Saturday, April 22, 2017

SCKBA Bluestone Lake Challenge- April 22nd, 2017

            
We had a wet one for our first SCKBA event of the year. We had 22 anglers who came out and braved the rain in the Bluestone Lake Challenge. It was pretty calm for the first hour then the wind and the driving rain started up and did not stop until well after weigh in. This was our first tournament with a five fish limit instead of a three fish limit. I started off at Bertha fishing shallow below a mud flat and found no interest in my flukes. So I moved out to deeper water thinking that maybe the temperature drop had pulled the fish out from the shallow pre spawn hunts. The wind picked so much so that I was unable to throw a fluke or plopper at all. I upsized to a 1/4oz. shakey head with magnum shakey worms. After 2.5 hours of nothing I finally got a bite off of a laydown tree off the bank a 13.5" keeper.  I then started looking around and found another stickup and picked up 17.25 keeper. I went down to the next laydown and got another 16" keeper. By now I was only fishing laydowns and was consistently getting bit despite the wind. The good part about bad weather is that there where virtually no bass boats working up there which is completely unheard of on a Saturday in April. I paddled back to my first laydown and then IT happened. I pitched my shakey head into the laydown and hooked a good 18 inch plus fish. This fish did a big tail walk and then spit my shakey head and came off. I was sick. But I kept fishing and pickup up a smaller 11.5 and another 13 inch keeper. I had a limit of five fish on a day when limits where going to be hard to come by.
I went to weigh in feeling solid about how I had hung in there and pieced together a good pattern while enduring the harsh conditions. The river stick helped me a lot on this day. It allowed me to get up wind of my laydown, keep the wind at my back and pick apart my targets despite the wind and waves from the wind. At the weigh in I learned that I had finished 2nd out of 22 anglers. Bryan Bostic my buddy had bested me by 0.5 inches by getting his best limit ever on Bluestone lake to take the win. The 18 fish I lost cost me a win, but I didn't beat myself up because that kind of thing happens especially in the rain and wind. We had some good give-aways and I still won $60 on a $10 buy in.
Total Fish = 5
Total Hook up = 7 (5 keepers + 1 lost big fish and 1 lost short fish)
Minutes per fish = 66
Biggest fish = 17.25" Tied with Greg Nahodil for tournament big fish
Biggest five fish limit = 71.75" (2nd place finish out of 22) 72.25" by Bryan Bostic won.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flukes on a Ledge- April 22nd, 2017

         
A pattern came together on this day. Bostic, Jaquan, and I floated from below Brooks falls down to right above Sandstone falls. It started off foggy and cool and cleared up. After the sun showed itself the fish started to bite. I tried square bill, g-tail and plopper early with some result but slow going early. The water surface temp on Bostic's sonar was 63 degrees. The fish really did not want to chase all that much. I finally figured out that if you could find a ledge going from 2 to 4 feet more (water that goes from brown bottom to green), nearby deep water, and shade over the top of that you were going to get bit. I found today that fishing a fluke and killing on the ledge drop had the best effect, especially around laydowns and stickups. I ended up with 13 fish but had 4 fish over 14 inches. I missed several more due to not having thrown a fluke in some time. I was also changing up with a plopper some and pickup up a few that way. My biggest was a hair over 18.5 inches. Jacquan caught several off of a square bill and Bostic was doing well with a tube. Jacquan caught a nice fish in the 20 inch range and had it flop off the board before he could get a picture on the hawg trough. We managed to hold off the rain and put together a good spring time float.
Miles floated = 3.0
Fish caught = 13
Minutes per fish = 20.5
Biggest fish in inches = 18.5
Biggest five fish in inches = 73 inches

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Grind - April 15th, 2017

    
Brad, Greg, Jaquan, and  I fished from the dam down to the first takeout on this Saturday Morning. We started at 7:30am and finished up around 11am. I struggled today to put any kind of formidable pattern together. I tried a square bill, tubes, g-tails, and a plopper. I caught a fish or two off of each in various locations. The fish may have been getting ready to spawn because everybody else struggled as well. Jacquan had the big fish of the day at 17.5 inches. Greg caught 7 mostly on tubes, Brad had 7 mostly on g-tails, and I caught 7 on a variety of stuff.
Miles floated = 3.5
Fish caught = 7
Fish per minutes = 30.2
Biggest fish in inches = 14.5
Biggest five fish in inches = 59.5

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Topwater Smallmouths - April 12th, 2017

      
Greg Davis, Brad and I floated from the two bridges down the first take out, which is now a full on construction zone by the way. We fished for 2 hours and 20 minutes. I started off slow and all out of sorts. After having fished my last 8 trips on lakes I seem to have lost my rhythm for floating down the river and taking what she gives you for casting opportunities. But it did not take me long to re acclimate. The weather on this evening was perfect with water temps in high 50's or low 60's. The fish were not in moving water. I thought they would be in water deeper that 3 foot but I was wrong . Because shallow water warms quicker I found them in very shallow calm water pockets some as shallow as 2 inches deep. I started off with a square bill but they were not having that. I then went to a white g tail and caught a few, which is what helped me to pinpoint their locations. Once I figured out how shallow they were I changed to topwater and that is when things started getting interesting. I caught one over 15 inches right off. I told Brad what I had found and then he started catching them as well. It took me a while to get sorted out but once I did the last 45 minutes of fishing was solid. I ended up with 7 fish, 3 of which were over 15 inches. This was my first river float of the year, first of many to come good Lord willing.


