Friday, April 26, 2024

You Don't See That Everyday

 April 22, 2023

This was a rather impromptu outing and in retrospect probably was a bad idea.  Luc is going in for a procedure that will require some time to recover.  That means he is out for at minimum one week.  He asked if he I'd like to spend a couple hours on the water with him.  I jumped at the opportunity.  Given my last  outing was so poor I wanted to get at least one more shot it before Luc was laid up.  Luc had a lot to do before tomorrow including taking his boat to the mechanic to check what was going on with his motor.  I had to be home to prepare dinner for some dinner guests.  I told him I needed to be home at noon the latest.  He assured me I'd be home way earlier than that. 

Starting with one of my oldest favorite poppers, the gurgler, a fly that probably fought more topwater fish for me than any other.  For some reason it went out of favor with me but since Luc wanted me to tie a few for him since I decided to give old faithful a go.  With the sun just peaking, we started fishing an in less than five minute Luc gets a a boil but misses it.  I proceed to get one just after.  It feels small and when I get it to the boat I realize why.  It's a crappie.  Luc in shock says he's never seen a crappie on topwater.  On the past several outing it seemed everyone was catching crappie as they were coming in shallow to spawn except me.  It's not that I'm all that particular to this fish and as a game fish it hardly puts up a fight.  One short run and then it quits but I had I hadn't caught a crappie in close to a decade so I would have liked to get one.  Additionally my buddy Koji from Japan, the last time he was out stateside remarked that he'd like to catch one since there is none is Japan, so I would like to send him a pic. 
For the next hour or two the fishing was fairly decent.  Not epic but good enough to keep us entertained.  Since we were on a short time frame we blasted through pretty fast but once the sun become higher the fishing all but shut down.  For the next hour it was a slog.  We began our way back to the launch ramp and for the next hour withe clouds starting to appear the fishing began to pick up.
Several more bass were caught or missed.  This one probably my best of the day was more luck than skill.  I blasted a cast right up against the trunk of a submerged tree.  When I glanced over to Luc who was position the boat to retrieve his fly from a submerged structure I was hit.  I think I felt it rather than seeing it and since the bass swallowed it deep I managed to hook the fish. 
Later down the drift Luc casted in between two submerged brush and got a small boil.  He didn't react in time and continued his retrieve when the fish decided to hit it again.  This time Luc set the hook and brought it in.  We laughed when we noticed it was a crappie.  Luc's first topwater crappie.  I joked "well I guess I no longer have that on you"  I did for about two hours.  Few more fish bass were caught on our way to the ramp before quitting around 10.
On the way home I had to stop by the market. In the parking lot I see an Escalade crashing into several park cars. Thinking of all the youtube videos of carjackers playing bumper cars in the parking lot with stolen cars I looked for an exit out of its path. Driving toward me and the two vehicles ahead of me it drives over a small hatchback. Crushing it Monster Truck style. As its climbing I see the underbelly of the SUV before in crashes down onto the rear of the parked car. It then plows through some of the shrubbery, knocking down a steel pole before a man runs out of the market and gets the car to stop. I recall as a kid of the 80s always wanting to go to the Big A and see the Monster Truck Shows and "Bigfoot" crush cars now I was seeing it front row and center. When the Caddie finally stopped it was an old woman who confused the gas and brake pedals. What a day.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Popper Season Has Commenced Not the Greatest Start

 April 18, 2024

Morning water has reached beyond the desired temp of 66°F for the topwater bite to start.  Luc and John had fished the day before and it was tough.  I was hoping we'd do better.  Unfortunately it was not.  Plan was to start with poppers and when we could no longer find any shadows we'd fish subsurface.  Got to Luc's house early and while at the light to turn into his community I took out my wallet to ready myself to show my ID at the gate.  I also put my sunglasses into my camera ditty bag so I wouldn't forget them.  Waited a while and when the light turned I made my left. Approaching the gate I reached down to my lap to grab my wallet but it was gone.  I stopped ahead of the gate and looked all over but couldn't find it.  I went through the ditty bag in case I put it in there.  The guard waved me over drove over and got out to look for my wallet.  It had slid off my leg in between the seat and center console.
Got to Luc's house and unpacked.  Little did I know when going through the camera bag I left the sunglasses out on the seat.  Fishing was tough.  Started with a freaky frog.  Changed out many times.  More times than I've ever.  No luck.  Luc eventually changed to a chartreuse foam slider ad that seemed to be the ticket for him managing three hard earned bass on it throughout the morning.  I only managed to get one to hit and I missed it.  Although I did have fish blowup on near my fly twice.  Initially I thought they were attacking my fly but no they were simply going after something adjacent to my bug.  We switched to sinking lines and deep water on the way back but we couldn't get any action with that setup.  Most interesting thing of the day was seeing swallows and their nesting site on the eves of the apartment complex.  Hoping our next outing will be better.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Another Slog at Canyon

 April 8, 2024

Another day on the water with my good friend Luc.  Most likely this will be the last time I fish for this month.  Early in the day we had motor issues.  We were slowly cruising when the motor sputtered and had a slight grinding sound.  The moment it happened we both noticed it and simultaneously turned out heads to look at what just happened.  Lake is still beyond capacity which means we can not exercise the motor beyond 5mph.  Luc set down the trolling motor and put he engine in neutral to run it at a higher rpms which was suggested by his mechanic the last time.  The boat will be serviced the next week while Luc has a procedure done.

