Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rebel Wee/Teeny Crawfish

At the end of May we decided to take a break from fishing for largemouth and start targeting smallmouth. Although we enjoyed fishing with wobblhead 3" worms for largemouth, we decided to give another bait a try. After reading fishing reports for years on Ohio Game Fishing we knew that the Rebel Wee Craws were hot baits for smallmouth and other stream fish. So with that in mind I picked up a few from Walmart and hit the creek.
Rylan joined me for my first WeeCraw experience, however he tossed an inline spinner bait. After an hour of wading Rylan had to make the switch. At the end of the trip we had nearly a dozen smallmouth, a few drum, hooked and lost some huge drum, and a dozen gills. After loosing a Teeny Craw to a drum I only had one left.

A couple days later Amanda, Jake, and I waded Brush Creek for smallmouth once again. Amanda took the only Teeny Craw so I tossed a Rapala floating minnow. At the end of the trip Amanda had caught more than Jake and I combined. So, we made a stop at Walmart on the way home.
Now that we have got a few trips in using the Wee/Teeny Craws we know why so many people use them.
8oz Rock Bass
1lb 6oz Smallmouth
One evening I waded Brush Creek by myself and managed to set a new species record in one day, 7, all on the Teeny Craw. I caught Bluegill, Rock Bass, Smallmouth, Spotted Bass, Largemouth, Drum, and a White Crappie. Needless to say, I won't fish streams and rivers without Rebel's Wee/Teeny Crawfish.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Boat Sold

Last week was a busy week although no notable fishing trips for me. Tuesday I sold my boat without the motor. Friday I made plans to meet a guy from Akron at Buckeye Lake to sell the motor. He wanted to meet in the Columbus area so I suggested that we meet at Buckeye Lake because I'd never been there and wanted to check it out and maybe cast a line a couple times. We arrived at the Leibs island boat ramp around 7:20pm to find quite the crowd of shore anglers. Five minutes later the motor buyer arrived and I successfully sold the motor. After talking for a while with the buyer he parted ways and I decided id try to fight the crowds on the shore to try and catch a fish. I made it my goal to catch at least one fish from the lake while I was there, I figured I'd find a bluegill no problem. This wasn't the case, the lake was very choppy and murky so fishing was tough. I made my way to a concrete wall throwing a wobblehead. After about 30 minutes I was starting to lose hope and was contemplating leaving defeated. Finally I got a bite and set the hook into a decent fish on my 4' 6" ultra light. I brought a 1lb+ channel cat to the surface and managed to drag it out of the water with my 4lb test. Excited and relieved to catch my first Buckeye Lake fish I released the channel to fight another day. I didn't weigh the fish but it was probably around 1.5lbs, nothing huge but a good first fish. After a few more casts without any bites I decided I was satisfied and hit the road for a long drive.

With everything sold, all except for my Lowrance fish finder which I've decided to have Sean mount on the bow of his boat, It's time to look for a new boat. After doing some looking around over the past few months my favorite option so far is a G3 gator tough jon boat. The criteria I'm looking for in the new boat includes the following:
  • Can catfish 4 people somewhat comfortably.
  • Has transom and bow mount trolling motors for easy 2 person maneuvering in tight places.
  • Has an Outboard motor big enough to travel big waters, such as the Ohio River, in a reasonable amount of time
  • Can run somewhat shallow yet be stable enough for big waters, such as the Ohio River.
  • Can take a beating on rocks and stumps
I'm thinking a used one may be my best bet so I'm not as worried about hitting stuff, but I've yet to price a new one. It may not be until next year but I will be on the lookout for my next boat. This weekend I'm taking a vacation to some rivers in West Virginia to do some trout fishing and possibly some other species. It should be an interesting trip and I'm sure I will have lots to blog about when I return.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paint Creek Lake Trips

Last week we made 3 trips to Paint Creek Lake. Tuesday (6/12), Sean and I put the boat in, our first time boating at the lake, we used the ramp nearest Rattlesnake Creek. Our intent was to bass fish and we both started out throwing wobbleheads. It wasn't long before we started catching a few bass although not the numbers we have been used to at other lakes and size was about average. The fishing being on the slow side, Sean decided to switch to a crankbait, I stuck with the wobblehead. We Fished from 5pm to 10pm and the surface temperature was around 80. Ended up catching about a dozen largemouth with a few over the 1lb mark. We also caught around a dozen crappie and a few bluegill.

