Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Fish of 2011 - December 31st, 2011

Brad and I hiked in and fished from 8:30 to 1:30. We landed 19 and lost about 6 more. We each caught a 3lbs fish and I lost 2 more that were over 3lbs. We also had several missed hits and short strikes. The weather was cold and getting colder per the usual. The water was 62 percentile on the USGS and falling. I caught 10 fish on the day which oddly made my 2011 fish count 1,111 for the year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Right Two Fish - December 26th, 2011

Brad and I attempted to trout fish today despite the river having a 70 percentile on the USGS. The only thing going for us was that despite the water being high it was falling. Long story short we fished as best we could and landed only two trout, one fish each. But it was the right two trout mine was 3lbs and Brad's came in on the digital scales at 4lbs. Unfortunately I dropped mine while we were trying to snap a picture. Trout are like trying to  hold a 3lbs. bar of wet soap. Through the clever use of a net we were able to get a picture of Brad's which was the bigger of the two anyway.

Water gets any higher and we won't be crossing.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grant County's Natives - December 16th, 2011

Avery & I fished the head waters of Lunice Creek on Aleshia's grandad's farm on Jordan Run. It was cold and our fishing was limited to an hour or so, but we managed to catch 10 and hook about that many more native brookies. Despite the cold Avery seemed to have fun catching some of WV's most beutiful fish.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Boundary Lines - December 2nd, 2011

 Danny Helms and I hunted the farm on a cold foggy morning. He hunted off the end and I went back into my  Highwall stand.  On my way in after daylight I could hear some turkeys on the Maddam's Creek side. As I was listening to them I could here somethng coming down the ridge towards me. It was moving cautiously and slowly. I stopped by a good tree to rest off of and decided to wait it out and see what I was dealing with. About 20 minutes later I saw a deer coming down the ridge line towards me about 130 yards away. I made it out to be a 4 point buck. I started to take a shot initll but decided to let it come closer. Then the fog thickened and the deer disappered for a short while. I next saw the deer getting ready to walk over the ridge towards the thicket at about 90 yards. I took my shot, heard the bullet hit, saw the buck hunker down, then run down the hill. I quickly headed down only to find no blood. I followed the deer's  tracks along the heavily frosted ground going  around the hill. As I tracked it I looked up only to see it run around the hill into a small thicket. On my way to the thicket I started to find a blood trail. At this point I should have backed off and gave the deer time like you do when bow hunting. Instead I made a stupid choice and pressed on into the thicket. I jumped the deer out of the thicket but it was so thick I couldn't even get my rifle shouldered. I quickly pressed on and saw the deer wobbling up the hill towards the next ridge line. I got the gun up, fired a second shot, saw the deer go down only to quickly get back up and run over the ridge line out of sight. Within 15 seconds of the deer leaving my sight I heard somebody else shot from Angel's high point stand. I went up there and talked to a guy named Keith who as hunting on Angel's. The deer I had shot twice ran by his stand and was shot a third time and killed. Oh well, he said he hadn't seen a buck all season and seemed really tickle with this buck and at least the deer didn't suffer. Besides I was kinda dreading the drag out of there. He had let deer cross the boundary before he shot it. I saw three more does that morning after everything settled out. Danny saw several deer ~ 9 but all does. It was a nice morning to be in the woods. In light of  a couple of my lasting shooting performance (1 for my last 3 on deer) I will be spending some time at the gun club this upcoming year working on my rifle skills.   

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Mulligan Buck - November 28th, 2011

 On my last post I talked about missing a nice buck in a thicket on Thanksgiving Day. Today, 4 days later,  I headed back into that same hollow hoping to get a second chance. Unlike many things in life this time I did get a 2nd chance and I made the most of it. I got on my stand at 7:15. I grunted every 30 minutes. I saw my buck coming in on a string at 8:45. I shot him once behind the shoulder at 45 yards and again at 25 yards, just to be sure this time around. He was a little bigger than what I had thought and was an 8 point instead of a 6 point, but definitely the same buck. He fell only 15 yards from my stand. There was a good bedding area, great buck sign, some active does, and some acorn mass in this area so I had a feeling that this may have been his quiet home area. It's so hard to get in an out of here I don't figure this buck has seen much pressure at least not close to home. All these factors helped me be fortunate enough to exact my revenge on this deer. He  measured 16 inches inside.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Too Much Brush - November 24th, 2011

