Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fall Striper Fishing , or Tales of Hardship and Woe : Part 03

Old Geezer #1 "Hey buddy , we lost our net , can we borrow yours for a minute. Promise to bring it right back"

Me: " How in the hell did you manage to 'lose' your net?"

Old Geezer #2 " Well, it's kind of a funny story. See , we saw some shad jumping and went to throw it , but he didn't have the loop around his wrist and the water was a lot deeper than it looked. It's up there at the bottom of the lake somewhere.

OG #1 "Yeah , so could you let us use your net for just a minute? Bring it right back , I promise."

Me " No. I'm pretty attached to my net , since I've had it so long and all. " 

OG #2 " Well, so  , you won't let us use it at all?"

Me : "Nope. I kinda like it."

OG #1 " Like what?"

Me " My net."

OG #2 " I just don't know what we are gonna do. We came all the way down here to fish and now we've done lost our net."

Me "..... yep"

OG #1 " Hey , could you like maybe give us some bait?"

Me " I guess. Hey Lar , give em what's in the bucket..."

And so began our day with the clackers. The first bucket of bait was day old baby shad that had been in the bait cooler overnight , still alive , but stressed and turning paler by the minute. Probably a little salty too , since we always dose them heavily with rock salt for an overnight stay in the cooler. That $10.00 bottle of Shad Keeper? Mainly rock salt. I prefer a product by Morton intended for use in ice cream makers. No iodine in that stuff , so it will hold shad , and a big box of it goes for $1.99.

I didn't really notice it at first , but my second encounter with the clackers gave them their name. I had already caught more bait for us , but the clackers soon blasted through theirs and came back for more. It was a rare day when I was feeling charitable , the fishing was slow , but I had my preferred  hand size Gizzard Shad so all was right with the world since I knew that I could exchange them for a Striper eventually.

Me " OK guys , just follow me up into this cove here. I'll get you a fresh net of bait and we'll all go fish."

OG 1&2 " Thankssomuchdon'tknowwhatwe'dhavedonewithoutyou..!!"

Their excitement and jumbled words should have given me a clue as to their impatience , but as I said , I was feeling charitable. I was about to be clacked , good and proper.

As I eased into the cove almost silently , the clacking started. It goes a little something like this "CLACKITYCLACKITYCLICKCLICKTHRRRRRRRRRRRPPPPPPPPPPCLACKCLACK" and to this day , it would probably cause a twitch in my eye and make me tense with anger.

See , these guys were in some sort of a hybrid johnboat canoe , with a narrow body , a curved bow , and a flat stern. I've never seen another like it on SML , since it was only about 12 feet long and certainly not made for being on a body of water that size. They had some type of OceanMaster5000 trolling motor , or some such , which was vastly overpowered for the hull , so every time the geezers twisted the throttle it clacked against the transom (if you can call it that on a johncanoe). Being so overpowered , it would eventually cavitate , making a loud THRRRPPPPP every time , and resulting in the geezer at the helm backing down a notch , back to clacking. It was magnificent , at least until they started circling my boat in an ever tightening arc , waiting on me to catch bait while marveling at my technique. I would get close to a school of shad , only to have the geezers clack their way through the middle right as I was about to throw.

OG #2 "See how he's got that loop around his arm? That's what we should have done. I never thought you could catch shad back in these shallow coves..."

Me ".........."

They obviously couldn't see what I was seeing , at least I hope not. I can spot a single shad flicking 150 yards away and drive over to him , throw the net on him and have bait. Apparently , the geezers could barely see them in their bucket , so the clacking continued.

After about 15 minutes of nonstop clackery , I had had about enough of their bullshit.

Me: "Hey guys , no shad here , so I'm gonna head up river to where I caught mine earlier"

OG 1&2 : "OK , we'll follow you."

ME " No. That's not necessary.. I'll just fire up my big motor and go. Be right back."

OG 1&2 " OK , meet you up there"

ME "......"

I fired up the outboard , and while I normally ease into the throttle , I was so pissed off after a thorough clacking that I buried it , pulling a hole shot worthy of any bass boat on the lake. I ran about a mile up the lake , far out of reach for the clackers. Pulling into the cove , I saw a small school and threw the net. As I brought it into the boat , it was a huge mess of sticks , leaves , acorns , a couple of thumb sized bluegills , and about 200 peanut shad. Dumping it all into a bucket , I jumped back into the drivers seat and tore back down the lake , only to see the clackers clacking their way upstream towards me.

