Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Smallmouth at Sunset - September 27th, 2011

Brad, Greg, and I floated on the New this afternoon for a couple hours before dark. We did pretty well. We ended up catching 56 fish between the three of us, with 5 fish over 3 lbs. but none that made the 3lbs. mark. Once again G-tails were the order of the day. Brad and I went with white and Greg threw grape/black. The bite was much better today than on Saturday. I had a small musky chase a fluke all the way back to the boat before getting spooked. Right before take out we saw and awsome fall sunset over the city of Hinton.


Quick Afternoon Float - September 24th, 2011

I floated from the point to the first takeout spot on the New today between 1:30 and 3:00pm. The sun was out and bright. I went alone and had my Dad pick me up. I caught 11 total smallies, most on a white g-tail. I did pick up a few on a fluke. I had only caught before I got to the the second bridge. The other ten came down river. Today you didn't have to have waders but it won't be like this for much longer. The bite was much slower today than what it had been in recent trips. It may have been slower because

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Autumn Begins - September 24th, 2011

On the first day of fall Greg, Brad, and I floated from the top of Shanklins Ferry to Cedar Branch on the New. We started at 7:30am, fished in the rain till 10am and finished our float at 12:30pm. We took our time and fished slowly. The water was very clear and fairly low, in the 40th percentile on the USGS. We ended up with 67 fish. Greg and I each had a fish over 3 lbs. I did oddly enough catch 2 hybrids at the top of shanklins. The addition of the hybrid bass allow me to hit for the bass cycle catching a smallie, large mouth, Kentucky spot, rock bass, and hybrid bass in one trip. Until today I didn't realize that hybrids went that far up river. I suspect there being that far up river from the lake is all part of some sort of fall migration run, because I have fished up there a lot in the spring and have never seen any sign of them. The hot color for the day was grape colored blackish purple riverrock g-tails. The grape was 2 to 1 outfishing the white today. Up til now the white was the hottest thing going.

The Hybrid Bass. Runs off of gas or electric.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Rainy Morning on Bluestone Lake - September 20th, 2011

18 inches and a shade over 3lbs.
 Good news! My bass boat still runs after a 3 month layoff. I fished Bluestone alone for 3.5 hours. I caught 2 and missed 2 more. One was a keeper LMB and the other was  a really nice 18 inch smallie. Both fish came off of  fluke. Water temps were a surprising 64  to 67 degrees, much warmer than I expected after some down right cold nights.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pence Springs To Talcott Solo- September 19th, 2011

Floated from Pence Springs to Talcott on the Greenbrier. Yeah I know, better fish on the New but I grew up on the Greenbrier and it has some really good fish in it. So even though I was sure I could catch more fish on the New I floated the Greenbrier anyway. I  caught only 12 fish but it had more to do with low water levels than anything else. The USGS had it at 35% and it needs to be at least 2 feet higher for this to be a really productive float. I did manage to catch 2 nice bass, one was about 1.5 lbs and another close to 2.5lbs. I did see an osprey, some huge carp and a beaver up close.
The Infamous Greenbrier Redeye

Some other fisherman's day didn't go so well.

Williams Falls

There is always a nice bass below a nasty shoal

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Greenbrier Mudcat - September 10th, 2011

On a time compressed Saturday Morning Brad and I floated from the Dam to Advance Beach. We put in at 6:30am and took out at 10am. They were running 4 gates on the New River side and even the Greenbrier river was running above 75% for a change. We ended up netting 35 total fish using the usual tactics, white G-tails. A few of my fish didn't want to chase and you had to slow the jig down and bounce it off the bottom to get hit. Brad hooked and lost a huge Carp going down the arm, I caught all three species of bass (smallmouth, lagemouth, and spot) and behind Rite Aid I caught a 7lbs. mudcat. When the mudcat hit I thought for a second I had a monter bass.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Below the House - September 9th, 2011