Dad and I hunted the farm again on this Thanksgiving day. I hunted the Madam's Creek high wall and Dad hunted the hollow below Mock's field. We talked to Jeff at daylight. He said they had killed 3 bucks and had seen several deer earlier on in the week. About 30 minutes after I got set I heard a buck grunt. I grunted back with no affect. I saw a single deer that I couldn't tell what it was through the brush. Then about 9am I saw a buck walking down the ridge across from me. I could tell it was a rack buck but I had a lot of trash between me and him. I looked through the scope, quickly picked a hole, and made the decision that most likely this deer was going on up the other side and this would be my only chance. I squeezed off the shot and then nothing. I couldn't hear anything, couldn't see the deer anymore, had not idea what was happening. I started around the hill so I could see where the deer went. Then I saw a deer running up the hollow. I  threw up  a shot in desperation then it bounced out of  sight. I looked and looked over the next 90 minutes. No blood, no hair, no body, nothing. It was just to thick. After the sun fully came up I looked around again and it was so much thicker than was I had judged it to be in the morning fog. I took the best only shot I had and it wasn't meant to be. Had I only moved on up another the 60 yards above the last thicket I would have had a slam dunk.  I hunted on til 1pm seeing 4 more deer, all does. Dad saw 11 deer all does. On a positive note we saw a lot of deer and deer sign. The place I missed the buck at was eat up with buck sign. Maybe as much sign as any one place I can remember on the farm.

All Does and No Buck - November 23rd, 2011

Dad and I hunted up at the farm from 10:30am till dark. We saw 11 does. We saw does off and on all day long on this changing weather day. I was happy to see some deer activity but on this day bucks were hard to come by. I did hear a few shots even one that was real close by.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Death of the Active Smallie Bite - November 20th, 2011

It sure was fun while it lasted but it appears that the time of big fall smallies chasing lures is coming to a halt. It was still going strong a week ago but  today Rick and I fished for an hour below the dam out of kayaks and managed only one smallie. We saw two other guys fishing from kayaks who did no better. The finesse fishing season for big winter smallies is just around the corner.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Smallies Still Chasing - November 14th, 2011

I fished solo out of the Jackson below the dam for 2 hours today. I took some tubes figuring I would have to slow my presentation way down, but that wasn't the case at all. I had a white gitzit g tail still tied on so I have it a run. I caught 2 bass over 3lbs. and another over 2lbs in my first dozen casts. I worked my way across the baffles to the route 20 side and back. I ended up landing 18 and losing 2 more nice sized fish. I also caught a spotted bass and a small crappie as well. The air temps today were very warm, projected to hit 70 degrees this afternoon. So at least for  now if you can locate them smallies are still active and still chasing.

Catfish Skeleton

Friday, November 4, 2011

Full Circle Trout - November 4th, 2011

It started off in January with trout and with more cold weather inbound it will likely end just as it began, catching trout in the cold clear water. Brad and I fished from 9am till 1:30 landing 119 between the two of us. We had 7 fish over 3 lbs. but nothing that broke the 4lbs. mark. It was a great day. Not as good as last November when three of us landed 265 but then again that's just being plain greedy isn't it. My prettiest fish appears to have been a holdover from last year. He wasn't scared up and roughed up like the rest. He had a big hook jaw and a very dark color.  Brad and I also managed to round up 3 smallies as a bonus.

All Squacks No Turkey - November 1st, 2011

Dad and I went to Little Creek in Greenbrier County to do some turkey/squack hunting. It was a frosty 35 degree morning. When the sun did come up and the frost started to melt off the trees it sounded like it was raining. I took the Savage 33/12 gauge combo gun after taking it to the range last week and figuring out that it shoots 5 shot extremely well and the gun didn't disappoint. It went 10 for 10 on one shot squack kills. I didn't see or hear any turkeys. I did see where turkeys had been scratching recently, but no actual birds.

Cold Front Day 4 - October 30th, 2011

Even though we had snow the night before last I decided to give New river smallies a try. Greg caught the front coming in and absolutely hammered the smallies the previous Friday morning. I fished for 2 hours in front of the dam with my Coosa. I landed 13, 6 of which were over 2lbs. A good day by most any standard but after some the days we have been having it felt pretty lackluster. I didn't catch any that broke the 3 lbs. mark. I did miss several bites as well. I caught most on white g tails in the three big runs below the baffles. It was still very cold, 40's, and the fish were acting for the first time in a long time a little on the sluggish side.

