A Carptastic weekend, sort of.

5 09 2017

I originally wasn’t planning on doing a whole lot of fishing this Labor Day weekend.  With it being the last “hurrah” for pleasure boaters and a forecast for NE winds I figured I would just stay home.  I had enough chores to keep me busy for the weekend anyways, one of them being re-staining and sealing my deck.  I had been putting it off all summer and I was running out of time.  So with all that in mind I did what any other respectful fishing fanatic would have done.  Went fishing anyways.

A friend of mine had told me about a nearby lake (more of a pond actually) along the Rouge River.  He told me that it was full of carp and nothing else.  I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch up in Garden City around noon on Sunday so I figured I would leave early and check out the area first.  When I arrived I saw that the “lake” was in desperate need of rain, much like the local rivers.  I walked the perimeter and wouldn’t you know it, I spotted a lone carp slowly cruising around in about a foot of water.  I went back to my car and quickly rigged up my TFO BVK 6 wt with an olive damsel fly.  I headed back to the area and after a few minutes I located the same lone carp.  Now came the hard part, trying to find an area I could cast to him.  This part of the lake was surrounded by trees and no room for a back cast.  I wasn’t wearing boots or waders so wading was out of the question.  Never the less I made my way down to the shoreline and waited, hoping he would come in a little closer.  After a few minutes he did and I was able to make a roll cast to get the fly out in his direction.  I patiently waited as he swam closer and then gave the fly a short strip.  He turned towards the fly and swam in.  I wasn’t going to be able to see the take so I kept ready for any sign of it.  Just as he got to where I though my fly was I gave it another twitch and he turned on it.  I lifted my rod, felt the weight, drove the hook home and it was off to the races.  Once again there were other carp right along the shoreline that I did not see.  When he took off 3 more did from the shallows as well.  Now it was going to be a combination of me balancing myself on a log to keep from falling in and to keep him from swimming under the numerous blow downs in the area.   He did manage to swim under small one but I was able to pull him back from under it.  Five minutes later he was in hand and posing for a pic.  After that he was back on his way and I was headed to lunch, a little wet and dirty.  He flopped out of my hand as I was taking the pic and he splashed muck all over my jeans.  Oh well, wasn’t the first time nor will it be the last.

My Precarious Perch

Just before the flop

The next day I headed back hoping for a repeat.  This time the carp were concentrated right in front of the parking lot so I spent my time right there trying to catch one.  This time I wore my knee boots to keep from getting wet.  These fish were feeding but they really didn’t want anything to do with my olive damsel.  I did manage to hook one for a few brief seconds but I think it was a foul hook in the pectoral fin.  I still tried, spooked a few, had a few swim right up to the fly and refuse it and others that just plain flat out ignored it.  One of these days I will figure out how to catch these “cruising” carp with more consistency.  I saw a lot of depressions in the muck and I figured they had to be from bass.  I didn’t see any at first but while I would bring in my fly smaller fish were trying to grab it.  After awhile I switched to a smaller fly to see what they were.  Figured they were bluegill but it turns out they were young Smallmouth Bass.

Guess I’ll have to figure out where the parents are.  When I’m not catching carp of course.

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Yet Another Fishy Weekend.

24 07 2017

Friday, 7/21/17

Friday night found me back on the Detroit River at my usual spot but with a difference.  This time around I had my friend Richard along for the night.  He was down from northern Michigan for a few days and hadn’t been out walleye fishing yet this year.  I needed to remedy that.  When my boat was down Richard took my father out one night and he drove so that my Dad and I could just fish.  It would turn out to be the last time my Dad and I got to go fishing together.  I owe Richard as many trips as I can provide.

We headed downstream around 9:30 pm and along the way I was seeing a lot of weed mats.  Not what I wanted to see.  Turns out they would be a big problem for the entire evening, not just from having to clear lines but they played a little game of deception with me, all night.

