Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 27, 2014 - South Holston Lake

 My father and I took a trip to South Holston Lake, and fished from the bank.  We used a variety of relatively light tackle and didn't accomplish anything.

Friday, December 26, 2014

December 21, 2014 - Cesspool

I was up at 7 AM on a Sunday?  What's wrong with me?

I was participating in a local production of the Nutcracker - a ballet, as far as I can tell, about a dystopian fever dream caused by drinking too much eggnog in the Christmas season.

Anyway, I had time to kill until 6:30.  So I grabbed my rod and went fishing at the Cesspool.

The sun was bright and behind me as I made my way around the pond, so I stood well back to minimize my shadow on the water.  I was casting a jighead with a green/yellow 3" plastic craw, I believe the jighead is either a 3/16 or 1/4 oz, so I wasn't able to get it all the way across the pond, but the lighter jighead allows for more natural action and a subtler landing, offsetting the distance penalty.

Anyway, I caught two bass in close succession each about 13-14 inches.  However, they may have been the same fish.  I hadn't had the foresight to bring my camera, so I have no way of comparing the fish in retrospect to see how they might have differed.

In any case, having encountered success, I went out to get some lunch and read a book, and then changed into my alternate persona as the crotchety grandfather.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 14, 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

A beautiful day, light and variable wind, blue skies, ambient air temperature 56 degrees, water temp 42 degrees.  Aside from the water temperature, the sort of day you'd expect for the ides of October, but December?  Maybe global warming isn't so bad.

The danger with cracking a joke like that is that you alienate some of your audience, and successful blog authors like myself thrive off of readership.  Conservative nutjob global warming deniers will resent you for acknowledging the presence of a global warming phenomenon, and knee-jerk liberal global warming phenomenon supporters will despise you for approaching the topic with levity.

Although I suppose some people are still sticking around, those who don't care one way or another about global warming.  Those are my people, those who, in the face of an ominous trend forecast to bring about terrible destruction akin to the end of times, shrug their shoulders and consider moving inland and getting a new HVAC unit.

Anyway, I went fishing.  Ran into S____, who reported that black swans were in residence at the lake, and was going out to photograph them. 

Although I assumed she was talking about birds, in truth I shouldn't have been so presumptuous.  I mean, there are secret societies of Moose and Elks, so why not the Black Swans?  Maybe the Black Swans are planning a hostile takeover of the Masons, due to some shoddy bricklaying work they had done.  This puts photographing the Black Swans in a whole different light.

But it turns out they were birds, at least according to this photographic evidence I obtained:

Although given how blurry and poorly lit this picture is, maybe I'd have been better off selling it to the Enquirer or the Globe as evidence of plesiosaurs living in 1970s era flood control impoundments in central Virginia.

Black swans, aka Cygnus atratus are native to Australia, but presumably these are an introduced population, probably moved because the crocodile hunter kept grabbing them by the tail.

Anyway, reader, I've done you a disservice by spouting all this bullshit when really, you, a fishing blog reader, want to know what fish were caught, on what tackle, and how much blood was spilled.

The reason for all the bullshit is that the answers to those questions are as follows, and don't merit much discussion:

-Black crankbait, inline spinner, crappie jig with yellow and red curly tail, 3" crawdad on a jig, zara spook-like thing.  I did have a strike on a jighead tipped with a mealworm.
-Virtually none other than when I stuck myself with a hook.

Put in at three, fished until about five, and took out.  S____ reported that she saw another fisherman pull in a 10 pound bass, so there was more reason to be optimistic than usual, but no luck. 

Also, what do you call a stoic goose?  (highlight below to see answer)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

November 29, 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

Went fishing, didn't fall in, didn't catch any fish.  Look up uneventful in the dictionary, and you'll see a picture of me, holding a newspaper up to my face with the date "November 29, 2014," as if I'd been kidnapped.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 22, 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

Went fishing out at Mountain Run Lake.  Put in at about 3:30, it was fairly mild, with a persistent slight breeze.  The sun was shining.

The past week has had several nights down in the teens and twenties, and reports were that there had been ice on the water.  No ice was on the water today.  Surface water temperature was 42 F.  Fished with a black crankbait for a few minutes with no success and then switched to a small yellow curly tail.  Caught this thirteen inch largemouth: 

As the sun sank beneath the horizon, the breeze that I had first characterized as slight turned into a stinging arctic blast, and my hands being wet, I began to get uncomfortable.  I took out with daylight left at about 4:45.
It's getting to be winter, evidently.  I should've taken my coat with me when I went out, but when I first got there, the thermal underwear seemed to be up to the task.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

Went over to Mountain Run Lake fishing.  Fished with mealworms under a slip bobber with a split shot for a while, didn't do much.  Caught a bluegill on a curly tail with a slow jigging action.  A couple bass on lipped black crankbait.

