Friday, October 6, 2017

A Morning at the Aquarium- October 6th, 2017

















We have not had any rain at all in the entire month of September. Now the net result is that the New river is lower and clearer than I have ever seen it. A float down the river is like a trip tot the aquarium. Today I saw a half dozen catfish, tons of smallmouth, and even two muskies (one of which was a monster in the high 40" range seen in the picture). Today being my first not online tournament and non tournament prep day in long time. I experimented with different hook types and fluke types with no usable results. Finally I switched back to my standby and started really catching fish. The magic combination is nearly impossible to beat. I caught and 18" small in shallow push water and hooked and lost a bigger one to a breakoff, second one in as many weeks and only my second this year although the first one could have been a musky. We did the Narrows to Glenn Lynn section. It was just me and Greg on this day. Greg worked the Ned rig and flukes but the Ned rig was a little off and produced only smaller fish on this day. Once the fog burned off and it got clear the bite got tougher. I did have the big musky in the picture chase my fluke right out in front of Greg's yak. That was a memorable experience. You don't see freshwater fish that big just everyday.
Miles floated = 5.5
Total fish = 16
Biggest fish = 18.25"
Biggest five fish = 69"
Minutes per fish = 18.75 (spent a lot of the day experimenting)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

SCKBA Starewide Open - September 30th, 2017














We had 27 anglers compete in the SCKBA Statewide open today. Anglers could fish anywhere in WV that is public water. I originally planned on going from Brooks to Sandstone but that was starting to sound like a who's who of kayak angling. With so many anglers going there I went to Shanklin's with Greg and Jared instead. The low super clear water is starting to wear on me. Fish see you get out of the car and immediately go hide. The first 3 hours with the fog were pretty good but once the sun got going and the wind kicked up to 20mph it got all but impossible to fish. I landed some descent fish early on my fluke and then lost one that ultimately would have moved me up from 3rd place to 2nd place. I ended up 3rd and did enough in the WVKA September online to move up into 6th place and capture the WVKA Angler of the Year title, which was my main goal heading into today. Shanklin's once again was pretty good to me early then not so much after 10:30am or so. Mark Edwards won todays event by fishing Bluestone lake. Because we were more time compressed than usual we only floated upper Shanklin's to the lower campground.
Miles floated= 3.5
Total fish Caught = 16
Minutes per fish = 18.75 (Good early in the fog then a real challenge after)
Biggest fish = 16.75"
Best five fish = 65.25"
Finish- 3rd out of 27 anglers.
This will be my final kayak tournament for the 2017 season. My final head to head record in WV based events is 405 wins and 16 loses (96.05 win percentage). My final 2017 season long campaign record is 696 wins and 80 loses (88.5% win percentage) This number includes the KBF National Championship at Kentucky Lake in March as well as my WV based events. . Greg and I won WVKA 2 man team of the year, I captured WVKA Angler of the year, and currently I am in good standing to win SCKBA Angler of the year pending a final tournament that I have to work during. Going into this season I had yet to win a kayak tournament. This season truly has been my dream season. I don't know that any other season could live up to this one.


My 2017 Season Recap


KBF National Championship (67th out of 359 nationally qualified anglers)
SCKBA Bluestone Lake        (2nd place out of 24 anglers)
SCKBA New River                (6th place out of 27 anglers)
WVKA Stonewall                   (8th place out of 51 anglers)
SCKBA Greenbrier River       (1st place out of 37 anglers)
WVKA Tygart Lake               (2nd place out of 50 anglers)
WVKA Summers Slam           (1st place out of 61 anglers)
SCKBA Battle of Bluestone    (2nd place out of 81 anglers)
WVKA Summersville              (1st place out of 43 anglers)
SCKBA Statewide Open          (3rd place out of 27 anglers)













Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Crystal River Comes to Virginia- September 28th, 2017




Greg, Brad, Kent, Phil, and I hit the river a daybreak. We fished from Narrows to Glynn Lynn on a Thursday morning that felt more like late July than September. We are in need of rain badly! The USGS water gauge had the New river at our take out running at only 12% with 50% being the mean for this time of year. The bad part is the water is crystal clear and the fish see you get out of the car. I have never seen it this low and this clear. It makes chasing particularly big fish so tough. I am still chasing WVKA AOY through the September online. I am holding in 7th and need to finish 11th or better to clinch the title. Greg was doing well with Ned rig, he landed over 40 fish but none over 13". I needed 16" to upgrade and I stayed with the fluke all day hoping for a bigger reaction bite on a ledge. But that bigger fish bit never happened. I ended up with 20 with the biggest only being 12". I have now caught 126 bass since I was last able to upgrade my online standing.


