Sunday, December 18, 2016

Thinking Ahead to Fishing 2017/Looking Back on 2016 Year End Review

Next year looks to hold the promise of many exciting fishing adventures. 2017 will be the first full season for the Summer County Kayak Bass Anglers. We already have a joint event lined up with the SWVKA in August and are working on partnering with River Bassin tour as a qualifying event as well.  We will be changing to a points driven AOY system and will be awarding trophies at each event. I expect membership and participation will increase some as well this next season. I have made many new river friends through this organization that I started in July of 2016 and I hope to make many more in the year ahead.
   2017 will be my first ever start in the KBF National Championship event March 31-April 1st on Kentucky Lake in Paris, TN. I am looking forward to a week of pre-fishing, fellowship, and competition on kayak bass fishing's grandest stage.  The KBF organization will also be hosting not one but two national Open events in WV in 2017. One at Stonewall Jackson Lake in April and the WV KBF Open will return to the New River and Hinton, WV for a second straight year. I hope to keep work at bay long enough to fish both of theses events.  
    I hope to change the way I spend my time non-tournament fishing in 2017. I hope to spend more time on water I don't know and less time on water I already know so well. I hope to get a few more floats in on the New river in VA and see some sections of the New in WV I have yet to float. I also want to fish some sections of water in Summers County that do not see as much pressure as my usual haunts. I have a bad habit of allowing work and time to dictate where I go. All to often if it is easy to access it is also very pressured water at this point in the game. I do truly hope to fish at night, target some lesser pressured areas that are harder to access, make more data driven fishing decisions in the year ahead.
   2016 was a fun year to be in WV on the water that also had some remarkable and memorable days for me. My week long adventure on the South Branch of the Potomac and finishing 9th at WV KBF Open in September certainly rank up there for me.  I have dramatically increased my tournament fishing participation and feel that it will in time make me a better angler. I have really enjoyed getting to know and fish with a great many folks whom I only knew of distantly before. There is culture of brotherhood and friendship that exists in competitive kayak fishing that is not seen in other forms of competition. That being said lets take a look at the data and numbers I was able to archive from 2016.

Trips out on the Water in 2016 = 42
Average Fishing Outing = 4.59 hours
~ Hours spent on the water in 2016 = 192.2hours (8.03 days)
Total Fish Caught in 2016 = 711
Largest Fish of 2016 = 20.5inch Smallmouth
Average 3 Fish Limit (warm season only) = 40.9 inches
Biggest 3 Fish Limit of 2016 = 52.5 inches
Minutes per Fish Average 2016 = 16.3  (range 40.0-7.0)
Total Fish Caught since Jan. 2007 = 7,197
Fish per Year Average over last 10 years = 719.7

"Two in the BOX" - December 9th, 2016

Brad and I went on our annual doe meat hunt on this blue cold weekend. This year just happened to fall in muzzleloader season given my work schedule. As usual Lowell's farm did not disappoint.  After a quick hour and a half hunt Brad and I each had a nice three plus year old doe down and ready to prep for the freezer. Both deer went into the back of the Kabota and off to the barn to hang. It was a quick hunt but a productive one. It becomes shooting deer and not hunting deer when it takes more time to cut them up than kill them. It was a fun weekend and a good time was had by all.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Sugar Camp Doe - November 25th 2016

Ron Lilly would have been proud on this day, when his oldest granddaughter killed a legal doe. "Any legal deer" was often his creed when hunting public land in WV and VA. Avery got up at 5am two mornings in a row, missed time she could have been playing with her cousins, and braved the cold to get this shot. She made a solid behind the shoulder shot at around 15 yards. She was excited to have deer meat to eat and to have successfully killed her second deer. Avery killed this deer on her great Granddads Vernon Haslacker's family farm, the very same farm he grew up in and his Dad before him off of Stormy Dam Road in Jordan Run Grant County, WV.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Cold Water Transition- October 29th, 2016