At least half of the shad were dead or dying from stress in the bucket as I handed it across and they dumped it in their bucket. They were quite happy , but I assume they probably said a few unkind words after they realized the mess I handed them. Maybe not. All I know is that I was glad to be rid of them as they clacked their way off into infamy.

Happy clacking!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fall Striper Fishing , or Tales of Hardship and Woe : Part 02

Pleasant looking , isn't it? I posted this over the weekend , Sunday I think , over on G+. It got a little attention , which isn't bad for a crappy cell phone picture. That's about all I have to show for my latest trip , unless you want to count windburn and an advanced case of sea legs. It was brutal on Lake X. And by brutal , I mean windier and rougher than any day I can remember in over thirty years of going there to fish. That's pretty telling , in that this is usually a fairly protected body of water , surrounded as it is by a section of the Appalachian Mountains.

I'll reference the Beaufort Scale here , for those of you who are unfamiliar with it. At a Beaufort rating of SIX (out of 12) "Long waves begin to form. White foam crests are very frequent. Some airborne spray is present." Of course , that's on the open ocean , right? Not so. It can develop on inland waterways , provided wind speeds reach the required 22-27 knots. Thankfully , the size of Lake X kept us well under the 9 to 13 foot seas that would have developed in the North Atlantic.

We were , however , blasted with "airborne spray" , which was only worsened by driving into the wind amidst 2-3 foot whitecaps , in a small bass boat. It was snotty and getting worse , so I'll admit to a rare uneasiness on the water. I'm not proud to say it , but it drove me off the water. After my usual partner in crime and I were back ashore , and devoid of life jackets and about 5 layers of camouflage hunting gear repurposed for fishing , we had a few moments to reflect. First I wondered aloud whether donning so much camo is how stories about people vanishing without a trace get started , only to remember the tale of my batteries during the year of the Striper here on Smith Mountain Lake...

During the year of the Striper we were in our second successful year of Striper fishing SML. We had a fever and the only cure was Stripers. We went to the lake to catch Stripers and eat nachos , but we never took nachos. You get the idea. We were Striper fishing idiots.

Our schedule that year looked like this : M-F Dawn to Dusk on the Gun Boat , Sat. &Sun. Browbeatings from our wives. We lived that schedule for almost four months , give or take a week at either end , and excepting the Christmas Holiday. We even fished Thanksgiving and Black Friday , sending the girls off to buy a newly released five hundred pound High Definition TV on Friday , after scarfing down a late Thanksgiving dinner. It was and is one of the longest runs of fishing I've ever had , and maybe ever will.

Which brings me back to the batteries. Deep Cycle batteries have come a long way in the last 10 years. They were unreliable , fickle things that would lose the ability to hold charge far sooner than the alternative I discovered  : truck batteries. Specifically , big honking tractor trailer diesel cranking Die Hards. I had two , specifically for my trolling motor. They were heavy , and fairly heavy duty. I tried to keep them filled up with water , so as not to ruin them by charging with a dry cell. Truthfully , though , in the middle of a months long bite , things have a way of getting out of hand.

Starting during late October and continuing through February , maybe even March , sunlight on Smith Mountain Lake means wind. Through some process of reverse sunlight osmosis , or some such bs , the air surrounding the lake moves with ever increasing violence as the nights grow colder. Late November and December can be brutally harsh , as Arctic fronts pass through to beat the remaining leaves off of our trees. The main channel is usually home to 2 foot swells , whitecaps , and occasional spray. And I won't even mention the guys who prefer to fly up and down the lake in their Striper Boats , beating the water to a froth in an attempt to find a feeding school of fish to throw poorly tied bucktails at.

As you can imagine , facing constant wind and an onslaught of waves, I spent the majority of November and December making quartering turns into the wind , with my foot on the trolling motor controls non stop. That's hard on your batteries , as is charging them overnight when you aren't on the water in cold weather.

So there you have it. During the year of the Striper , sometime in the month of December , I managed to boil two Die Hard truck batteries bone dry with a 6 amp Schumacher. The last few days were tricky indeed , as the batteries gave a last gasp effort to keep our lines down and our nose into the wind. I got my money's worth out of those two jokers , if nothing else.

