Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday on the Kings

I have problems with expectations, I did pretty well on Saturday and I expected to do the same or better on Sunday. One of the things I really like about fishing is the gambling aspect of it. There can be a jackpot at any time like a big fish or the chance to view something amazing or just plain interesting. There is always the chance of catching a species that I am not after. I distinctly remember catching catfish 5  times when I was after Bass or Walleye, I can tell you about the "bonus fish " on great detail. I foul hooked a 30lb Carp trolling for King salmon, seeing the dark orange glow as I reeled it close enough to see will live in my memory while other moments fade. But there is also the down side, the skunk, loosing/breaking gear and being late or early for the bite.

Yesterday I did what a lot of anglers do, I got greedy. I expected the bite to be the same as it had been and almost got skunked. What saved me from going home with one lost fish under my belt was what normally gets me fish. I stopped,slowed down and changed tactics. There is a Blogger/Forum member back in Chicago, a river fisherman named Norm,  I learned most of what I know about reading rivers between him and Ken G another Chicagoland blogger and Forum member. What I like about them is they know the process. There are details about fishing like type of bait, time of day but it is the process that puts them all together. How the fish are acting. Norm picks it apart, most his forum posts are long and do not  include pictures, lots of new forum members (including pass them up) but the information he gives is priceless. He reports not just the details but the process.

Once I started thinking about getting a bite instead of just doing what worked before I was on to something. I hit the water at 6am and only had one hit, it was 9am when I decided to switch things up. I only brought a small portion of my tackle and it was mostly jigs and creature trail, the cold front that blew through Saturday afternoon and night had the bass suspended off the bottom. Even the small jigs and grubs were no use. I looked in one of my boxes and came across a Clack'n Crank, I bought it almost a year ago and never had any luck with it. It looked like it would catch fish but I was more afraid to loose it than to use it. InFishermen always seemed to have luck on it but I never had. At first I was cautious casting away from what was sure to rob me of my expensive lure, then I ran it into a small bed of submerged concrete I did not expect to find and got my first fish of the day around 0915.
Clack'n Bass
If anything it was positive momentum, I was moving in the right direction. Seeing a jig is not enough it is a reaction bite. I have read a few articles and seen a few shows with Kevin Van Dam talking about knocking a square billed crank bait against cover and the tops of weeds for a reaction bite but it just never seemed to happen that way. I ti not about tapping the lure into things, it is about slamming it into stuff. I was surprised how snag resistant the square bill actually is. I can throw it across a downed tree and reel it at a medium/fast speed right over it without snagging. Slow it down and you'll hook just about everything you can see in front of it. The second fish that struck was only about 6 inches long, it was poorly hooked and fell off as I swung him in to my lap and flopped into the river, now that is a quick release. I kept this pattern fan casting parallel to the shore, smashing it into rocks and logs, picking up fish as I went along.
Number 4 or 5 of the day
I was surprised at how Bass that snub their noses at a jig hit a crank when I saw something weird swimming through the water, it was a gizzard shad about the size of my bait. It was wounded and swimming rapidly in crazy patterns, I smacked it with my paddle to sun it so I could grab it. It slowed down for a minute then shot past me, it got near the shore and after a small splash was gone when a bass took it. Part of the process... i ended up with a few nice ones, as the day went on, towards noon the bite ad the temperature both went up as the cold front receded.
One of the nicer Bass of the day

I even scored a free lure.
Free deep diver
It was around 11 and I told myself I would catch 2 more and leave, I got one off a crank pretty quick after making this rule.  
I decided to try the jig again near a boat ramp. My line started swimming and I set the hook into an average sized Largemouth.

LMB on a black jig and StankX Hero

It was only 11:15, so I decided to make some more casts. I expected to land some more fish, but expectations are meant to b broken. I packed up and drove home to contemplate the lessons I learned that day.