Thursday (6/14), we decided to return to paint creek again to give the bass another go. We liked the idea that a bigger lake might have better odds of holding a bigger bass. This time Sean started with the crankbait and I had wobblehead on one rod and a 1/8 skirted jig on the other. Sean got the ball rolling with a few quick bass on the crank, while wobblehead fishing was somewhat slow, possibly due to the deeper water we were fishing this time around. I switched to the jig and ended up catching a largemouth on one of my first couple casts. This gave me confidence in my new bait choice even though my experience with the heavier skirted jigs is lacking. Sean continued to catch a few on crankbait while I struggled to dial in the bass on the jig, eventually I decided to switch to crankbait as well and caught a couple more bass. Numbers were very similar to Tuesday, we got about a dozen bass, dozen crappie, and a few bluegill. Sean also lost a largemouth in the 3lb+ range.

After scoping out the lake while bass fishing, we decided to give the channel cats a shot Saturday (6/16). One cove in the lake was loaded with jumping shad so we thought it would be easy to get bait. We started this trip at the boat ramp nearest the dam. We motored up lake a little and started throwing crankbaits. We found a hot crappie bite and ended up catching around 15 crappie in about 15 minutes. The biggest was 11 inches.
11inch 9oz Crappie
 The bass weren't biting nearly as well as the crappie. We soon noticed that a storm was rolling in even though weather.com only predicted a 30% chance of rain. In previous years 30% chance of rain has never been a good number for us.
Approaching Storm
Once the wind started blowing in excess of 20mph we decided to park the boat and sit the storm out in the nearby woods. After about an hour the storm ceased and we continued our fishing endeavors.
After the storm
Fishing was slow after the storm so it wasn't long before we decided it was time to get some shad while it was still daylight. We journeyed to the cove where we saw thousands of shad previously. After throwing the cast net a few times we realized that the shad were not going to be so easy to get after all. The storm may have moved them into deeper water. Eventually we relied on the fish finder to find a school of fish in 13ft and water. Slowly but surely we gathered enough bait to last us the night.

Once we had shad we setup on a shallow flat next to deep water. It wasn't long before we started getting nibbles. Sean brought in the first fish, a 2lb channel. We were excited to have such quick success on a lake we hadn't catfished before. About an hour later Sean had both rods load within minutes of each other. He caught a nice 10lb even channel and another 2lb channel.
10lb 0oz 27 inch Channel Catfish
A trophy channel on our first catfishing trip to Paint Creek Lake, we were starting to like this lake real quick. Sean seemed to be in the hotspot, we decided to shift the boat to see if we could hone in on this spot, or at least give me and Amanda an opportunity at a fish too. Amanda eventually caught a 2lb channel and Sean capped off his night with a 5lb channel. No channels for me.

The biggest surprise of the night came on one of Amanda's rods. We noticed it shaking but not loading up. She started to reel it in and had a fish splashing immediately. To our amazement a 2lb largemouth was hooked on the end of her line.
2lb 0oz Largemouth Bass
 A 2lb even largemouth on a piece of cut shad at 1am, I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it. We joked the rest of the night that we were fishing for largemouth instead of channel cats. The bite died around 1:30 am and we decided to pack it in at 2:30 am. Once we got the boat out of the water Sean suggested that we take some casts around the docks as he'd had some success doing this recently after a late trip. Sure enough I brought in a 1lb 3oz largemouth on my third cast, I nice bonus fish to end the trip. Paint Creek Lake treated us well this week and I'm sure we will fish it more often from now on.

