Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Teaser Shot of Sandstone Falls

I got some great (my opinion) video of one of my favorite stretches of water this past weekend. Until I can get some of it edited so it looks OK and doesn't have Darth Vader breathing in the background , here's a screenshot of one part of the falls :
One of my favorite places in the world!
I also made it onto the list of " Featured Outdoor Bloggers of the Week " at the Outdoor Bloggers Network , so a big thank you is in order for Joe and Rebecca at the OBN! Thanks guys!

Have a great week/weekend , I'll be busy for a week or two and not able to get back to blogging!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Catching Bait for River Fishing

I'm back to the civilized world , where internet access and cell phone service aren't so sporadic. Here's a little video from my trip of my friend JigMax1 and I catching bait in the creek at his house :

All of the minnows we kept to use as bait are just regular creek chubs , although we did catch some colorful looking fish of several different species. We try not to use the pretty ones because we aren't sure what they are and we've caught a few that look kind of like native trout , which is possible since it is in the mountains of West Virginia at a relatively high altitude for the Appalachian Mountains.

The minnows were caught using minnow traps baited with cat food. There are several interesting things you can do to improve your catch rate in small creeks like this. Silver traps always seem to catch more minnows and black traps catch more crawfish. A few slices of onion in a trap helps sometimes , and also a few small strips of aluminum foil. Most important is to keep your traps in the right place. Deeper water close to a grassy bank or a downed tree can be very productive. Keeping the trap so the holes are in line with the flow of water is another important thing to keep in mind.

Other types of bait for river fishing can also be caught easily. In areas where the Dobsonfly is common , you can catch Hellgramites in abundance by seining in the river while someone turns rocks upstream from you or by turning rocks over on the bank to catch bigger ones that are making the switch to their flying form. The intermediate stage between Hellgrammite (or Grumpus/Grampas) is what I've always called a yellow Hellgrammite and it is a superb piece of bait. They are very fragile and only found under rocks unless a river has risen a few feet recently , as far as I know anyway.
Softshell Crawfish and Night Crawlers can both be caught at night using flashlights , with the former being caught at the river bank and the latter in your backyard. I might do a post later about them , red wigglers , spring lizards and catalpa worms. There are a ton of different things you can use , just make sure you are following the game and fish laws in your area.

I could go on and on about baits I've used , but I don't want to give too many secrets away. This post was just going to be about the video , and then I got started thinking about bait. Wow! Check out the video and take special note of the glob of worms at the very end. That ball of worms was my last cast of the weekend. The video might actually look better if you watch it on standard size on Youtube or open it up to full screen , I'm still learning.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Heading Out for a Long Weekend of Fishing

My Dodge is loaded with everything but the kitchen sink for a long weekend on the New River. I'm headed out tomorrow for what I hope will be a great weekend of fishing with some old friends. Hopefully , I'll have some good fishing reports to share when I get back or at least a good video of me falling down in the river.

We're trying to catch some Smallmouth Bass and Catfish , but we also want to explore a new fishery that is developing on the river. I'm hearing lots of reports of big Walleye caught trolling in the stretch we'll be fishing on , which was unheard of a few years ago. I found a few Lindy Rigs (where in the heck did those come from?) buried in an old tackle box and I plan to give those a try , along with a few crankbaits that kind of look like they might catch a Walleye. We'll see what happens I guess. Please leave me a comment below if you know of any good trolling lures for Walleye - I need all the help I can get!

In the meantime , check out some of the links to my favorite blogs! There are a lot of great writers on the list and since it's summer , most of the fishing blogs are loaded with reports and fish porn.

There's also a developing story about a 143 pound Blue Catfish caught right here in Virginia that will surely be of interest to all of my fishy followers! Go check it out at Mark T.'s blog for the Roanoke Times.

I hope everyone is able to make the most of this first "official" weekend of summer!