Crayfish Boneyard

 October Fatty

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Last Remaining Light - October 26th, 2011

I had only about an hour before dark to fish. I put my waders on and fished the route 20 side below the dam. When I got there Greg was kayak fishing from the grass island across from me. I fished and waded around catching 4 average smallies and one smallish crappie or spec if you will. Greg found the run and managed 24 in about 3 hours of fishing. The fall afternoon bite is no where near as good as the morning bite. The shad are getting stunned by the cold nights and the bass feed on them heavily in the mornings when they get sucked through the dam.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Deer, Bear, Turkey - October 22nd, 2011

Dad and I went to Little Creek for the opening day of fall turkey season. It was cold, around  36 degrees and a little foggy at daylight. I went up the high point and killed a quick six greys and started turkey hunting. I saw 8 does initially going in. They were all camp deer, although I did see two more up high later that morning. Just past the high point I heard something sounded like turkeys scratching on the ridge next to me. I slipped a face mask on and started creeping over there. When I got to the ridge apex I could see black but it wasn't feathers it was fur. Fur of a large black bear. I tried to take a pic but he had already started walking off and my camera doesn't zoom very far. If I had a rifle and bear were in season it would have been a very reasonable shot. On my way back to camp I ran across  a group of 7 turkeys at about 70 yards. I tried sneaking up on them but got made. I threw a shot at them and got them busted up in to at least 4 different directions. I called and called but only one of them talked back. The wind picked up pretty good and put a stop to my bust em up then shot em up plan and I had to return to camp without a turkey. If I had it to do other I would have cut a half circle around  them I tried to ambush them that way instead of a direct frontal assault.

Camp deer at 15 yards

Greenbrier County in October Splendor

The black thing in the middle is actually a bear walking away at 75 yards.

Sqacks not even trying

Shadtastic Day - October 21st, 2011

A cold front brought temps to the lowest in six months. Due to the colder air and water temps shad are to becoming lethargic in the lake. This results in some of them getting sucked through the spillway at the dam. This "shad flow" creates a super fishing opportunity the likes of which is not rivaled at any other time of year anywhere in southern WV. Big smallmouth stack up in amazing number in deep runs right below the baffles and feed like there is no tomorrow, because for them the opportunity to gorge like this may not come around again till next spring. Greg, Rick, and I combined for an amazing 173 bass in a 5 hour time frame. I would not believe it either had I not been a part of it. Joe fished the big run with flukes and lands several nice fish as well including a nice LMB, but was unable to float with us for health reasons. Almost all of our fish were caught within 250 yards of the baffles. I caught 71, making my Y-T-D total 999, Greg caught 67 and Rick caught 35. We caught at least 7 fish over 3 lbs and who dozens over 2lbs. It was to date the most amazing smallie day I have ever been a part of. I have had dreams about fishing that weren't as good. I found one spot that I caught 50 fish out of in a 90 minute period without moving the kayak more that 30 yards. We did catch a few on Strike King sexy shad spinner baits but the lure of choice was a white g-tail.

The forage that made this day possible.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More of Fall's Finest - October 19th, 2011

I fished out of my kayak around below the dam between 9am and 2pm. The weather was very warm and a tad overcast. The bass where hitting hard and often. They were ripping on the surface chasing minnows. I met  a nice fellow from Marlington who was wearing the bass out flukes.  I used the standard g-tails of which YUM brand in plain smoke was the hottest ticket for me on this day. I ended up with 42 fish two of which were solid 3lbs. I tried floating down the arm and the route 20 side with limited success. The fish seemed to be stacked in big runs up top near the baffles. Interestingly I caught a couple of bass that were spitting up 3 to 4 inch silver sided shad. This was also confirmed from Joe, the fellow I met from Marlington as well. It may be that the fish are stacked up at the top of the dam looking to pick off lathargic shad that are filtering in from the lake. If that is the case fishing may get even better the first week of November when they draw the lake down to winter pool. At any rate it was  a great day. The kind of which may be getting to be few and far between with colder weather inbound.

Photos courtesy of Joe Winfield.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Beech Run Fun - October 17th, 2011

  I  hunted the S shaped loop that runs from Claude Davidson's over to Angel's and back with Dad today. Saw as many squacks as I can ever remember for the farm. We managed to kill 11 and saw well over 24 between 7 and 10am. Also saw 3 does and a nice rack buck. The ground was dry and movement was tough. I did manage to get three nice fox squirrels.