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.