Have a good week , my friends!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Arrogance Has Angered the Fish Gods

Please complete steps 1 through 4 to reset your router before contacting customer service.
Ahem. Short and sweet for today , as I have a batch of homebrew that I need to get started on. Long story short , in my arrogance I may have angered the fish gods , but I still managed to draw first blood on the new top secret water my friend and I are Striper fishing this year. The fish gods are very capable of mocking you whenever you draw their ire.

I've hinted at some new water several times lately , but for now I'd rather keep it secret. Why? Because it has a population of Striped Bass that I want to test out first before I start writing a steamy tell-all memoir. Not that I have a huge audience or anything , but fishing spots posted online anywhere have a way of drawing anglers , especially if the fishing is good. It promises to be good , maybe even great at Lake X , so we'll leave the names out for now.

Lately , I haven't done much Striper fishing. I won't dispute that , but I've honestly spent more hours on the water fishing for landlocked Stripers over the past 15 years than most people have spent fishing in their entire lives. I know Stripers. For the past two weeks , I've confidently arrogantly told a couple of friends that I was going to catch a Striper out of Lake X. This angered the fish gods , and they mocked me.

You can't catch them if they're dead!

Here have a Striper , jerk!

And another , you big pink-chair-sitting-coke-drinking sissy!
Yep. I was a little disappointed , but I'll take what I can get and try to remember to be more humble in the future.

No. You know what? I said I was gonna catch a Striper , and I did. Me 2 , Fish Gods 0.

All kidding aside , I only had about an hour and a half to tinker around the boat launch while I waited on the Mrs. I didn't expect to see these two little fish , and was really fishing more for bass and bluegill so they were a pleasant surprise. They did give me a wealth of information (as did the zombie fish above). Mainly that the water temperature is fast approaching the range it needs to be for the fish to move in for the winter. After my friend goes on another scouting trip , we'll probably be on the fish. It made my day to catch a Striper out of there before him , regardless of size , since he's a local. HA! First blood is mine!

Have a good week!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fall Striper Fishing , or Tales of Hardship and Woe : Part ??

I'm back from an expedition on new water with my usual partner in fishing-related crimes. It was almost a total flop , but I managed to get a nice Crappie on a Striper-sized bucktail. Not quite what I was hoping for , but it kept the skunk off of me and my buddy's newly rebuilt boat , and in it's own right the Crappie was a quality catch. It's no small feat to hit new water on a nearly maiden voyage , so it was all good. We'll get the kinks worked out and find the fish that eluded us this time.

And people say crappie like small bait...
We did have quite a lot of reminiscing to do , as we've been on an untested boat on untested waters before. It was how we both cut our teeth on landlocked Striped Bass , and indeed we spent about three months with our noses to a bitter cold grindstone during what would prove to be one of the coldest years here on the lake in recent memory - cold enough to cause a winterkill of shad and cause a massive fish kill that hurt the fishing more than we thought possible at the time.

We hung in there , though , and it's still one of the best stretches of fishing I've had in my life. If I were a paper chaser , we could have had enough citations to become certified guides , and I could have had my captain's license , but the paper isn't why I fish. I don't need a citation to remind me of the reasons behind what I do , or to remind me that I can be a total dumbass when I have a fish on the line. Yes , I freely admit to being a dumbass since most everybody who spends enough time on the water will have those kinds of days. My bouts with it pale in comparison to the overachievers we shared the water with.

As we launched one morning back in December of '03 , my buddy noted that the air temperature was 12 degrees F , a sweater day for a Striper fisherman if there ever was. I was leery of it , but we went anyway. Fish were everywhere , stacked up and blasting bait. That alone will make you do stupid things. The water temperature at the surface was a balmy 34 degrees , as indicated by questionable electronics , but no ice. The ice was on everything that the water touched.

The deck of my boat , especially the front , was covered in a thin layer of ice that would turn even the biggest patches of roadway black ice into proud parents. We soldiered on , after a few slippery steps we were on the boat and headed upstream on a mission to net shad. People that have fished with me will know , but netting shad meant braving the front deck , she with the icy stare. I persevered and started throwing the net , which was freezing in my hands and blasting ice everywhere with each throw. I eventually had to start dunking it in the lake periodically to limber it up. It was as cold as the nipple on a witch's tit (whatever that means) , and putting the net in my mouth for each throw was like licking frozen fish eyes. I was in a special place in my head , though , and it didn't matter. I pirouetted my way to a dozen big shad , with the grace of a professional ice skater on the frozen tundra that was the deck of my boat. It was time to fish.