I set up using the same lures that have been producing for me so well the last few weeks.  An Original Rapala and a Black/Gold Rapala, both F9’s and a F7 Perch.  Richard was running a F11 Original and a clown Nite Stalker.  About 5 minutes in I had one on and unfortunately I lost it right behind the boat.  This little scenario would repeat itself constantly throughout the night.  Hook a fish, bring it up, lose it at the boat.  It got to a point that I knew when I was going to lose the fish.   They were hitting so light that at times I would just feel weight on the line.  The more aggressive fish that hit would make it to the boat but not the lazy asses.   Add in the constant clearing of lines from weeds and it made for a long evening.  This was also the little deception game the walleye and weeds were playing with me.  I was clearing weeds so much that on a couple of occasions I would feel weight and just figure it was more weeds.  I would get the lines to the surface and to my surprise there would be a pair of eyes staring back at me.  That was how the night went for me.  I was able to get a limit but I lost a lot of fish and I had a lot of throwbacks as well.  Richard, on the other hand, caught nothing.  In all fairness his lures spent a lot of time out of the water.  Between weeds, leader issues and untangling a reel his lures spent more time out of the water then in.  Shortly after midnight we felt a few raindrops and after a quick check of the radar we decided to get off the water.  Richard was going to be in town for a few days so we had other opportunities.

No pics, I sent all the fish home with Richard.

Saturday, 07/22/17

The original forecast for today was rain with brief periods of no rain.  Because of this I made plans to sleep in and then take care of chores around the house.  Well it turned out that we never got any rain.  No matter though, I still slept in and took care of the chores around the house.  After dinner I had a change of heart and went out walleye fishing.  I started around 9:30 pm and by 11:00 pm I was done.  Once again the fish were very lethargic and I lost my first fish right at the boat.  From then on I gave the fish every chance to get hooked up.  Instead of bouncing the weight along the bottom I just dragged it.  That seemed to do the trick because the next 5 ended up in the cooler.  Doing this though increases the chances of getting hung up and that happened three times.  The only other fish I lost was another channel cat so I wasn’t to upset about that.  He came on my 40 foot lead and a F9 GFR.  I had swapped it out with the F9 Original earlier since it wasn’t producing as well as I wanted.  All the walleye came on the Black/Gold and Perch patterns.  As for the rest of the conditions the water is still very clear and weeds were not much of an issue.

 

Sunday, 7/23/17

My original plan was to get up at the crack of dawn so that I could go out fly fishing before everyone else showed up.  I ended up dragging my butt out of bed sometime after 8:00 am.  Turns out I would pay for my laziness but not as bad as I expected.  I started my walk to the area I have been fishing the last few weekends and along the way I spotted a few carp feeding off the surface in the weed mats.  With the water surface cover being so thick I was able to get into casting range without spooking the fish.  I made several attempts but could never get one to take the fly.  The same weeds that were making my stealth so easy also prevented the fly from sinking into the water.  At one point I did have a carp literally bump my fly with this nose but he never ate it.

After about 30 minutes of this I decided to head down to more open water and try my luck.  I could see the carp cruising along but whenever I would stop they would spook and take off for heavier cover.  I expect to spook a few fish but this was ridiculous.  I wasn’t doing anything and they were taking off.  I soon found out why.  The same carp shooter I saw last week was out and flinging arrows.  I walked past him in the hopes of getting to some fish that he hadn’t spooked yet but that lasted only a few minutes.  I saw some feeding carp and worked my way to them and made a couple of casts.  I was getting ready to make another cast when all of a sudden an arrow shoots into the water about 10 yards from me.  Sure enough, the same guy and now he was practically in my lap.  To say I was pissed was an understatement.  I let him know it as well.  I’m not against anyone legally fishing any way they want but there is no reason to be so close and shooting carp right next to someone fly fishing for them.  I told him that as well, especially when the area we are fishing is probably a 300 acre lagoon.  He didn’t seem to care so I just walked farther away, by about ½ a mile.

After I calmed down I found a quiet area and went back to fishing.  The carp were still spooky but I was able to hook up with one, along with an assortment of other fish.  The first one being a bowfin.  I was trying to get a read on which way a carp was swimming when I saw the bowfin out of the corner of my eye.  A quick cast and he was all over my carp fly.  He wasn’t the greatest fighter but he was very aggressive.  After a quick pic I sent him back on his way.  Shortly after that surprise I managed to catch a yellow perch on the same carp fly.  I was casting to another carp when all of a sudden my fly disappeared.  I set the hook and a few seconds later the perch was in my hand.  Gills and Bass I understand, Bowfins and Perch? Not so much.

 

I did take two rods again so I could play with the Gills when the carp weren’t around.  I ended up catching some of the biggest gills I have seen here along with a few bass all on a bead head nymph.  I can see that I am going to have to tie up a few more of those things over the winter.

