Tuesday, January 31, 2012

King River Report

Had an interesting day on the water. 2 fish caught and around 7 lost in the first 5 hours, I snagged a kids fishing combo with a lipless crank. I got bit by mosquitoes earlier in the year than I ever have before, I gotta remember to pack repellent.  I tried a lipless crank, a jig and swimbait to no avail, little later I switched to a sinking worm and hooked my first fish of the day right off the shore next to the drop off.

First fish of the day
I realized I am getting rusty at senko fishing, I missed several hooksets, after boating another Bass I noticed a bobber floating in the water, I threw my lure towards it and it started swimming in the other direction. I could see a knot at the top of the slip float as it sank into the water. It did not pop back up and I thought it was gone. A few minutes later I spotted it down stream across the river about fifty yards away, I paddled to it and it seemed to notice me. As I reached down to grab at the line it slipped past me and under the kayak, I paddled past it and made another attempt. I knew the knot would not hold up on the bobber so I wrapped the line around my hand. I got the line around my hand and felt the fish surge. The line gave way about 6 inches down from where I grabbed it, I saw a black tail.  All I have to show for it was the crappy float and some old monofiliment, who knows how long that poor fish has been swimming around with a float attached to it. 
Hopefully the hook will fall out soon now that the float is off
I talked with a couple of guys in a boat I have seen fishing there before who were catching a few here and there. The sun was going down and they said goodbye, I cast my jig towards the shallows and had another nice fish, it was the best of the day so far. 
It was getting dark and hard to take good photos
Just so people know, I hold the fish under water with my left hand while I set up the camera or scale so they don't suffocate on me. It is an advantage of a kayak being so low in the water. 

I cast several feet past where I hooked up with that fish and landed another, I did this 6 times. I could not believe it. the fish were all shallow in 2-3 feet of water, I think I stumbled on a pre spawn area. I few more fish later and I hooked into a decent fish. 
Just over 3lbs on my digital scale
Very glad to catch this fine fish. I caught 2 more and got one the almost as big as that 3 pounder right up to my side before she threw the hook, I didn't care because I just got one that big. My eyes are starting to get bad in the dark and I was already pressing my luck. I caught more fish in the last 30 minutes then I had in a while. I paddled back in the dark knowing my wife was cursing me. I got to shore and drug the kayak to my truck, I double checked but all I can do is hope I did not drop anything. 

Things are looking up, I might have a good job soon and we are about to remodel the kitchen. I am looking forward to the future and can't wait to see what happens next. Now I gotta figure out what to do with the trophy I snagged today.

Think this Cars rod has any value? : )
Thanks for reading,

Perch Flies for Salmon

I tied up some flies a few months back that were meant to be my wife's uncle's Christmas gifts. He lives near Plattsburg, New York and does a lot of trolling for Lake Trout and Salmon on Lake Champlain. He shares a lot of the the same theories on fishing that I do, believing you can adapt proven saltwater tactics to freshwater and vice versa. Lately he has taken to troll large saltwater flies, streamer fishing at 60 to 100 feet deep. I tied a few perch colored flies for him, they both have bodies that include glow in the dark tinsel.
This one had a little more red in the body, like it matters at 100 feet deep
This guy has an orange belly with the glow tinsel wrapped around it
I plan on tying a few more Flashabou and Marabou streamers for him to troll as well, hopefully they find their ways into some fishes mouths. 

Thanks for reading, 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Success and Failure

Bottom of the boat ramp on lake Success, Porterville, Ca
   Headed out around 8 towards the Central Valley town of Porterville to try for some Trout and Large Mouth Bass. Last week there was a trout plant so I figured why not try it. I got there to no wind and bluebird skies, the water was low and murky. I marked a lot of fish around 4 feet down and had one hook up trolling a Needle Fish spoon in white and chartreuse 5 feet back from a 1oz keel weight at about 35 feet. Just could not get it to the boat. I also had a hookup on a beaver type plastic on a 3/4oz football head jig. I must not have set the hook hard enough. A few hours later I had another bump on a dropshot rig with a pink wacky rigged worm, it didn't feel big. I saw fish feeding on the surface and realized there were a lot of honey bees in the water. They blended in with all the other junk floating around, I kicked myself for not bringing any poppers.