That's important for a few reasons. When it's that cold I usually wear at least the bibs of a bright yellow pair of Grundens. You know , the kind that the Mrs. Paul's or Gorton's Fishermen wear? They keep water and fish slime , fish guts , along with various and sundry cold water fluids off of your clothes. Love em when I need em , but they aren't something I sit around in. They usually get swapped out for insulated coveralls to go over my several other layers of clothes. Then I mount the chair on the front deck like a gymnast on a pommel horse , and I'm ready to fish.

We shot out into the main channel of the lake. Fall / Winter Striper fishing is a brutal affair , done on the main lake , out of the coves and into the wind. They stack up on the river channel , suspended anywhere from 12 to 25 feet deep , so we focus on sharp drop-offs and points which usually works out quite well. Fishing deep with live bait is a lot different than what most people think. Sure , it's boring at times , but I still get antsy when I hear a rod flex in the holder or here a bait clicker rev up. It's a big fish style of fishing , so it can make you nervous when you have 6 or 7 baits in the water on as many rods , fishing in schools of several hundred fish.

Hand warmers and toboggans in place , I tucked in for the long haul. Rods were set , and so was I until a fellow dumbass came flying down the lake in his  30 foot cabin cruiser at an ever increasing clip , trying to get it planed out , and passing about 20 feet off of my port side. Springing in to action , I get my boat turned hard to port in the nick of time , headed bow first into the waves this idiot made. Like a scene out of "The Perfect Storm" , the Gun Boat rode heroically up the face of the wave , and began a smooth descent down the back side , reaching a point of no return where the second wave in the set broke over the gunwhales at the bow , and into my lap. I shot out of my seat like a rocket and cussed that man , his boat , his mother , his wife and her extended family. I questioned his morals , his belief in God , his relations with his pets , and the sanity of anyone dumb enough to sell him a boat.

Screw that guy , it still makes me mad almost a decade after the fact.

Wet coveralls will eventually freeze into a type of insulating ice sleeve around your calves and ankles. I dried out , and I was ever so thankful for a comparatively warm sun overhead until i did. We even managed a few fish , but I couldn't tell you much more than that they were average. I was a man possessed with a need to catch fish, and I hung in there. I wanted it bad.

How bad do I want it now? Not so much , but damn it was fun when I did.

Not quite cold enough yet.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Will Wonders Never Cease?

Holy cow! I found the line I was looking for today within five minutes of digging through my stash of miscellaneous fishing junk crap gear STUFF. It usually takes me a lot longer to find that one particular item that I supposedly know right where it should be. It's never right where it should be. Never. It was today though.

I also ran across this gem of unknown vintage , but I do believe it has a little bit of age on it , as I know Berkley hasn't used this particular label since the mid '90's or maybe even earlier?

Let me know if you have a guess about it's age!
It's still full! Oddly enough , it seems very thin for ten pound test. I guess maybe I have it in my head that all line used to be like steel cable back then. It was a pleasant surprise to find it , but somehow it bothers me more than a little bit that I have line just laying around the house that is close to two , maybe three , decades old. Jeez! I guess I've been fishing for a lot longer than it seems... time flies when you're having fun , etc. , etc.

Have a good week! Hopefully some bigger fish at hand in the next week or two - I'll post pictures here or on social media while I do my best to rub it in!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What Can Jigging Spoons Do For You?

Good things. Very good things. Fall fishing is starting to pick up in a lot of places , so I'm digging out my Fall gear in preparation. A handful of jigging spoons I picked up this Spring at a yard sale will be a big part of my plans for Fall Striped Bass fishing this year , as I plan to target schooling , suspended fish over deep points and the edges of river channels on the two lakes I plan to fish this year. This particular style of jigging spoon is often hard to find here , so I was lucky to pick these up for .25 cents a piece from a Texas transplant who has retired to this area and given up Striper fishing (!!). I probably need to change out or sharpen a few hooks , and dress a couple more with bucktails , but it's a good start.

Ready for a little bouncy , bouncy BEND-O!
Lately , I've been keeping a rod rigged with one of these handy in case I mark a big school with my electronics. I also try to keep either a bucktail or a Fluke on a leadhead on hand too , for breaking fish. I don't think either will ever take the place of live bait on my boat , but it's nice to have something handy to drop into a school or to throw to breaking fish. I'll be happy if it puts another fish or two in the boat for me and a good friend I plan to fish with this year.

