Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cave Spring Optimist's Fishing Tournament

I mentioned the other day that I was fishing in an upcoming tournament here on my home water , and I've had some well wishes and a few inquiries about what kind of tournament I'm fishing. Just to bring everyone up to speed , this is the 43rd annual Cave Spring Optimist Club's fishing tournament at Smith Mountain Lake. I've fished it for at least 8 years ( maybe ten ) and it's always a great deal of fun for everyone involved. The Optimist Club does great things for the youth in our area and I'm glad that my entry fees help to further their cause.

Unlike most fishing tournaments where a particular species is targeted , this is a free for all of all the styles of fishing available to us here on SML. The tournament draws anglers of all stripes who flock to the lake in droves to target their preferred species. With roughly $15,000 dollars up for grabs , this is one of the highest paying tournaments held at the lake. First place for each species pays $1,000 , second pays $500 , third pays $300 and fourth will get you $150. Not bad at all for a 40 dollar ticket. Largemouth Bass , Muskie , Smallmouth Bass , Crappie , Catfish and Striped Bass each have there own category and leaderboard , so one ticket gives you 24 chances to win , provided you can get the fish to Gill's Creek Marina alive. There's also a consolation prize of $300 awarded by random drawing at the marina , for those who don't end up on the boards by the end of the weekend. There's also a great kids tournament on Saturday for carp and bluegill.

I'm getting things in order on my boat and spooling some reels in preparation for the kick off at 7:30 Friday. I'm mostly ready now , except for filling the boat up with gas and topping off the batteries. I'm going to break in the new Okuma Citrix baitcaster I won from OBN in a gear review opportunity and break out some of my Striper rods to do some catfishing , bass fishing , and crappie fishing. I wish I could fish for Stripers , but I just don't have a way to keep them alive in this warm water for the ride to the marina.

I've already made a mental map of the holes I plan to fish and I know I'll catch something. Hopefully we'll be able to get some nice pictures and a few video clips , but don't hold your breathe. This is a fishing tournament , not some kind of blogger fun fest. Fishing is serious business.

Maybe not too serious. It'll be great to get my buddy down here and drive him around the lake for a few days. We've fished together for close to 20 years now and it's always a blast when we can get out on the water. I'm just glad I've spent enough time on the water here to be able to find the fish. Smith Mountain Lake can be a cruel mistress.

Wish me luck! I probably won't be back until Monday or Tuesday , unless I end up with a fish on the board and then I'll be back to brag.

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I Don't Even Know What to Say?

Troutrageous will appreciate this and so will Owl Jones. Seriously...what?

Don't play the video if B-Movie horror and fake blood aren't for you. I almost died laughing.

I don't...

Huh? Why I haven't I seen this movie? Looks hilarious or terrifying?

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday Shout Out #4

Today's Sunday Shout Out is going to be a double header. Two of the blogs I follow are deserving of a mention here on the blog , and I want to put the spotlight on both of these fine young gentlemen at the same time. Both are excellent fishermen and the common denominator that has brought them onto Something's Fishy at the same time is that they are both pursuing degrees related to fishing and the outdoors. These fine young men are the future of fishing and fisheries management here in the U.S. , and I'm proud to feature them on my blog.

Up first is the blog Jody's Fishing. Jody fishes with the Virginia Tech Bass Fishing team and fishes a lot of the same water I do. I'm always happy to see his pictures and reports. His enthusiasm for fishing is contagious and this past winter seeing shots of his ice fishing adventures drove me to make a very cold trip to a very frozen trout stream. Be sure to sign up to follow Jody , you won't be disappointed!

Our second collegiate blogger is Alex of the blog Outdoor Adventures. He hails from Florida and according to what I've read on his blog , he is a true outdoorsman. His blog features everything from bluegills and exotics in the Everglades to surf fishing for redfish , hunting turkeys and grabbing aligators. It's always interesting and entertaining to see what he's been up to in the great outdoors. Definitely worth following and a great blog to have a cup of coffee and sift through the archives.

So there you have it. A big Sunday Shout Out from Something's Fishy to two great blogs that any serious fisherman should be reading. I hope we'll continue to see the same caliber of great fishy articles from these two outstanding fishermen in the future.

Have a great week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Check This Out Part 2

Just another quick post today and maybe something with more meat on it in a few days. SoCalSalty is closing in on 500 followers on Twitter , so get over there and sign up for your chance to win a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Seriously. They are some of the nicest shades money can buy.

Now , onto the reason I stuck my ugly head through the door here on the blog two days in a row while I'm " Taking time off ". Almost as soon as I published the little post about the #salty500 on the blog yesterday , I found out that a few more of my blogging buddies were up to no good having a scavenger hunt! I apologize for not getting this up sooner , but I was really busy and didn't have time drinking beer and planning for my upcoming tournament.