Rocky Fork Lake, White Bass Bite

Early last week Amanda, Jake, and I went out to Rocky Fork Lake to do a little largemouth fishing. Since most of Rocky Fork Lake that is less than 4 feet deep is covered in dense vegetation, we decided to throw crankbaits on steep ledges where the vegetation was less of a problem. We put the boat in near the dam and started tossing crankbaits up on the bank and dragging them out into deeper water. Most of the time we kept the boat in 12 to 15 feet of water. We managed a few largemouth, crappie, saugeye, and large bluegill. As we worked our way to the dam we started to see some fish schooling minnows up on the surface and breaking the surface. Rylan and I seen the same thing happen in mid July last year. After a half hour of fishing the banks Jake had all he could take, and wanted to troll out and fish the schooling fish.
A few fish breaking the surface.
 As we got out to the schooling fish I took a look at the fish finder and noticed that the boat was in 35 feet of water. At the time Jake had an original floating Rapala that was chrome and green, the F5 series (2"), Amanda had a 1/32 ounce jig head tipped with a nightcrawler, and I had a deep diving Norman crankbait. I decided to re-tie on a white grub/twister tail on a jig head, as I cut my line Jake hooked up and as he was fighting it, Amanda hooked and lost one. I knew I had to tie quickly. Jake finally landed his fish, a white bass at around 12". Before I could tie my grub Jake and Amanda landed a few more fish. The school finally moved a few hundred feet and the bite stopped. I finished tying my bait on and trolled over to the school and we started catching them again.
This went on and off all evening. At the end of the day we managed to catch around 30 white bass in 2 hours before dark. A couple days later we headed out to Rocky Fork Lake to find the schools again, the wind was slightly worse, 10-15mph, and the schools where more dispersed. We still managed to catch a few where we heard splashing. 
1lb 2oz White Bass, 13.5"
15oz White Bass, 12"
  A week or so later we decided to see if the channel catfish were off spawn, so we drove to one of our favorite spots and dropped anchor. About an hour later we noticed some schooling shad minnows and fish eating them, so we decided to toss some crankbaits for white bass. This time around we managed to catch a few nice largemouth, several white bass, and even a bluegill. As it got dark we managed three channel cats, with the largest just over 5 pounds.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bass in May

This May we focused most of our fishing efforts on targeting Largemouth Bass, specifically on smaller less pressured public waters. Personally this May I logged 207 largemouth, almost twice as many as I caught all of last year. For the first time I realize why so many people target largemouth bass, so many tournaments are held each weekend, why people get up before daylight, etc.
2lb 13oz Largemouth
3lb 15oz Largemouth
1lb 14oz Largemouth
We even managed a few other bonus species.
1lb 8oz Crappie
1lb 4oz Crappie
4lb 1oz Channel Catfish
1lb 5oz Bullhead
So far in June, most of our focus has been on smallmouth bass. Its quite possible that there will be a post made about smallmouth in June.

Monday, June 11, 2012

6/9 Saugeye Fishing

Ever since we started fishing from boats I've always wanted to learn to catch saugeye consistently. Over the years we have caught some here and there while fishing for other species but never went out with intent to catch them. This Saturday we made our first attempt at saugeye fishing at Rocky Fork Lake. We started fishing around 4pm but were unsure when the best time to fish would be. I have read that they are most active during the night and on cloudy days when there is low light so we decided to fish the evening and into the night. The water temperature when we arrived was 80 degrees. In general our rigs were jigs tipped with a piece of nightcrawler or minnow as well as a nightcrawler harness rig. Our plan was to fish whatever points, humps and drop offs we could find in the 10-20ft depth range drifting and jigging our nightcrawlers and minnows.

