Monday, April 2, 2012

3-30-2012, 3-31-2012

With the weather for the weekend looking pretty rainy, Amanda and I decided to fish the Ohio River Thursday night and Friday morning. The weather channel was calling for 10% chance of rain until Friday at noon. So with the odds in our favor we had planned the night trip. We started by heading up to Rocky Fork Lake to throw net some shad at about 6:30pm. I began at Fisherman's Wharf and tossed the net all the way down the bank starting at the shallow end and working my way deeper. I ended up catching one ten inch shad and several 3-5 inch shad. At this point it was about 8:00pm and we decided to head over to North Shore to see if the shad were in there, just so happens that they were not. However I did end up catching a pretty nice sucker for bait, which was much needed. Other than that I managed to catch and release several 12" crappie, a couple pound largemouth, and even a couple saugeye. So with a bucket containing 1 large shad, 12 baby shad, and a 16" sucker  we set out to the river.

We went back to the house, put the bait on ice, and I set up our rods for the river. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and loaded the car. On the way to the river we stopped by walmart and grabbed some shrimp for bait, Ale-8-1s, redbull, and some water for the trip. The red bull was much needed, since we had both been running on less than 6 hours of sleep from the night before. From there our next stop was the river.....or so I thought. As I was heading through Manchester on 52, I noticed a car that I had passed was pulling a U turn. I quickly let off the gas thinking that I may have been speeding, but I clearly had not. After about 2 miles of the car riding my bumper, he finally flips his lights on. I pull over and get out my license and proof of insurance. He walks up to the car and states that I had been swerving, which Amanda informs me is how I drive, and checks to see if I had been drinking, We tell him we were headed down to the river to do some fishing, its important to note here that its now a little after midnight, its beginning to sprinkle, and a storm that's passing by south of us is putting on quite the light show. He looks back toward his cruiser, trying not to show his smile, and says, "Doing a little late night fishing eh?" He then hands me my license and proof of insurance back and tells us to have a good night. 

We arrived at the river and began loading up our stuff for the long walk down the bank. Less than a minute into the walk it begins to rain, and not just sprinkle, but a down pour. We quickly take shelter under some Honeysuckle, which make great rain shelters despite the tremendous impact its having on native understory plants. I look over at Amanda to see her facial expression, and she quickly states, "10 percent chance huh?" I look up and I tell her it will be over soon and that I can still see the moon. Sure enough as quick as the shower came, it was gone. We got down to the water, broke out the omni glow clip on light sticks and baited up. Amanda took the large shad head, and a creek chub I had frozen from the previous week. I tossed out a shad chunk and a piece of sucker. I then told Amanda that I was going to throw net for some shad to see if we could get more bait. I told her not to fall asleep until I got back. Within a few minutes I had caught a quillback, I look over to tell Amanda the good news and I see her standing at her rod. She picks it up and begins to reel. I yell out, "What are you doing? You just put that out." She replies, "I got one." So I head over to investigate and I grab the net. Sure enough, to the surface came a fairly decent sized fish.

The blue cat measured 39 inches and weighed 23lbs and 13oz. A fish Ohio blue cat by 4 inches. As we start taking pictures I notice her second rod tip is bouncing. I look over my shoulder to see that my rod had just loaded. We take a couple quick pics and released the fish. At this point Amanda's other rod is still getting hit. She reels it in and catches a 2lb channel. I quickly take it off and release it. I then head over to my pole which looks to be loaded. I pick it up and start reeling, only to find the fish had taken me into a snag. This was to be the story of my entire weekend, disappointment, letdowns, aggravations, etc. as you will quickly learn. We quickly baited back and retied rigs, Amanda insisted on putting the used shad head back on that she had caught her first blue on, so I let her. Hours went by and Amanda fell asleep, I managed to catch a baby blue, a gar, three 4lb channels and a 6lb 10oz channel.....which wasn't near a fish Ohio trophy. The fish would have been lucky to go 24 inches, but boy was it fat.

The entire night was plagued by brief light showers, the ones that just irritate you enough to put up your hood. While I was having fun with the dinker bite, Amanda's rod goes down again so I quickly wake her up. Once again this fish looks to be larger than my 6lb channel. After a couple good runs and some decent swirls we bring it to the bank. The blue went 37lbs 1oz, and measured 43 inches, her second Fish Ohio blue of the night.
After that things seemed to die down. I patiently waited for morning to come. An hour before daylight I re-baited and tossed back out. However on one of my casts I had a line pawl go out, which is the pin that controls the level-wind mechanism on baitcasting reels. So down one to one rod I take it as a sign to start throwing lures for hybrid striped bass. An hour after daylight I managed a small 2lb hybrid striper. At this point I was tired and I started thinking about making the trip back home. We packed up and called it a trip at 8:20am.

Friday evening we woke up and decided to go head out to a few mushroom patches. We only ended up finding a couple dozen in three hours. Amanda managed to find the first yellows of the year. It won't be long until the shrooms are in full swing.

Saturday morning Rylan, Amanda, and Myself set out to do a little carp fishing. Rylan and I had talked about hitting a lake that had a high population of 9+ inch bluegill, so we could get that fish Ohio out of the way. We get out to the lake and begin to bait an area with sweet corn. We quickly toss out half a can of corn in a 20 foot by 10 foot area. I baited Amanda and my hair rigs with corn and set the rods in rod holders as to use the bolt rig method of carp fishing. The idea of the bolt rig is that once a fish mouths the bait, the fish will feel the weight of the sinker and bolt off, once this happens the rod in the rod holder drives the hook further into the fishes mouth. Its a simple but effective rig.  Rylan however sticks to his guns and used his old standby, a baited hook with no weight, and a piece of Styrofoam crimped onto his line. This method allows the carp to eat his bait without feeling any resistance at all, as the fish swims off, the line pulls out and the Styrofoam moves with the line indicating a bite.

Once the carp rods were in place, Rylan and I began bluegill/bass/crappie fishing. After about 30 minutes my drag starts to slip as a carp has hooked itself. I run over and start to fight the fish, It makes a few good runs and pulls some drag. I get it close to the bank to see that its about 10-15lbs, but more than likely not the 20lber that I was looking for. After a few good rolls it spits the hook. (Like I said, the story of my weekend.) I then re-bait and toss back out and resume fishing for bluegill. Shortly after I make two or three casts Amanda yells that she has one. I head over and get the net. Needless to say her luck was better than mine. The carp weighed 20lbs 11oz, and measured 34 inches. Yet another fish Ohio trophy for Amanda.

 An hour or two goes by and I get a few bounces on my carp rod, I even loose another one to a snag. Meanwhile, Rylan and I begin to find the bluegill. He catches one that he thinks goes 9+ inches and as hes walking down the bank to his measuring tape it slips out of his hands and goes back into the water. (He's got the same luck as me.) As if the fish catch rates weren't uneven enough already, Amanda catches yet another nice carp. This time she shatters her previous personal best, with a carp that weighs 27lbs 13oz and measured 35.5 inches.

At the end of the day, neither Rylan or Myself managed to catch a carp. Rylan did end up with 19 bluegill and a largemouth. I on the other hand only managed 13 bluegills. All in all Amanda had one of her best weekends of fishing ever. Within the last week she has managed a five fish weight of over 127 pounds. Next time were out in the boat in the middle of a thunderstorm, or fishing for crappie in below freezing weather, or going on 48 hours without sleep to fish, fishing in 25mph winds, dodging hail, etc. I will point back to this week and tell her that's why we are here.

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