Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Droppers

One of my favorite ways to fish from late spring through fall is to rig a Rebel Micro Pop-R or Crickhopper with a fly a couple of feet beneath it on a dropper. It provides a double appeal, and I'll catch some fish on the surface lure and some on the fly. Often when a fish hits and misses my popper or hopper, a moment later the lure will dart under like a bobber, and I think it's often the same fish that spotted a simple meal hanging in front of it after having been drawn in by the surface lure. The technique works well for bass, panfish and trout.

With such things in mind, I spent a little early-hours time today tying a few bugs to take with me to New England. None are specific patterns (at least not intentionally). The main common denominators, I suppose, are that they are at least a little ugly and crudely tied. With a few, I'm hopping to suggest grass shrimp or tiny light-colored minnows. The others are generalists, simply meant to look like some kinds of aquatic insect, tiny fish or critter of some other sort. Most are streamer sorts because I move the top bait a fair amount, but I'm kind of wishing now that I'd tied a few that looked a bit nymphier.

It's hard to say if I'll even break out the bug box, but I figured it couldn't hurt to have a few dropper flies handy, and if I'm going to use a fly, I'd certainly prefer to use one I tied.

#CatchFishAnywhere #NortheastAdventure

Monday, July 18, 2016

Whole Lot of Packing Going On

Asher and I are in full packing mode because tomorrow we leave on this summer's biggest adventure. We're pointing the car north this year, instead of west, and headed for New England. I suppose the primary targets would have to be the beautiful brook trout that live in the ponds of northern New England, but we'll be hitting a variety of waters in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine for brook, rainbow and brown trout, along with smallmouth bass, pike and whatever else wants to cooperate, and we'll even spend a day or two saltwater fishing on the Connecticut coast. If you followed last year's Rebel Trout Trek, this one won't be quite that grand. We were gone nearly a month and traveled all the way to Olympic National Park just outside of Seattle on that trip. I think we'll end up being on the road a little less than two weeks on this summer's trip.

At one point I thought we'd fly and get a rental car, but the more I thought about all the junk I wanted to tote and the scheduling freedom that comes with driving, the more I became convinced that the hours behind the wheel would be well invested. Now I just have to decide which wheel. My Ford Fiesta has been a mighty fine "trout car" and handled last year's cross-country trek, and it is the most likely choice. I need to check logging road conditions in one area of Maine, though, to make sure ground clearance won't present a problem. If that's too iffy we'll spread out more in the Expedition, and I'll just have to spend a little more time squeezing gas pump triggers.

I'll be sharing stories and photos from the trip on the Rebel Lures website and Facebook page beginning Aug. 1, which is around the time we'll likely be returning home. In the meantime, I'm sure I'll post a few travel updates here, on my Facebook fishing page and on Instagram and Twitter (@jeffsamsel on either).

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Seasons Shift so Quickly

It seems so terribly recent to me that Asher and I were trudging along snowy creek banks and contending with high water. Yet last week we fished from float tubes without waders, and the water felt really good. I leave today to fish in Texas, and there isn't even a sweatshirt in my bag. Before I know it, though, colorful leaves will be falling and soon after we'll all be complaining about the cold, instead of the heat.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Walleye Quest

I arrived in Cleveland today and will spend the next couple of days walleye fishing on Lake Erie. I'll be riding with folks who can really teach me a lot about trolling lures, rigs, locations and more, so I'm looking forward to learning and shooting photos almost as much as I'm looking forward to catching fish.

We'll mostly be fishing Walleye Bandits and Rogues, I think, and I'm especially looking forward to seeing some of the newest Rogues in action.

Of course I just like the idea of getting out on Erie. There's something unique and wonderful about spending time on any of the Great Lakes, and I haven't done so since last May.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Knee Deep For Redeyes

I don't know that I can quite state a certain favorite style of fishing, but it very well might be wading wet in a free-flowing mountain river and casting ultralight lures for either trout or stream bass. Last week, I spent a fun day with a friend from Colorado doing exactly that in the cool, clear waters of the Chattooga National Wild & Scenic River.

We cast for Coosa redeye bass, which are native to the Chattooga and fairly plentiful in the lower river. We didn't catch crazy numbers (five or six, I think), and none were huge. However, we got just enough action to keep things interesting while wading a couple of beautiful sections of river. All the redeyes and one big chub came on Rebel Teeny-Wee Craws.

Both the redeyes and the chub were new catches for me for this year. The 2016 tally is now at 23 species. Of those, six are different black bass species (Guadalupe, Suwannee, largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and Coosa redeye bass) caught this spring on Rebel Crawfish. I still need a shoal bass, but fortunately some of those swim in waters that are close to home.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Ouachita Variety

Last week's travel to the Ouachita Mountains delivered wonderful variety, not only in species caught but in the types of fishing experiences I got to enjoy in short order.

The species variety would be hard to argue. I added green sunfish, spotted bass, smallmouths, walleyes, pumpkinseeds and both black and white crappie to this year's catch list in three days of fishing. Experience-wise, I got to spend an afternoon and a morning on Lake Ouachita bass fishing, an afternoon wading the Ouachita River for stream bass, and a full day on the lake fishing Lindy's new Livebait Jig with crawlers and minnows for walleyes, crappie, bluegills and whatever else bit.

The bass fishing was made extra fun by the fact that I got to spend time in the boat with Alton Jones. That always equates to a lot of learning and great opportunities for gathering photos and story material. Far beyond that, I simply enjoy spending time with Alton and he invariably encourages me in many ways.

The jig/bait fishing was similarly fun because I got to spend a day with longtime Minnesota guide Jeff Sundin. I've spent several days fishing with Jeff, but mostly on the ice. He taught me a new approach, and based on all the fish we caught, you'd sure never know that he'd never been to Lake Ouachita before last week. I look forward to experimenting more with the Lindy Livebait Jig.

The highlight of the river outing had to be standing in a single spot and catching three species of bass (largemouth, smallmouth, spot) on the same Rebel Crawfish. None were big, but all were big fun!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fish Species Firsts

Twice in this year's travels I've gotten opportunities to target and catch localized black bass species that I had never caught (or seen in person, for that matter) before. In Texas, a couple of months ago, I caught a Guadalupe bass, which looks a lot like the Coosa redeye bass we have in some of the rivers around here. Last week in Florida, I got to add a Suwannee bass to my lifetime list. Both were caught on Rebel Crawfish.

As you can see in the photo above, Suwannee bass look a lot like smallmouth bass, and they act like smallmouths, too. They definitely favor current, they hang out around rock, and they feed heavily on crawfish. Different from smallmouths, Suwannee bass have turquoise coloration on their cheeks and undersides, their eyes tend to be a bit bugged out, and they are notably smaller (record is less than 4 pounds). Oh, and they live in Florida and a couple of rivers in South Georgia.

While in Florida, I also got to catch my first butterfly peacock bass. I'd caught peacocks previously on two different trips to Brazil, but none were butterfly peacocks, which is the kind that lives in the canals of South Florida. The butterflies are beautiful colored and brutally strong, just like their larger cousins.