Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Warm Weather Wacky Bassin'

I arrive at the agreed to spot at 8:30 AM and find Wacky Bass there getting his gear ready.

We were starting at a small pond that Wacky showed Pondboy and me last fall.  I have fished it in the fall, through the ice in the winter, and now I can say I've fished it in the spring too.

The temperature wasn't going to get as hot as it did Sunday (97 degrees) but it could get hot.  The saving grace was the breeze (or wind as it was at times)  that kept warm air moving and at least evaporated the sweat before it dripped down our brows.

The bluegills were paired off and spawning so we left them alone in favor of the bass that were just down the slope from the gill's beds waiting to raid them as theirs had been raided by the gills.  Nature manages to even things out when left to her devices.

The bass we caught were not huge but we were just getting ourselves warmed up.  We needed to get Wacky Bass out and find his mojo and this pond was a great appetizer for what Wacky had in mind for us today.

Our next stop was in an office park.  Office park ponds can make for great fishing opportunities.  They can also be great places to get hassled by security guards.  Today we were left to fish in peace.  We started out working our chosen lures; Wacky had a Rattl-Trap crank bait and I was throwing my Bluegill colored swim jig with Big Hammer trailer.

The bass count was tied at five all when I cast into an overhead tree and had a nasty backlash that I had to attend to.  I am pleased and proud to say I got it out without cutting my braid so I had that going for me.  While I was messing with my backlash however, Wacky had switched to a small Big Hammer tail rigged wacky-style on a small EWG hook.  

His wounded-minnow routine was convincing to at least three more bass before I could even try to catch up.  No biggie however, the best was saved for last.

Walking to the next pond I noticed the water looked like pale colored chocolate-milk.  Kind of a chalky-white tint; I've seen water like this in fishing shows but never in person.  Wacky said there are fish here so I'm happy to cast around a bit and WHOA!!!  I just saw the flash of a BIG bass and it looked like it was chasing down a bluegill.  Ok, there are fish in here.  Let's get to trying to catch 'em.

I cast my swim-jig around but had no takers.  Wacky tried working various lures trying to coax bites from under the weed-edge that covered the ground adjacent to the shore.  I walked to another part of the shoreline and hear Wacky yell my name.  I run, high-stepping over the unkempt weedy ground and around a tree to find Wacky Bass holding a nice largemouth. 

"I've got a pattern figured out," Wacky said excitedly.  He would cast a Rattl-Trap and retrieve with a high rod tip and a herky-jerky retrieve that kept the lure just under or at the surface of the water.  Once it got within a few feet of the weed edge he'd drop the rod tip and slow it WAY down. BAM!!!  Fish on.

I am crank-averse.  I'm convinced the treble hooks don't like me or like the weeds too much.  Maybe I don't know how to work them.  Heck, as of today I still haven't been fishing for a full calendar year yet.  I've got time, maybe this pond will teach me the secrets of the Rattl-Trap......suck, no I caught weeds. Then I caught a tree branch, then I caught more weeds.  I had no idea where the bait was so I couldn't stop it right at the weed edge.  Maybe it was me who needed Mojo!

It's about now that I thought I heard Wacky Bass talking to himself.  Poor guy.  He's been all cooped up, probably going a bit....well......Wacky!  Actually, it was nothing like that.  In fact, it was more like this:
(YouTube ate the audio but believe me it was Wacky)
I was still fishless at this pond so I switched up my presentation to my favorite Zap spinnerbait.  Problem solved.

It was really great to get Wacky Bass up off the couch and away from work to do something all of us that know him know he loves.  It was nice to learn a new trick that I'll have to see if I can make work regarding Ratl-Traps.  Finally it was great to get out and fish new ponds, learn new water, and do some Warm Weather Wacky Bassin'!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em!

I went out with my friend DaveO today.  We generally hit a pond or two in the time he has available then get him home to his family.  Often I'll keep fishing trying other ponds and working on working with a lure I am learning or one I'm learning to love.  I'm learning to love Big Hammer Swimbaits as trailers to swimjigs.