I took my kayak below the house on the Greenbrier around noon and paddled up to the cement plant and just float fished back down. I caught 7 including one that was about 2.5lbs. The water was up really good but not muddy or even really stained. I fished about 2 hours before walking back up to the house. Unluckily I forgot my camera for this little mini expedition.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rain Falling, Water Rising - September 5th, 2011

Brad, Brian, & I floated from the point to Brooks Falls from 6:45 to 10:15. The incoming rain caused the dam to release some water and it was about 3 gates, which is a good 2 feet higher than the last couple trips. The heavier flow made it harder to spot pockets that hold fish and to avoid grass. Despite the cloudy raining conditions the fish didn't bite really great. I ended up catching 28, Brad 22, and Brian 3. We had a few fish around 2lbs. but other than that they were all average sized smallies. Per the usual white Gitzit's were the target of choice.

My new Yak

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Vicious Encounter - September 1st, 2011

   On a hot, sunny afternoon Greg  I decided to float the New river in an attempt to capture( and subsequently release) some smallmouths. Our float started from the point in Bellepoint at 5pm. Greg took his inflatable pontoon and I took my new Kayak for it's maiden voyage. In the past the kayaks I have been using were borrowed from friends.  Despite air temps in the mid 80's the water temps are still nice and cool as a result of the colder night time temps.  We started off slow but by the time we go to the floral shop the smallies were hammering white 3 inch G-tails like they have been for the last couple weeks. Right above Subway I hooked and was fighting a bass that was about 10 inches long when like a lightning bolt a huge musky smashed the bass I was fighting the real fight was on. The musky started ripping my drag off and I started yelling for Greg to come help me land the fish should he stay on long enough to catch. I was fighting a 4 foot Musky while in a 10 foot kayak, needles to say I was getting pulled all over the place. The fight lasted a good 3 minutes and ended with the Musky spitting the bass back out only a few feet from the kayak Crazy thing is when I reeled the bass in he was still very much alive, scared up badly and bleeding but still alive. In fact when I released him he swam off  despite having a very bad day. As for the musky after his spit the bass out he disappeared into the depths of the New River. We went on to catch a smashing 86 bass between the two of us in 3 hours and 15 minutes of fishing. That's an amazing fish caught every 1minute and 22sec between the two of us and that's not counting the 2 dozen or so fish we hooked and lost. We had about 12 fish over 14 inches and I also lost another in the high 2 o low 3 lbs. range. We had a very memorable and fun afternoon and for now my inner fishmonger is satisfied for now atleast but that won't last.

Molested by a Musky

Saturday, September 3, 2011

If I Only Had Ten Lures......

At this point in my fishing career I am all about finding my confidence baits sticking to em while also trying to eliminate as much waste and clutter as possible. I like the idea of using baits that I know work.  I also like to try and buy it in bulk because there's nothing worse than running out of a bait that is flat putting fish in boat in the middle of an outing. I usually gain confidence in a particular bait by putting it in scenarios where it has historically produced well before and having it produce yet again. Forget the new magic gimmick bait that comes out by the dozen every spring. Give me the time tested bait that I have had success with in the past and that's were I will invest my money.I guess that's why they say that experience is the best teacher.  Thankfully I have a lot more than ten, but if I were limited to ten lures they would be as follows in no particular order.