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Love Affair with the New River

She is my mistress , cruel and unforgiving at her best , yet seductive and sensual as the sounds from her shoals whisper gently into my ear of fish and fond memories. I will always love her , this river. She rocked me gently as I learned to set trot lines on a small boat with my dad as a child. She welcomed me with a lover's embrace as I nervously learned to wade in her shallows as a teen. She did not reject me when we held bachelor parties on her banks in our twenties , giddy with excitement and drinking to excess to numb the pains of growing older. And still , she calls out to me in her sultry voice , begging me to continue our tryst. It is time for me to return to my lost love , to surrender to her affections and lose myself in the sound of her silken voice as it trails off to points unknown. I am going home.
Sandstone Falls near Hinton , WV

If all goes as planned I'll be taking a short break from blogging and heading to some of my favorite water next week. I need to fish , to sleep in a tent and cook on a camp fire. In the fast paced world we live in , it's nice to know that some things never change. The New River is one of those things and I hope I'll be able to get some decent photos and video to share here on the blog. Maybe a few pics of the THIRTY inch Walleyes I heard about last night during the conversation that started this adventure too.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Post Over at Coastal Sunrises

I just posted a series from fellow blogger Alex who writes the blog Outdoor Adventures. He was kind enough to share a set of beautiful sunrises/sunsets and I don't want anyone to miss out.

Head over to Coastal Sunrises and check it out! I think this young man is going to make a name for himself in photography or blogging , maybe both!

Have a great week!

Keeping My Eyes on What Matters Most

I've had a really bad case of fish fever lately. So bad , I can almost taste the tang of saltwater in the air. I need to get to the coast to chase some fish with teeth in a bad way. I've had a few weekends lately where I could have slipped away and left the wife and kids at home , but I do have priorities. Mainly , my son and daughter.

Right now , my son is at an age where he is really starting to get involved with fishing. It's very important to me that I pass on my love of the sport to him. Very important. So instead of heading off to the beach to chase the saltwater species I love , we've been hitting some of Virginia's state parks and farm ponds in search of "easy" fish. I think of it as training for the trips to the surf we'll be taking when he is older and a more seasoned angler. While I might not be catching the fish , I'm having a great time. There's just something about helping him fish with a Zebco 33 that I never get tired of.
He's so excited.

That smile means more to me than any fish I could catch.

My buddy's biggest bass so far!
We're making plans to get our lines wet in the surf over the next couple of months and my little buddy and I couldn't be happier. I think he's going to make a fine young fisherman! My little girl isn't far behind , but she needs to get over her fear of touching fish. For now , she's content to look at ours and run away screaming if the fish gets too close or moves. I'm just glad they both like the water and all things fishy , just like their dad.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's 80's Week!

I was contacted by a blogger that I really respect last week and he brought up the idea of having an outdoor blogger 80's week. Already , I've seen 80's mania over on his blog and also at Troutrageous! , so I guess I'm going to play along too.

The decade of weird music , weirder clothes and just bizarre stuff in general occurred during my formative years. I am a child of the 80's. I'll not say whether or not this has affected me in any way , but I will say that growing up in the eighties is something my generation can claim as our own. We witnessed the start of MTV , the beginnings of some amazing technology and perestroika , which was the beginning of the end for Soviet Russia. It was a crazy time (or a rad time , to use the terminology of the day)

Television was great. Everyone had an Atari. Some of us had giant satellite dishes in our back yards. Looking back now , I realize that it was the end of years of innocence. Urban legends were everywhere , but their demise was on the horizon with the advent of computer technology and a total saturation of our culture by news media. Blissful ignorance was doomed. In a way , I'd almost like to go back to the days when legends of Volkswagen sized catfish weren't so easily debunked.