A couple outings ago we had an epic day we looked to replicate the day so we started at the same location we did that day.  It wasn't long and I was on a fish.  Again I began the day with a blugill colored Diamond Hair streamer.   Despite being a rather small fish it was a good start to the day.  Luc fishing a chartreuse EP Peanut Butter followed suit with his own small fish no long after.  We reached the hole that produced for us so nicely the last time but it failed to give us any this time.  The fish had moved on.    

Drifting along we reached the end of the section I managed to hook onto another fish that was running towards me.  Stripping as fast as I could I simply couldn't keep the line taut enough to keep him oneFor the rest of the day it was a slog.  It wasn't helped by the fact I have been postponing swapping out my sinking line.  I've been trying to squeeze the last bit of juice out of it and as a result I was frustrated all day with the line tangling and becoming gummy to the touch.  Cracks have not appeared so its time to change. Luc would get a few more and miss or lose some.  I would miss a few more.  Overall a slow day.  On the boat ride back to the ramp Luc said jokingly catching a fish that early was a bad sign.  Of course had it been an epic day he would have said the reverse.  One reason I wanted to head out was to test out my new filters in my TG7.  I bought an adapter ring and two filters.  A polarized one for obvious fishing reasons and a UV filter mainly as a cheap protection from lens scratches.  I didn't get to test the new setup much as I forgot to take many pics.  The fish were simply too unremarkable for me to remember to grab the camera.    I'll have to wait till next moth to really put the new camera set up through it's paces. 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Opposite Day

April 4, 2023

With a successful last outing I was getting excited to head back to Canyon.  Luc offered up Monday but I could not make it so he asked if I could do Thursday.  So I accepted.  I've been on a Diamond Hair Streamer kick lately and I tied a few in a blugill coloration.  Within the first twenty or so casts I was on.  At first it did not register as a fish as the line simply went heavy with no reaction other than that.  I had thought I simply was dragging debris so I didn't fully commit to the strike.  Once I managed to pull it in more it finally gave some actual resistance.  Once it surfaced the bass spit the hook.  We were fishing a rather shallow section of the lake and just prior to hooking that fish I was contemplating on switching to my intermediate line for a slower retrieve but since I managed to get a reaction so early I kept with the fast sinking line.  I was reluctant to switch anyways as I was currently fishing my Orvis Helios 2 that has yet to break it's largemouth cherry.  It was Luc who managed remove the skunk off the boat with catfish after he switched to a chartreuse fly.
Fishing was slow but Luc managed one every so often after switching colors and a slightly smaller fly. After noticing several schools of shad in the 1.5-2 inch range I decided to change to chartreuse and a smaller finesse game changer fly to match the hatch. 
I manage to foul hook one of those schooling shad so the gamechanger was a good representation at least in size.  It's been a while since his seen schools like that and it was a good sign.  All the ones we saw were circling around docks but once they move onto the shoreline it going to be game on especially with poppers.
I would fish the gamechanger for a while until I lost confidence in it when I had not gotten any reaction.  Switching to a Diamond Hair Streamer in a shad coloration I finally got bit.  The fish was no bigger than the handle to butt section of my Orvis 8wt and not worth taking a photo. At one section we could see shad being chased under some branches of a submerged brush.  I casted into the branches hanging up in the process once I plopped it off the overhang a bass exploded on it but I couldn't hook up.  Several casts later Luc would reenact the cast again and managed to hook up.  Fished to about noon with Luc getting the occassional fish here and there.  All in all a very slow outing.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Epic Day Out

March 28. 2024

With packed schedule for the week I ask Luc if he is fishing in Tuesday, the only day I have all day free, but he tells me he's busy until Thursday.  I let him know I can make it work but I have to be home by 2pm.  Not usually a problem as we normally quit before noon which will give me more than enough time to get back.  Luc informs me Monday was great and we are going to return to that spot.
As I did with the last outing I started with the Sweet Home Alabama rig.  Once we reach Luc's intended location he's on within a few casts.  I get a fierce strike early but I miss it.  Luc would get two more bass all nearing or exceeding the five pound range.  It was then I decided to quit the testing the A-rig and simply fish the Diamond Hair streamer alone.  Not long after the fly change I was on on a largmeouth exceeding four pounds. 
We stayed on this spot for a while getting more and more fish.  Once the larger models stopped eating and the 2 pound and under class started to appear we were jaded and quickly released those in search of the fatter versions.  We stayed here a while until it dried up and we moved up looking for more active feeders.
We'd get some here and there mostly small fish.  I had to stop fishing for a while as the line at my feet tangled so badly I spent at least thirty minutes trying to unfuck the while thing.  Eventually it took both of us to figure out how to undue the mess. 
Finally with my line free we fished closer to the ramp for our last location of the day.  Luc managed another here and by then it was time to call it quits.  At the end of the had a double digit fish count with an average fish weighing four plus pounds with a six, a five and several four pounders in the mix.