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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Gillzillas

It was a little pond, about a cast and half across about anywhere. And just a simmering stew of life. Moss, duck weed, cattails, all working alive with creeping, swimming and flying things. Pretty much impossible to fish from shore, I broke my way thru the cattails and settled into my tube. About every ten minutes a small 8 or 10 inch bass would jump clear of the water like it was trying to capture on of the hundreds of dragonflies skimming over the surface. All those tiny bass were why I was here. Not to catch them but because most ponds chock full of tiny bass have huge bluegill. Afloat out here in the middle there was room to cast the little four weight. I fished a small deer hair bug in the holes in the duckweed. It turned out the gills wanted the bug to just lie there where they would inspect it for seemingly forever before finally slurping it down. And they didn't disappoint, held in the hand the tails would lap up on my wrist on every fish. I just wish I'd brought a change of clothes. I spread out my rain poncho to sit on during the drive home but still smelled like a bucket of mud...



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Going green:

Blown out rivers, some pretty serious family health issues and then some personal illness of my own all have combined to pretty much keep me off the water lately. But over my own illness and with the day free, I decided to fish somewhere. Anywhere. I ended up at one of SW Ohio's wildlife areas hitting a couple ponds. The first pond was gin clear but ringed with moss as well as having aquatic vegetation growing up to within a foot or so of the surface over most of it. A perfect situation for a buzzbait. I ended up catching four decent bass on the buzz. A fun and cool way to catch fish in my book. The next pond was nothing like the first. No moss or weeds instead it was slightly muddy with a few huge grass carp cruising around like submarines. About two casts in and a deer started blowing at me from the thicket below the ponds dam. An hour later I was wishing I'd stayed at the first pond. No action at all. I began to throw everything including the proverbial kitchen sink at them to no avail. I took the casting rod back to the truck and broke out the spinning rod and an unweighted plastic worm thinking I'd finesse a fish into hitting. No go. About then a small snake began swimming across the pond like we have all seen a hundred times. I thought how much the ribbon tailed worm I had on resembled a small snake and the next cast began swimming it slowly across the top. A decent bass slurped it down! A coincidence for sure but it was the first strike in well over an hour. Two casts later a swirl and another nice bass nailed the swimming worm. I'd like to say I went on and killed them. Not so but I did catch two more and miss a strike. As well as watch a five or six inch bass grab the six inch worm by the tail and refuse to let go playing tug of war with me. beautiful weather, some fish were caught and maybe I learned something, a pretty cool day in my book.




Monday, June 8, 2015

What were you using????

Just the other day I posted some fish photos on Ohio Game Fishing's forum and somebody asked what was I was using. Rather than give him a throw away answer I decided to try and give the question a good answer, Anyways I thought it interesting enough to post here...
 
I think it's been about a year since I've given what one guy called the sermon. Let's see if I've gotten any better at it:
Just the other day Dan and I were fishing and this guy was there seining bait. He had a bunch caught and we both separately looked at what he had and made our lure choices according to what we both thought best approximated what we saw. Only the next day when talking about it did we both realize the other had done the same thing. For you see most of the rivers around here hold an astonishing variety of baitfish, The big three, The GMR, LMR and WWR all hold something like ten or twelve different shiner species, ten or twelve darter species and maybe fifteen other things like minnows, chubs, madtoms etc. Now every riffle or pool doesn't hold each of these, instead each fills it's own little niche according to that particular stretch of streams habitat. One riffle might be full of greenside darters and logperch while a hundred yards away 70% of the forage is spotfin shiners. And not only does each of these guys look different they act differently. So how do you make sense out of all this chaos?
Well there are a few different approaches. If you fish the same piece of river over and over it might be worth your time to buy a seine and a cast net and sample all the different habitats in your section of river. You could also go to the EPA sampling data and see if that helps you. If you google "water quality and biological reports index" you will find all the studies done on our local waters. Look under the appendices, that's where the tables of good stuff is. Then go to ODNR's species guide online, it has photos of all of our baitfish plus a bit on their habits and lifestyles.  There are also some general guidelines you can use anywhere. Usually the closer to the shallowest water of the riffle the smaller, rounder and darker the average baitfish, things like darters and madtoms while the pools hold more things like shiners that are flatter and lighter in color. But like I said each piece of river is different than every other.
So going back to answering your question. The guy had a bunch of round bodied light colored minnows that varied in length from about three inches long to maybe five. I was throwing a Vic Coomer grub that was clear with silver flakes while Dan I think was throwing a light colored knock off of a Keitech Swing Impact. I try to carry three or four colors of Vic's grubs plus all three sizes of his curly shad in assorted colors to imitate flatter profile baitfish. I'd say 90 percent of the time I can get the results I want with these. Other baits I think work swell around here are River Rock swimbaits, keitechs, Big Joshy and the Jewel Sculpin. All of which look and act differently than each other. Just like the baitfish in our rivers. If, If I could only use one color of one bait, which I wouldn't want to do, I'd use Vic's three inch grub in either smoke metalflake or clear with metalflake. Those two are usually my starting points.
I'd like to throw one more thing out there. It's a scientific fact that big smallmouth hear better, taste better, their lateral lines work better, they smell better and they even see things better than smaller smallmouth bass. And in a bunch of studies it's been proven that bigger smallmouth are more selective than smaller bass. In other words taking the time to learn about the baitfish in your particular piece of river might not help you catch more smallmouth but I'm pretty sure it makes a difference in the quality of the fish you catch.  Hopefully that wasn't too long winded an answer. I just didn't want to say "throw a purple pluot, it works better than everything else".
It's a puzzle we have to figure out every time we go.

