Jul 27, 2009

Through the miracle of modern engineering

It's pretty cold here in hell today because Dave finally updated his blog with the video I mentioned previously. Using skills we learned from Mythbusters The College of Engineering, we've converted this video to speed. With Dave at the helm, the kayak is capable of speeds near 3.5 mph. Given the chickenness of his legs, I'm thinking the top speed should be closer to five with a Lance Armstrong type driving.

We daylight as engineers, but our real passion is videography. The a fore mentioned video was the result of countless hours of story board creation, multiple takes and three coffee pots worth of editing. Not to mention the 3 hour wait for the daylight to strike his swim trunks just right. Click here to see the video we believe shows a Hobie Mirage Drive's speed better than anything you'll find on Youtube.

Will someone check our math too?

Jul 24, 2009

Would you like to weigh 4150 fish?

Asian carp can be a real problem. Good thing it can also be a real fun problem to solve.

The winner of a recent central Illinois fishing tournament brought in 4150 fish. For the tourney, a total of 12,764 fish were caught from 11 boats. That is a 1160 average per boat, or 96 per hour per boat.

This tournament happened close to home, and I'm happy to live within what seems to be the premier area for asian carp sports. If you've ever seen someone shoot a flying fish on TV, it was probably in my back yard.

Here's what I'm thinking...it's time to go snagging. All I need is some braided line and a couple pounds of lead. I think I have both, who's with me?

I wish you would break 4

I could see it in the sky on my hike through the parking lot last night. The wind was down, sky was partly cloudy and we had been without storm for three or four days; I had to get on the water. I hit Warm Pajamas about 6pm in what may be my last voyage in John and Kim's kayak. Sunset these days is about 8:30, so I knew I had to get on it. With the stable weather and cooler temperatures I suspected an aggressive presentations would be appropriate.

I started things out with a Shadilicious swimbait. After a half hour or so I had second thoughts about my original strategy. Fishing a Senko for about an hour I left me fishless and frustrated. I decided not to finish out a particularly terrible cast and hastily reeled the Senko in. It skimmed across the surface and BLAMO! I caught the fish above. Hmmm, maybe I was right all along and these fish required something fast, on the surface even. Luckily I had a Booyah buzzbait on board. I recently stated that a day on Warm Pajamas without a 3 pounder was not a good day....this was a good day.

I didn't have my scale, but that fish was a smidge under 18 inches which puts her in the three pound range based on my experience on this lake.

This outing kind of reminded me why I've been trying new lakes this year. Banner Marsh is an extremely heavily pressured state park. Even my secret area isn't really a secret, I just choose not to give driving directions on the internet. The protected slot in place is nice, helping anglers catch plenty of nice fish. However, with a slot of 12-18 inches being thrown back it pretty much guarantees you will not catch many fish over three pounds. They're in there, but you have to be lucky more than good. I'd rather see a 16-20 inch protected slot, 15 inches is big enough for dinner, encouraging the culling of small fish.

Scott's response to my good news TXT that evening summed it up nicely:
"I wish you would break 4"

Jul 21, 2009

Now we can swim any day in November

Well, this settles it. After teetering on the fence for many years, I've fallen on the side of Gore. The reason? Global warming may start affecting us anglers directly.

Researchers in France and Germany looked at a number of species of fish, bacteria and phytoplankton in Europe and found that as temperatures rose, the mean body size of the organisms dropped significantly.

I guess I'll scrap my plans for El Salto this year. The warm Mexican water must really be rough on the local bass population.

Jul 18, 2009

$600 is worth platinum

I previously mentioned Dave got a Hobie Revolution kayak. I also alluded to some sweet video we took. Well...this isn't it. We're still waiting for Dave to get off his laurels and post an update.

In the mean time...we went fishing at Banner Marsh Thursday. Despite what weather that would normally signal good fishing we were both blanked. Turned out to be a crumby fishing day, but getting out and enjoying the water was still great. Plus Dave let me take his baby for a test drive. It was just after sunset and the storm was minutes away so the video is a little dark, but you can get the idea.

I've started an on-line fund raising program. Would you be willing to support CWH (Clif Wants a Hobie) charities? A pledge of $300 will get you all the benefits of a gold member, which includes a picture of me enjoying my new kayak and letter of appreciation (including certificate of authenticity). $600 gets you platinum status, which includes 90% of the gold benefits plus a test drive (on the water closest to my home).

(hotel and air fare not included)

Jul 16, 2009

It can happen to you too

My computer greeted me with the following, courtesy of Scott. Who knows if it's true or not....

Part of the reason I enjoy fishing is the vague notion that any given cast could result in something like this.

Jul 15, 2009

I won't wait for you

At the rate Dave updates his blog, it'll be a while before he breaks the news. So I've decided to step to the front of the line; he bought a Hobie Mirage kayak, the Revolution (a Revo for those in the know.) It is actually pretty sweet ,you should really check this out. The mirage drive propels the kayak to impressive speeds effortlessly. Even if you're not interested in kayaks, the mechanics of this thing are impressive. While I was fumbling with my paddle, he effortlessly stayed in fishing position. Once he actually posts his update, you'll be able to see a sweet video we took of the kayak.

We went to Banner Marsh on Tuesday night to fish my Warm Pajamas . Warm Pajamas is the single lake in the country I'm most familiar with and it feels comfortable like snuggly pajamas. I haven't been there much this year because I've been trying new things. However, I will go on the record saying that Banner Marsh is the premier bass fishing destination in the area and this portion of the state park is no exception. It is fairly easy to catch bass, and extremely common to break the 3 lb mark. I've even picked up a couple Muskie here. If I spend 4 hours in my PJs and don't break the 3lb mark, I consider it a bad day.