Greg and I fished from the dam to the first takeout between 7:00 and 11:30am. The air was a damp cold with a touch of wind to give it bite. The fishing was starting to slow down compared to 6 weeks ago. I am a big believer that not all fish do the same thing at the same time in regards to transitions be it spawn, summer, or winter.  But as for the new river it is clear that the majority of fish are beginning to transition into winter pattern. This time of year can be a boom or bust kinda deal, however today was an in between sorta day. Neither a diamond nor a rock. I landed 13 and Greg 9. My biggest fish was a shade under 15 inches.
Miles floated = 3.5
Total Fish Caught = 22
Fish per Minute = 21.8
My biggest three fish limit = 36.5 inches

Thursday, October 20, 2016

My New Ride - October 18th, 2017

After test driving a friends I decided it was time to add a Coosa HD to my arsenal. Hard to beat these boats for the stability, versatility and storage options they offer. The HD performance offers unparalleled performance on rivers.

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Anything But a Farmpond" SCKBA Open- October 15th, 2016

We had 14 anglers compete in our last SCKBA county wide open event on this day. Greg Nahodil overcame a tough bite to win with 39.5 inch three fish limit. I finished fourth 35.25inches. This marks the first time all year no angler has broken the 40 inch mark. The bite was tough and the fish were scattered with falling water levels. Brian Aliff wrapped up the 2016 Angler of the Year title with a 53.5 inch three fish year limit. It was a fun day despite the challenge. We had four quality anglers fail to catch a limit on their home waters. The fish I managed came from a variety of techniques and places with no defined repeatable pattern.
Miles Floated = 4.5
Total fish caught = 40 (between Greg and I)
Minutes per fish = 15.0
My best three fish limit in inches =35.25.

Friday, October 14, 2016

October Morning on the Greenbrier- October 14th, 2016

Jared and I floated from Barger Springs to Willowwood on a cool foggy October Friday morning. The fishing started off slow but picked up some as the day warmed up. The fish surprisingly were on a topwater shallow water bite despite it being deep into October. The water flow was up some for the Greenbrier for this time of year.
Miles Floated = 6.5
Total Fish Caught = 29
Minutes per Fish = 20.6
My Best 3 fish= 39.75

Thursday, October 6, 2016

After Work Yak Trip- October 5th, 2016

I went out solo on a last minute "it's too nice outside to stay off the water" kinda trip. I only fished 2 hours or so and paddled around in one hole and took out at the same place on the New. It really was a perfect evening. Not too hot, not yet cold, yet one where you can feel fall and a little of summer in the air in the same instant. I started off slow but the topwater bite is still there and took off. I ended up with 9 fish all on topwater. I threw a jig some but no takers on it. I had 3 fish over 15 inches. It was a quick evening float but a productive time to be on the water.
Miles floated = 0
Total fish caught = 9
Biggest 3 fish in inches = 47
Scoring Average from last 18 fishing trips (June 11th) = 40.9 inch three fish limit average. (52.5"high and 32" low).

Monday, October 3, 2016

Largemouth Revival - October 2nd, 2016

Nahodil and I decided to try to round up some green fish since the river was some messed up and muddy. We headed over to Moncove lake, which as to be one the prettiest little lakes in our state. We so zero other anglers the entire day and the place was pristine. We got to the lake at around 8am. We scored our fish in bunches mostly on green pumpkin shakey head worms. Greg landed 14 and I had 13, but we had no fish bigger than 15 inches. I missed several more.  I did catch three on topwater on pad edges early before the sun got high. It was a nice day to be on the water in the fall and not at work.
Total fish caught = 27
Minutes per fish =  17.7
My biggest three fish in inches = 39.25

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Rain Run Off - October 1st, 2016

On a beautiful fall morning Greg Davis, Greg Nahodil, Brad and myself floated from Sandstone to Meador creek at daybreak. The water was up some and as we soon found out quickly rising. Despite the fact that we had gotten very little rain both NC and Pocahontas county had gotten over 5 inches in the last 24 hours. The rapidly rising and cloudy water had the fish in a funk. I managed to catch only 5, Nahodil 6, Brad 5 and Greg 1. It was a quick day with higher water that had us at the takeout by 10am. At the take out we ran into some guys who had driven all the way to Shanklin's Ferry only to turn around and drive to Sandstone due to high/muddy water.
Miles Floated = 3.0
Total Fish Caught = 17
Minutes per Fish = 35.17
My biggest 3 fish limit in inches = 32

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Amongst the Grass- September 24th, 2016


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Camp Craig - September 17th, 2016

On a trip to Camp Craig for a cookout and visiting with family and friends I took Annalyn and Koby to the pond. They caught bluegills and bass on the classic worm and bobber as fast as you could get them reeled in. I caught a couple three bass on a plopper just to see if farm pond bass would eat it. They do, but I landed nothing bigger than 12 inches. It was a perfect September afternoon.