Thanks for reading,
Dan

To read Norm's blog click HERE
To Read Ken G's blog click HERE

Saturday, April 28, 2012

7 Pounder on the Kings River

I took a long overdue trip out on the King river today, I invited my buddy Jim and his son James out with me. I loaded my canoe and the kayak in the back of the pick up truck and met up with them at 7am.
The two fit better than I thought
 I got there first and started unloading, for those who don't know cows out number people, I heard 3 to 1 but you can never trust hearsay like that.

I named this guy Burger
 I could not wait to try out my new StankX Heros, the color looked amazing. They were a little bigger than I thought they would be but I figured that would just mean I had a chance at some bigger fish.

First Bass caught on a hero
 it did not take too long to get a strike, I cast just over a branch and had a topwater hit when I pulled it over. I missed that fish but it was a good sign, a few casts later I got my first one.
Smaller bass caught on a Hero
 I kept working it slowly along the bottom, we talked to a couple of guys in a bass boat that said they got one on a white spinnerbait but nothing else. I switched to a 1/4oz black flipping jig and caught a little guy off a boat ramp.
4 Pound LMB
 I kept working the shore, I saw the line shoot towards deeper water and set the hook. This fish was a little nicer and weighed in a little over 4lbs. I knew I was on to something, the lighter jig with a shortened Hero was the key.

Average King River Largemouth Bass
I missed 2 and caught my 4th, 5th and 6th fish on the same Hero, I had to flip it upside down and rehook it but it was still working I got Jim and James rigged up with jigs, they had a few hits but could not get the fish to the boat. I got to say I could not ask fro better fishing partners, they were happy to get any action, I hope next trip does them better in the fish department. 
Jim and his son James paddling in the Kings River
 I couldn't ask for anything more, I was out with 2 great people, I caught 6 decent fish in a few hours and I had some great pictures. I felt great, I wanted my guests to catch something though. I slowed down and kept working an area that is hot and cold at times right off another boat ramp, I cast to the left hand corner and felt a massive strike. I reeled down and my kayak started moving quick. He shot to the left of me 10 feet and swam under my boat pulling drag, the nose of my kayak crashed into shore. I turned him around again and saw the jig was hooked in her tounge at the back of her mouth and lipped her. It was over. I held the fish under water while I let myself calm down. My heart was beating fast, I held the fish up for my friends, the guy on shore and the two guys in the bass boat that somehow creeped up behind me.
7lb Largemouth Bass
 I took a few shots and let her go, she splashed some water in my face and seemed no worse for the wear. I got 2 more bites after that, blew the hook set both times but that didn't matter. I wanted to get my guests on some fish but the weather did not cooperate, the wind picked up making it hard to dead stick the jig, after a while of being blown around we gave up. We packed up and called it a day, I went home and had lunch with my wife.



Jim, James it was great getting out with you two and I can't wait to do it again.

Thanks for reading,
Dan

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lake Kaweah Report 23 April 2012

I had a chance to fish lake Kaweah on Sunday with a fellow Kayaker I met on CCKF Jeff and his son Mike. Had a great time out with only a few hiccups, the speed boaters and jet skiers were pretty annoying. Saw one wipe out when he hit a wake made by a power boat made the wrong way. I was playing with the settings on my camera the other day and I turned off the setting that saves the battery when the camera is left on. So I got only a few pictures into the trip before it died . I worked the shoreline with a jg for a while with no takers , I decided to try out a KVD square billed crank and got a Spotted Bass on the first cast with it.

