Monday, August 27, 2012

Quest for the BASS Slam Episode #2 - the Suwannee Bass

After Episode #1, I started debating if we could outdo our Florida Strain Largemouth excursion (linked here in case you missed it).  I mean - two bass in the 6 pound class, big gators, aggressive bowfin, frog fishing over weed was a dream for anyone trying to put together some video footage.  Then I started thinking about all of our stops and all of the amazing places we got to fish....and it made me realize why I love kayak river bassin' so much!  Episode #2, which is all about the Suwannee Bass, is not full of 6 pounders (that would actually be almost double the world record).  However, the Santa Fe River had a mystique to it - and it sucked me in.  I actually think it might have been my favorite river and the Suwannee my favorite species of the nine.

The hard fighting Suwannee is a crafty little fish and given that we only had two, half-days to fish for them, we knew we had to figure them out fast.  And of course, what would another couple days in Florida be without the lingering effects of tropical storm Beryl.  So, could we catch the fish we needed before we had to move on?  Watch and find out in Quest for the BASS Slam Episode #2 - the Suwannee Bass!

As always, questions, comments, and recommendations are more than welcome.  Tight lines!

***Best viewed in 720p HD

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Bushwhacking, Bass Catching Adventure

No-one who has fished with me has ever accused me of not working hard to catch fish.  It might be paddling that extra-mile, fighting the wind to stay in a key area, wading through knee-deep muck and mud, backsliding down an 8-foot clay bank, pulling my yak behind me from shoal to shoal, or stomping my own path through shoulder high brush.  I will do whatever is needed to catch fish.  Sometimes this means I have to scale back my endeavors when other folks come with me.  After all, I want them to keep coming back.

Last Saturday I ended up not fishing the NCKFA tournament I previously mentioned on MPF.  The repairs to my car took longer than expected and it wasn't ready on Friday.  So, I was stuck without a good way to get my yak there and some of the usual suspects from the area also weren't fishing the event.  I debated, and debated, before finally deciding to skip it and go fun fishing.

I headed out to a local flow with Mary May and a good friend of ours - Santosh.  Santosh is a carp fishing addict who also heads up the Duke Fishing Club/Team.  We decided to try a short wade trip on a local river I hand't fished in a few years.  This particular stretch of water is suffering due to some water quality and conservation issues, but it is close to home and typically has a few bass around.  However, it does take some effort to fish.  Fishing there means trudging through weed beds, boulder hopping, sinking into silt, crawling down banks, wading all over the place, and flat out bushwhacking.  Thankfully, my fishing partners were more than up for to the challenge.

The bass seemed a little lazy - or simply their numbers are dwindling due to the issues I mentioned above.  However, it didn't take long for Mary May to put fish #1 on the board - a chunky largemouth that nailed her worm on the edge of a weed bed.

Mary May also won the award for best color coordinated outfit on Saturday

 The river was weedier than in years past, but then again, so are most southern rivers after the warm spring we had.  We fished a few deep pools before making a hike down river to fish another stretch.  Eventually, we found another pocket that had a few fish.  In fact, at one point, Santosh and Mary May managed a double.  Mary May happened to feel her fish bite just as she was slipping on an algae covered rock.  Somehow she managed to set the hook, regain balance, and land the fish.

Duke Fishing Representin'

A few pools later, Mary May landed her third bass and was putting the guys to shame.  It was some time after this that I finally regained a little pride and got on the board with a couple small bass of my own.

The bite remained slow and after a few hours we were wet, tired, hungry, dirty, scratched up, bug bit, and ready for a nap.  That happens to be exactly how I like to feel after a day on the river.  So we hiked back to the trucks to head for home.  We had a lot of fun and big props to MM and Santosh for kicking butt out there.  If you ever want to do a river adventure, whether via wading or kayak, drop me a won't regret it.