The day started off slow and windy. We managed to catch a couple deep bluegill in around 10ft of water at the first area we tried but no saugeye. The next couple spots yielded a largemouth for Amanda, a white bass for me, and a yellow perch for Sean but still no saugeye. Eventually we arrived at an area where we had caught some smaller saugeye while fishing for bluegill a week earlier. It wasn't long before we caught a saugeye at this spot, although it wasn't the size we were looking for at 10 inches. We continued drifting this spot catching one saugeye every drift in the 10-12 inch range. These fish were in the 8-12ft range on a flat adjacent to a ledge leading to 30ft water. We were on the brink of giving up and fishing for bluegill when I hooked into a better sized fish. After a short fight we got our first decent saugeye in the boat at 1lb 14oz and 18 inches.
1lb 14oz 18 inch Saugeye
1lb 14oz 18 inch Saugeye
Soon thereafter we took a break to do some bluegill fishing. When the sun set we decided to have one more go at the saugeye in the same spot we were catching them before to see if the bite picked up at night. We failed to catch anymore after dark and soon retired. We ended up with 7 saugeye on the day with 6 in the 10-12 inch range and the one 18 inch. It's doubtful that we will attempt saugeye fishing often but we still have much to learn about the walleye's brother of the deep

Friday, June 8, 2012

Spike It Garlic Dip-n-Glow

A week ago I went to Bass Pro Shops to pick up a few things, and after an hour or so of looking around I decided to pick up a few new things to try out. This week I started experimenting with Spike It Garlic Dip-n-Glow.
I also picked up a couple packs of swimbaits during the trip. So my first baits to Spike were the swimbaits. In the picture below the top row of swimbaits are the actual colors of the swimbaits and the bottom row are the swimbaits after they have been Spiked.
The dip itself is acidic (acetone) which causes the plastics to breakdown rather quickly, so be careful not to leave plastics in too long. One positive is that it makes the plastics softer, which will give the bait more action. The next plastics I Spiked were grubs, tube baits, and other various soft plastic lures I had lying around.
Of course my favorite Spiked lure is the wobblehead worm. The first time I dipped wobbleheads I only dipped two worms. Of course the spiked wobblheads worked well and I went through the two in a couple hours. Second time around I made a few more. I chose to do three of each of my favorite colors. (Left to right, Chameleon, Purple, and Motor Oil.)

 Although the worms don't look like they have changed color very much, once they get hit by light or enter the water they really look neat. (The pictures don't do it justice.)

I like the idea of the worms and swimbaits having a bright tail because if you have ever seen small bluegill in the water they have bright colored tails as well. I also like the idea of changing my lures color, because when I fish from the boat with Amanda, Rylan, or Jake, they typically throw wobblheads too. I typically sit in the last seat and drive the transom mounted trolling motor, which means I get to fish spots that have seen a lure or too already. Things get rough when your the third person on the boat throwing the same bait as the first two people.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bob the Bullhead episode 3

In this episode of Bob the Bullhead we see if Bob has an apatite for shrimp, frozen large cooked shrimp to be exact. We have always done well with shrimp when fishing the Ohio River, specifically we catch Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, Hybrid Striped Bass, and Freshwater Drum on shrimp. Although most of the time shrimp is one of our secondary bait options, fresh cut bait is preferred, it still performs well.

While filming the video Bob didn't react to the shrimp for several minutes, even when dropping the shrimp right in front of his face. It's possible that he was a little shy with the lights on. After several minutes he finally attempted to eat the shrimp, and I say attempted because he struggled to engulf the large shrimp. After a couple tries and a couple minutes he manages to get the shrimp down his throat.

In conclusion I would say Bob is definitely less enthusiastic about shrimp than he was with minnows and nightcrawlers filmed in the previous 2 episodes. Here's the video.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Another New Personal Best Crappie

Went out bass fishing Tuesday, 5/29 with Sean. Still throwing wobbleheads as usual, no reason to change because they are still producing the best fishing. It was a cloudy evening with light wind from the west and barometric pressure fairly low in the 29.70's. Typically wind from the west and low pressure are my best days of fishing. Water temperature was 83 degrees. We fished from 5:00pm to 9:30pm. Bass fishing was typical, I caught 6 largemouth with 3 over a pound. Sean caught 15 largemouth with 4 over a pound. Around 8:00pm I was throwing a red wobblehead around some lilly pads and hooked into what I thought was another decent bass. Turns out it was a really nice crappie. The crappie weighed 1lb 8oz and measured 14.25 inches, my first Fish Ohio crappie.
1lb 8oz 14.25 inch Crappie
1lb 8oz 14.25 inch Crappie