Friday, July 5, 2013

Shucking Smallmouth Bass.

It was Tuesday when I hit the water for a 5th time in 8 days.  With the wife at home watching the kids, I sneaked out early for some smallmouth bass action on what I figure may be one of my last days out until fall. Hitting some familiar water again, I tied on the Shucker for another day of great bass action.  The bass were doing a lot of soft striking and sucking and spitting.  They were picking the fly up from the side or plucking it off the bottom from the tail. In the riffles, they would just follow my flies in groups.

Trying different patterns such as Matt's LLano Critter, Crazydads, Clousers, and Ariculated Boogiemen, I had to switch back to the olive Shucker.  Perhaps, I don't spend enough time with the other fly patterns.  That Shucker has been my "bread and butter" all year.

I really want to float some smallmouth streams but will only do it with a friend.  None of mine want to do it!  I'm pretty content on wading though.  One of my most reliable spots on this streams was filled in with gravel and the logs washed away.  Pretty sad.  There were some hogs in there.

I do believe 18 smallmouth bass in all had been landed.  Most of the action was in the riffles.  The bite was off about noon.  Most were 10-12 inches with a few larger ones thrown in there and there.  I caught a few large panfish too.  I lost a few good fish but am happy to have had the chance to go out.

This year, I've been taking most of my bass from swift and deep riffles.  In most cases, I'm catching smallmouth off of structure in those riffles or I am casting downstream into the current and stripping the line into the slackwater.  I have tied many large flies but for some reason, the smallies only give chase without chomping down on them.

I am seriously considering an attempt at scaling or filleting these rock bass.  They put a good bend in the 3 and 4 wgt. rods.  This morning, I ordered a 5-6 wgt. Wind River reel from Cabela's.  Earlier this year, I bought the WR3 reel and really like using it on the 8 wgt.  The 5-6 wgt. is just a smaller reel.  I'm looking to put orange line on it.  This reel will match my 5 wgt. GLoomis GL3 rod which I totally forgot was tucked away behind some junk.  If the rod matches well with the weighted flies I throw, I may not need the TFO Clouser or Scott fly rods once considered to be at the top of my NEED list.

As fall approaches, I look to improve and integrate color into my Clousers.  I also need to purchase hooks of better quality and those geared towards bass.  Foe example, the hopper (above) was hit and smashed many times.  I had a couple of bass on but the streamer hook wouldn't hold them long.  I need a larger gap and sharper hook to convert those strikes into catches.  I've also been looking into wading sandals like Korkers, a sling/shoulder bag and a new guide or fishing shirts. Time to update the gear!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer smallmouth bass.

While the kids were at camp last week, I made four trips to the smallmouth streams.  Two of my outings were to new water and went very well.  The stream I waded was to a spot that I usually go to but had yet to muster up the gumption of tossing bugs in my favorite location.  I usually work my way into this area but was thrown off my warm-up pattern this spring by an access or two being shut down.  AND, a "friend" taking over my spot every weekend.

Anyways, I figured to hit up the stream one last time before the kids came home from camp.  As usual, I tied on the Shucker and went to town.  The first fish was foul hooked (pictured above).  Funny thing too because after my 13th smallmouth, I hooked myself badly and went home.  What's with the number 13 and bad luck anyways?  Or, was it karma, lol.

Due to several major storms and flooding this spring, the stream I once knew had changed.  Some of the deeper pools had almost filled in with gravel and some logs that once provided cover in a smaller pool had been pushed downstream.  With the spring flush, new and more numerous smallmouth bass arrived and found new homes in some of these streams.

It was nice to see one of favorite location loaded with smallmouth bass which is unlike I've seen in about 4 years.  Last year, the bait fisherman were loading up stringers from a deep pool with a long run and good riffles which holds good amounts of smallmouth bass.  So, my first trip there on Saturday, I was not surprised to find jars of scented bait and trash.  And yet, there they were - sitting at the bottom of the first deep pool.  Large spotted bass and smallies.  However, it wasn't that pool but an even deeper one at the end of this deeper section of the stream.  I guess with all the flooding and flushing, what used to be a four foot deep hole running about 5 feet long was about a foot deeper.  However, the riffles and lies at the end of it were running more shallow.  The smallmouth were hanging out in those lies and at the edge of the pool while swimming intermittently into the clear depths of it.  Oh, how grand it was to stand in the stream and watch from above as those smallmouth would strike my fly and shake and swing back and forth with big tugs.

I know this isn't a big smallmouth but I'm more than happy to land these guys on a beautiful day.  Top water action was at a standstill but I took a bass and panfish.  While I didn't take photos of all my fish, I will say that it was the best outing I had this year.  I did some drifting with the Shucker but I also did some stripping.  Even when the bass would give a soft strike, they would normally hit it again.  They would shoot out about four feet from their cover just to tag it hard.

I have to say that I am truly blessed to live where I do and be able to hit a number of streams and rivers in this part of the country.  Sure, I don't catch big hogs all the time but I am more than happy to be able to land the fish that I do.  Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day and one that makes me want to enjoy God's good earth more.

Here are just a few photos from the other day (3 above).  I only caught 6 smallmouth bass but am more than glad they obliged.

Tight lines!