Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Suckers on the Fly!

I've been itching to catch something larger than 6" ever since a carp took my fly last year in July. Right now, in April, the suckers and pike are spawning in large numbers all over the place. Thankfully, I have  a creek next to my house which has a little over a dozen suckers and about a half a dozen pike in it at the moment. I spent an hour on Sunday afternoon clearing out brush and junk from the creek to maximize my opportunities to catch and LAND one of these fish. Today, I was rewarded with 3 suckers, a first on my fly rod.

Here are three videos of me catching, landing, and releasing this fish. They are 3 separate fish. I got very excited and look like a crazy man especially since my attire in the videos are not very fishermanish. I hope you enjoy the same excitement as I had catching them as it was surprisingly hard to do.

This is the first of three. I thought my GoPro was going but no. I was kinda upset but in the end, it was okay. Gotta love my classy loafers and white socks with jeans! : )

Second video went a little better. This video is uncut. Shaky at times so my deepest apologies. I was a bit excited can't you tell? The fire department next door was wondering what was going on and paid me a visit. If you turn the volume up you can hear what they are saying. It's pretty funny as they think I'm crazy, which I am.
Third and last video of the night. Once again, shaky video so sorry about that. Still trying to figure out my new GoPro. The release was awful but the fish is still alive. : ) Still a blast to catch!

Overall, I know it's not much of an exciting blog post as in me going kayaking and fishing for the big one but nevertheless, it was so awesome to catch something that was literally in my backyard. Or front yard rather.

Tight lines everyone!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Monroe Powerplant Hot Ponds!

This past Tuesday, April 2, I was scheduled to work. That is, until I attended a funeral for my fiancee's grandmother. This allowed my fiancee and I go to kayaking and fishing with Ted, a good friend of mine from work, and his friend Lon. I picked Lauren up and we headed to Bolles Harbor in Monroe, Michigan. We went from the harbor all the way to the mouth of the so called "hot ponds" as they are best known. Hot ponds are parts of a river or lake that feed a powerplant to cool their equipment. The water actually absorbs the heat via a tubing system usually and is spit out thousands of gallons a second into a canal that eventually leads to the Great Lakes. Pretty amazing stuff!

It took us around 45 minutes to kayak from the harbor to a peninsula at the mouth of the canal. We got out and we met both Ted and Lon and the action started immediately when I stepped foot on land. Both Ted and Lon were catching largemouth bass that were a good 16" and 17". They said they caught a few bigger ones which was downright incredible! The bass were feeding on small minnows and shad that were swimming with the current. The bass would be on the edge of the eddy and would swim and eat anything that was close. Bass and some big carp were jumping everywhere! It was great!

Ted and Lon were using baitcasters and I started to use my fly rod despite the wind picking up and blowing in the direction that I couldn't cast as well. Thankfully, I was using a heavier Clouser minnow pattern with my 5wt which helped me push through the wind to the fish. Not even 5 minutes after I stepped foot on land did Lon get into something big. A nice carp roughly 20lbs was on the end of his shad pattern. The fish was hooked INSIDE the lip possibly signifying that it was trying to eat the shad.
Gorgeous fish...
 We snapped some shots and he let it go. First fish I've touched in several months. It was good to be back on the water! I was happy to help him net it, too! : D

Next, was my turn. I wanted so badly to catch any fish! Well, after about 10 minutes of nothing but plenty of hits and misses, Lon told me to come to the shallower end of the peninsula. I happily obliged and that's when I hooked into a beautiful LMB on a simple Clouser minnow that I tied the previous night preparing for the trip.
FISH ON! First of 2013!
Very happy camper!
 I was so happy. I was laughing and if I could, I would have been jumping for joy. The fish was a mere 12" but to me it was the giant of the deep! It doesn't matter how big or how small, I still find joy in catching even the smallest of fish. I fished up and down the peninsula having quite a few strikes in the short amount of time that I spent there.
Smile on my face is pricesless. : )
The second fish of the day came by surprise. I was taking line out and cast about 2 feet of line out and I drew the rod back and I had it tug! I literally just smacked the water with my fly and I had yet ANOTHER LMB on the fly! Funny how that works. : ) 
Still happy as can be!
The final fish of the day was another small LM coming in at a mere 8". By that time, we all had to go as Lauren had to head to school, Ted needed to go to sleep because he was up since 9 the previous morning and worked a full 12 hours and then went kayaking with a 30 minute nap and loaded up on Red Bull....
Poor fish!

The release.
Technically, we "weren't fishing for LMB" as those are not in season in Michigan yet. The DNR states that there has to be immediate release of the bass. Only in late May can you keep the bass. I still had a blast.

Lauren and I, or rather I being the gentleman I am, loaded up the car with the kayaks and we  headed out but not before we took pictures. : )

"Sam, wait before you take a picture. I'm trying to fix my mascara." *takes a picture* "Oops."

All smiles. We're quite happy! : )

Love this girl with all of my heart! Very blessed!
The next day, I went by myself but have no pictures to show for it. It's a great hot spot for bass but also a great place to just relax and be yourself. It's going to be great for kayaking parties! Tight lines everyone and be safe!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Holding a Fish Correctly

Yes, it's been almost 2 months when I posted last. I've had very little adventures in the past few months but with spring around the corner, I did do some kayaking and fishing! Now that I'm back in blogging mode, I decided to start out with a post on how to hold fish! This is overlooked. A lot. It's really sad, actually. So, let's look at how to hold a fish the wrong way.

 The picture on the left shows the fish being held improperly because there is no support on the front or back part of spine. The fish is also being squeezed. Not good! Don't be stupid and squeeze a fish no matter how small. That small fish will grow up!

The picture below shows yet another improper way of holding a fish! Ugh....By the gills! Imagine you were being held by your neck. That's it. All your body weight was being held by your neck vertebrae. OUCH! Yes, that's how the fish feels. Uncool! It also hurts the fish's gills themselves which is what they use to breathe. Duh. : )

 Another common misconception is that a fish, more specifically, a bass, can be held by it's lower jaw. Yes, it can be done but it could potentially break the fish's jaw. Not fun!

Here we see a man holding the smallmouth by its lower jaw. Don't do this please. That bass may have been fine but it may have bruised the fish and could potentially have problems with its jaw for the rest of its life. The far right picture is of crappie. The picture displayed on the far right shows a professional fisherman holding up
some nice crappie. Now, I found this picture on a professional website that is known for it's great fishing articles, tournament info, and fishing tips and tricks and yet this guy didn't get the memo to NOT follow those tips. Hmm...

We've viewed several examples of bad fish handling. Let's look at some good ones! Below is an excellent shot of a gorgeous brookie. And, yes, he's holding it correctly as he let it sit in the net first, then briefly took it out of the net for a shot, and I imagine, let it go with no harm done. Look at the net closely and you can see it is a rubber net. That's what you want to use all the time. The nylon nets are VERY hard on the fish. Throw that kind of net away. They keep the slime of the fish on the netting and that slime keeps the fish alive! It's a protective barrier for the fish just like our skin!
 Here's a great picture of how to hold a toothy fish. This picture was entitled how to hold a muskie correctly. I think it speaks for itself.
There you have it folks! I hope you've learned a lot from this post. It's good to get a refresher course on the subject from time to time. Check out these wonderful articles on the same subject! Like really....you should.

How to Break a Fish's Jaw Quickly

Please Hold Fish Properly!