   Being the first time I fished this body of water I am not too down about the skunk. I scouted out a lot of structure that will be great when the water is up in the spring (provided we get some more snow in the mountains.). If anyone has tips on fishing this lake, let me know I could use some pointers.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Making a Custom Plastic Bait: Part 2

Continued from Part I: http://theimpracticalfishermen.blogspot.com/2012/01/pouring-soft-plastic-baits.html
I sat up most the night sketching designs like a mad man. My favorite was a turtle and the second was the crayfish. Today I followed through after a trip to Micheal's I had molding clay and 2 part silicone mold putty, there is what I did. 
I made a small snapping turtle

I made my crayfish, the claws did not turn out right so i changed them 

I mixed the 2 part, smashed it on top of my models and let it set

The Negitives

My messy fly desk/pouring station, I cut up some baits that have been unproductive for me and melted them at medium low heat. 

I messed up and dropped a lump of not so melted stuff fell right on the claw, I tried to remove it but it was already Starting to set up. 

The green did not turn out as I wanted it. 

The second pouring was much smoother, and turned out much better. 
Lessons Learned:
-Little to no oil is needed for the silicone
-Pour slow and even
-No need to start on low heat 
-Avoid seams in legs
-Don't make a mold until you are happy with the sculpt 

I am very happy with the Turtle, I am going back to the drawing board on the Crayfish, I did it more because I was impatient and wanted to pour tonight. Next time I will not make a mold until the sculpt is to my liking.

Thanks for reading
Let me know what you think in comments. 

Making a Custom Plastic Bait: Part 1.

   I have been interested in pouring my own plastic baits for a while now. I get a lot of ideas ans making my own is the easiest way to see what these crazy ideas that pop up in my head can do. I have been fishing a lot of crayfish imitations lately and I Figure I can make a positive and cast it in RTV to make a negative and hand pour it. I want it to be a meaty bait and simple enough to be able to remove from the mold without much trouble. I also want to add a slot for the hook for better penetration and nubs to help the claws/legs flutter differently. I figure if the legs and nubs don't work out I can remove them easy enough. 

The Plan
 I plan on going to the craft store tomorrow and pick up some clay to make my blank.

Thanks for reading, let me know in comments what you think.

See Part 2 here: http://theimpracticalfishermen.blogspot.com/2012/01/making-custom-plastic-bait-part-2.html

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fish'n in the Rain

It has not rained for a while down here in the Central Valley, the Weather Channel has been promising rain for the last two weeks and today it finally came. With farmers drawing water for their new crops the river has been dropping lower and lower and the fish have been feeding on shad and crayfish greedily, I figured if I was there when it started to rain I would have a chance at a good bass. Fished the same pattern that has been working for me the past few weeks, a Mr Ugly grub on a 1/16th oz Ubolt jig head. I only had a few hours to fish and it took 45 minutes before the first bite, the fish took it and ran straight towards me. Swing and a miss. A few minutes later I had my first fish, nothing special but still good to get one. 
Average sized King River LMB, first of the day
 I kept working down the shoreline until the bend in the river where the riff raff stops, I turned around to work the area the other way with the current and hooked up with another average sized fish.   

Another average sized King LMB
 Things were rough, the wind picked up the rain started coming down, I cast next to submerged tree and let my line go slack on the drop, when I picked it up there was a pretty good weight on the end, I set the hook and pulled out this chunky little guy.
Short but chunky LMB, look at his rolls!
Very glad to get this fatty in the boat
 I cast again and the jig did not even touch the bottom before the line started swimming away, I jerked the rod and started reeling. I thought I lost the fish until I saw it water skiing towards me. I gotta say, the little guy has heart.
Now there is a whopper
 Next cast I missed a fish, the rain turned them on and they were hungry I boated a few more average sized fish casting parallel to the the shore, and letting it settle with slack line before moving it. I made a cast straight out 90 degrees to my right into about  feet of water, It touched the bottom, I hopped it and felt a tap. I set the hook and pulled in the fish of the day. I know that 5lb+ fish is out there for me, I just gotta keep at it.

