Mar 28, 2010

This is reel life

I recently mounted a rod holder on my kayak, and discovered my mini tripod fits nicely in the holder. One of my major goals this year is to capture a strike, fight and landing on video so this setup will help out immensely.

I set out yesterday with the whole package (kayak, rods, camera and tripod) to Banner Marsh, a local bass fishing hot spot. The results: not so good, but I made a video anyway just to say I did it. Ice-out fishing isn't when my angling ability shines, but I get out and make a go of it every year. It seems like every year I also swear to not wet a line until May.

Anyway, I've editing minutes of footage down to a mere 150 seconds of highlights. If you have about two and a half minutes of your life to waste, I suggest you watch below.

Obviously the day was a skunk, but I couldn't resist creating a goofy video of "highlights." Hopefully you laughed as much as my wife did - I'm not sure if she was laughing with me or not. I'm trying to imagine how this would work out with fish catching footage, but it'll have to wait until next time (at least).


I'm not one to leave you salivating for good videos, so here is one of our cat videos. Everyone loves cat videos.

Mar 27, 2010

It is Mounted

I finally attached my rod holder to the kayak.  I added a piece of plywood underneath to help with durability.

My tripod fits nicely in the rod holder so it will double as a camera mount.  More on that in my next post.

Mar 26, 2010

Be my look out, while I do this thing

I actually squeaked out of work on time today with a plan to get out.  Halfway home my cell phone rang, and I spent the next hour talking on the phone and rearranging travel plans for next week's business trip.  So much for the head start, but I didn't let it kill the afternoon.  The named intention was to perform some recon on a nearby urban creek I had an eye on.  Intentions left unnamed included a chance to get out, stretch wings, and dust off the long rod.  Upon arrival, I left the rod holstered and set out on a hike to scope out the prospects.

They say first impressions are everything, and my first impression was this particular nameless creek lives up to it's name.  It is fully deserving of all the benefits and entitlements of having no name.  The only signs of life during my trek were two tame geese, who became a bit nervous upon my approach.  Just nervous enough to do that "waddle-away-while-stealing-over-the-shoulder-glances" thing geese do so well.

I've decided this creek isn't likely to hold many fish.  I did see a ripple which couldn't, with confidence, be distinguished between a fish rising or a bird crapping.  Being an urban creek, the planners built a series of spillways, presumably to slow erosion.  Couple that with depths of 1-2 feet (one day removed from a rain shower no less) and I'm sure any fish who happen to find themselves swimming between these dams are killed each winter.

Despite the dim report, I returned to the truck and strung up with an all purpose nymph.  So as to not be spotted entering a "hazardous area," I made hast to the best hole around.  Tucked away under a bridge, I took a my first swings of 2010.  I worked the tiny hole for about 30 minutes and hit the same snag twice, losing a couple flies.  As expected, no fish bit.

One important part of becoming an angling master, is learning where not to fish.  If you ask me which creek, I'll be doing a favor and telling no lie when I say "it has no name."

Mar 20, 2010

Idle Hands

The weatherman hates me.  Last weekend we got some rain.  All week I was swamped at work while the sun shinned and temps flirted with seventy.  After a week like that, this weekend is more than welcome.  I'd be fishing, if it wasn't snowing outside today.

The vise has been ignored for a few weeks - I've tied a year's worth of flies over the winter.  Today I heard it calling from the basement.  The wife left to satisfy her "shopping itch," so I stole a sample of blanket stuffing I've had an eye on for weeks.  It's been peeking out all winter begging to be tied into a bait fish pattern, and with spring on the way it will never be missed.

I've also been eyeballing a roll of aluminum flashing in the garage.  So I carried both stuffing and flashing to the lonely vise, armed with wild thoughts of what would follow.  The results were not as glorious as imagined, but with some practice me thinks it'll be a hit.

I fashioned a swimming tail from the flashing and used the stuffing to add body.  The results are ugly, but the logic is solid.  If all goes to plan, this fly will have action similar to swimbaits and I'll someday master tying it.

The next wild thought worked out a little nicer, but time will tell of it's success.  I think there is potential, but tying materials near the head was difficult.

This fly features an upward facing blade near the eyelet.  Will this move like a chatterbait?  I'll let you know how it goes.

Mar 7, 2010

The clock starts today

Look at that guy...isn't he happy?

As promised, I took the kayak out on it's maiden voyage yesterday. Our forecast was for 52 degrees, so I made the most of it by finding some open water. Most area lakes are still iced over, but the Illinois River has been open for weeks. The plan for Dave and I was to kayak into a backwater (yes Scotty, it's the one you're thinking) where I've had some luck in the past with sauger. Alas, our best laid plan was not meant to be; upon arriving we found the backwater still frozen.

Dave discovered his kayak makes a great ice breaker, but doesn't leave any open water for fishing.

We fished the main channel, islands, creek mouths, rip rap, parked barges, pilings and bridge piers. The day was a complete fishing bust. Zero fish caught over about four hours of trying. Despite the fishing, it was a great time. We got out and stretched our wings on the first beautiful Saturday of the year, taking in sights along the way. Bald eagles have been making a serious comeback along the Illinois and at one point I could see five different eagles at once, one having juvenile markings. My 3x zoom isn't ideal for taking pictures of eagles and this is the best I could do.

A couple of posts ago, Dave and I were acting foolishly on ice. The Wandering Owl pointed out, via my comment section, that ice often leaves rings on trees. This tree was right next to the river channel and has weathered a few winter floods. You can see a little bit of this year's ice left sticking out to the right, while the highest ring was about 10 feet over head.

The kayak was great.  It was comfy, stable and tracked straight.  I have but one complaint.  Being of the sit-on-top variety of kayak, it comes with "scuppers," which are holes to drain water from the cockpit.  When I pulled a scupper plug to drain some water, the effect was the opposite; water bubbled up through the hole into the kayak.  Maybe I had too much gear, or maybe I'm carrying a few too many extra pounds, but that scupper was located below water level.  Next time I'll bring a sponge for dewatering and all will be good.

As I type this, the first spring shower is gently washing winter's residue from my truck.  Warm weather and rain can melt ice in a hurry.  I'm sure lakes will be open across central Illinois by next weekend.  My quest to catch a fat prespawn bass continues.  The spawn will come in early May and the clock starts today.

Mar 5, 2010

Hope Spring's Eternal

Winter, slumbering in the open air, wears on its smiling face a dream... of spring. Ciao. 

I'm no exception, just like you I've been counting down the months weeks days until Spring.  With the abnormally cold and snowy winter we've had, you've undoubtedly noticed my writer's block.  Sorry about that, but have no fear...

It is all going to change soon because now I'm counting hours.  Tomorrow will be the maiden voyage of my new kayak.  Lunker Hunt is back on-line! Stay tuned.