Monday, July 22, 2013

More Creeks and More Smallies

Saturday, Rylan and I floated a 7 mile stretch of creek from 2pm to 10:30pm. Water clarity was near 18" and the water level was normal for summer pool. Rylan started out with his lure of choice, a jig and chigger craw combo. I decided to try a new technique and throw a spinnerbait for smallmouth. We also both had a rope lure tied on in case we came across any gar. I took the west side of the creek and Rylan took the east. The day started off slow for me, while Rylan picked up a couple quick fish. I had my doubts with the spinnerbait but I had made my mind up to finish the evening with it, and it was hard to do while hearing Rylan talk about getting bites and losing fish.

About halfway through the trip I had ran into a stretch of creek that was deep and lacking cover. So I took a break and got something to drink. As I was sitting in the shade I noticed a gar surface, a minute later I looked upstream and saw a few gar sitting underneath a tree. On the first cast I got the gar I casted to, a 36" longnose gar.
I then took the opportunity to catch a few more gar. A couple smaller gar later and I had spooked just about everything off. I drifted along the bank looking for gar until I found another rocky bank, weed line, or fallen tree. I then went back to throwing the spinnerbait. I eventually caught a small spotted bass off of a pile of rocks on the spinnerbait. I was slowly building my confidence in the spinnerbait. Halfway through the trip I finally caught my first smallmouth on it. It went 16" and 1lb 12oz, I took a timed image of myself with the fish. It was my first smallmouth on a spinnerbait, its always exciting to pick up a fish on a new bait or technique.
As the evening came to a close we caught a few more small fish, got soaked by a passing thunderstorm, and ran out of daylight. We came up about a mile short of finishing the seven mile float, which gave us plenty of time to fight our way through a massive mayfly hatch.
The pictures do it no justice whatsoever. The mayflies were so thick that we couldn't look up while paddling without getting hit in the face with dozens of them, you could forget about trying to breathe with your mouth open.

Sunday, Amanda, Russ, and I floated the same section of creek that Rylan and I had floated Saturday, except we only floated the first half of the stretch. This time around I took the east side of the creek, the side that Rylan fished the day before. Russ started off on the other side and Amanda went where she wanted....bouncing back and forth to whichever side looked better. On probably my 10th cast I hooked a good smallmouth on the spinnerbait again. It was a great way to build my confidence even further. While taking a picture of the fish on the measuring board for our Kayak Wars online tournament it decided that it wanted to go for round two. Luckily I still had the bait hooked in its mouth so I reeled it in and took a few more pictures.
The smallmouth went 16" and 1lb 14oz.
Russ then went on to have a multi species streak. He ended up catching a gar on a wee craw, a channel cat on a spinnerbait, a dozen smallmouth/spotted bass, and a baby sauger. Amanda on the other hand struggled in the first half of the float. She did manage to bring a gar yak-side but while admiring it and waiting on me to come land it, the gar broke free and swam off.

As the sun started to set I gave the spinnerbait a break. I tied on a rattling storm chug bug and started to work the weed lines. I quickly picked up a couple small spotted bass, and then I hooked an acrobatic largemouth. It went 15.5", one of the largest largemouth I have personally seen out of this stretch of creek so I took a picture.
As it got dark I failed to find any bites on the popper so I tied the spinnerbait on again, hoping that the vibration would trigger a few bites from fish that were to shy to hit a topwater bait. I started to experiment with the retrieve. I watched Amanda pick up 3 smallies in a row on a jig and chigger craw combo, at that point I started jigging the spinnerbait.  I threw it out and let it sit, I would lift my rod up and let it settle back down. Each time I could feel the vibration of the blades, and then all of a sudden I went to lift my rod and I felt a thump. My 3rd cast with the new technique and I landed another good smallmouth. I honestly couldn't see it the whole time I was fighting it so I had no idea of what species it was or what size it was until I landed it. I guess it's a good thing it wasn't a gar. This one was only 15.25" but I was glad to have it.
As I was waiting for Russ and Amanda to return with the cars I took a picture of the moon as it broke through the clouds. You can see that the mayflies were still around, however they weren't near as thick as they were the day before.

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