Personally , I spent a lot of the 80's in the public school system. I learned how to program sprites on the Commodore 64 and how to program in Hi Res graphics on an Apple IIe. When I wasn't at school , I read a good deal , but I also spent a lot of time outside. We had plenty of snow every year and sleigh riding was a favorite pastime. We were also fortunate enough to live close to a lot of water , mainly the New River and it's tributaries and an abundance of farm ponds teeming with bass. This is how I got bitten by the fishing bug.
One of my first Largemouth Bass
I learned how to set trot lines for catfish in the river with dad and how to fish with a rod and reel for most other freshwater species. Looking back now through the golden hue of fond memories , it seems like we always caught fish. Maybe we did and maybe we didn't , but I'll always remember it as a time of plentiful fish and no holds barred fishing. A great deal of what I first learned is illegal now , since anglers have gotten wise to the results of over fishing.

I also remember my first few trips to the beach. At Virginia Beach , I was fortunate enough to be invited to reel in a kind angler's catch - my first double header of flounder. I was amazed that these guys were catching two flounder at a time and filling wash tubs and trash cans with their catch. Of course this probably contributed to our current strict flounder regulations , but at the time I was amazed. If I remember correctly , that was at Rudee Inlet on a boat ramp beside a restaurant? Or maybe my mind is playing tricks on me...

On another trip , we were at Myrtle Beach and ran into this guy :
Nice fish! I have the same outfit and I usually wear it when I go shopping with my wife.
I was impressed , to say the least , and while I didn't know what kind of fish it was , I knew I wanted to catch one. My life long addiction to all types of fishing had taken root.

As the 80's wound down and the 90's got started , I branched out and started chasing new fish (and girls). The world sped up and before long it was 1999 and we were on the eve of the new millenium , something that seemed so very far away during my childhood.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Time for Something New

Do you ever run across sunrise or sunset pictures that are just breathtakingly beautiful? I do. It is probably one of the most common scenes that just about everyone who loves the outdoors will photograph at some point. Outdoorsmen and women are out early and late , and quite often take a few seconds to click away with the camera while Mother Nature does her thing. The amazing colors that stream out across the horizon as the sun climbs up into the sky have always left me somewhat awestruck at the wonderful world we live in. I've always been fascinated with the ever changing face of the sun at the start and end of the day.
Courtesy of Outdoor Adventures

So what's this all about? I've been toying with this idea for quite a while. Making blogs is kind of fun addictive and I had this idea sometime last year. I've been through about 10 different names for it and almost as many design ideas. I'm just now getting to a point where I feel comfortable sharing it with my regular followers here on Something's Fishy.

The idea behind this new blog is to have sunscapes (is that even a word?) from across the country and around the world. It's going to be more of a simple photo blog than anything else , but all of the pictures submitted by bloggers will have links. I think it will be interesting to have the pictures labeled in such a way that will draw people in to look at them and also help promote the blogs of those who submit pictures for me to use. If someone is searching for a sunrise from Virginia Beach , they'll find it and also a link to a blogger who fishes that area or whatever. It's worth a try anyway.

I've been very fortunate to meet a great group of bloggers since I started Something's Fishy. Some of the guys I've featured and interviewed here on my blog have been kind enough to contribute the photos that will eventually be on the new blog and for this I am deeply grateful. If you look at the new blog , take a minute and visit the blogs of those who contribute as a way of saying " Thanks for sharing. "

I guess I should probably put a link to the new one in here somewhere , so here it is : Coastal Sunrises

Be kind when you look at it , it's still a work in progress. I haven't even decided if I'm keeping the name or changing it. Time will tell.

Now for the fun part! Do you have any sunrise or sunset pictures you'd like to share? You will receive full credit for the images and also links to your blog. I think I'm going to have a full list of everyone who contributes on the side bar over there and also links with the pictures. If you have something you'd like to share , you can reach me HERE for now , until I can get a contact form or something working over there. Go check it out and be sure to check back over the next few days for a series of shots from Alex at Outdoor Adventures who was kind enough to send me several amazing pictures from his home water , like the one above.

Have a great week!