A couple nights and a day

The last week or so I haven't gotten to fish as much as I'd like. It probably still seems like a lot to normal people like say my wife but it wasn't as much as I'd like. So to stretch things out a bit I got out at night for and hour or so after work a few times. Throwing big curly shads trying for a shovelhead. Which I caught three of this week but they just weren't very big. I did have a good one on one night but it pulled the hook in the middle of a strong run. If you have never been out in the middle of the night throwing a big swim bait or a lipless crankbait for shovelheads your missing the next big undiscovered thing in fishing, its a blast.

But today I had free to fish. Gloriously free. I was supposed to meet someone on the water but he didn't show so I headed out solo. Solo at dawn can be a good thing. A deer bounded off thru the dark while squirrels and birds mobbed a mulberry tree. I helped myself to a few also as the path was covered in dark purple fruit. Just keep to the purple ones, the unripe ones have hallucinogenic properties. I remember one person stating they ate unripe mulberries as a child and the whole world turn to liquid for a day! Supposedly native peoples ate them to induce visions. Come to think of it I did fall flat twice today wading and I'm usually a pretty good wader.

It was a good day. First a decent hybrid stopped the grub in mid drift. Then a tiny smallmouth bopped the jig pretending it was a bigger fish. A half an hour later a much nicer stripe slammed the grub and the drag lit up with that beautiful sound. Although skinny the fish stretched the tape to 25 inches. After that things began to slow. The phone beeped. It was Dan, his day also freed itself up and we met at the river. Already afield I got there first and caught a dandy channel and a big ole carp before Dan arrived. Oh and I climbed out of the river over a steep little bank and walked right into a campsite. Everybody was still asleep except for a pretty girl in the middle of a wardrobe change. I don't know who was more startled her or I but apologized as fast as I could and split before anyone else woke up. Dan showed up and then proceeded to catch a couple small hybrids while I a few feet away caught zero. From there we wandered to yet another spot where a few more channels were caught and a couple pretty smallmouth. I think Dan's was 16 or so while I got lucky and a nineteen inch fish hit my grub. I know it doesn't quite look it but it was, I taped it. It's just the Dan the
photo guy obviously hates me and tried to make it look smaller than it was Tired and whipped but happy with some quality fish I left leaving Dan there fishing. I had to pass back by camp to leave and everybody was awake this time but friendly. But later Dan said the girl I saw half naked caught a huge smallmouth and stuffed it in a cooler so maybe they weren't so cool after all...






Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pouring the lead to them...

I texted Dan: "How about Sunday? I just got 70Lbs of lead." And so the long awaited mega pour was on. We recruited Dave, after all the guy will work for jigheads, and got down to business. I thought I'd done good, building up a stock of 1400+ hooks and four or five different molds till Dan showed up with four or five molds of his own and at least two or three times as many jig hooks! A long day later interrupted only by some grilled hotdogs and a cold beer, we ended draining three bottles of propane just melting down enough lead to keep the electric pouring pot going nonstop all day. There was no counting them it was a case of dividing each size of jighead into three equal piles and filling up every coffee can, plastic container and empty box we could find. Now for the fun part, spending the next year losing them all so we can do it again. Here's a shot of a bit of the stash...
 