Like that professional quality photo???
I took a self pic and did not realize it was blurry, I did manage to get a good up close shot. I loved the colors on this guy. The picture hardly does it justice, plus the way he smashed the lure and bent the rod I would have sworn it was a Smallmouth.
Beautiful Lake Kaweah Spotted Bass
I put the fish back in the water holding it with my left hand while I checked the photos and saw the first one was blurred. I was setting it up when the fish shook hard and got away from me, strong fish...  I decided to take a few pictures of the scenery.
It was a beautiful day out
I was surprised there were not any power boats or jet skies or wave runners in any of the shots...
Lots of cool structure to fish off the shore. 
 I was still waiting for Jeff to show up when I heard a beep coming from my camera. I took a look at the screen and saw it said "Battery Dead"... : /

Jeff and his son showed up with about an hour and a half of sunlight left, we started pounding the shore with jigs and I occasionally threw my crankbait but did not get anymore bites on it. Jeff got his first Kayak fish on a jig and craw trailer. I switched to a lighter green jig and a smaller green trailer, I tossed it twice, got close to the rocks and dropped it almost right next to me. I felt a tug and set the hook on my biggest fish of the day.  Jeff was going to snap a pic with his iPhone but while I was holding it underwater to keep it lively it shook my hand and got away. That is the price you might have to pay to keep a fish healthy.  Next fish I held on a little tighter.  :D
Lake Kaweah Spotted Bass
I caught a few more fish, and Jeff was there with the camera. I found a school in between two rocks, so I got Jeff's son to hit the spot hoping he would hook up. He had two hits and saw one go after his bait on the retrieve but the fish did not cooperate.

5th and final Spotted Bass of the day
I was super excited to get out, meet Jeff, catch my first California reservoir Bass and enjoy the day. Jeff it wasgreat getting out and meeting you and your son. I hope we can do it again.
Jeff and his son
Thanks for reading,
Dan

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New StankX Color


Yesterday I chatted with Travis Crossman the owner of StankX Bait Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan on Facebook. The guy pours some great baits and is always up to try something new. The crayfish in the kings river are drab olive with a slight blue tint, I wanted a bait that would mimic it but still stick out like a sore thumb for a opportunistic Bass to see. He knew just what I wanted and less than 12 hours later I see this post on Facebook. Travis you the man, I can't wait to try them out.
Dirty Blue Craw
I am not paid by StankX, I did get a free hat with an order a month or so ago. The real reason I am so gun ho about this company is they make a quality product, it supports small business, and best of all they have the skills and dedication to try out new things for their customers. Try telling Berkley, Gary Yamamoto or Strike King mix you a custom color, there is no chance. The man can pour just about anything you want, if you have an idea shoot StankX an Email or order something you like off the site. Check out some of the custom baits he has made.
Gobi Wan Double Dipped Tubez
Glowing Thug Grubz
Check out some more Custom StankX creations HERE or on their Facebook fan page HERE.

I highly recommend these guys, Travis keep up the great work in your plastic pouring lab. I will be waiting hovering around my mailbox waiting to get my Dirty Blue Craw Heroz.

Thanks for reading,
Dan


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Missing my Niece

My niece and dog fishing the West Branch of the DuPage river in DuPage county Illinois


I love being an uncle, getting to watch this wonderful person grow and to be able to have a positive influence on her is amazing. I love teaching her as well as learning about her and hearing her view of things. She is a bright wonderful little girl and I am very proud to he her uncle.  
Magic gloves

I haven't seen my niece since Christmas and I am really starting to miss her. It took a while to get her to touch a fish, the secret was her wearing gardening gloves. I wish I lived closer to take her out with me, get her to catch her first fish on her own. It is hard living half a continent away, I guess I just have to make the most of the time we do get to spend together.



I wish I could go back to Illinois right now and spend some time but it is just not in the cards. Hopefully it will be soon.
Thanks for reading,
Dan

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Skunked on the River

I went out to the King on Sunday, after 3 weeks of cold, rainy, windy weather it was finally a decent day. That should have been my first warning. I forgot my go to jig and grub combos and sunscreen. I did however run into an fellow in a Hobie Outback from San Jose named Jim. He was a nice fellow, I showed him the better spots. Telling someone you know where the fish are is a sure way to get skunked. I did end up finding a bunch of lures, I am thinking of starting a found lures of the King river shadow box.

