Monday, August 26, 2013

8/24 Multi Species Trip, 8/25 River Smallies

Saturday Rylan and I took the kayaks out to a lower section of Ohio Brush Creek. As always we were chasing smallmouth bass, but as luck would have it the bass weren't willing to bite. We got on the water at 12:15pm and fished until 7:30pm. Rylan was throwing his usual jig and chigger craw combo, I on the other hand decided to switch it up and throw a shad rap in a crayfish color.
Lately i've been getting a lot of short bites on a texas rigged chigger craw, I figured I'd catch whatever was biting the chigger craw with the addition of two treble hooks on the crankbait. With a sound game plan we started our 4 mile float. As mentioned above the smallmouth bite was well below average however, just about every other specie of fish was on the prowl. Just below our third riffle I threw my shad rap across current and began a slow and steady retrieve when I felt a thump. At first I thought I had snagged on a rock until it began to move. The fish was bound and determined to stay on bottom, he made a quick run upstream and then started to head toward the surface. After a few short bursts of drag I had landed a small 18" flathead catfish.
A few casts later and I landed another bonus fish, a 12" sauger.
As we drifted along I picked up a few smallmouth in the 8 to 13 inch range, definitely not the size we were looking for. Rylan was struggling to find fish, and halfway through the trip he decided to downsize his jig and try to catch the smaller fish that I was finding. After the swtich he picked up one of the smallest smallmouth he has ever caught on a chigger craw, a 8.25" smallmouth. We stopped to laugh at his catch and debate who had caught the smallest smallmouth.

As we got close to the take out I managed to pick up yet another specie on the shad rap, a small spotted bass.
At this point the trip was all but over with, and none too soon. The smallmouth bite was dead, and we weren't really enthused with the small bonus fish. We quickly drug the kayaks up the hill at the take out location and hit the road.

Sunday Amanda and I met up with Aarron Saldivar and Neil Farley in Dayton to fish a couple urban flows, completely opposite of what we normally fish.
We got on the water at 2pm and fished until 9pm. Before we even put our kayaks in the water Amanda landed a 13.5" smallmouth on a jig and chigger craw combo. I thought to myself, regardless of what happened from that point on in the trip was going to be better than the trip that Rylan and I had the day before. I started throwing the crayfish colored shad rap once again, which turned out to be a bad idea. I couldn't keep the dink smallmouth off my bait, landing 7 fish under 12" within the first two hours. Everyone else quickly landed a smallmouth as well, none of which were nearly as small as the fish I was catching. After 3 hours of dinkfest, I made the switch to a texas rigged chigger craw. The chigger craw had a larger profile than the shad rap, so I started to catch slightly larger fish. At one point Neil and I were fishing side by side when Neil pointed out a slack pool of water near the bank. He said, "that spot should hold a fish", his rod wasn't in his hands so I took it as an open invitation to cast there. My chigger craw landed a couple inches from the weedy bank, I then hopped the chigger craw across the bottom and immediately felt the typical smallmouth THUMP. I said, "Theres One", I then swung for the fences. To my delight I had hooked into a solid fish. At this point Neil pointed out that he'd be one heck of a smallmouth guide.....I agree 100 percent and the trip was far from over. I quickly landed the fish and took a few pictures. The smallmouth went 16.75".
I was pretty excited, it was one of the biggest smallmouth I had landed all year long. At this point it was getting late and Aarron had made plans to go to the drive in movie theatre. He wanted to leave at 7pm, at this point it was already after 7. We then made plans to head back. The plan was to hit the better looking spots along the way and skip all of the average looking spots. Aarron's luck must be worse than mine because the fishing really picked up, which slowed us down a lot.

We came to a spot in the river that was loaded with large boulders. Neil was working a bank with very swift current, and I started working the eddies behind the boulders on the opposite side of the river. I got a bite pretty quickly but I failed to hook the fish. On one cast I bounced my chigger craw off the backside of a huge boulder, I let it hit the bottom and hopped it a couple times, no bites. I then decided to swim the chigger craw back to the kayak to make another cast when a fish boiled, disturbed the surface, a couple feet behind the boulder. The current was so swift that I had lost contact with my bait,  so I had no idea if I had spooked a carp off or if I had fooled a smallmouth into eating my chigger craw. Once again I reeled up a couple feet of slack and set a solid hook. At first I felt weight but then the fish made a quick run under my kayak, a situation that typically ends up bad for me.. Luck was on my side this time, I fought the fish to the surface and saw what I thought was an 18" fish. At one point I even told Neil that I thougt it would go 18", something I typically don't do because fish look way bigger under water. When I got it into the kayak I thought for sure I had set a new personal best smallmouth, anything over 3lbs would have done it. The fish went 2lbs 12oz and 18.25", not a new personal best but definitely one of my top 3 smallmouth of all time.
Aarron, being a photographer for K & A Photography had his professional camera ready to snap a few pictures. While Aarron was taking my picture Amanda landed a 15" smallmouth and Neil lost one that would have went every bit of 17". He was pretty upset because he had gotten into a bad snag upstream and should have retied his lure. Aarron took a picture of Amanda and I and we set off toward the take out once again. On the way back Aarron decided to pick up a stray kitten and take for a ride on his kayak. After 30 minutes of paddling the kitten had jumped off of the kayak 3 times, it was very entertaining to say the least.
Needless to say, Aarron did not make the take out by 7pm, or 8pm for that matter. We eventually got to the take out at a little after 9pm. By the end of the day I had one of my best smallmouth trips ever. I want to thank Neil and Aarron for taking us out, sharing their water, a few stories, and tons of laughs. Aarron, I'm sorry that we didn't make the takeout in time. I had a blast, hopefully one day I can return the favor.

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