past weekend.  Me and a buddy were fortunate enough to talk our wives and family into covering all our grown up responsibilities while we cut ties with the real world.

We packed up Thursday night, dropped the kids off at school Friday morning, and made the 4.5 hr drive north into the Ozarks for some canoe camping and smallmouth bass catching.  Around 2 pm on Friday we were waist deep and the catching started shortly after.

We packed light...sleeping, eating and fishing required gear only.  This trip was all about the fishing, so we brought as many SMB patterns as we could carry and just enough food for calories.

We wanted to fish from first light until last light.  So setting up/breaking down elaborate camp's and cooking gourmet meals was abandoned for MRE's and a cot beside a camp fire.  It got a little chilly 45-50f each night but nothing to complain about.

Each morning we would pack our gear in about 10 mins and be wading in ~60f water with a mouth full of breakfast bars.  The water was much warmer than the air temperature at 6am, and that took a little "1, 2, 3...go team" encouragement.

Neither of us wanted to be wet wading that early but you didn't want to be "that" guy standing on the bank while your buddy was toughing it out.  So we'd both inch out slowly making sure to not throw down a man challenge.  Every guy know's where the line is when you're wading in cold water...neither of us were going to cross, "the line".  We went just far enough to avoid suffering any brain freeze.

If a nice fish hadn't been caught in the first few minutes on Saturday morning I'm not sure we'd have repeated the process.  But, a nice fish was it was a race on Sunday.  No need for any motivational speech's...last man in get's to take his buddies picture holding a nice smallie.

I had barely blinked, when I noticed my buddy had packed his gear and set out 2 breakfast bars on the canoe seats.  Game on!

We paddled down to the nearest shoal and before I could get out of the canoe, he was in the middle of his deep breathing exercises, slinging and stripping.  Wait up bro....

So I did what you do when you're the last man out of the canoe...I walked down and did the wade of shame.  The river was loaded with fish so it wasn't that big a deal.  But I could hear him laughing as he watched me seek out new real estate.

He was even gracious enough to capture it on camera.  And wouldn't you know's a cool pic too!

A conversation we had during our time on the water was about those few special trips that are so great, you're always trying to repeat them, but seldom do.  The kind of trips that motivate you to wet wade w/o hesitation, on mornings when the air temp is ~50 degrees and the water isn't much warmer.  We called it, "trip chasing".  This was one of those trips.

The photos tell the story better than I can.  Enjoy...


another strainer