Miles Floated = 3
Time fished in hours = 2.3
Total fish caught = 7
Fish per minute = 20
Biggest three fish = 43.7 inches

Monday, April 10, 2017

Annalyn's First Fish of 2017 - April 10th, 2017

 
Annalyn and I headed to Lake's pond for some after school bluegill fishing even though the water was a bit too cold for it to be the non stop bluegill action that she tends to favor. We couldn't get hit with worm and a bobber. Once we took the bobber off put split shot on she started getting hit some. I threw a plopper some and picked off five largemouth bass all smallish on top water. I picked up one more on a spinner out towards the middle.

Chasing Largemouths- April 10th, 2017




 
Today is the tale of the one that got away. Post cold front, stained water, blue bird skies made for some tough fishing on this day, howerver early on I hooked and fought with a big largemouth. I believed it to be over 20 inches and over five pounds. He spit my worm only 10 or so feet from my kayak. I hooked and lost 2 more fish and Greg lost 2 and caught one that was 14 inches. It was a challenging day. Losing big fish keeps you coming back to try again.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship - April 1st, 2017

 

  
   
On day 2 I went to the same spot I fished day 1 and fished much the same way. A wise angler once told me, "You just don't leave fish in the hopes of finding fish". I find this to be especially true on a 163,000 acre lake during the biggest tournament of my life to this point. At 6:35 I caught a 19.75 inch bass then a 16.5 then two 15.5 inch bass. I was off to a great start and had moved up from 112th place to 7th place very quickly. I knew it would not hold but it sure was fun to make a big charge back to up the tourney X leaderboard for a second day in a row. If nothing else I had learned that even though I am river specialist and not a lake specialist that I could still fish with the best in the country on some level. By 9:45 my bite died. The wind changed and made it hard for me to operate and bass boat pressure started to clip me. I had one short fish to cull out. He was 9.5 inches. I finally got him culled out on a crankbait bite to a 13.5 inch fish, but that is still short in this league of angler. At the end of the day I was tired but felt as if I had done the best I could do. I lost only one fish in two days of fishing. I with the help of Jared had put together a good plan, stuck to it and caught a respectable limit of fish both day. We loaded up to go to awards and final weight-in at which oddly enough Chad Hoover the founder of KBF also got married. Every went to a fishing tournament and a wedding broke out? The whole thing was planned and congrats to Chad and Kristy. Kristy accomplished every little girls dream of getting married at a bass tournament? She has to be a heck of a woman to be unselfish enough to be all in for that. When all the smoke cleared Kurt Smits of OH one $40,500 with a 2 day total of 187 inches. I ended up in 67th place out of 359 qualified anglers with 159 inches. I finished out of them the money but did well enough to qualify for next years 2018 KBF NC with a first place payout of $100,000 already announced. I had a ball with the "13" guys who stayed with me on at our house. He all had a great time. Brad Richardson from Alderson WV did the best of our group of 13 finishing 34th out of 359 winning $500.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship Day 1 - March 31st, 2017

              
Today was day of the the KBF National Championship. 359 kayak anglers from 37 different states all of who had beat the odds to even qualify were here to fish for a first place prize of $40,500 and a total purse payout of $116,000. I made it to my spot before the 6:30am start time, put my pole down and took a second to savor the moment before the tournament began. The lake was calm all except for a small breeze. As soon as my watch hit 6:30 I started fishing. I immediately began getting bit. I had a 74 inch 5 fish limit quickly by 7:15am and had climbed up the leaderboard to 9th place in the first hour. After that I continued to catch short fish that would not allow me to upgrade at all. Finally at 2pm I caught a 17.5 inch smallmouth that help me move up to 78.75 inches putting me in 112th place out of 359 anglers. With this many anglers who have this much talent it takes very little to slide down the leader board. This was the largest kayak angler tournament to date and had the deepest talent of any I could imagine being assembled. Many of these guys have full sponsorships, are professional guides, and have written books and magazines on yak fishing. I felt pretty good going into day 2. I had found a pattern, fished  very clean loosing no fish and missing no hits. At day one weigh in I got to meet Drew Gregory, the designer of the Jackson Coosa and Coosa HD. I have been fishing and loving this guys kayaks since they launched in 2011. It was a really cool experience to meet him and I even got him to sign my HD. Probably one of my most memorable experiences from the KBF NC.