Sunday, May 29, 2011


As everyone who took Economics 101 in college knows, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  But I have learned a similar lesson this weekend in England.  The new acronym that goes along with my lesson learned is TINSTAFFIE.  It is very similar to TINSTAFL but is more specific and applies to fishing in England (hence the IE).  It stands for:  there is no such thing as free fishing in England.

Want to fish this lake?  Sure, go buy a permit for it.  Want to fish that lake over there?  Go buy another permit.  Want to fish that lake across the street?  Pay 50 Quid or more to join the club for a season.  Want to fish the local stocked carp pond?  Buy your permit and fish the 25’x25’ section corded off for you.  Ugh.

Don’t worry, I’m fishing anyway  of course!  Posts to follow…

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bass tactics: many questions to be answered

This post is mainly a response to Clif at Lunker Hunt regarding his comment on my previous post.  I have many questions and I know he holds the knowledge.  And hopefully some others out there will stumble upon this and add their own two cents or learn something.   I figure there are plenty of people out there pretty new to bass and probably have a lot of the same questions I do.

"Cast past small open areas and bounce the worm through." - Got it.  All open areas or is it better to concentrate near banks, under trees, center of the lake??

"Once the weeds grow tall enough to form a mat on the surface, it's a blast to bounce Senkos across the top and watch 'em come up through the weeds." - Anything to aim for, or just blast everything?

Is there any rhyme or reason to choosing a bait?  Worm, lizard, crawfish, other plastic?  Buzz, popper, crank, etc.?  So far in the places I've fished, weedless plastics are pretty much the only option. 

I have heard that lizards eat bass eggs and that bass can be very aggressive during the spawn to that true?

Is it important to use a hefty line while fishing in thick weeds?  It seems getting broken off could be very easy.

I don't know if I'll need to worry about this, but is there any way to predict what depth to fish at, other than trial and error?

That's enough for now.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Inspired by bass

Inspiration hit me this weekend.  The flows out here in Oregon are slowly coming down to summer levels but they are still a little high, which means the trouts will still be a little tough to catch.  I didn't feel like battling the rivers, and Clif at Lunker Hunt recently wrote an interesting and informational post about some bass tactics.

Last year I spent a couple days out on the reservoir just west of town with absolutely no luck.  Since then I got a tip from someone about a small pond near the reservoir that is supposed to be a good spot.  I can put two and two together to get five, so I decided to put my limited bass gear together and head out to the pond to explore and probably get skunked.

Just like Clif suggested, I used a Texas rigged, dark rubber worm (not Senko but the same thing I think).  I have always used weight with these, but since Clif is adamant about going weightless I figured I'd try that out.

I walked along until I found some areas worth giving a go and started tossing the worm around.

I tried along the banks, out in the middle, under trees, in and around logs in the water, and nothing.  There are some weeds in the warm still waters out here that I'm not used to.  And when I say "some" what I mean is "lots."  And when I say "lots" what I mean is the entire pond is filled with them.  If you look out into the water mostly what you see is about one inch of water, then solid weeds.  There are some open spots, but it's mostly weeds.  This doesn't make the fishing particularly easy or productive.  My tactic was essentially to cast to places that looked good and let it sink into the weeds, sit there for a few seconds, then give a few wiggles and reel it back in.

I did this maybe a hundred times with nothing to show.

Then finally I struck some gold.  I cast in under a small overhanging tree about two feet from shore and within one second, fish on!  He didn't fight too hard and stayed in the small channel of open, weedless water near the bank.  Looking back I was probably pretty lucky that he didn't run in around any of the branches underwater or shoot off into the weeds, because I was using a 6 or 8lb line and it probably wouldn't have held.

But I managed to land my first bass in probably 3 years or more, and what a bass it was!

I measured the toad at right at 20", and I wish I had a scale because it would be nice to know much he weighed.  Any guesses??  20" and fat as hell!

Here is where I hooked him.

I would love to hear from you bass people out there about any tactics you have for fishing extremely weedy water.

I also welcome any weight estimates.  My wild guess is about 4-5 lbs...?

Yet another cold one

On my way to Baltimore I stopped over in Denver last weekend for some fun.  It started with some poker that I don’t really want to talk about Friday night, then Saturday was a sweet crawfish boil.  I have a bunch of blurry pictures taken with my phone, and this is the best one:

Then we get to the good stuff.  We got up early Sunday morning, and it was just Brady and I.  No one else was all that interested in getting up at 6am to go fishing in 30deg cloudy weather.  I would say I don’t blame them, but I do blame them.  So we got up early, cleaned up his house a little since it was a mess from the crawfish boil activities the night before, and headed out around 7am.  After a quick stop for a disgusting breakfast from BK we were on the way.