Around noon I headed back to the car.  I had plans to go Schultz’s to pick up a new fly rod.  I am heading up to the Manistee River next weekend to go mousing for Browns and whatever else is available.  I have an Orvis Encounter 9 foot 5 wt and I wanted to upgrade.  I won this combo a few years back and it has served me well.  I never really did like the reel and after Orvis didn’t want to honor their warranty on my waders I really don’t want any of their gear anymore.  Once I got to the shop I told Corey what I wanted and he gave me a Temple Fork Outfitters BVK and a Redington Vice to try out.  After one cast with the TFO I was sold.  Corey set me up with a Sage reel and a weighted forward floating line so I am all set now for next weekend.  All I need to do now is get some flies tied up.  I will be spending my evenings doing just that this week.  First up, Muddlers.





Another Fishy Weekend

17 07 2017

Friday Evening, 7/14/17

 Friday night found me doing my usual thing at my usual spot catching my usual fish.  I started a little earlier than I have been, hoping to try and get a few on spoons before nightfall.  Didn’t turn out like I had hoped.  From 8:30 to 9:30 pm I only caught one keeper and had one throwback on the spoons.  Shortly after 9:30 it was “Hold My Beer”.  In the next 30 minutes I finished up my limit, threw back about 6 and lost 2 at the boat.  A couple of the throwbacks were just barely legal fish but I was feeling cocky so I threw them back.  It was one of those nights where everything was going right and I was sure I would catch bigger fish.  I even managed to land a 19 inch smallmouth without tangling up and of my other leaders.  By 10:00 pm number 5 was in the cooler and I was headed home.  I thought about staying out later and doing the “Catch & Release” thing but I have never been a fan of that, not when it comes to handlining.  I had my 5 so it was time to head in.  The way this summer was going I would have plenty of opportunities to catch more.

Saturday Morning, 7/15/17

My original plans for Saturday morning was to take care of some errands before I met my son for lunch around noon.  Those plans quickly fell apart when I arrived at my barber shop only to find it was closed because my barber broke his wrist.  The other items on my errand list didn’t pan out so I said screw it and went fishing.  I was going to take another crack at the carp in the same spot I went to last week.  Things didn’t go to well with the carp (I managed to hook into one that ran me to my backing before the leader broke) but the gills and Ditch Pickles kept me busy. The first gill was a surprise.  I was casting to a carp when a gill came up and grabbed my carp fly.  While I was bringing him in a Bowfin came up and tried to grab the gill.  He made several attempts but was never able to clamp down.  Once I released the gill I cast my fly towards him but he didn’t want anything to do with my offering.  Later that morning I had a Largemouth Bass do the same thing on another gill I was bringing in.  He was able to get a hold of the gill but it was to big for him to swallow.  I wasn’t able to coax him into grabbing my fly but I did manage to get about a half-dozen of his brethren.  Around noon I headed home.  Not the result I was hoping for but I wasn’t going to complain.  Anytime I can catch some nice gills and a few Ditch Pickles on a fly rod is a good day.  I made a mental note of where I saw all the beds (yes, bluegills on beds in July) and figured I would bring my 4 wt tomorrow and some gill appropriate flies.

Sunday Morning, 7/16/17

Sunday morning I was headed back to “The Carp Hole” with a new plan of attack.  I got there earlier with the hope of finding the fish a little more relaxed and in feed mode.  I brought along my      4 wt and my Bluegill/Trout box so I could play with the gills, if the carp didn’t want to cooperate.  Little did I realize that it was a good thing I did because when it came to the carp, I couldn’t do anything right.  Actually I could do one thing right, “Spook Carp”.

See carp feeding about 40 feet out.  Make cast and hook reed.  Spook Carp.

See more carp feeding, sneak down to shore to make  a cast, don’t see the carp along the shore line.  Spook Carp.

Cast to carp swimming towards me, catch bluegill instead.  Spook Carp.

Sneak up on a feeding carp, slip on rock and fall on ass.  Spook Carp.

See carp feeding along shoreline followed by two bass, over shoot cast and catch bass.  Spook Carp.

See another carp just resting, make bad cast in wind and land fly on Carp’s head.  Spook Carp.

See big Ditch Pickle cruising along, sneak into casting range and don’t see carp feeding along rocks.  Spook Carp.

Get to close to Canada Geese and they leave shore and walk into water.  Spook Carp.

Start casting to feeding carp, snag bush on back cast.  Spook Carp.

Get disgusted after 4 hours of this nonsense and leave.  Spook Carp.