Miles Floated = 5.5
Fish Caught = 20
Biggest fish = 12.25"
Biggest five fish limit = 58.75"
Minutes per fish = 16.5

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bluestone River Skinny Water- September 24th, 2017








Greg and I went out on a scouting/exploratory trip this afternoon to the upper Bluestone river. The Bluestone river remains the most underdeveloped fishing asset in the SC. However on this day it was hot, low, gin clear. It was so low in fact that only the first deep hole where we put it had much opportunity to fish. We caught a couple fish in the mile and a half or so we went upstream but before dark when we returned back to our put in we found some willing fish holding in the only spot they could be. Greg caught a 16" and a 14"  then I caught a 15.25". We saw several more good sized fish and I believe there is the potential for a 20 inch fish to be there. Once we figured it out the low water actually worked in our favor. We spent a large part to the day exploring and ruling water out. It was an interesting afternoon.
Miles floated = 1.5 upstream single access
Total fish Caught = 7
Biggest fish = 15.5"
Biggest five fish = 55.25"
Minutes per Fish = 21.4

Upgrades Come Hard - September 24th, 2017


I got up well before daybreak to see if I could get back into the fish in the push water below Brooks Falls. I only had 2 hours before church to fish so I did a single access point and fished around  below the falls and mainly around the bottom shoals. I did manage 16 fish but again nothing that improved my standing in WVKA September online. I am currently 7th and need to finish 11th place or better to win Angler of the Year.
Total fish = 16
Biggest fish = 13
Biggest five fish limit = 62
Miles floated= < 0.5 (single access)
Minutes per fish = 7.5

Saturday, September 23, 2017

One Flip Flop - September 23rd, 2017


Greg Davis and I fished between the falls on an afternoon in the mid 80's that felt more like July than September. I forgot my water shoes at home and ended wearing flip flops. At one point I got out and waded around and one of my flip flops came off in the current and floated away before I could get to it. So I ended up fishing with one shoe the rest of the trip. Despite clears skies and high heat the fluke bite was on fire. The push water below the Brooks Falls alone was a stacked as anywhere I have seen in years. At one point I caught 20 fish in less than 20 minutes just standing there. The problem is I have fallen to 7th in the WVKA September online and cannot seem to catch anything bigger than my smallest 15.25" fish. I caught lots of 11 and 12" fish but nothing bigger.
Total fish = 49
Biggest fish = 12.75"
Biggest five fish = 63"
Miles floated = 3.1
Minutes per fish = 3.06 (lowest all year)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Plenty of Fish - September 17th, 2017






Brad, Greg and I floated between the falls at daybreak. We were on the water for 4 hours and landed as a group over 90 fish. Only 4 were above 14" and none over 16". The bite was consistent and but finding size proved hard. I needed a 15.5" fish to upgrade and landed my biggest of the day as a 15.25". Greg did upgrade his postion some and since this time yesterday Greg and I have taken over 1st place in the September WVKA 2 man team online.
Miles floated 3.3
Fish caught = 37
Biggest fish = 15.25"
Biggest five fish = 63.5"
Minutes per fish  = 6.48

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Moving on Up - September 16th, 2017










Greg Davis and I floated between the two sets of falls in the last 2.5 hours of daylight today. It was a perfect evening on what is shaping up to be the hottest water in Summers for both size and numbers right now. I upgraded my online WVKA September position from 7th to 4th by catching a 15.25", 16.0" and 19.75". I also caught 26 total fish in a short amount of time. It was a very productive evening and maybe just maybe gave me enough inches to lock up WVKA Angler of the Year title. Time will tell.
Miles floated = 3.1
Total fish caught = 26
Minutes per fish = 5.73
Biggest fish = 19.75"
Biggest five fish = 75.25"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Struggle to Stay 6th Online - September 12th, 2017