In spite of the heat Dave and I each managed two bass total, for two ponds fished.  Technically I got three since I did touch my bass that spit the jig back at me on the shore's edge.  I figured it was fine that I got him as close as I did and lipping him would have been unnecessary.  I gave him a push back toward the water and he flipped and swam back to the bottom of the pond.

After dropping Dave off at home I stopped and had a bite to eat.  It was noon and 97 degrees and sunny.  I had to wrack my brain for spots I could fish but where I could also sit in the shade.  I decided to to to a gill pond I know about and try out my new 7'6" Bass Pro $20 ultralight.  They still have some left and at $20 it's a nice rod and an OK reel.

I had fun catching gills and I got some beautiful ones but I had something pulling at my insides.  I needed, I needed to Hammer some more.  I needed to Hammer some more bass!

Off to a different pond where I know there to be biggies.  I parked and worked the sides of the pond I can walk without homeowner involvement.  Once I rounded the corner I sailed my Big Hammer parallel to shore and settled into the thump-ba-dump-ba-dump-ba-dump I feel through my rod and line when the tail of the Hammer is moving back and forth and making that lateral-line stimulating thud, thud, thud.  My making up words for the tail movement on the Big Hammer swimbait was interrupted by a WHAP!  I set the hook, reeled in, then boat-lifted this beauty who flat out wouldn't let me lip her.

The length from the butt-cap on my rod to the second wrap for the hook keeper is 17.5".  Not a bad bass.  That got my need to Hammer out of the way for today.  I picked this lovely up and eased her into the water then eased myself into my Subaru.  A good time was had by me, my new ultralight, and my Big Hammer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ultralight Bass Battle

So I get a call from Pondboy:  "How soon can you get here?"

Seven PM on the nose I enter Pondboy's garage, then go ring the front door bell because I don't think he figured I could make it on time.  (sometimes I have that problem #honestadmission)

We each pick one of our ultralights.  We each tie on a 1/16 oz 1/0 Cabella's round head jig then pick a grub.

Dan selects the Producto Spring Grub in Pearl White.  My go to bait for river smallmouth.  So, shall I join him in the Pearl White?  NO...I select the grub I haven't caught fish on, the Producto Spring Grub in Black.

We walk to a pond near his house that has small to 2# largemouth bass and the Ultralight Bass Battle is set to begin!

The action was hot and heavy....catching bass was that much more fun on ultralight tackle.
 Things were starting to get lopsided and a bit wacky.  Wacky was part of the fun but lopsided meant my black Spring Grub was attracting more hits and getting more fish to inhale it.

Dan gets big-bass of the night for this one, the last one we caught before heading back to cars and houses. 

Final score Pearl White Grub - 3 bass landed  Black Grub - 7 bass landed.


To be fair Dan got as many hits on his grub as I did.  Producto designed a heck of a grub with plenty of action and a crazy fluid tail.  One of two factors could effect the outcome; I used a new jig-head so my hook was fresh, Dan didn't.  Second my rod was strung with 6# test so I was free to give a harder hookset, Dan had 2# ice line on his reel and as a result was able to hook and pull the fish to shore but a large percentage of those fish shook their head and threw the grub inches from shore.

Stay tuned to this blog for the next ULTRALIGHT BASS BATTLE!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cattin' with Pondboy

Get off the Metra in Naperville and walk to car.
Go to Jewel and ask the fish counter if they have any smelt.  Find out they don't.  
Drive home, call grocery stores along the way to find none of them have smelt either and Domnicks says they don't even order any.  Stop and buy baby-wipes because Pondboy asked me to....

Baby-wipes????   We ARE fishing, right!?!  Why the baby-wipes????

OH!!!  That's why the baby-wipes!  We're cattin' and carping tonight.

First things first, we tie on a heavy lead sinker to a rod strung with braid.  This is the base of the Wolf River Rig without a three-way swivel.  Then a Palomar knot is tied 16-18" up from the sinker around the loop end of a snelled hook, the same thing is repeated on another smaller and shorter snelled hook a foot or so up from the first.  At this point you think about bait.