It was pretty much useless at this point anyways.  The west wind had picked up making trying to see anything difficult at best.  I eventually worked my way back to the parking lot figuring I would stop at one more spot along the way that was out of the wind.  As I got close I went into stealth mode and worked my way to the water.  I carefully scanned the area and I cold see a couple of fish mucking around about 30 feet away.  I was getting ready to make my cast when out of nowhere a carp shooter shows up, bow in hand, and walks right up to the other edge of the hole.

He Spooks Carp.

I didn’t say anything.  I just stood up and continued my walk back to the car.  I’ll just try again on another day.

Sunday Evening, 7/16/17

After the disaster of this morning I needed a little redemption so around 8:30 pm I hooked up the boat and headed to my favorite walleye spot.  Winds were out of the north around 10 mph this evening.  Not the best wind direction and speed but I figured I would make the best of it.  Once I got set up I could tell boat control was going to be a pain.  With the wind coming straight down the river the current was faster than normal.  After about 10 minutes I switched over to a heavier weight just to keep better contact with the bottom and to help keep that 45 degree angle.  It seemed to do the trick because a few minutes later I was bringing in my first fish of the night.  Unfortunately, he was barely hooked and came off as I was flipping him in.  After that any fish I hooked I would immediately turn my boat into the fish to help take the extra strain off of the fish.  Old timers blame lost fish in the summer to “Soft Mouth Syndrome” or “Red Lips”.  I attribute the losses to light hits and going up-stream and pulling a lightly hooked fish against the current.  Last time I checked, bone doesn’t suddenly get soft in the summer time.   I kept utilizing this tactic for the next hour and around 10:30 pm number 5 was in the cooler.

Redemption.

One little note.  The fish at the top was a 22 inch female.  For all you guys that say you have never kept a female please enlighten me on how you would have let this one go if you had caught it?  It doesn’t matter if she is full of eggs or not, once she is removed from the fishery that’s it, so spare me your hypocrisy.

So that put a pleasant wrap on my weekend.  No carp but I still caught plenty of walleye, bluegills and ditch pickles.  The next few days are calling for unfavorable winds and thunderstorms so I’ll take advantage of the down time  to do some maintenance.  I need to replace some hooks, change the wire on a reel, make up some shanks and most of all some new leaders.  My 40 foot leader must have a dozen knots in it.  I’ve been fishing hard the last month and my equipment could use a little TLC.  Come to think of it, I could use some TLC as well.  My hands are trashed and I managed to bruise my forearm and shin when I fell off that rock.

 

 

 

 

 

 





A Fishy Weekend.

9 07 2017

Sometimes I feel like these posts are getting a little redundant.  Go out, catch five, come in.  Trying to jazz it  up a little has become more of a challenge than the actual fishing.  Anywho, I went out several times this weekend, had to, there was a full moon and I’m not about to pass that  up.

I started off the weekend heading down to the Trenton Channel after the storms passed through.  I arrived at the ramp around 9:30 pm and started to get set up.  The Wayne County Deputies must have thought I was crazy based on the looks they were giving me.  I don’t know what they were worried about.  The storm cell had split and was heading north and south of our location.  A few minutes alter I was back in my usual spot, lines down and starting my run.  Around 10:00pm I caught my first one of the night as I was taking in the light show.  I had lightning to the north and south of me and fireworks to the west. The only light I wanted to see was from the full moon in the east but the cloud cover was preventing that.  For the next hour I trolled around and caught absolutely nothing.  During times like this I tend to start questioning everything.  I was questioning whether or not the well ran dry, if the fish had moved, was the front causing lockjaw, did I have the wrong lure?  The gerbils were in overdrive in my head as I tried to sort out what I needed to change to start catching fish.  Around 11:00 pm I found out that I wouldn’t  have to change anything.  All at once the front blew through, the wind changed direction from South to North and the clouds broke and out came the full moon.

GAME ON!!

For the next 20 minutes it was organized chaos.  Landed 4, lost 3, threw back 4, back-to-back doubles, tangled leaders, weeds and a few sheepshead and rock bass thrown in for good measure.  I was bringing in what would have been number 5 when I hit a weed patch and my motor bogged down.  Once that happened the line went slack and the fish was gone.  After I got that all straightened out I was back at it.  After 5 minutes I hadn’t caught  anything so I pulled my lines and sure enough, my kicker and 20 foot lead were tangled.  Once I got them straightened out and back to fishing it didn’t take long and number 5 was in the cooler.