Very happy indeed!
Have a great weekend! Be sure to take advantage of the beautiful weather once it arrives in your neck of the woods , Fall has always been my favorite time of year for BIG fish!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crouching Tiger , Hidden Beagle

So this is what has been playing in the background on most of my recent fishing trips. A soundtrack of sorts. I'm crazy about my sweet little beagle , and she absolutely loves to hunt. Of course , I'm not a hunter so we never kill anything , but she just loves to chase them to me. It's a pretty neat experience to have a rabbit frozen in it's tracks 10 feet in front of you because it's afraid to go by you , and there's a dog behind it. Working dogs and hunting dogs are the best! I didn't get the rabbit or dog on film as they went the other way this time , so enjoy the sound of a braying beagle. I like how it echos because of the little valley I'm in - not bad at all for something shot with a cell phone!

Who's a good girl? She's always so proud after a successful "hunt" and so am I, especially considering I never really trained her. She's just a naturally good tracking and hunting dog , which isn't all that rare in Beagles. It's always fun to get a little beagling in during a short fishing trip , and my girl is always ready to go. She gets full-body-wag excited whenever she sees me walk out the door with a fishing rod in hand , and that just makes my day.

For brighter whites , please rinse your Beagle after each use.

Repeat as needed.

Miss Chubs sticking her tongue out at me.

Did somebody say "Bunny"?
Aside from my kids , my beagle is the best fishing buddy around. She'll even go first to make sure there aren't snakes around the pond. Once I'm set up , a simple "Where's the bunny , girl?" sets her off on a big adventure. After that , a rabbit is usually headed my way , and then my pup will cool off in the water , followed by a nap in the shade at my feet. All in all , it's a pretty good life.

Have a great week and weekend!

Stop Being Such a Basshole...

I managed to eek out a couple of hours on the water yesterday. Freshwater , which isn't my favorite , but I did catch a few fish. Unfortunately , I'm just not getting to the beach as I much as I'd like , so I take what I can get. I'm not a Bass fisherman either , really , so these little guys are fun to me. I just like to feel a tug at the end of the line , and yesterday was a rare "catching" day instead of just a fishing day. Enjoy the pictures , I may try to upload a video of my trustworthy Beagle rabbit hunting for me yesterday. I get almost as much enjoyment out of hearing her bray on a scent as I do out of fishing lately , so yesterday was fun.

So we meet again , Mr. Gill

Fun Size!
I love you  , too , dead pine tree...

One of my secret spots...

Greedy little fella

Peaceful , until a bass starts thrashing!

You'll notice the last bass kind of resembles a snook. I have no idea why ,but I caught two others that were marked the same way. Other little bass from the same spot had the beginnings of a dark green lateral line , like bass everywhere , but these three had a weird snook like appearance. Who knows? Not me...

You'll also notice the bass laying on the ground. I try not to do that , as it is hard on the fish and probably hurts their slime coat , but he finned me and flopped out of my hand. I told him to lay there and think about what he just did. A fitting time out for an unruly fish while I snapped a picture. Made for a nice change of pace from my usual floating hand pictures , which I'm not a fan of , but am forced to do when fishing alone.

Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An Owl Jones Original

I've been blogging for close to three (!!) years now. I enjoy it. I also enjoy meeting people through blogging. I've made quite a few friends along the way , and I always try to help out when I can.

That brings us to Owl , a fishing blogger who was the first person I really talked to much through blogging , and someone I've grown to consider a true friend. We may not always agree on everything , but most times we can agree to disagree , call each other "Trout Fingers" or " Bluefish Lips" and move on. It's nice to have friends like that.

So , I can say I've followed his latest project closely. He's been selling original artwork for I think almost a year now. It's been fascinating to my unartistic self to watch him develop his style , and I have to say I'm impressed. I can't imagine the guts it takes to put your work out there , with all the people who thrive on being negative just waiting for a chance to shoot you down , but I will say that Owl puts it out on the table every day without hesitation. That's courage to me , as I certainly wouldn't want anyone to see my doodles.

The great thing about it , though , is that Owl has a natural talent for painting , however unlikely that may seem if you don't know the guy. He's enthusiastic about it , and just has a desire to create. It's quite contagious. I just had to buy something.