The WVKA season boils down to if I can finish 11th or better in the WVKA month long online September tournament I will clinch WVAK Angler of the Year. I am in 6th place currently and working to stay their. Greg and I have already clinched team of the year but I would be honored to finish as the WVKA AOY and I am certainly gonna work hard and try to pull that off. I ran down to Berry's and fished the last 2 hours of daylight after work. The fish were hitting good and I only wish I had more time. The misty rain kept people away and the fish active.
Miles Floated = single access <0 .5="" mile="" p="">Total Fish Caught = 16
Time on water = 127 mintues
Biggest fish = 15.25" (He upgraded by 2.5" online)
Biggest five fish limit = 59.5"
Minutes per Fish = 8.4

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Between the Falls - September 10th, 2017







On this cool September afternoon Greg, Brad and I floated between the two sets of falls in the last 2.5 hours of daylight. The fish were absolutely on fire but by and large on the small side. I caught 29 in less than 2.5 hours but the biggest was only 13.5". I did hook one around 16 or so but he got off. The signs of bass visibly busting shad were everywhere. Greg caught big fish of the day a 14.5".  I also caught a largemouth in a backwater area that I had never noticed before. Between now and dark on September 30th I need to score enough big fish to finish 9th or better in this months WVKA September online in order to win WVKA Angler of the Year. So needless to say my motivation has picked up some.


Miles floated = 3
Total fish caught = 29
Time on the water = 2.5 hours
Minutes per fish = 5.11
Biggest fish = 13.5"
Biggest five fish = 59.5" or so.



The Case of the Curious Musky - September 2nd, 2017



I went out on the Greenbrier at the Big Rock hole to relive some nostalgia from back in the day when Dad and I used to fish there out of the crawdad every weekend. I only paddled around and fished for and hour and a half or so because it got bright and hot. I caught three small fish and lost one about 14". While floating there I had a 40inch musky swim up on me and take long hard look at me as if to ask me to "why are you here".  He was in less than 3 feet of water and wondered around as if he where the king of his domain which is pretty much was. I would be terrified of this guy if I where a 10 inch bass or a redeye.

WVKA Season Finale - September 9th, 2017











I returned to backwater road for the WVKA Summersville Slam tournament. This is the last WVAK live event for the year. Greg and I came in ranked first in team of the year and I was in 2nd place behind Jerry Spraulding for individual AOY. The plan was to get on the river paddle upstream and fish stealthily, work hard and get away form the 100 boat bass boat tournament that was also happening on Summersville lake at the same time as our tournament. I am not a huge fan of drop shotting 60 feet of crystal clear water anyway. With today being the first day of Gauley season the lower Gauley was unfishable. Greg, Mike Sisson and I fished together and leap frogged up stream all morning as we worked hard to fight our way up the Gauley river. The water looked a lot like the Bluestone river. I used the same push water pattern I had found the previous week in pre fishing. I was catching a 13" plus fish at every major hole I came to. Meanwhile the guess in the lake were fighting bass boats, wind, pressure boaters, and falling water where the lake was being drawn down for lower Gauley river rafting. Our plan worked like a charm. I finished first overall, Mike came in 4th, and Greg came in 5th. Greg and I won first place team by a margin of 52.25 inches. We had an awesome fish fry at weigh in. It was an awesome time. Jerry Spraulding won big bass but did not have a limit and fell to 16th place giving me the opportunity to win individual angler of the year pending a 8th place or better September online event. Greg and I locked up 2 man team of the year which was my ultimate goal going into season. I was a day on the water and a weekend I will remember for a very long time. WVKA has put on four awesome events. I have been very blessed and fortunate to finish 8th, 2nd, 1st and 1st in the four live events. I am very hopeful that I have a chance to be WVKA's first angler of the year.

Miles Floated = Single access upstream ~3 up and 3 back
Fish Caught = 16
Biggest single fish = 16"
Biggest five fish limit = 69.25"  Placing 1st out of 43 anglers
Minutes per fish = 21.25

*My head to head fishing record in WV based kayak tournaments in 2017 now stands at 382-14. That is a 96.34% win percentage. This year could not have gone better. I have now been fortunate enough in 2017 to win tournaments on the Greenbrier, New River, and Gauley Rivers. I have came in second on tournaments on Bluestone Lake, New River, and Tygart river. I went to Kentucky lake for the first time in March and finished 67th out of 359 of the nations very best kayak bass anglers. Since returning from KBF National Championship I have only had two finishes outside of the top 2 anglers finishing 6th in SCKBA event in June and 8th on Stonewall Jackson. Honestly this year is an absolute dream season for me. All that is not even the best part, I have made countless new friends and had too many good times to count. I could fish many more years as an competitive kayak angler and cannot imagine a year going better than this one.