So here's the deal : it's a scavenger hunt and I'm putting links below to each blog involved. This a great group of bloggers that I have followed and interacted with through OBN for quite a while. If you're like me and you like to read about the outdoors , I suggest you sign up to follow all of them.

I think you can start on any of the blogs above , so pick one that looks lucky to you and get started!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Check This Out!

I'm still busy , we'll be back to our regularly scheduled BS soon. My good friend SoCalSalty is launching a contest to get to 500 Twitter followers that is sponsored by Costa del Mar. If you are a Tweeter , check it out!

I've been fishing , and creeping around everyone else's blogs. I'll have pictures and lies when I get back , but for now go on over to SoCalSalty and #Salty500 win something!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blog Milestones and Some Time Off

When I started this blog , I had no idea that it would ever do as well as it has done. It took forever for me to break 1,000 pageviews and that was fine with me. Sometime today or tomorrow , I should break 16,000 , and that makes me proud. It's also a bit humbling. I would have never imagined that anything this dumb fisherman could write would generate so much interest. So a big " THANK YOU " is in order for everyone who has taken the time to look over my blog. As a blogger it gives me great satisfaction to know that this stuff is being read , or at least being looked at for the few seconds it takes for someone to close their browser in disgust. There are a lot of other bloggers who have helped me out along the way , but it's too long of a list to put here , so let me just say - you know who you are and I hope you know how thankful I am for the help and encouragement.

Now for the second milestone. Bloggers as a group , like to obsess over numbers. Pageviews , comments , links and just about anything blog related can be counted. And tracked. And worried over. I try not to worry too much with it , but it's just part of being a blogger. We talk about it on forums , in emails and on social networking sites. Which brings me to this : I'm almost to 100 posts! It blows my mind that I've had that much to say. Sure , some of them were videos with just a paragraph introducing them and some were attempts to share some of my favorite blogs with other people , but it still means that I spent a lot of time trying to make new and interesting things to keep my readers coming back. I'm proud of that and I hope I can keep it up , even though it's tough to think of things to write. Hitting 100 posts will certainly mean more to me than any other stat.

I've come a long way since September of 2010. The blog kind of took off and developed a life of it's own and I'm glad it did. It's helped me "meet" a lot of great people and amazing writers that inspire me to do bigger and better things here in my little corner of the internet. Outdoor bloggers are a great group of people and I'm proud to call many of them friends , even if it is only through the internet. So again , thanks to all of my fellow bloggers who have helped , prodded and inspired me to try to be a better blogger. It just wouldn't be the same without you guys!

Now a few announcements. I've actually won a couple of things over the last few weeks. First was an Okuma Citrix baitcasting reel that I won as part of an Outdoor Blogger Network gear review opportunity. Once I get my hands on it , I'll be doing a review of it's performance here on the blog and I'm excited because it looks like a sweet reel. About a week later , I won a tote bag from Fin Shaker Charters. We can always use that to carry stuff to the beach for the kids. As a bonus , it put me in touch with another Outer Banks charter captain and I'm hoping to get an interview and some fishing reports. I never win anything , so I'm hoping this is a sign of a good fishing season to come. Or maybe it's a sign that I should buy lottery tickets.

I'll be taking some time off from blogging over the next few weeks. I'll still be posting , but less frequently. I have a tournament coming up soon and I have about a million things to do to get ready to fish it. I'll hopefully have some interesting interviews to put up over the next few weeks and I'll also be posting some pictures from my fishing trips. It's Spring and I'd rather be outside or on the water so my blog must suffer the consequences.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Greenfish Movement

Back in February , I wrote an article that was inspired by an Outdoor Blogger Network writing prompt sponsored by Greenfish. I had fun doing it , regardless of the serious subject matter , but I feel like I didn't do enough to get the word out about the Greenfish Movement. The individuals involved with this project have chosen a noble cause to support : sustainable fishing , and I stand behind them 100%

The future of fishing is something many anglers never think about and I'm guilty of this also. It's hard to think about the "what ifs" when you're out enjoying yourself on the water. In 2003 , I learned a hard lesson about the horrible things that can happen to a great fishery in a short period of time.

Here on my home water (Smith Mountain Lake) , we had an excellent Striped Bass fishery with numerous catches in the 10-15 lb range and a very real possibility of a 40 lb. class fish on every trip. In 2001 , one of my friends caught a 48 lb. Striper out of the lake , many anglers caught citations and a few even set records. All this would change in a little over six months , beginning in the fall of 2002. During this period , a parasitic copepod (Achtheres) began to infest the Striped Bass population here at the lake. The problem was exacerbated by an unusually cold winter that resulted in a winterkill of Shad estimated to have eliminated up to 60% of the baitfish population. Spring of 2003 ushered in a two month long Striper kill , with almost all fish over 10 lbs. dead or dying. The area near the dam was covered with dead fish , some of them huge. It was truly a sad sight to behold. Water that once held thousands of thriving trophy fish was now literally covered with their decaying remains.