Switched to fishing a small, maybe 1/16 oz, jighead tipped with a mealworm about 4 feet under a clip-on bobber, caught several bass and a good number of bluegills in 6-10 feet deep water.

My mess of fish:

Nice to know when crankbaits are hopeless and poppers are futile, that you can pull in some fish using live bait.  My father reassured me that he though my immortal soul was intact despite my use of live bait, but in the last couple of days since bait fishing, I have noticed an inclination towards dark sorcery and my experiments with reanimating corpses are proceeding nicely.

Speaking of corpses and tortured segues, when I was out there, I saw something around 15vultures circling.  They weren't circling me, so I didn't give it a second thought, although I did take a picture in the event that blurry, poorly framed photographs become the newest rage in postmodern nouveau art and net me a grand or two from some rich fool who uses words like postmodern and nouveau without knowing what they mean:

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 9 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

Caught a nice crappie on a glow jighead with a black curly tail, spent a couple of hours on the water.

It's getting dark early.

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 16, 17, 18, 19 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

It's been a while since I've updated the blog.

Went fishing a bunch.

Did some gorilla stalking at Delmarva pond on Thursday (5 bass) and Saturday (5 bass).

On Friday went to Delmarva pond and caught a bass, presumably either a stocker from Thursday or earlier this year.  This will make a total of 23 bass I've dumped in there.

Went Sunday to Mountain Run Lake and caught and kept 3 bass and 2 bluegills.  Used slip bobber rig and a small crankbait.  Had the lake to myself even though it was a beautiful day.

A bucket of Thursday's stockers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 24, 2014 - The Fifth Fish

This week was rough for fishermen.  Scattered thunderstorms or rain were forecast every day.

I went out Thursday, fished in the rain.  It was the sort of rain where you don't feel drops hitting you, and you get damp instead of wet.  Like sitting in a cloud.  No wind though, so there's that.

Caught two small bass on a popper.  Didn't keep them.

Sunday, first decent weather in days.  NOAA forecast this day as "Decreasing Clouds," apparently not wanting to go so far as committing to "Partly Cloudy" but still wanting to do their part to stave off shitty-weather-related suicides.  Anyway, the temperature was mild.  The wind was imperceptible except whenever I was casting, as is the nature of wind.

Caught a bass and bluegill on a inline spinner, went back to the car and traded my worm rod for a rod rigged with a curly tail under a bobber, proceeded to catch 4 more small but still worthwhile bass within 10 minutes.  I hooked the last fish in the gills, which means a bleak future if released, so of course I kept him. 

Therein lies a problem:  once I've caught my limit, is it ethical to continue fishing and is there any point in the first place or should I just go home?

The answer to the second question comes first - a literary technique I've developed to keep readers on their toes.  The ultimate end that the meat fisherman hopes to encounter is to catch your limit (or slightly more) and then go home, drink Natty Light, and watch football, but not necessarily in that order based on all the Natty Light cans you run into streamside.  A real meat fisherman is not privy to all of the internal monologue that a more philosophical fisherman would consider while ripping lips.  A real meat fisherman has more in common with otters than those erudite brothers of the angle who eschew nightcrawlers and minnows and instead prefer using dry flies drinking dry martinis.

But I'm not a real meat fisherman, at least I hope not.  If there was a spectrum, one end being the noble catch-and-release fly fisherman, and the other being the beer-gut blue-collar bubba, I'd hope to be somewhere in the middle, or maybe a little left of it.

So in my view, there is a reason to keep fishing, choosing to switch to catch-and-release.  But what then if I hook a fish in the gills.  I no longer have the option to keep him and he dies unnecessarily with no one benefiting other than turtles.  What an ethical dilemma!

So I started fishing out in more or less open water that's about 12-14 feet deep, fishing with the bobber rig with the jig about 6 feet deep, thinking I might catch a crappie.  And miraculously, I did.  I'm not sure whether that was skill and talent of good luck.  I had some other taps on the jig, but didn't hook any other fish.

Here's my mess of fish.  The yellow thing is my thermometer, shown for scale.  It is exactly 6 inches long.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13 2014 - Cesspool and On the Merits of Using Length to Assess Fish Size

Went down to the cesspool after work.  Cast a small red popper to tiny blugills, making my way around the pond.  Another guy showed up, and started casting an inline spinner from the opposite bank, and caught a little bass, maybe 6 inches.  I made my way to the head of the pool, and caught a small bluegill, about 4 inches long.  Lost my popper in a tree and gave up for the evening.

As I walked around the far side, I struck up a conversation with the gentleman, whose name, so he claimed, was Steve.  Steve gave me a hot tip on a good spot to fish, and showed me some pictures of huge bass that he caught at this good spot.