To take a step back, my previous post mentioned that I was watching the flows at SBC and was hoping to go there.  It took some convincing, but finally Brady coerced me into going to a new place he had fished a few times recently: Cheeseman Canyon.  This is a pretty famous and thus popular spot that is not too far from Denver.  I had heard of it but never fished it.  And I don’t really enjoy going to brand new places when I’m travelling because I know it will take me some time to figure it out and I probably won’t do too well.  But I was promised it was a gem so there we were, on the road to the canyon.  The drive in was at the very least nicely scenic…and laced with snow.

We parked in the lot and were the 4th car there.  This is the sort of place where if you show up at 10am on a nice day you won’t find a place to park, and yes, they will all be anglers.  The weather was pretty crappy on this particular day, below freezing and cloudy, but for this river that’s probably a good thing since it will keep the crowds away.  We geared up and started the short hike to the river.  The trail winds around a hillside and then T’s up on the river and you can walk either way.  The downstream trail very quickly runs into the pretentious private club, and I ran down there real quick and pissed across the border.  Then we headed upstream to find a good spot to fish.

We found a spot that Brady had fished last time without a ton of luck, but that holds quite a few fish you can see and he suggested I give it a try since I’m such a better angler.  In retrospect I think he was tricking me into fishing the crappy hole.  Anyway, I rigged up and started throwing small nymphs into the upstream run and watching them run down into the deep deep hole.  It was a tough spot to fish because it’s one of those deep slow holes with a swift and shallow approach with a completely unpredictable drift.  For whatever reason I do find these places fun to fish for a while, I suppose it is because I enjoy the challenge of trying to get a good drift.
There was a large rock in front of me , some slow slack water just after than, then a swift run before more slack water before yet another swift run, then one more bit of slack water before it got shallow near the other bank.  I put on a boatload of weight, then I put on some more weight and hoped for the best.  Most drifts through this sort of water aren’t going to be very good but eventually you get lucky and get a good one that will hopefully go near a fish.  I don’t remember how long it took, but it wasn’t too long before I hooked into my first nice rainbow.  He fought decently and must have been a real toad because he snapped me off and when I went to check my flies what I found was my top fly was still there, but the hook had broken right off!
You would think the fish must have been huge, and he was, I assure you, but I bought a bunch of hooks off eBay and I think this was one of them.  The hook broke and the 4x leader did not.  Lesson learned….do not buy hooks on eBay even if they are dirt cheap.

Somewhere during my 2 hour effort in this pool I did pull one out, but my camera wouldn’t start and I didn’t get a pic.  But I promise it did happen.  And it was HUGE!  Just kidding, it wasn’t big.  Meanwhile down below me in the faster, more shallow water Brady managed to hook into what seemed to be a very nice fish.  He fought him long enough for me to pull my rig in, set it on the bank, and wander down to him with the camera.

It was a nice fish.  The blue tape marks 18”.

Not much later, Brady hooked into pig number 2 in the same spot while I was still struggling up above. Jerk.  I reeled in my line and headed down with the camera.

Brady landed pig #2 and after a quick pic released him to go back home and create more pigs for later trips.

I threw a rock in where he was fishing and said we should move on.  So we did.  (I didn’t really throw a rock)  We moved up a bit and I fished a better and easier looking run.  I fished it for about 30 minutes with no luck.  There weren’t many fish to be seen aside from a few sitting right in front of some logs stuck underwater, which were likely uncatchable.  Not seeing any fish and not catching anything didn’t provide me with too much patience, so I gave up quickly.

We started working our way upstream a little quicker.  I found quite a few spots that I thought looked good but didn’t produce.  Finally I found a little pool with an eddy where a number of fish were facing downstream in the eddy and feeding.  I tossed in there and pretty quickly hooked into a decent brown.  He started swimming around and fighting and I immediately noticed there was a huge crack in the rock I was standing on.  Down he shot.  I assumed he would break himself off, but apparently that crack went all the way through the rock because he popped back out the front side in the current again and I fortunately managed to land him.

Shortly thereafter I nabbed my third fish.  I don’t remember where he was or how I caught him.  But I caught him.

We worked the water for another hour or so with no luck and decided to start heading back.  I wanted to fish my way back so we walked along the bank and watched for fish.  We spotted a couple in a few different spots and I casted to them a number of times with no luck.  After those few more efforts we called it a day and hiked back to the car.

Overall it was a fairly frustrating cold day.  I wish we had gone to SBC, but at the same time I can see the allure to this river.  There are quite a few pigs in the water; they are just too smart for me.