My haul
One Crankbait, two bobbers, 4 weights, one jig, one spinner bait with grub trailer and some assorted plastics.
I fished from 1PM until 8:30PM, I missed 2 on a wacky rigged green StankX worm and late in the evening lost 2 on a StankX tube one of them jumped and looked pretty nice before it swam away. 0 for 4.

Not the best day on the river but I did not see or hear of a single fish landed my the dozen or so folks I ran into on the water besides the girl who hooked her boyfriends ear from the back of the boat. I did a video on the setup of my kayak but my SD card went bad shortly after, no pics from the day. I wanted to take a video of me bush-whacking through the reeds but it was not meant to be. I also saw a cool Barn Owl just before twilight, it scarred me as it crashed through the branches of the trees and flew out. With all the negatives the positives still outweighed them as it was a relaxing time and met a fellow kayaker, the fish will come soon enough.
Thanks for reading
Dan

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fishing Gear and the Transportation Security Administration

My wife's uncle is an avid fisherman, he does a lot of trolling from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario for Salmon and Lake Trout so he is always looking for a deal on the internet for fishing gear. He thought he scored on a downrigger weight shaped like a torpedo but was not happy when he got the box and it weighed half as much as he expected. Knowing I am a kayak fishermen he figured I would figure out how I could use it and he was right. He handed it off to me the morning we left West Chazy, New York for Burlington, Vermont to catch our flight. My wife rolled her eyes and said "You want that thing you're carting it." I shoved it in my carry-on, a 3 day rucksack (having no bags to check) and we headed to the airport. 

I almost forgot about it when we got to the TSA checkpoint, there was no line and being a seasoned traveler I stripped my belt, shoes and pocket contents and was through X-ray in no time. The bag however was not as quick. The lead in the weight blocked too much of the bag for the agents liking. I told him he could remove it and told him it was a weight for trolling lures in deep water. He seemed to relax, removing the torpedo shaped object and swabbing the area for explosive residue. Thank God my uncle in law did not have the weight next to his ammunition! He handed it back to me after his machine gave him a green light and told me to pull it out if I have to go through another check point. I thanked him and we went to our gate. 

We landed in LeGuardia and had an hour to get to our terminal, I was furious when I crossed the boundary marking the "secure passenger area" figuring out I had to leave the building and literary go down the street to the next building. I got to the next checkpoint removed shoes, watch and wallet. I placed the weight in the bin along my shoes and headed to the body scanner, I was through when I spotted the TSA agent looking at my torpedo confused. I shouted (as it was rather loud) "it is a weight for fishing". He seemed to have some hesitation as he handed it to me and saying "Next time put it in your check in bag."...

Moral of the story, if you fly somewhere and get something that could look suspicious to TSA throw it in a flat rate box and just wait for the post office to deliver it. 

Thanks for reading,
Dan

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fishing Withdrawals

Things have been hectic lately, I just started a new job, I am renovating my kitchen and the weather has been wetter and windier than it should. To top it off my wife's beloved grandmother passed away. 
My favorite picture of my wife's grandmother, Rest in peace Roseanna
We ended up spending $2500 to get from Fresno, Ca to Las Vegas, Nv, to D.C. and finally to Burlington Vt to take the ferry to New York to pay our respects. While there I did play disc golf for the first time which was very fun. I got the chance to fish for a bout an hour so I hit pond behind the house out of the leaky canoe, the 10 year old mono on the borrowed rod created a giant wind knot 10 minutes into my short time on the water, it was too far gone to untangle. The trip back started in Burlington, Vt to New York, New York via LaGuardia (the worst Airpost I have ever been to) to Dallas-Fort Worth and finally to Fresno. The hour drive home with a head cold after 14 hours of air travel felt like an eternity.
I took some pictures I wanted to share but now my SD card is not working and most likely needs to be replaced.
With all this I need to get out, it has been way too long since I last fished. If I don't get out soon I have a feeling I am going to get the shakes.
My name is Dan and I am a Fishaholic
Thanks for reading.