Anyway, Steve was fishing with a 4" "creature" rubber thing, most closely mimicking a crawdad.  He told me that the cesspool is loaded with crappie, which seems unlikely, and that he'd caught a 4 pound largemouth out of there, which seems entirely possible.

I didn't doubt him about the fish, reader, because I'd caught a  good size fish out of there.  However, in my tackle box I don't carry a scale, just because length is a sufficient enough metric for me to assess my performance and my compliance with the law.  Consequently, I have no idea how big a four-pounder actually is.

So I asked Steve "How long was the fish?" to bring it into my sphere of fish-size awareness.  After not inconsiderable consideration, Steve estimated the fish was 12 inches long, but was a spawning female that was really fat.

Reader, allow me to refer you to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, where they have a table of lengths that you can use to estimate the weight of a largemouth bass.   This I assume refers specifically to Texas largemouths, which are probably bigger on average than bass around these parts.  According to their table, a 12.5" largemouth, on average, weighs exactly 1 pound, a quarter of what Steve thought his fish weighed.

Now, you might think I'm exposing Steve to all the internet as a charlatan, a scoundrel, a liar, even.  He may well be all of those things and more, but in this case it's just as likely that he has an underdeveloped sense of how much things weigh.

Most people can estimate the length of an object the size of a fish fairly closely (within 10%).  This is in part because the human eye is calibrated through everyday use to know the length of an object.  When you wake up, and stare numbly at your feet, you might think, my big toe is 1.5" long.  You might think, as you fill your mug with juice at breakfast, there's 4 inches of liquid in the glass.

Consequently, it's easy to estimate the length of a fish. Now, the weight of the fish!  That's a different story.  Who wakes up in the morning and hefts a 2 lb bag of rice to calibrate their arm, an imprecise organ at best?  Nobody, that's who.

If you are going to measure fish, and you don't have a scale available, use length. 

And even though the eye will get you close, don't rely on it.  Measure a reference on your body, my father uses the spawn of his pointer finger to his thumb, or mark out lengths on your rod, or on your paddle.  Or carry around a tape measure.

If you don't, I'll imply on the internet that you are a charlatan, which probably stings something fierce.  

This is the first in my interminable series of educational posts.

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 10 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

Went over to Mountain Run Lake in the evening.

Set out 3 jugs baited with chicken gizzards for turtles.  My rig is 50 lb test monofilament with a big 6/0 octopus hook.  Something dragged on jug over into brush, the rest appeared untouched.

Fished using the fly rod with poppers trying for a carp, but none was forthcoming.  Caught a redear and a small bass.  Only turtle I saw was this one:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August 9 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

Went over to Mountain Run Lake, put in around 4:30, fished around the lake using a small spinner and a small orange popper.  If you measure fishing success by the smell of your hands, it was a successful day, with a lot of fish, although most were pretty small.  Air temp was 82, water temp was 83.  Sky was partly cloudy, and there was a slight breeze.

Saw lots of reptiles today.  Brown water snake, some painted turtles, and a snapping turtle that I didn't get a picture of.

Most of the bass were fairly small, between 6 and 8 inches

This was the only decent size fish I caught, he was 12 inches:

Caught another redbreast sunfish, who wasn't as deformed and weird looking as his brother.

They appear to be spawning, I saw what looked like beds:

Lousy picture of a snowy egret to round out the day.

Friday, August 8, 2014

August 8 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

Went fishing out at Mountain Run Lake after work.  Weather was overcast and still.  Air temperature was 79 degrees, water temperature at surface was 82 degrees.  The people who were taking out as I was putting in said they'd caught nothing, which wasn't encouraging.

I was the only boat on the lake, which was nice.  For my first salvo, I started throwing a chartreuse spinnerbait, and didn't get anything.  I switched to a little orange popper on a fly rod and started catching some sunfish, like this nice redear:

I also caught this fish, which based on its appearance, may be a redbreast sunfish?  If there are any ichthyologists in the audience, some help would be appreciated.  In any case, I haven't caught a fish here before with such a truncated snout and prominent operculum flap.
In fish, the operculum is the flap covering the gills and related structures.  In humans with partially erupted wisdom teeth, the operculum is the flap of soft tissue that covers part of the tooth, capturing food beneath it and ocassionally getting infected.  The only reason I expound so much is that my jaw has been sore the last week because of such an infection.

I caught 3 more bluegills, all of which were smaller, maybe 5 inches.

As dusk fell, there was some scrabbling on the bank and I watched 3 raccoons climb to the top of this tree.  Can you spot them!?  Solution below!

3 raccoons:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

August 3, 2014 - Mountain Run Lake

Put in at Mountain Run Lake around 6 and fished until 8:45.  Caught 2 bluegills and one catfish, about 18 inches.  The bluegills were on a yellow curlytail and the catfish was on a spinner.

Not much noteworthy about this visit.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August 2, 2014 - Rappahannock River

Went over to Fredericksburg, and waded in the Rappahannock, getting in at the access at Motts Run.

