Monday, January 7, 2013

1/5/2013, Ohio River

Amanda and I decided to take the boat out to the Ohio River once again. We got the boat in the water around 9:30am and fished until 3:30pm. Water temps ranged from 36 to 37 degrees fahrenheit. As always we went straight to the Dayton Power and Light warm water discharge to get our bait for the day. We anchored in a few spots on the Ohio River near the mouth of Little Three Mile Creek. After two hours of casting without a bite and finding nothing with the cast net, we immediately initiated plan B. Plan B is our plan if we fail to get bait for our catfish rods, which entails tossing artificial lures for Hybrid Striped Bass in Little Three Mile Creek.

I tied on two 1/16 ounce jigs with Bobby Garland swimbaits in silver and blue spaced 18" apart, and a 3/4 ounce bell sinker for added weight. I began casting toward the bank and letting the current pull my baits out into the middle of the creek. I immediately caught a hybrid striped bass at around 14", which gave us hope that we could salvage the day. Amanda began casting toward the middle of the creek and reeling slow and constant back toward the boat. A few casts later her drag began to sing, and a rather large silver fish leaped 3 to 4 feet out of the water. To our surprise Amanda had hooked a massive 2lb 6oz Skipjack Herring. Just for reference the Kentucky record Skipjack is 3.10lbs (only 11oz larger), and the Alabama state record Skipjack is only 3lb 2oz (12oz larger).

We were in need of bait, and skipjack make great cutbait so we tossed the skipjack into our bait bucket. A few casts later I had landed one an ounce shy of her previous fish, so I took the moment to bask in the glory and took a picture with two trophy Skipjack Herring. (Hers and Mine)
We decided to keep fishing and tossed the skipjack in the bucket to use later for bait and took a few more casts. I found another decent skipjack, this time the skipjack weighed 2lbs 3ounces. As to keep things honest, to show that I'm not taking pictures of the same fish over and over, I took a picture of all three trophy skipjack.

To keep things short, I caught a fourth skipjack within a 30 minute window. This skipjack went 1lb. 15oz. Here's a picture of the 4 skipjack. (2lbs 6oz, 2lbs 5oz, 2lbs 3oz, 1lb 15oz...in no particular order.)
We continued to catch skipjack all day long, and caught several over a pound with only one other skipjack coming close to two pounds at 1lb 14oz. We also caught several "normal" size skipjack, and since the air temperature was in the mid 30's we decided to keep the skipjack and freeze them for future use. Here's a humorous picture I took of a typical skipjack and a picture of one of the skipjack over 2lbs.
Skipjack were the highlight of the trip, but were in no way the only fish we caught. After we came down from our "skipjack fishing high", we eventually cut one of them up and tossed it out to see if any larger predatory fish were out with the skipjack. Sure enough Amanda found the largest fish of the day, with a 14lb 11oz blue catfish.
As always, I had to work for my fish. I eventually started throwing larger artificial baits in order to get away from the skipjack. We had filled a 5 gallon bucket with skipjack, which will last us well over 6 fishing trips.

I started with a 3/4 ounce Kastmaster chrome spoon. I did fairly well with it, catching over a dozen hybrid stripers on it, but none of which were large. I even managed a large skipjack on the spoon, the above mentioned 1lb 14oz skipjack. I eventually snagged the spoon on bottom, and broke off. I then switched to one of my favorite baits, a 1/2 ounce blue, black, and chrome Bill Lewis Rattletrap. On my second cast I landed a 17" 3lb 0oz Hybrid Striper.
Although it was my largest fish of the day, I was pretty disappointed because I thought I had a fish Ohio on my first outing of 2012. However the Hybrid Striper was 2" short of a Fish Ohio Trophy. We ended the day on this fish and decided to head back and get the skipjack packed up and put away. All in all we had a good first trip, and got plenty of bait for the next few weekends of fishing.

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