Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year End Review.

This year I landed 462 fish on 52 fishing trips, which comes out to  8.88fish/trip. The number of fish and fish/trip for me was down significantly compared to previous years.  This was a hard year for me personally. My Dad died in January, my 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in March, and my good friend Craig passed away at 34 years old the same day Annalyn was diagnosed.
 The winter last year was really tough. I didn't catch my first fish until March due to the 2 polar vortexes and sustained bouts of cold we had last winter. I had a great trip to Guntersville, Alabama that I look forward to repeating next spring. The river bite was consistent but not explosive like back in early 2000's. The summer bluegill bite on Bluestone was almost non existent in comparison to previous years, I have no answers for why that is. A lot of the float trips I did fish this year were shorter than in previous years, 3 hour floats versus 5 hours floats. I did manage to catch a citation musky from a kayak which has long been on my bucket list. Given all that happened I was just thankful for the fish I was able to set the hook on in 2014. I do still get a rush from that "tick" you feel moving up your line into your arm and going to your brain when a fish bites. That second in time when you sense you have a bite and right before you set the hook is what I love. In that fleeting second you know you got a bite but you don't know what you have and if you will get a good  hook set or miss completely. It is in this time your imagination runs wild about what may be on the other end of that line and what could happen next. So long as fish gotta eat, I still wanna be out there trying to catch them every chance I get. So here is to hoping the year ahead is flat out all around better than the one behind. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Winter Day to Dream About....Decbember 27th, 2014

For the last two years winter has meant 4 months of sub 30 temps with wind and ice and not many breaks to speak of. Today was different. An air temp near 60 degrees very little to no wind to speak of. Crash and I headed up to Bluestone lake for some early winter pan fishing. We fished night crawlers about 18 inches off the bottom rigged with a drop shot. The bite started off slow but really took off once we found them. It was the first day I can remember fishing in December without being cold for some time. We ended up catching over 40 total largemouth, one catfish and the rest crappie and blue gills split 50/50 or so.  It was the kind of day that gives you a break from cold and boredom of winter you dream about and I am certain in the weeks to come we will get pounded by waves of snow and artic air before it finally gives up and spring fishing ensues.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Bloody Tails - November 21st, 2014

A sure sign your beagle is working hard.

Roscoe and Sampson
Charlie and I killed 3 rabbits on five jumps on a 4 hour hunt today. I shot two and Charlie shot one. We both missed a combined 8 times on the luckest rabbit that ever lived. The dogs weren't too happy with us after that one, but still it was funny.

Monday, November 10, 2014

No Time for Small Fish - November 10th, 2014

Brad, Charlie and I landed only 10 trout in 4 hours of fishing, however all 10 were 3lbs or better. Brad landed 2, Charlie 3 and I had 5. Charlie had the biggest at 4lbs. and 8oz. The smallest of our ten fish were three and four of them were over 4 lbs. The hair jig in green and blue made for a nice change up that produced when the blade stopped producing. It was a nice day to be on the water, a good day to enjoy the fall before winter closes in and begins the dark season.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Beagles and Bunnies Part I - November 8th, 2014

 Charlie, Rick and I hunted for 3 hours, jumped 7 rabbits, killed 3 rabbits and a woodcock, lost a dog, found the dog and had a nice day to hunt. I killed the first two rabbits and a woodcock. The day started cold and warmed up quick. It was the first rabbit hunt of the year  and hopefully the first of many to come. Charlie brought a new dog, Roscoe. He is around 2 years old and he did really well. He showed a lot of energy and promise.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Alarming Trend - October 19th, 2014

I went back and did a little data mining on my blog. I looked at my catch rates on smallmouth bass on float trips > than 2 hours in length between the months of April and October on the New River directly above Bluestone Lake and directly below Bluestone Dam (State Line falls VA to Brooks falls). The data was taken from 73 different fishing outings all completed between April  2008 through October 2014. The average length of each fishing outing was ~3.2 hours of actual fishing time on the water. To keep a control variable in place I used only fish catch data from fish that I caught and counted using a clicker at time of catch. Here is what I found.....
It is hard to figure out why it is that my catch rates have dropped 40.1% over the last 7 years. Logic would say that as you age and fish more you learn to catch them better and therefor become more efficient. Here are some of the possibilities for this alarming trend in my suggested order of
1) Muskies - there are more than ever and they are fish eating death machines
2) Increased intelligent fishing pressure - more angler and with more advanced techniques and equipment than ever before are out on the river each and every day.                                   
3) Black gnat spraying - there have been a lot of theories and discussion that taking out a piece of food chain will eventually effect the bass fishing adversely.                                                     
4) Overabundance of Canadian Geese - eating many of prey that would otherwise trickle down to fish
5) Other unknown or unseen factors - by product of renovation and construction on bluestone dam or other unnoted or not yet seen impairment on New River ecosystem.  It also could be some combination of factors 1-4 or maybe even I just don't fish as good as I used to.                          