It wasn't a great day, but certainly not a bad day either.  Of course, if it was a great day, MM would have caught about 5 times as many as the guys.  We caught fish on t-rigged and wacky rigged plastics fished on medium to medium heavy spinning rods.  Actually, all three rods in use were from Carolina Custom Rods, who I believe puts together some of the nicest finesse rods I have ever touched.  

Since the Escape is finally back in the driveway, it is time to start thinking about weekend plans...and you better believe they will include putting a pair of kayaks on the roof.  Tight lines!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

When Life Gets in the way of Fishing - Mutant Bass & Crazy Deer

August has been a tough month for me.  First, my car got hit and I have been stuck in a rental without a roof rack.  That means no carrying kayaks.  That means it is either wade trips, boat trips, or overtime at the office.  It has been mostly overtime, but I did get a couple short trips in last week.  One was a trip down near Raleigh that resulted in about 25 bass between two of us - the biggest going maybe 2-2.5 lbs.  Then Mary May and I decided to join our friends Wendy and Gary and enjoy some of their fancy mechanical horsepower on Kerr Lake.  In the short time we got on the water between storms, we managed only two small cats....bummer.

Tomorrow I am supposed to get my Escape back (cross your fingers)!  That timing would be perfect since the NCKFA Smallmouth Slam takes place on Saturday.  While I am a big fan of the NCKFA and smallies, I am not a huge fan of fishing extremely muddy rivers.  Enter the venue for the event, the mighty Yadkin.  Do fish eat in muddy water? Sure they do, but something about it just isn't as much fun.  So I am on the fence about that one and will be keeping an eye on the river levels and local forecasts until Saturday.  If I don't end up on the Yadkin, I think a local trip will be at the top of the agenda!

Now for a couple total random asides.  First, I have never been a fan of online tournaments.  The list of things I dislike about them is long, but it was well summed up by my friend Pat Kellner in a recent email.  His comment was, "To me, it doesn't show who is the best angler that day, just who fishes the best water."  I think that pretty much hit the nail on the head.  Maybe I will change my mind one day, but no time soon.

Second, in order to add some picture pizzaz to this post I wanted to throw in a couple pictures I stumbled upon while scrolling through my photos.  This was a mutant bass I caught on Belews Lake last fall.'s a weird place

                                                    One heck of a kink - any ideas how it might have formed?

  The weirdo was actually a nice, fat, thick fish, but with the huge kink in his tail, he barely went 15".  I am not sure how fish grow like that, but it was kind of neat to see.  That same day, we had this gal follow us. 

Bambi's mom made a swim for it

She watched us from the bank for about 100 yards and at times even walked out on the docks.  She would trail a short distance behind us and other times ahead, but he never got too far away.  After about 30 minutes we decided to troll across a bay (about 60-70 yards) and fish another row of docks.  Suddenly, Bill yelled, "Holy Crap" and points behind me.  There, not more than 10 feet from the motor, is the deer.  I shot a quick video and snapped a few photos as she swam by.  Thankfully, the doe, which was radio collared, made it to shore and eventually wandered away from us.  This made us extremely happy when it came time to make a big move.  The last thing we wanted was for her to follow us again and try to make a swim that she didn't have the energy for.  It was a wacky day on Belews, but we did end up with a nice bag of fish by about maybe she was our goodluck charm!
She was friendly...and maybe our long, lost goodluck charm

I had seen plenty of deer and other critters on the river, but she definitely took it to a new level.  Anyone else seen some weird things out there?  Until next time, tight lines!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Quest for the BASS Slam and MPF Fishing Giveaway Winners

A huge thanks to the 40+ folks who entered the Quest for the BASS Slam giveaway either via our Facebook page or email.  The winners are as follows:
Malibu Kayaks Khaki Hat - Joel Elliot
Malibu Kayaks Trucker Hat - Patrick Lail
Fishing Prize Package from Man Powered Fishing and Quest for the BASS Slam - Sam Glenn
Guided kayak fishing trip via Man Powered Fishing and Froggy Waters Outdoors - Tim Roach

Again, thank you to everyone who entered and congrats to the winners!