Best fish of the day

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Man, Woman, Canoe

   One of the things I said I wanted to do more this year was spend more quality time with my wife. I am lucky to have someone like her to put up with my quirks and share my life with. She is not as crazy about fishing but enjoys the outdoors as much as I do. On Saturday we hit up my usual spot on the South branch of the King River. I landed a few on the Mr Ugly grub. I switched to a Bitsy Jig and Crazy Legs Chigger craw and did a lot better. The biggest landed was still under 2 pounds. As usual there was a fair amount of garbage, I must have picked up a few hundred yards of monofiliment. I am still finding it hard to find a circumstance that it is OK to leave wads of mono like this around.
   We had planned on going to Avocado Lake on Monday but we had to change our plans, so we ended up going on Wednesday. It was not too crowed so it was nice. my wife got some great pics of ducks and egrets. Had a few missed but the Mr Ugly ended up paying off. We found more line left for the birds and collected a few bobbers, one had a very interesting rig attached. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the telling.
Best of the day on the King river near Lemoore, Ca. Caught on a 1/8oz Bitsy jig

Most of the line we picked up off the shore

Fish of the day from Avocado Lake in Fresno county

He was a bit on the skinny side but pretty long 

My wife paddling in the sunset
Reflections in the water on Avocado Lake

Lots of American Coots swimming around us

Muskrat chilling in the reeds on the King river

Egret swallowing its dinner at Avocado Lake
Water clarity was at about 6 feet

Avocado Lake sunset
Hope you enjoyed the photos, tell me what you think in comments.
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Alabama Rig Craze

Photo borrowed from http://thealabamarig.com/
     Since Paul Elias won the FLW (Forrest L. Wood) Tournament on Lake Guntersville with a 102lb bag, the Bass fishing community has been buzz about the Alabama Rig. Right from the start people have called foul, petitioning to ban the rig from tournaments and recreational fishing alike. It is hard to have a conversation about Bass fishing without the A-rig and it's legality coming up. Recently B.A.S.S. has banned the Alabama Rig from its Classic and Elite Series Stating  “I don’t have a problem with the use of umbrella rigs or multi-lure rigs to catch bass. If you are out fun fishing, there may be nothing more fun to use. However, our events represent the highest level of professionalism in our sport and I think as participants of these events, we should be held to a higher standard, as well. I like the idea of one rod, one reel, one lure.”

     The main argument against the A-Rig is that many of the bodies of inland water in the United States have laws to the numbers of hooks and or baits a fishermen has on his or her line. California defines a "Lure" as "A manufactured article or object equipped with one or more hooks designed to attract or catch fish." This definition is pretty similar state to state  leading people outraged by the decision to question other baits with multiple hooks as a way to vent steam over the decision.  

     Umbrella rigs have been used for years to trick fish in the ocean on large trolling setups for years. What surprised me was it took this long for someone to downsize it and go after smaller quarry. The other thing that I do not understand is the notion that the Alabama is a super lure of some kind that gives it's wielder an unfair advantage over the competition, allowing them to catch a 5 Bass limit in one cast. Tournaments where the football jig and crank bait is abandoned for a 3 or 4 ounces of swimbaits puttering through the water. It might be what the lure companies want you to think but nothing is that easy, that is why they call it fishing. I think B.A.S.S. banning the Alabama Rig has stoked the fire that may have burned out on it's self.

What do you think? Tell me in comments, thanks for reading.


