Friday, February 24, 2012

Movin' on Up....

Well, I finally got with the times and made a page for Bent Rod Chronicles,so now you can "Like" us on Facebook! Use the link beneath the blog archive or search Bent Rod Chronicles. Look out information age- here I come. A smart phone might be next....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sweetwater Crankin'

I've never been much of a freshwater fisherman, as I grew up fishing the salt. What little experience I do have has been fishing minnows under a bobber- what I call kid fishing. Not that there is anything wrong with it, its just that as a kid you start out with a minnow and bobber and it always takes me back to those days. This year I decided to broaden my spectrum and spend more time fishing the local sweetwater.

While taking advantage of an early day off work, my buddy Alex and I have been out a few times recently targeting crappie and perch just to bend a rod. I don't keep any although I understand they both make great tablefare. We have had some good days bring in 15-20 between the two of us. Most have been in the 10" range and fat.Oddly enough, we have yet to find the crappie yet.
                                                              As expected we've also both picked up a few largemouth.

                  Alex has me beat so far this year for big bass, but there's alot of time left to fish. I took it last year.

   I couldn't pull myself off the water after he caught that fatty. It paid off just as it was getting to dark to see.  

The following week we decided to target the Largemouth Bass and Chain Pickerel, as there has been some good reports of consistent catches on crankbaits. Alex had picked up a couple small bass on a shad pattern in a private lake, so the next chance I got, I picked one up and we hit our little cove to see if we could crank up a big'un.

Just before leaving I made a Go-Pro mount to fit in my forward rod holder. It only took about 10 minutes to make and cost me nothing. I figured it will work until I can pick up a YakAttack Panfish and Panfish Protrait.
                         I will do a short post later with instructions in case anybody wants to know how to make one.

The afternoon started off slow. We each had a couple short strikes, and Alex hooked up a heavy fish, but it shook the hook loose before he could get it to the boat. I was spending alot of time picking my crankbait out of the bushes along the shoreline. At one point I jerked the pole and broke it in half. Luckily, it was a very inexpensive combo I bought about 15 years ago. Not long after, Alex finally hooked up with a heavy fish. It turned out not to be the bucketmouth he was looking for, but a 22" chain pickerel.
He was excited, as I believe this was his personal best. I was jealous, as I wasn't having a great afternoon on the water, and it was about to get worse. After getting some cool footage and a measurement on the Hawg Trough, we released the fish. Somehow while sliding it back into place behind the seat, I broke the lip off the end of it. Damnit! I paddled away to take a smoke break and get refocused. I just had to laugh and decide to get back at it.

 I moved over to a lay down and cast out past where I guessed the end of the tree was. I hadn't cranked more than 6 feet or so when I had a strike but didn't hook up. I paused and slowed my retrieve just a hair when the fish took a second swipe and smashed the bait. I knew right away this was a good fish. I also knew there was the top half of a large pine tree down there somewhere and had to keep the fish out of the structure. I have never caught a chain pickerel, so when the fish surfaced the first time, I was stoked to see a large, possibly citation "slime dart."
My crankbait was way down his throat and all I could see was my 8 lb flouro. It took some work without pliers but I was able to go in through the gills and release the hooks, and use my ARC DeHooker to work through the mouth to free the others. Not a drop of blood, from me or the fish!
Next order of business was to measure this ting and see if I had my first citation . . . . . 2 3 . 5" So Close! But I had my buddy beat and braggin rights, any real fisherman knows it doesn't get much better than that.

Its funny how quickly your mood can change, and it goes from a bad day of breaking equipment, to a great day of fishing, in about 2 minutes. We finished the day out fishing the mouth of the cove and both Alex and I picked up a couple small bass just as the sun was setting. It was rewarding to go out and focus on fishing one bait, target a certain species, and have it pay off. This fishing season is starting out pretty good!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Deep Bottom Blues

I got a call from Rob Choi on Friday asking if I wanted to join him on the James River in search of big catfish. Its no secret that just south of the city you can hook up to a 40+ lbs cat on any given day, so I was excited to give it a try. We met at the Deep Bottom ramp at 6:00am to colder than forecasted temperatures and a steady breeze that wasn't helping. Rob had a cooler full of gizzard shad his boss had left over from the previous day, and had some holes he thought would hold fish, so we were ready to get bowed up. The morning started out a little slow as we moved from spot to spot looking for a bite. Thousand and thousands of Canadian Geese overhead kept me entertained while waiting on a run. I couldn't help but wish I was in a blind. The daydreaming came to an abrupt end when my clicker finally made some noise and my line started moving across the water. I reeled down and let the line come tight, then immediately put as much pressure as I could on the fish, as he was getting ready to cross one of my other lines. I could tell it was a good sized fish, but not the citation blue I really wanted. He did get wrapped up in my other lines, but with the reels in free spool it wasn't a concern. As I lipped him and swung up and in the boat, the fish bit down on my thumb like a vise grip. Even after I laid him between my legs, he wouldn't let go.
                                                                         My personal best blue cat @ 30" 21lbs

Rob had a bunch of good runs and finally landed another blue just a little smaller than mine. We continued to try other holes but found no takers and ended the day around 2:00. I was asleep on the couch within the hour! Thanks for the invite Rob. Hope to give it another try again soon.