 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

5/24

It had been years since I'd gone fishing. 5 or 6 days at least. So I was really anxious to get out today. Luckily the weather was wonderful, the water perfect, birds chirping. all was right in the world... and then there it was... Moby Carp. Anybody that knows me well knows I visit a section of river that has a few white carp in it. And that I'm crazy about trying to catch one. After all my greatest claim to fame is still what I call the state record goldfish. So there it was, tailing around in the shallows and this thing was huge, I'd guess at least 20 lbs and white as snow. A worthy successor to goldzilla. I had on a small metalflake grub and cast it as close as I could in front of the fish without spooking it and left it there. It moved forward the line twitched and the fight was on! Needless to say I lost it.

Every time...one of these days.
 

 

But... the rest of river was in fine spirits and I was soon catching other white fish, No big ones but any stripey fish is a blast no matter how big. I guess I caught ten. All on either a three inch clear with silver metalflake grub or a curly shad in the same color. I also caught a pretty channelcat that was right in with the stripes feeding.
 
 

Next to the swifter water where I was catching the stripes was a small eddy and in there I'd see small minnows skip every now and then. A cast with the silver grub produced a dandy river crappie probably ten or eleven inches long,
 
 
 
And then a few minutes later a bigger one that I did measure that stretched the tape to 13.5, A fine river fish. It was a swell day even with the loss on Moby.
 
 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day Hope and Despair

I know, I know, I'm just the guy who writes about fishing but...

Random facts and thoughts. Half of which are awe inspiring and half of which will frighten the heck out of you...
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First an excerpt from The Story of World War II, one of the best books I've ever read. This is the story of Bob Conroy trapped in a foxhole during the Battle of the Bulge:

"About midnight I was sleeping - my buddy was on duty- and somehow or other, the Germans got within twenty yards of our position. Gordon got ripped by machine guns from roughly the left thigh thru the right waist. He then told me he was hit thru the stomach as well. Well, when your that far from your home base, and it's snowing and the temperature zero, you don't have a chance. We were cut off. The Germans had overrun our position and we were in foxholes by ourselves, so we both knew he was going to die. We had no morphine. We couldn't ease the pain and so I tried to knock him out. I took off his helmet, held his jaw up and just whacked it as hard as I could because he just wanted to be put out.  That didn't work and so I hit him up by the head with a helmet and that didn't work. Nothing worked. He slowly froze to death. Bleed to death.  The next day I looked at our gear and it looked as though I'd spent a day in a butcher shop. My clothes were all covered in blood. His clothes were all covered in blood and the territory we were in was all covered- it was a butcher shop."
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A recent poll found that 72% of students failed to correctly identify what war we fought against Hitler
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"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it."  ...John Adams
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According to a new poll by Marist, more than a quarter of Americans couldn't correctly identify the country from which the United States declared its independence.
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Ray "Hap" Halloran a captured B-29 pilot captured over Japan and his story:

Hap fell free from 27,000 ft. to approximately 3,000 ft. before opening his chute and landing in N.E. Tokyo. He was set upon immediately by civilians; and severe beatings followed. Mr. Halloran was near death when Japanese soldiers (MP's from Kempei Lao Secret Service Torture Prison) seized him from civilians and took him to Kempei Tai Torture Main Prison in Tokyo adjacent the moat at the north edge of the Imperial Palace grounds. Hap spent 67 days in solitary confinement in a cold, dark cage. Beatings and brutal interrogations followed. Hap lived through the March 10, 1945 fire raid on Tokyo were over 100,000 were killed by B-29s bombing from 0100 to 0400 a.m. The heat, smoke and firestorm were absolutely terrifying.
Then Hap was moved to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo where he was a prisoner in animal cage and tied to the front bars in his lion cage so civilians could march by and view a B-29 flyer. He was naked and black from non-washing and hair all over my face. Hap lost 90 lbs. and was covered with open running sores from flea-bed bug bites. He spent April 1, 1945 to August 1945 in Omori POW Camp contiguous SW Tokyo.         
On 8-29-45 Hap and others were liberated by marine/navy landing forces and taken aboard the hospital ship Benevolence in Tokyo Bay. Hap spent about a year in a hospital at Ashford General Hospital, in White Sulphur Springs, W.VA.
Hap received 39 years of nightmares after that ordeal. He later returned to Tokyo in 1984-85, 1989 and 1995, were he met Ambassador Mike Mansfield who was a great help. Hap was also reunited with a former guard (friendly) and many others including: Kaneyuki Kobayashi, former guard, Saburo Sakai, leading living Japanese fighter ace (now friend) and Isamu Kashiide, who shot down their B-29 over Tokyo on 1-27-45 and many others. Reconciliation and friendship finally eradicated the nightmares of 39 years.
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30% of Americans don’t know what the Holocaust was.