The Shark
That's a handsome shark , if I do say so myself. Owl did this for me over a few weeks this summer , and I'm very pleased with it. He's very reasonable with his prices , and when compared to buying prints or generic wall hangings it is not expensive at all , especially when you consider the time and talent that goes into creating art versus just reproducing it.

If you don't already follow Owl , be sure to visit his website , Owl Jones Art , and "Like" his Facebook page. Never a dull moment , and Owl does a great job of giving you a glimpse into his world.

Happy hump day!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Is There a Ducktor in the House?

This is probably a long shot , made even longer by poor quality pictures , but anyone know what these little guys are? I'm calling them generic LBD's for now - little brown ducks. One of them took a pretty good dive under , but I don't know if that means anything or not. I saw a small flock of Buffleheads here a few years back , and they were miles away from where they should have been. These are comparable in size , maybe smaller? The pair looked similar , but I was fighting light saturation from a blue sky , and all the yellows and greens right now. Let me know if you have a guess what they are , but I'm not hopeful. My apologies for the poor photography.

And then there was the Bass. It was a cold front type of day , so fishing was slow. But I tricked this little guy with a FCS spinner that has become my favorite. It's caught me somewhere around 50 or 60 bass , bluegill , and crappie this year , with the biggest being a 2-ish pound bass. I need to ask what that particular pattern is called , but for now I'm going with "Green Sunfish" just in case it was an experiment.

Have a great weekend my friends!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nothing beats that new domain smell. Or maybe not.

Anyway , things might be slow here on the blog for a week or two while I work out some kinks and write a few new articles over on my old/new Surf Fishing for Beginners blog. You can find it over at it's shiny new home : !

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I'm a gear snob. Nothing wrong with that , really , I just like to have nice things when I'm on the water. I put bags and knives and boots and lights through a gauntlet of abuse , and so do my kids

I've seen products from 5.11 Tactical popping up everywhere lately , and some of their gear is really eye catching. Rugged looking , even.

My son is a big fan , too. So we've picked up a few odds and ends here and there , and I have to say they stand up well to what a young man can put them through. We've used his knives to cut sticks , I've seen him chipping away at rocks with one , albeit unsuccessfully , and we've used them on the pier to cut bait.

With Christmas , and birthdays soon approaching , I've been looking around for some new gear for him and myself. I recently found Polimil , and they have a great selection as well as great prices on most of their 5.11 Tactical line. It doesn't hurt that they have good sales and offers , either.

With any luck , I can catch a sale and pick up a few things for him , and maybe a few for myself. I've had my eye on a small pack that 5.11 Tactical makes....

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Water Pigs!

These fish hang out at one of our local marinas , making their living off of popcorn from tourists. We go about once or twice a year to look around , feed the fish , and maybe grab an ice cream cone. The place is usually packed with tourists during the summer , so we try to go when it's slow. The kids love to watch the fish.

I'm in a slump when it comes to fishing , but hopefully I can get back soon enough. I hate this time of year because of the lull in fishing - I'm between seasons and pouting about it.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Spin Joy Fishing Reel , an Antique

I ran across this reel over the weekend. Google didn't come up with much , other than a vague suggestion that it was possibly made by True Temper in the 1950's via Yahoo Answers. I'm a little disappointed , mainly because it's a neat little design. The reel handle looks like the handle off of a trolling/baitcasting reel and has a weird weld/solder mark , so it may not be original. The reel I found at an antique shop was missing it's bail , and had a catch somewhere in the gears that made it rough to crank. The handle was a little awkward due to the catch in the gears or maybe just the overall design , but I like it. It was priced at $10.00 , and since it was close to home I may go back later to get it. I had originally decided not to get it because I like for all of my old reels to be complete and in working order , but this one seems somewhat rare. Enjoy the pictures!

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Practice , Practice , Practice...

I doubt I will ever get the hang of making videos. I think I've had my GoPro for close to three(!!) years now , and I've maybe used it 5 or 6 times. I know how to turn it on at least , but making anything meaningful with it still isn't happening , not any time soon at least.

I'm also not catching the quality fish I want and need to catch. Sure , I can go catch small bass , bluegills , and crappie any time I want to at the pond in my backyard. I almost hate to complain , but really I've probably caught all of those fish two or three times and it is getting old. I need to go catch a few heavies.

So , whining aside , I got out my GoPro today to practice. Maybe it will help when I get a chance to catch something big , and I won't end up leaving it on auto so that it takes 1000 pictures from inside of my tackle box (true story). The first two little parts of the video are from today , the stills are from roughly the last three months. I needed practice with video editing too. Enjoy! :

Have a great week!

