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,

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


  1. Awesome catches! Those are some great looking bass!

  2. Great bass once again! Is the Kings a river, pond or lake? I just notice it doesn't have any current.

    1. It is a small river, the current is slow due to a system of wiers that control water flow. They are opened tomaintain water levels in irrigation systems that supply farmers in the area with water for crops and cattle. There is a main channel that averages 6 feet deep and drops to 9 feet in places and a lot of flood plains for fish to swim up into. Itis more like a coastal marsh at times. I have seen the river drop 2" in an hour when they open the wier below me.


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