Friday, January 13, 2012

King River Bass'n

Cookie Cutter LMB

Hit up the King river again hoping for a bass bigger than 5 pounds, I did not hook up with any. I did get around 10 fish all between 12 and 15 inches. The King river dropped from where it was on Sunday by about a full foot, it also felt cooler then it had and the visibility was at about 6 to 8 inches instead of the 3 on my previous trip. Most of the structure I was able to fish not too long ago was exposed to the air. 
The pattern that was producing best for me was fishing a weed line in 7 feet of water about 10 to 20 feet of the shore, I did best slowly moving my Mr Ugly jig along it and repeatedly pulled up cookie cutter light green pattern-less cookie cutter bass. The slightly larger and smaller fish came closer to the shore near the drop off where the water gets deep quick. I figured I would play around with he camera and see what angles I could get  so I would have the best one when the big one bites. I would rather be ready so I can snap a quick picture and let the fish go healthy than keep it out of the water for too long.
At least my fist is in focus, the camera was quicker than I was
One thing I wish I could change about my Olympus Tough TG-310 is I wish I could set it to take timed shots and not have to re-select it every time if I don't get the shot I want.
Scary smile

Small one but a fatty

One of my  favorite shots of the day
The off center shots look the best but it is easy to get the camera angle wrong or tilted the wrong way.
Another cookie cutter

I try to keep the fish in the water when I am setting the camera and try to only keep them out for around 30 seconds at a time. Below are 3 shots of the same fish, I was in the shade and used Photoshop to adjust the colors. The first 2 are without a flash and the last one is with one.

I was holding the rod of the camera mount to keep it from bouncing. 

My favorite of the 3, crooked but not as bad as #3

Too much glare on my specs from the flash and the Bass looks evil

Thanks for reading.

To learn how to build your own Kayak Camera mount Click the link below.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Bass of 2012

Shot of the day, taken with my custom kayak camera mount

Finally made it out to fish and had some decent success pitching a 1/4oz jig with a Mr Ugly. I saw them on clearance and bought a pack, at $1.49 I figured there was nothing to loose. The color is awesome, dark but in the sunlight it almost glows green. The action is pretty good as well, as the light jig head takes it down the tail swims with a lot of movement. If I burn it the bait buzzes across the surface, gotta try that later in the year. 

The King River was about a foot lower than the last time I fished it, the water was low enough that the bass boats could get under the Jackson Street bridge meaning I was not going to be fishing alone. First bass came about a foot from a bridge pylon. Not a big one but at least it swims. 
First Bass of 2012!
 I fished the rest of the Jackson Street bridge to no avail, not a bite. Rather than fish up the river and waste a lot of time finding a new pattern I decided to make a run up to the old Lemoore Marina and fish the riff raff. On the way there I was 2 blue herons nesting in a tree, too far to take a photograph. Then I came up to an Egret and just as I was going to take the shot it spooked and flew away.  I was at the last bend before the marina when I was a Golden Eagle perched atop a tree. I paddled as close as I could and took a few shots. With the reeds combined with my cameras lack of a zoom the huge beautiful eagle looked more like a crow in the reeds. All I could do was hope the fish would be less photo shy. If did not take me long to hook up wiht the next few fish, all between 4 and 9 feet of water.

Average sized Bass for the Kings River
 A lot of bass in the 12-14 inch range.
This one was very pale
 The Marina was bought by someone and it is now a private residents, they have a bunch of clucking chickens and crowing roosters, a turkey or two and some noise geese that move freely from their roost and the river. I didn't know they had a goat, he stopped by to say hi.
Lemoore Goat
 I was waiting for a bigger fish to try out my new camera mount, my wish came true I had a good sized bass on my line but it must not have been hooked well because it got away. It was enough to make my heart race and it took a good twenty minutes for me to calm down. I could not believe I lost that guy, at least the small ones were plentiful.
This guy is a little smaller than average
 I like how fish from slightly different areas have different markings, I liked this guys markings.
He was not as pale as the rest. 
 After a while all the fish start looking the same, I had my camera mount set up but did not have the camera screwed on to it. I realized it would be difficult to set it up with a large fish in one hand so I decided to rig it up and get it ready for a big one. I caught a few more average sized fish before this one, not as big as the one that got away but the biggest one I landed that day.
Fish of the day
 The sun started to get a little low and I promised the wife to take her out to the movies so I fished my way back catching 2 more on the last pass, I had a real good one man handle me. I lost it when it swam into a submerged tree. I was glad to get out and catch a few fish. I can't wait to get back out there and go after that one that got away.

Thanks for reading.
If you like the pictures my camera mount helped me take click the link below to read how to make your own.