This was not a bad day. I was fully committed to my fly rod, leaving the rest of my tackle at home. Dave had his spinner on board, but never got it out. Four fish were caught, Dave got on the board first with the one above, which bit on a popper. After seeing his success, I decided the top water bite might be on and started in with the popper too. My first fish was a tank. In this picture you can see the fish and my previously mentioned sunburn.

Shortly after hooking her on a popper, I hollered to Dave that I had one and the fight was on. While he made his way over for a photo, this fish put on a great fight. She was even strong enough to peel line from my 8wt (how was that Mel?) The fight finally ended when she buried herself in the weeds and I had to come in close to heave her up from the grass. She weighed 3.6lb and sadly the popper she took was not one of my handmade models, but a store bought bumble bee pattern.

I followed up with a couple smaller bass on the popper before the night ended. One unpredicted advantage of he mirage drive became evident as the sun set. Dave was kind enough to give me a lift back to the ramp while I relaxed in my "old fashioned" paddle powered yak.

This was a small sample of the sweet life, I need to win the lottery.

Themrsum funny looking walleyes

Scott and I made our untriumphant return to Walleye Heaven this past Sunday. We fished from 8ish until 3ish and were bound and determined to catch us some walleye. Unfortunately, we still don't know how to catch walleye accept by happenstance. We did, however, find some fish including an acrobatic bass and a good fighting pike.

It was a beautiful day for fishing, we enjoyed good cloud cover, mild temperatures and a light breeze - a deadly combination. By the time we knew what was happening sunscreen was useless.

I'm sick of coworkers asking if I "got some sun?" It will soon be over, I am peeling today.

Jul 13, 2009

Wader stank be gone

My stinky wader problem has been solved thanks to a good dousing with the garden hose. I also enjoyed the unexpected benefit of finding a couple leaks. The dark spots on the left leg showed the location of some pin holes.

A wader's worth of water weighs a ton. Getting them down was trouble and I don't advise this tactic for the invalid.

Jul 9, 2009

If your free this weekend, consider a trip

The fifth annual redneck fishing tournament is this weekend here in central Illinois. I believe it to be one of the premier fishing tournaments in the world. There are two rules: No poles and fish at your own risk. Come by and check it out.

In the past CBS news has been on hand (see below). This year National Geographic will be filming a special and Tom Mabe will be filming for his show Mabe in America.

Click here to see actual reporting on the matter.

Jul 7, 2009

We see eye to eye to eye

Restaurant health inspections are a big deal to me. Every year the list of eateries to avoid grows by at least a couple. I've even kept on top of this long enough to know the repeat offenders *cough* Old Chicago *cough.* Well...I'll eat there, but I damn well won't feel good about it. I might even complain a little.

Most of my quarry finds itself swimming again, but you can bet fish consumption advisories are still a big hit in this house. Sure adult men and women "beyond childbearing age" can eat a little, but why bother? Call me selfish, but if I'm going to protect my dependents, yours truly should be afforded the same provisions. Blinky and I agree: Sucking down mercury meat once a month is better than once a week but we'd rather go the extra mile avoiding it all together. In response to this I can only say it takes all types to make the world go round.

These two arms may limit the number of rods I can cast, but hugging is much less complicated the old fashioned way.

Jul 6, 2009

You'll be needing your trunks

I've never thought much of the fish in the spring pond serving as host of our annual family reunion and camping trip. Since childhood it has been an ice cold swimming hole with beautifully blue water and a peculiar looking diving board.

Between all the swim sessions, I've usually enjoyed some halfhearted fishing and I've always been told the "pike" in our fishing hole were actually grass pickerel. I never thought much about them other than to note their diminutive size but last year I happened across an article that peaked my interest. It seems grass pickerel don't get big and the 12 inchers we've caught are considered wall hangers.

The pond offers a variety of species, a variety that changes from year to year. In the past we've dented the populations of blue gill, bullhead, bass, "pike" and others. This year the predominate species was green sunfish, but I also saw a bluegill and some other sort of sunfish (I think a long ear). Where all these fish come from is one of those natural mysteries we'll never fully understand, but with this trip I've solved one of the biggest.

After getting all excited about the prospect of catching a trophy grass pike, the very first fish I caught was the specimen shown above. It came on a 1/16 oz white rooster tail (you might call it a Mepp's spinner). This spinner has been a crappie killer and was chosen on this day specifically for pickerel. I knew pike like to eat my bass spinners, so small pike would enjoy small spinners...right? Lacking a definitive authority on fish identification, I was left with the faint memory of research performed before dropping off the grid. I knew it was a pickerel (not a pike) because of the beautiful tear drop marking, but what sort of pickerel would have to wait for my return to civilization.

While catching this fish was a major moment in my fishing storyboard, I'm sorry to report it is no trophy. I'm now quite sure the pikes present are chain pickerels. Even if you forget the fact any internet research is to be questioned, the examples readily available all point to chain pickerel. The only question I can't answer is if this is a hybrid. It does seem to have the chain markings overlaying a grass pike color pattern.

Given the variety of fish we catch, it is possible both chains and grass pickerels inhabit the clear blue water. Right now it doesn't matter, I set out to prove a point and said point is proven. The fact I went down there to catch a pickerel and succeeded is all the satisfaction I need.

Next year I'll try again. In the mean time, if your wondering where to catch chain pickerel, drive to Missouri and turn right on the road that looks like this.

If you make it that far, you're a mere 20 minutes from the best swimming hole around.