Scott's Outdoor Blog

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Heat Up the Peanut Oil

The day's are getting longer, and the temperatures are rising.   The warm water species are just beginning their annual spawning rituals.  And I'm just about ready for some fresh, flaky, cold-water fillets.  Carp take a backseat for the moment, with all my attention focused on bringing home dinner.  It's not my favorite type of fishing by any means, but my stomach doesn't care. 

Friday night a group of us headed out to the Milford dam after the sun went down with hopes of bringing home a limit of Walleye.  With temperatures topping out around 80 degrees the whole week before, they had to be up on the rocks.  Well they weren't.  We fished until about 10:30 and went home.

Saturday morning Bayes and I decided to once again hit one of my all-time favorite fishing holes near the Little Apple.  The moving water allowed the fly rod to be just as effective, if not more, than spinning gear.  The fishing was still fairly slow, but it wasn't long before Bayes was hooked into a deceptive White Bass.  They sure feel like a Saugeye on the end of your line when the water's this cold.

In an effort to keep my fly near the bottom, I began dead-drifting Clouser's back towards me as I faced upstream.  This tactic, which I've had lots of luck with in the past, was quickly depleting my streamer selection.  After losing my last Clouser in the rocks, I tied on a smaller, more realistic shad pattern.  Two casts later and I was yellin' for the net.  Before the net man could wade over to help, I was cradling this fat 21" Saugeye.  It wasn't as big as I thought when I first saw it shaking in the depths, but I was happy to have something for the stringer!

Bayes managed a few more White Bass before the bite slowed as the sun got a little higher.  He ended the day with around 5 Whites and a small Carp.  I only managed one White along with the Saugeye, but was happy to watch Bayes carry my dinner back to the truck.

And the payoff...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Carp Ride

The Honda is now accessorized for 2012.

I drove down to Springfield last weekend to pick up a couple kayaks I had ordered through Backcountry Outfitters.  They are currently the closest Diablopaddlesports dealer to me.  I have been drooling over these kayaks since I caught wind of them via online fishing forums when they were still in their prototype phase several years ago.  They currently make 2 models; the 12.5 foot Adios, and the 10.5 foot Chupacabra.  I bit the bullet and decided on one of each.  Bring on warmer water, it's going to be an exciting Spring!

The howling winds last weekend kept me off the water, but Saturday morning I convinced my friend Jake that he needed to help me take 'em out for a test-float.  Upon arrival at our planned destination, we were informed that no boats of any type were allowed on the water due to fear of spreading zebra mussels.  Bummer.  We turned around and headed for Plan B.  The wind was blowing a bit when we arrived, but not enough to keep us off the water. 

This was the earliest I've ever tried to fish this place.  Usually it's no problem to spot tailing carp, but with the water temps still on the low side, we struggled to find any targets for the first hour or so.  At least the 'yaks paddled nicely.

 After a little exploring we found a shallow cove with it's mouth facing East-Southeast.  The prevailing southerly breeze must have been pushing some warmer water into this protected pocket because the fish were stacked in there.

The water was muddy enough we couldn't see what the fish were doing, we only saw the mud plumes they left when we disturbed them.  Some of the plumes may have been caused by fish feeding on the bottom, but there was no way to tell for sure.  We beached the kayaks to break for lunch and let the area calm down a bit. 

After a short lunch, Jake tried a few casts off the back side of the island where he had seen a few other fish. He sounded awfully surprised when he hooked up.  This was his first time chasing carp with a fly rod, and I don't think he really believed they'd take a fly. 

It turned out to be a Smallmouth Buffalo (I think). 

After that short battle (they don't fight very hard in cold water apparently), we jumped back in the boats and tried approaching the cove a little more cautiously.  We would paddle out, then cut over to the leeward side of the point and let the wind push us back towards where the fish were holding.

Standing up on these things was no problem.  What a fun way to see the water. 

Now it was my turn for a fish to even the score.

The first fish aboard the Adios was also a Smallmouth Buffalo.  I need to remember to bring a net next time.  The hardest part of the fight was trying to get the fish in the boat.

With the score tied at 1 buff apiece, we decided to call it a day.  We'll definitely be back again when the water's warmer. 


I also went out in the rain for a bit today trying to bring home a pre-spawn Walleye for dinner.  No luck on the 'eye,  but I did catch a lethargic White Bass.  I liked the way the pic turned out.  Again, a little early yet.