While this calamity wasn't caused by irresponsible fishing practices , the recovery of our Striped Bass fishery can be directly attributed to the types of fishing practices supported by the Greenfish Movement. Slot limits were implemented and anglers were urged to quit fishing for Stripers during the summer when their mortality is high. In 2011 , the fishery has rebounded significantly with a steady increase in the number of citations every year since 2007. It's nowhere near what it was before the die off , but it gives me hope for the future.

Hope for the future..... that's what the Greenfish Movement means to me. By their continued support of non-profits and other groups that advocate for sustainable fishing and sensible laws and regulations , Greenfish is making a commitment to the future of the sport we all love - fishing.

In my opinion , Greenfish is a top notch organization. Unlike many corporate entities that claim to donate a certain percentage of their sales to unnamed charities , Greenfish lets you chose your favorite at checkout and donates an impressive 5% of your order to the non profit of your choice. You can see some of the non profits they support HERE. Very cool!

They have a great looking line of gear that any angler should be proud to wear , so I urge you to buy a hat or a hoodie for yourself or your favorite fisherman. I know I'll be sporting a new hat soon!

Disclaimer : Greenfish did not compensate me in any way for writing this. I truly stand behind their mission to support sustainable fishing practices and I urge you to do the same. We need more companies like this in the outdoor community.

Have a great week!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Using Lures from A Pier.

This is another article that was originally published on a previous incarnation of and I dug it out today because it won't be long until fish start running in the surf. I can't wait! It was also posted on my other blog , Surf Fishing for Beginners this morning. I think it deserves some space here on Something's Fishy too!

Fishing with live bait isn't your thing , eh? Have no fear freshwater angler , there are plenty of lures that will produce fish for you from the surf or from a pier. Just keep in mind that many of the aggressive saltwater species that will readily bite artificials have razor sharp teeth and often feed in large schools , so we'll have to get you set up accordingly.

In this article , I'm going to focus on catching Bluefish and Spanish Mackerels from a pier , because these are two species that are often found together around a lot of the piers here on the East Coast. The best time of year for Bluefish is debatable since larger Blues are often caught during the cooler months , but for your best chance at catching both Bluefish and Spanish Mackerels , I recommend trying sometime in July or August. Both species are hard fighters and fast swimmers that feed most actively when the water is fairly clear with a good number of baitfish present. Bluefish and Spanish Mackerels both have a single row of sharp teeth along their upper and lower jaw and are capable of decimating an entire school of bait fish in minutes. Small bait fish are known to beach themselves rather than face a marauding school of these predators during what saltwater anglers call a " Blitz " , which is basically a feeding frenzy.

Another Straw Rig for Spanish Mackerel

A few months back I wrote an article about the straw rigs we use to catch bait size Spanish Mackerel from the piers here on the East Coast. Oddly enough , it continues to get a ton of traffic from search engines so I guess there are a lot of people out there that want to know more about the crazy things us plankers will do to catch fish.

There's another variation on this particular rig that I'd like to share today. This one is even simpler and it will catch bigger Spanish Mackerel than the one I discussed earlier this year. I've seen this one used by a bunch of guys , but personally I've never used it much because I prefer to use Got-Cha lures and spoons for bigger Spanish. This one is very similar in appearance to a Got-Cha lure , but a lot cheaper.

The main part of this rig is a drinking straw from McDonalds ©. I can remember a time when some of the local restaurants had to start dispensing one straw per drink purchase because fishermen were literally  grabbing handfuls of them to take to the pier if they were left out for people to get their own. Next time you treat your self to a burger and a shake , grab a couple of straws and you'll be ready to try this rig out.

Generally people that use this rig will cut the straw to around 4 inches. A small (size 1 or 2) gold treble hook is tied onto an 18-24 inch length of 40-50 lb. fluorocarbon. the straw is then slid down the leader so that it rests in the bends of the hook. Then a swivel is attached to the other end and then to the main line. I've seen two variations of how this rig is weighted to cast. One is the use of a clear plastic float placed just above the swivel and the other is the use of a one or two ounce egg sinker above the swivel. I'm sure each has it's own pros and cons , but I believe I would use the egg sinker so I could get more distance out of my casts.

Like most baits used for Spanish Mackerel , this one should be fished relatively fast and kept fairly close to the surface. Varying your retrieve and making several quick jerks with the rod will often trigger strikes from following fish that are reluctant to bite. Just be sure to take a few extra straws with you and to change your leader and straw as needed because these toothy critters can really destroy this rig if they are aggressively going after it.

Dedicated to one of my regular readers , D. who has been a loyal follower since the beginning of my blog. I told you I'd get around to writing this one!

Have a great week!