There is dough bait, stink bait, pool bait, dip bait, some kind of stringy stinky stuff, chicken livers, and night crawlers. Any of the above goes on either hook and gets cast out into the lake.  We were also thinking that we might catch carp if there was no cat bite so we had some corn to bait and chum with.

Our rods were in rod holders with copper bells clamped to the tip of the rod.  This way when a cat slams the bait the bell rings like crazy.  When the bite is subtle the bell rings too so you know when to pay attention for a hook set.

Tonight no carp were caught but Dan got a pleasant surprise in the form of a far more juvenile channel catfish than he expected to be in this lake.  Poachers routinely come and take fish in the night.  I think I scared one off with my flashlight.:-)

Dan and his channel cat and Dan and his crazy headgear!

Carping and catting is fun. Messy but fun.  We spent about four and a half hours listening for the subtle difference in tones of bell as made by the breeze, the bluegills, or in the one instance that night a fish.  It'll take a weekend, a 5-Hour Energy, and a lawn chair for me but I'd do it again.  I like all types of fishing I've tried so far and catching cats sounds like a nice way to spend a summer night to me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Post 3/3 Walking Rip-Rap lake edge with a Big Hammer

In the last post I had just met up with Pondboy.  I grabbed my gear and followed him to a spot he likes to fish.

Simple ultralight spinning gear is used to cast the same Cubby Mini Mite jigs I was floating under a slip float.  The technique we used was cast and let the light jig sink then reel, reel, reel, pause, reel reel reel, pause.  Repeat until your jig gets close to the shore or until you start your reeling up again and the line feels heavy.  Simply raise the rod tip to set the hook and reel in the crappie.

It was getting cold so we jumped into my car and Dan took me to another lake he's been walking for bass with a rip-rap edge.  A stop at his house for a more appropriate rod with a spinner bait tied on and a hoodie gave me time to tie a Big Hammer swimbait on a light Strike King KVD Bluegill color swim-jig to my spinning rod.  A quick drive later and we were fishing.

I limited the hat cam footage to show my first Big Hammer bass nailing the lure and the solid hook set right in the top lip shows this bass REALLY wanted to eat this swimbait!  Enjoy some gratuitous fish we caught in the photos at the end of the video.  Dan had me 4-2 for the night including a big crappie and a nice chunk of a bass on his spinner.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Post 2/3 - Ultralight Fishing for Crappie

Welcome to my second installment in a three part series.

After the bluegill bite died down in the last pond I was trying to figure out where to go next when I got a text message from Pondboy saying crappies were biting on white and pink or all white Cubby Mini-Mite lures.  Pondboy turned me on to fishing for panfish with ice jigs so I had some in my ice jig box.  Off to a pond I know for some fun with the crappies.

I had been sending crappie updates to Pondboy every so often via text message and MMS.  I knew it would make him a bit envious as he was tied up with family matters and couldn't get out to fish.  Once the bite died down at this pond I texted Pondboy that I was going to his favorite local crappie spot to catch and release some more.  When I arrived at this next pond I found Pondboy waiting for me.  The details surrounding that will be divulged in the third and final post in this series.

I'm just glad I'm getting the hang of my editing software so maybe next time it won't take a week to post the last weekend's catching.  Still, I'm having fun and that's what matters most.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Post 1/3 - Ultralight Fishing for Bluegills

I've been trying to combine all my media from the new tool I purchased (a SWANN FreeStyle HD) last week.

Instead of blathering on about what I used and how I fished I'll put the video up here and let you see what I used and how I fished and then I'll have more time to edit video and pics for the other posts I have to do about my fishing from this past Sunday 5/6/12.

Just a note, the Avid Studio software I am learning how to use didn't make it obvious that this would be named "My Movie".  Suffice to say I'll learn how to change that for the next video I create for this blog.

Enjoy the slip-bobber fishing and my humorous sounds, noises, and things I say when I'm fishing and talking to the gills.