1) Pearl White 5" Zoom Super Fluke Rigged on a 4/0 EWG hook. This bait is my spring time home run hitter. I have caught more fish over 3 lbs. with this fish than any other.It doesn't catch the most fish of any bait but it does catch the piggies.
2) 1/4th oz. In-line Elite Joe Fly Spinner in brown or black. This lure is the anytime anywhere lure to beat all lures. It is heavy enough to throw far, fish deep water or  heavy current. I have caught fish with this lure in streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, creeks, or any other body of water where fish swim. Most impressive is that it is equally deadly for both trout and bass cut also catches redeyes, bluegills, crappie, you name it. In fact this lure is so versatile that I have caught nearly every species in our local waters and that's no exaggeration. If you could only have one lure to fish with all your life this would be it for me. It catches all species in all types of water, cold or hot water, fish big or small. This little lure is stoppable and amazingly you don't see that many people fishing with them. Sure you see a lot of small in line spinners and rooster tails, but they don't have the short striker hook, a full hair body, a bullet weight, or the body wobble to go with that flashing blade.
3) Yellow Foam Bug. AKA Bluegill Getter. For summertime top water fun with a flypole this one is an all time great. Their cheap and you don't have to worry about them losing their buoyancy and sinking like other dry flies. I have caught some really nice bonus bass in the summer on these as well.
4) White/Black/Green Pumpkin/ or Brown 3" Gitzit G-tail. And really the brand is not a must. I just think that Gitzit g-tails have that little something extra and are much more durable than other brands. Back when I fished for smallies only in rivers exclusively this was my thing. My tackle collection was G-tails with more G-tails. When the river is on this bait produces large numbers of fish. It isn't the best big fish go getter but it will occasionally land a big one. The strongest thing about this bait is that it can be fished slow or fast and shallow or deep without any modification or retying .When you are floating down the river  in strong current and do not have a lot of time to change or modify a bait g-tails are a standout choice.
5) 5"Green Pumpkin Shakey Head worm. A tournament fisherman's go to bait.  This bait will catch bass under the most horrible conditions. Post cold front, blue bird skies, on a highly pressured lake? No problem just get a shakey head in front their noses and they will eat it even when they won't touch anything else.I have had many a day when this lure consistently landed fish when absolutely nothing else would.  
6) Black Jitterbug. In low light one night conditions, river, lake or pond this one works the bass magic like now other. They have that patented chug chug chug sound that drives bass nuts. This lure is an old classic but still very relevant weapon in today's angler arsenal. It hard to beat that feeling you get when you hear a bass go "Chur-Thump" this lure in the darkness.
7) 3" Green Pumpkin Tube Jig on 1/8oz. 2/0 tube head. When you live where the New River and Greenbrier River merge and smallmouth bass is your primary game fish you learn to love what tube jigs can do for you, especially in cold water months. Although you do hang up and lose a lot of tubes they are cheap. I can get them with a quality head from Barlow's for $0.32 a piece when you buy 100 at time. You find some slack water below a big eddy in the winter or very early spring months and put a tube in their face then hold on because it's going to be a wild ride. For years I hated using tubes despite seeing my friends catch amazing numbers of big fish on them because I hung them up so much. Despite their high attrition rate these lures have their place for catching your absolute biggest smallie of  year.
8) Lucky Craft CB 12 Crank bait in Chartreuse Shad. Crankbaits like spinner bait and G-tail can be fished fast and allow you to cover very large volume of water quickly to find active fish. But unlike other search baits crankbaits go out and probe the depths. I really like how these lures allow you to fish fast and still fish deeper waters where monsters live.
9) 5" Gary Yammamoto Senko in Baby Bass. Although it may be a little past it's prime this lure at certain times is a dynamo for largemouth bass. When the fish won't chase and are relating are relating to wood, shallow drainage ditches in coves, or other hard to fish areas this lure produces. Rather you rig it weedless on a 4/0 or 5/0 hook it so easy to fish that even a kid could do it. 
10) Strike King Premier Plus Double Willow blade in white and chartreuse. In stained water this one is a stand out search bait in lakes. It's V shaped design allow you to fish it through the nastiest of heavy cover and that is in fact how it is most productive.

Honorable Mention: Lucky Craft Pointer 100 in Gunmetal Shad. In the 45 to 55 degree water temps theses catch suspended bass like nothing else. But outside of that they can be out fished by other baits.

Considerable Mention: 5" Zara Spook in Bone White. Yeah I know just another topwater bait that gets hung up on every piece of cover it touches, but there is just something about this lures action that makes it both a fish magnet and fun to fish.