The character of the river right at the access is sandy, with some depth towards the middle.  There is what appears to be some sort of algae growing on the bottom.

I fished with small poppers and had several strikes, presumably from small sunfish, but didn't get any fish on the line.

After fishing up to the end of the pool that you encounter when you put in, I concluded it was getting dicey to keep the camera on me, so I returned to the car.

After leaving the camera in the car, I caught an 8" smallmouth and that was it.

I hadn't been wading in a while, and it was pleasant to slosh around in the water.  However, I found myself missing the convenience of being in the canoe, where I wouldn't have been limited to one rod and one small box of popping bugs. On the other hand, the relative permanence of tackle selection when you are wading means that you aren't tempted to switch back and forth from one rod to another, which means more time is spent fishing and less screwing around.  Is the choice of a fly rod and poppers the best and most productive? Maybe not, but no way I'm wading back to the car for a casting rod and curly tails once I'm wet.

Anyway, at around 8:45, a couple of guys on stand-up paddleboards (one of whom had his dog on the thing too) floated by and asked me how far to Motts.  They had launched at 1:30 at Ely's Ford, according to the one guy.

That makes roughly 7 hours from Ely's Ford to Motts, with apparently no stops and no fishing.  Too long for a day if you were fishing.

Packed up and left.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30 2014 - Quantico Creek (Tidal Potomac)

Went on a grand adventure and put in at Quantico Creek.

Quantico Creek is a tributary to the Potomac and the portion I fished is an embayment formed by the tidal portion.  On one side, the creek is bordered by Quantico Marine Corps Base, which you pass through to reach the access.  On the other side of the creek mouth is the Possum Point power generation station.  I don't know what impact the power station might have on the water temperature, but the droning of what I assume are the turbines is not the most pleasant ambient noise.

I got there at about 4, and talked with some of the local boaters to get whatever local scuttlebutt there was.  M________, who apparently fishes here with some regularity, had a lot of positive things to say about the fishing, and assured me I'd catch something.

According to NOAA, when I put in at 4:45, it was low tide.  Here I am, having passed under the bridge, looking west, upstream.

Initially I paddled along the north bank, but moved over to the south bank looking for some shade.

Moved along, initially casting a weedless frog over the mats of hydrilla, hoping to tie into a snakehead.  Got tired of that and started fan casting over top of the hydrilla, one rod with a small spinner and the other with a buzzbait.

Caught this bluegill.

Then tied into this big 20.5" largemouth:

And then just a couple of casts later, this one that was 18".
Here's the buzzbait I was using, one of my own design.  The treble hooks snag the hydrilla like crazy, and it sinks fairly quickly.  I might try building one up with a wooden body so that it floats, and using a single hook.

Not all of them can be lunkers.  Caught this one on a larger spinner.

This place was lousy with ospreys, here is just one of many:

Being near the Marine Corps Base, there are also ospreys of an entirely different sort around: V-22 Osprey.

Saw these flowers on the way back, have had a heck of a time figuring out what they are, but I'm fairly certain they are white turtlehead flowers (Chelone glabra)

Took out at about 8:45.  The Acute Angler, at the end of a successful day, in the classic bassmaster pose:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July 26 2014 - Abel Lake

 Went Over to Abel Lake in Stafford County.  Put in about 5:45 PM.

 It was a nice day, fairly cool, and not a cloud to be seen.  The character of this lake is similar to the Rivanna Reservoir in the sense that it is a riverine impoundment, meaning long and thin.

Headinng south from the ramp, having just passed under Kellogg Mill Rd.

There are a few coves coming off of the lake.  Nothing doing though.

End of the day, caught this 21" channel cat.

Big channel cat medicine:
Took out at 9, cleaned my fish, and headed home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23, 2014 - Mountain Run Lake in iambic pentameter

Lo! Work over for the day,
So a’fishing I have gone,
I put the canoe in at six,
Under a blazing sun.

‘Round towards the dam,
Along the windward bank, towards the lee,
88 Fahrenheit,
Beneath that tranquil sea.

What terrible luck,
'Cause on the horizon what do I see?
But a darkening cloud,
Scudding along toward me.

A few drops at first,
Then a heavy shower,
Do I fish on through,
Or self-preserve and cower?

No hatches to batten,
No respite at hand,
Do I fish on through,
Or make for dry land?

Crash! Bang! Boom! MotherF-ing Doom!
The sky torn asunder,
Can I make it to safety,
Or am I going under?

Jockeying for position
All the boaters scurry,
Pulling their trailers around,
Taking out in a hurry.

Sitting in my car,
For a quarter of an hour,
The arrival of the sun,
Signals an end to the shower.

My hopes dashed,
Nothing copacetic,
Nothing left to do,
But try and be poetic.