Sunday, July 13, 2014

Smallie land

"Folks, we are bound by law to notify you that we are registered sex offenders.  You must maintain a distance of one hundred feet from us at all times," is what we desperately wanted to shout at the group of rafters we saw making their way down river towards us.  This was the third group we'd seen come down river since we started fishing.  I suppose fishing even on the Monday following the fourth of July can yield some high river traffic when it's in the mid-seventies and sunny.  The first couple of miles of our float aren't normally high-producing, and this was especially true after thirty odd people went splashing and paddling (spladdling?) through it before us.  There had already been probably ten that floated past us before the group of middle-school rafters came cruising downstream.  We had them within one hundred yards behind us for probably a half-hour before they finally got even with us and made their way past.

It was then, as happens so often from day to day, that we were faced with the decision to either get frustrated, or to not take ourselves too seriously that day.  We opted for the latter, thankfully, and decided to take a break and practice our two-handed casting.  My casting groove wasn't exactly rocking, so it didn't immediately allay all frustration, but Mike's snap-t really came along.

Besides excess traffic on the water, the average fish size definitely goes down as the summer wears on and water levels drop.  Nonetheless, it's easy to see how the fish get so big up here.  Everything we caught, from eight-inchers on up, was not wanting for food.  Every fish was full-bellied and tight-skinned.  I'm starting to think that the vertical bars on adult smallmouth are just stretch marks.

Despite the traffic on the front half of the float, our first day really didn't end up too bad.  The fishing was a bit sub-par, but great fish were caught, and we ended the day well.

Day two, on the other hand, was about twenty degrees cooler and a bit rainy, which really seemed to boost the Walter bite.  Mike practiced five year-old pose.

We still caught a decent number of smallies, but the bite was most definitely off, and joy was found in those other things we do at times on the river - like grilling a few burgers and throwing some good, sharp cheddar on top.

Friday, June 27, 2014

"If this is defeat, I'm okay with that"

With dirty water making it hard to find fish last night, I told my friend that we might have to admit defeat.  He responded, "If this is defeat, I'm okay with that", and he was right.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

That one fish

It's amazing how much more you appreciate a good fish when it's the only (good fish) of the day.  It not only makes your day, but earns a coveted spot in your memory.  You remember the cast, how many strips you took (maybe), and the take (if you were lucky enough to see it).  For this guy it was a cast past a small island to the bank, a couple of strips into a scoop, and the fly disappeared.

It's also amazing how your first of a species will also stick in your mind.  I was casually observing the pleasant action of my yellow woolly burger when this little rockie materialized out of nowhere.  I think the six-weight switch rod was a bit overkill for it though.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Boundary Waters 2014

This last week was what is becoming the annual Nazarene Boundary Waters outting.  This year was in some ways a lot better than last year (like less bug bites, larger variety of fish), and in some ways not quite as good (crazy wind, smaller fish).  But nonetheless, it was a week in the BWCA with some great people, which can't not be a good time.

On the fishing front, Dad kicked things off right away with a nice (and unexpected!) largemouth on a deer-hair frog.  And from there it was a mix of (mostly small) pike, some SMBs, largemouth, and walleye.  I did a bit more depth-probing than I did last year, using an intermediate line and intermediate + sink-tip, yielding the nicest pike of the trip (a mere twenty-five inches), a few smallies, and my first (ever) walleye.

One day the wind whipped up some sizable waves in no time, and after hunkering down under our canoe for an hour to block the wind and the rain we decided we were just going to have to walk back.

We did enjoy some nice weather though.  During one sunny, windy day I was able to take this gorgeous picture from the latrine.  It just doesn't get any better than sunlight through birch trees.

I even made some work on my Wheel of Time new year's resolution.  A good trip.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thoughts for a Thursday

McTage at FlyCarpin' posted a great editorial on bow-fishing for carp that I think is worth some thought. I've seen a lot of dead carp on river banks in my day, and this video certainly applies to more than just bow-fishing...

Friday, May 30, 2014