SCKBA Upper New River Open- September 16th, 2016

We had 17 angler participate in this our third SCKBA event. Brian Aliff won for the second month in a row with a big 53.0 inch three fish limit. Greg Nahodil took second with 47.5 inches. We all had a good time. I had a rough morning. I had a limit but could not get a big fish to the boat. I lost one that was 18 inches or so and lost a pole, however Tanner Gill found my pole and was kind enough to return it to me thankfully. Our final event will be a SC open event the weekend of October 15th. Given that this event was way out at Shanklin's Ferry 17 is not a bad number of anglers at all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

River Armada- September 11th, 2016

Byan Case, Brian Aliff, Greg Nahodil, Greg Davis, Ryne Nahodil, Randy Mcmillion and myself floated from Sandstone to Meador creek on this hot sunny afternoon. The fishing was slow especially early on, but got a little better as the sun dropped behind the mountains. I caught most of my 9 on a plopper but it was slow going compared to outings of late. This is an awesome float that I would love to do again one early morning before the end of the year.
Total Miles Floated = about 4
Total Fish Caught = ??? With this many anglers I lost track.
Minutes per fish = 19.8 for me alone
Biggest three fish limit in inches = 33 at most.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Tough Labor Day Fishing - September 5th, 2017

The KBF and the long holiday weekend coupled with pretty weather have taken a toll last few days on the New river smallmouth bite. Today I really struggled. Brad and I floated from Brooks to Sandstone falls for fun from 6:30Am to 10:30am. I think I only landed 3 fish although I missed several more. By 10am the sun was out with a vengeance. It was some laborious fishing on this Labor Day.
Miles Floated=3
Total fish caught = 12
Fish per minute = 40...yes 40
Biggest 3 fish in inches = 36

Sunday, September 4, 2016

KBF WV OPEN Day 2 September 3rd, 2016

       Yesterday I felt like I could do no wrong. I had 50+inches on the board by 8am and today with clear skies and high sun I felt like I could not buy a bite. I worked at it and grinded out some fish today ending up with only 43 inches after yesterday's 52.5 inches. I did manage a 15.5 around 7am. I hooked and lost an 17 to 18 inch class fish as I went to net him that costs me a couple spots in the final standings, which stings quite a bit. But ultimately my goal for the KBF WV Open was to finish in the top 10 and qualify for the KBF National Championship on Kentucky lake next April. Although I started the day 3rd out of 83 anglers from 14 different states I finished it in 9th. But 9th place was strong enough to accomplish my goal. I learned a lot from this only my fourth kayak tournament start. I should have changed patterns mid way through the day today instead of staying with what had worked the day before. A big congrats to Jody Queen who and my friend Brian Aliff who took second place. I was also happy that my partner for the 2 days of floating the river during the KBF open Jared Meadows finished 14th but due to roll down spots from already qualified anglers in the top 10 also got a spot to fish in the National Championship. Of the 10 spot earned, 9 of them went to angers affiliated with the MSKA. And of the top 15 finishing anglers 5 of them were members of our SCKBA(Summers County Kayak Bass Anglers) club that I started just 2 short months ago. I was happy with my experience but want to get better at the competitive aspects of theses events as I go. Through my first four yak tournaments I have finished.....5th out of 86, 3rd out of 10, 5th out of 22, and now 9th out of 86 in KBF WV OPEN making me (178-18-1) through my first four tournaments. I am beating 89% of the field through four events but have yet to close the deal and win an event.  This event had some elite anglers including river guides, past event winners, and last years KBF national champion Matt Ball who finished around 36th. It was a great learning experience and I am excited that the KBF have announced that this event will be coming back to Hinton in 2017!