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During an attack by his battalion to capture German position son October 8, 1918, York's actions earned him the Medal of Honor. He recalled:
The Germans got us, and they got us right smart. They just stopped us dead in our tracks. Their machine guns were up there on the heights overlooking us and well hidden, and we couldn’t tell for certain where the terrible heavy fire was coming from... And I'm telling you they were shooting straight. Our boys just went down like the long grass before the mowing machine at home. Our attack just faded out... And there we were, lying down, about halfway across [the valley] and those German machine guns and big shells getting us hard.
Under the command of Sergeant Bernard Early, four non-commissioned officers, including recently promoted Cpl. York, and thirteen privates were ordered to infiltrate behind the German lines to take out the machine guns. The group worked their way behind the Germans and overran the headquarters of a German unit, capturing a large group of German soldiers who were preparing a counter-attack against the U.S. troops. Early's men were contending with the prisoners when machine gun fire suddenly peppered the area, killing six Americans and wounding three others. The fire came from German machine guns on the ridge. The loss of the nine put Corporal York in charge of the seven remaining U.S. soldiers. As his men remained under cover, guarding the prisoners, York worked his way into position to silence the German machine guns. York recalled:
And those machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful. And the Germans were yelling orders. You never heard such a racket in all of your life. I didn't have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush... As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. There were over thirty of them in continuous action, and all I could do was touch the Germans off just as fast as I could. I was sharp shooting... All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn't want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.
During the assault, six German soldiers in a trench near York charged him with fixed bayonets. York had fired all the rounds in his M1917 Enfield rifle, but drew his .45 colt pistol and shot all six soldiers before they could reach him.
German First Lieutenant Paul J├╝rgen Vollmer, commander of the First Battalion, 120th Landwehr Infantry, emptied his pistol trying to kill York while he was contending with the machine guns. Failing to injure York, and seeing his mounting losses, he offered in English to surrender the unit to York, who accepted. By the end of the engagement, York and his seven men marched 132 German prisoners back to the American lines.
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 33 percent of respondents to a Newsweek poll didn’t know when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, 65 percent couldn’t say what happened at the Constitutional Convention, and 80 percent had no idea who was president during World War I.
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Marine Sergeant Dan Daly entered World War I as one of the United States’ most famous soldiers, having already won the Medal of Honor on two separate occasions for his service during the Boxer Rebellion and the U.S. occupation of Haiti. The 44-year-old continued to write his name into the history books during June 1918’s Battle of Belleau Wood, a month-long offensive that was one of the first major World War I battles fought by U.S. troops. On June 5, Daly bravely extinguished a fire on the verge of igniting a cache of explosive ammunition. Two days later, as his Marines were being shredded by enemy machine gun fire, Daly urged them to leave their cover and counterattack by supposedly screaming the famous words, “Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?!”
Daly’s near-suicidal courage was put on display once again on June 10, when he singlehandedly charged a German machine gun nest, killing its commander and taking 14 prisoners. That same day, he made several trips into “no man’s land” to drag wounded troops to safety. Daley was wounded later that month during a second solo rescue mission, and suffered two more injuries during the Meuse-Argonne offensive in October 1918. While he was again recommended for the Medal of Honor for his actions at Belleau Wood, the military balked at the prospect of any soldier receiving the award three times, and he was instead given the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Medaille Militaire. General Smedley Butler—himself a double Medal of Honor winner—would later describe Daly as, “the fightingest Marine I ever knew.”
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In the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, nearly 80% of 12th graders selected the wrong answer when asked which country was North Korea’s ally in fighting the U.S. during the Korean War. Even worse, it was a multiple choice question, allowing students to choose between the Soviet Union, Japan, China, and Vietnam.

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The stories of heroism and bravery above are just a few. Again going back to The Story of World War II by Donald Miller there are hundreds of stories in that one book alone just like the one's above. The incredible deeds done to protect our freedom boggle the mind. What equally boggles the mind is the fact that soon, soon, they will all be forgotten. I'm afraid the once proud country that stood "as a shining light on a hill", the freest country history has ever seen, soon that country will be unrecognizable. Let's all take a moment or two this weekend to remember why there is a holiday called Memorial Day.