Monday, August 12, 2013


Do you remember a time when most hardware stores and mom and pop convenience stores carried a limited supply of fishing tackle? I certainly do , and I can remember going over every rack with a critical eye as a budding young fisherman , probably much to my parents chagrin.

Maybe it's because the area I grew up in was and is a fisherman's paradise , with few big box retailers and a market , however small , for fish hooks and bobbers , maybe even a few lures. As I think about it now , I remember most stores in the area carried a selection of bait , bobbers , hooks , sinkers , and stringers. Rooster Tails and Mepps spinners , on hanging display cards , were ubiquitous as were small plastic bags with spider jigs and grubs stapled to cardboard hangers. It was a simpler time , and these were put in stores not not only for profit or to draw customers in , but to make life easier for fisherfolk who wanted to grab something after work without getting stuck in limbo at one of our two local tackle stores. Most of these stores had registered scales , and a section of countertop devoted to Polaroid pictures of people's catches. It was no surprise that regulars developed a sense of community and would go in for a fishing report , or just to shoot the breeze.

Some of those places undoubtedly still carry a few items for the fisherman , but most are long gone. A big box store started carrying two whole aisles of fishing gear , and one of the local tackle shops invested heavily in advertising. I assume it just became a waste of time for the small places to carry it and from there , they probably sold out or gave away whatever stock they had and put something else in it's place. I think a few even transitioned the space to VHS rentals , back when that was a thing.

Where I live now , tackle in a convenience store is a rarity. Most carry nightcrawlers , " In the bottom of the beer cooler!" , but it's rare to see a fishing section on the wall. One place had a single row of size 2 snelled hooks hanging beside the single dose packs of No Doze and Goody's Powder , but it was placed there as an afterthought , or maybe the other items replaced the former fishing tackle section leaving those snelled hooks as the last witness to a bygone era. I need to look and see if they are still there , maybe buy them , so their dreams can finally be realized. I don't know.

What triggered all of these thoughts and lamentations about the death of convenience-stores-as-tackle shops , was a surprising discovery at my local hardware store. A local hardware store is a rarity in and of itself nowadays , but these guys do things right , and their always busy aisles are testimony enough for their business principles and stellar customer service. That's surprising enough , but the real thing that triggered this was a small , say three feet wide , section of fishing tackle. Not some cobbled together collection of junk either , but things that would actually work in the water here , in sensible sizes and made by quality manufacturers. It really was a pleasant surprise , and brightened my day by way of fond memories of the small stores back home with trophy pictures on the wall , and simple tackle selections that really worked.

I really should have taken a picture , but I think the memories it brought back are enough for me.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Question of Etiquette

I've been on both sides of this , and I always do the right thing , but a ton of anglers don't. What do you do if you are in a boat fishing banks and points and you come to a spot on the shore occupied by a shore fisherman?

I kick my trolling motor on , and angle myself out far away from them so as not to disturb their lines. Lots of Bass fishermen don't. Instead they opt to be asinine , and toss buzzbaits right through your spread of lines. All weekend long , I fished with these clowns constantly beating the bank right in front of me.

Did it hurt the fishing? No , it was bad anyway , but it's the principle. These guys were in a boat and had access to the entire lake. My children and I were limited to the length of a cast , or areas where we could fish from the shore. It was ridiculous.

In a two part response , I've decided to take pictures next time , and then pick up a long rod with heavy line and an eight ounce sinker. I think they'll get the message if I flog the water directly in front of me into a froth while screaming obscenities. They sure as hell won't catch any bass. Then I can post their bewildered looks here on the blog. I've decided to call it bass boat shaming.

The nerve of some people boggles the mind.

Keep in mind , I have nothing against bass fishermen , just the way some of them behave.

Have a good week!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Slim Pickin's

No matter how the fishing treats me , I'll always love watching the sun rise in the Appalachians.

I don't think it ever really even made it up to be blistering overhead like I'm used to down here where I'm at. You see it peek through here and there , but otherwise it's nice.

I made a fine start :

We had plenty of sexy bait to catch big fish with...

But they whispered with their pretty red lips " You can kiss my shiny ass"

Yeah. I caught a few the first day. My partner in crime showed up and we caught a big fat nothing.


Have a good week!