Tonight was a prime example of why there are other things to consider, when the fish aren’t biting, besides color.  Several different variables changed all at once and any one of them could have been the reason why the fish turned on.  The wind had shifted 180 degrees.  The front that caused the thunderstorms had blown through.  The clouds cleared out and the full moon was able to shine clearly.  The only two variables that did not change was my location and the lures I was using.  Something to remember the next time the fish aren’t cooperating.

 

Saturday night had me back in the same area, again.  This time I was a little earlier.  I wanted to run some spoons and it would turn out to be a waste of time.  The only fish they produced were blankity blanks, a 3 inch smallie and a few rockies.  Once the sun set and the moon came out I got rid of the spoons and replaced them with Rapalas.  Fishing was slow at first but I managed to pick up a couple in between clearing my lines from weeds.  Around 11 pm I decided to switch things up a bit.  I thought with that with the clear sky and full moon the fish would need something bigger and dark to contrast against the light.  I put on a F11 Perch and that made all the difference.  By 11:30 I caught my fifth and was ready to go home.  My friends Dave and Larry were out so I stopped by to see how they were doing.  They had 8 and they had also lost a couple of bigger fish.  We talked for a few more minutes and then I was headed home (once I did I got a text from them that they caught 10).  I was glad to hear Larry caught his limit.  After we went out he checked all his leaders a few days later.  Turns out that all of them were a 1 to 3 feet short.  Something to think about when the fish aren’t biting.

 

Sunday morning found me trying something different, fly fishing for carp.  I had tried to find places this year where I could try this but I was having a hard time finding any.  Today was a little different.  I had taken a walk through this area before but never saw anything.  This morning the winds were calm, the water was clear and the carp were everywhere.  The first place I stopped at was a culvert feeding a lagoon from Lake Erie.  The carp were in their just waiting for something to flow in to eat.  The water was very dirty from all the activity, especially after I spooked them.  Lesson number one, don’t spook the fish.  I waited to let them calm down and I was able to catch one, and that was a fluke.  I couldn’t see him take the fly, I just happened to lift up on the rod as he swam by and felt the pressure because he picked up the fly.  He really stirred things up so once I got him in, took a pic and then released him I moved on to other areas.

About a quarter mile down the road I spotted a few carp swimming about.  I worked my way into casting range and managed to spook the fish once again.  I now understand what everyone was telling me about when it pays to be stealthy.  I sat down once again and just waited for a bit.  Eventually some more fish swam into range and I was able to hook another one, foul hooked that is.  Don’t know how I did it but I managed to hook him right across that dorsal fin.  That made no sense since these flies are designed to ride hook up.  I could understand hooking a pectoral fin but not the dorsal.  Of course fighting this fish spooked everything in the area so I moved down the road again.   I found some more fish but this time I waited until they swam out of the area before I worked my way down to the bank.  I set up and waited and after a few minutes I saw two carp swimming my way and feeding.  I cast the fly a few feet out in front of them and waited.  Once the lead fish got within a few inches I gave the fly a twitch and that was all it took.  The carp turned and sucked up the fly like it was going to be his last meal.  A quick hook set and off he went.  Now I see why this type of fishing has become so addictive.  Seeing the take and the bulldog fight they put up is a lot of fun.  I can only imagine what hooking into a 15 or 20 pounder in open water would be like.

After that one I packed up and headed home.  I had one last thing to do for the weekend, smoke the walleye I caught back on July 3rd.  Turned out pretty good.  A little to salty this time but I’ll adjust that for next time.

 

So that was my weekend.  More walleye, my first carp on the fly and some smoked fish for the week.  Pretty good weekend.

Oh, and I went and saw Spider Man – Homecoming.

Life is Good.

 

 





Carp Flies? Seriously?

14 02 2017

Not to long ago a fellow fly tier and fisherman was putting together a carp fly swap.  At first I had no intention of signing up.  The only carp fishing I had ever done before was with an arrow.  I did take a class once on how to tie carp flies but that was over a year ago and haven’t tied one since.  He was coming up short by a few participants so I signed up.  I figured it would give me something to do while I was at the Columbus Fishing Expo.  So after a quick stop at Schultz’s Outfitters  , to pick up some hooks, I was set to tie.  Little did I know how popular this type of fishing has become.  As I was tying at the show, people kept buying the flies.  At one point I had to stop selling them because I was going to run out of enough material to tie the necessary 20 for the swap.  Eventually I got all 20 done and was even able to tie up a few more for myself.  The person in charge of the swap promised to take me out and show me what fly fishing for carp is all about.  If so, I’ll be sure to let everyone here know about it.

carp-flies

4 of 20

carp-fly-ii

Olive Version