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Rainy Friday Float - October 10th, 2014

Jamie, Greg and I floated for 3.5 hours in near constant rain today from the dam to first takeout down southside. The air temperature was in the high 50's. I landed 20 the biggest was a 4lbs hybrid I caught in front of the baffles that I had slip out of my hand before I could get a pick taken. Greg landed 18 and Jamie 10. Greg hooked and lost the biggest smallmouth he said he has every had ahold of, which is saying something because he has a 6lbs mounted at home. Despite the rain and cool temps we caught fish and had a good time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Slaying the Dragon - September 27th, 2014

Brad, Greg Davis, Jamie and I floated the new from the dam down to Southside. We put in at 8:30 and took out at noon. The bass fishing was slow compared to two weeks ago. I landed only 8 bass. While vertically jigging behind the State Police office I hooked what I knew was going to be an absolute monster. I could feel a huge head shake and my yak was immediately being pulled away. I started fighting and yelling for help. Jamie, Brad and Greg came over to help me. We had a good solid fight with one spectacular jump. Jamie started towing my kayak toward the islands in the middle of the river while I continued to fight him. I grabbed him under the gill plate and pulled him up onto the kayak. He flopped off and the fight was on again. Finally we got over to the island and I pulled him up on the bank. He weighed in at 17.5lbs and was 40 inches long. I have always wanted to hook and land a big musky on a kayak. Right after I landed the musky and we started back to fishing we saw a bald eagle catch a fish right down river from us. It was one of the coolest things I have seen from a kayak. Truly a sight to behold. The bass fishing was a hair slow today. We landed about 20 bass between the four of us. Greg had another musky chase his lure all the way to the kayak. It was a very memorable day.
New river Musky. 40inches 17.5lbs.

Saturday Morning River Patrol

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Quick Two Hours on the New River - September 18th, 2014

Brad, Jamie, Greg, Patrick, and I floated after work from the dam to the park. We started at 5:45pm and floated until 7:45pm, going from the dam to Advance beach. The fishing was good. Smoke with chart G-tails were the order of the day per. The last hour before dark was really good with a near constant bite. Greg caught 22 fish including a 19 inch smallie seen in the pic, Brad had 20, I landed 14, Patrick 6 and Jamie 2. In two hours of one the water fishing time the five of us managed to land 64 fish total or (6.4 fish per person per hour fished). hooking and losing several more. In typical fall pattern the fish are starting to bunch up so that when you catch one you usually catch 3 or 4 more with it.

19 inch September Smallie

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Solid Saturday Morning Float - August 30th, 2014

Greg Davis,  Nahodil, Goins, Brad, and I floated from the dam to 1st takeout down Southside. The river was down and we had nice cloud cover this morning and the bite was better than it had been since early June. We landed 76 fish between the five of us. Greg had 23, I had 24, Brad 16, Jamie and Greg D. had 13 between the two of them. As a group we were averaged 25 fish and hour. The smallmouth average weight is trending up as welll since they have been feeding up all spring and summer long to prepare for another long winter. It was an above average day in both fun and productivity


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rainy Saturday Morning on the New- August 23rd, 2014

Brad and I floated from the dam to 1st takeout. Fishing was slow. Brad landed 10 and I got 6. We both hooked and lost a few more. But the bite was slow. The water was up and had a little stain, maybe 4 gates worth. Brad's biggest was seen in the pic below pushing 3 lbs.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bluestone Lake MEGA BASS - July 27th, 2014

Brad, Jamie and I attempted to fish for bluegills on Bluestone lake for 3 hours or so. The fishing was horrible. I think we only caught like 12 gills total. 12 gills and this moster bass that Brad managed to wrangle in......he landed this trophy on a kansas ridged floated worm and bobber. I really don't know why the panfishing has fell off so much this year compared to previcous years. I hope somewhere down the road it picks back up.
Really landed on rod and reel....

Friday, July 4, 2014

Holiday Floatilla - July 4th, 2014

Greg, Brad and I floated from the dam to 1st takeout on the New on this holiday. We landed 41 total bass between the three of us. There were huge numbers of people on the river floating, even out early between 6am and 10am there were a lot. At one point I could see 10 different boats within 300 yards. There were also lots of people wading. Our fish were caught mostly below the 1st bridge in push water above shoals, which is to be expected this time of year.

Fly Pole Pond Bluegills - July 2nd, 2014

Brad and I hit Lake's pond with fly poles. We landed a combined 25 plus fish. We caught bluegills, a few largemouth bass and a lone crappie. Our fish came off of foam popping bugs. It was an absolutely perfect evening to be outside. I used by Dad's old Orvis T3. The pole is a dream to fish with.

Two Rivers Float - June 28th, 2014

Greg N., Greg Davis, Randy and I floated from the house on the Greenbrier to the 1st take out down southside on the New River. The water in the Greenbrier was very clear, while the water on the New river side was stained. Greg caught fish good on Greenbrier and I faired better on the New. Greg and I each caught 17. Greg Davis and Randy were learning the ropes of kayak bass fishing. Both Greg D. and Randy lost several fish and Randy landed 3. The fishing continued to be a little slower than would be expected for this time of year.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

New River Afternoon Float - June 17th, 2014

Greg and I floated from the dam to the 1st takeout down Southside between 6pm and 8:30pm today. We landed 25 and 15 fish irrespectively with Greg landing the most and the biggest, being a 17 inch smallie seen in the pic. The fish were hitting harder than trips past and they seemed to prefer a white g tail fished very fast versus their usual hop and stop or slow retrieve.