Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pennsylvania Smallmouth Fishing Report

The last word on this blog, way too long ago, had been that I was northbound for a couple of days of smallmouth fishing with Pennsylvania tournament angler, Ty Spade. Although I posted pics a few place, I never did update this page, so I'm finally doing so now.

Despite obvious success that the photo above shows, Ty and I hit tough river conditions and really had to work for our reward. Giant rains the day before I traveled north and a couple of days before that completely blew out one of the rivers he had in mind for us to fish and left the other way muddier than normal. His jetboat also was down, narrowing our options on the Susquehanna River, where we ended up fishing.

On day 1 we really had to grind it out just to catch some fish, although we did end up catching a few pretty decent smallies. On day 2, Ty started seeing some things that gave him clues, and he persisted in a few areas where he knew the larger fish had to be. The river color also got a tiny bit better, although not by much. While we still didn't catch big numbers and we never encountered the furious topwater bite he'd envisioned when we planned the trip, we definitely found high-quality smallmouths for what turned out to be a really fun and productive photo trip.

We ended up catching fish on a fair variety of lures. Among the top producers, though, were a BOOYAH spinnerbait matched with a YUM Pulse swimbait, a Bomber Fat A and Bandit 200.

I look forward to the next round, whenever that might turn out to be.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Run for the Bronze

As often seems to be the case with me from mid-spring through late fall, I'm off on a smallmouth quest this week. I've never quite been able to commit to a favorite style of fishing, but I can say with certainty that river bronzeback fishing is way up there on the list.

I fly to Pennsylvania today to spend a couple of days with Ty Spade fishing the Susquehanna River and possibly the Juniata River. The Juniata is a "maybe" because it got hit with some recent mud and we'll have to see how it shapes up. Both are new waters to me, so whatever plan we end up going with will be great.

I actually was supposed to travel to the same area late last summer, but airline problems caused me to cancel that trip. So I've been looking forward to this one for a quite a while!

I wish I could promise, "report to follow," but I've been so sporadic with this blog of late that I dare not make promises. I can say with pretty good certainty that pictures and reports will be posted, but they might be on my Facebook page (Jeff Samsel fishing) or on Instagram or Twitter (@jeffsamsel).

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New (to me) Fishing Car

I'm so excited about my new fishing car that I almost wish I was driving it to Maine this morning. "Almost" is a fairly important word in that sentence, though. In truth, driving it to the Greenville/Spartanburg airport and flying the rest of the way will be just fine!

New, of course, only means new to me. It's an '08 that has already traveled just shy of 100 K miles. It seems to have been nicely cared for, though, and is in great condition.

Car is a Subaru Outback, which should be awfully perfect those rainy and snowy days when I still want to fishing and for those times when I want to go a little farther off the pavement but also comfortable for the many highway miles I log. It doesn't quite get the crazy good mileage of my Ford Fiesta, which served me mighty well for three years, but it still gets a pretty good 27 MPG on the highway.

I'm also glad to say that the Fiesta isn't going away. My 19-year-old son Nathaniel needed something that gets a little better mileage than his '95 F150 for a season.

Enough writing now. I'd better hop in the new car and drive to the airport. Smallmouths, pike, largemouths and beautiful Maine brookies are waiting at the other end.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Bass Between the Storms

As appeared would be the case when I posted previously, my most recent round of fishing travels hit heavy storms square in the nose. Crashing rain, intense thunderstorms, flood warnings, muddy water and powerful winds were all part of the equation. However, through a willingness to adapt and work hard by a couple of great pros, I still managed to get in some excellent bass fishing and photo time between rounds of storms.

Eric Porterfield somehow found a place and a pattern when all the waters in his part of Oklahoma were several feet above full pool and the color of chocolate milk, and we caught a surprising number of good fish and got great work done. Pete Ponds saw the next round of bad weather was charging hard toward Mississippi and rearranged his schedule to bump things up a day at the last minute and even got out ahead of me to get started figuring out the fish. While you'd never know it by the photo above, when we got off the water (at about the same time I was originally supposed to arrive), heavy rain was coming in sideways and the distant thunder was quickly becoming less distant.

It was a full week with a lot of scrambling and figuring, but it was also mighty fun and produced some outstanding opportunities to shoot photos for Norman Lures and Bandit Lures. Big thanks to Eric and Pete.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Lots of Rain

My most recent blog post spoke of upcoming back-to-back-to-back photo trips, and right now I should be between rounds 1 and 2. However, extensive rain in Tennessee blew out the first trip. The lakes where Jim Duckworth fishes are 20 feet above normal pool, knocking the fishing way out of whack, and it was supposed to rain throughout the window he and I had carved out for doing photo work. Although neither of us wanted to do so, we agreed that we had to pull the plug on that trip.

My Arkansas/Oklahoma plans also take me into flood conditions, with plenty more rain falling over the weekend. In fact, tomorrow's forecast where I'll be is for heavy storms and 3 to 5 inches of rain. That trip is built around a plane ticket and affects more people's plans, though, so we'll just plug ahead and do the best we can between the biggest storms. I should get good content about fishing in high muddy water, on dark days and in poor conditions!

Trip 3 only looks to be in the way of scattered storms, but that's next week, so we'll worry about the trip to Arkansas, which begin this morning, first!

As many challenges as the rain brings for fishing and photo plans, it also refreshes the rivers and the lakes and is especially welcome in Southern trout waters just before summer, when low water and high temperatures can really stress the fish. So while all the rain alters some fishing plans, I'm thankful for it.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Here, There & Everywhere

It's sort of like a fishing/photo tour. Between Wednesday and Friday of next week, I'll spend time on the water in at least four (maybe five or six states). The difference is that there's no real flow to the path. Instead of a tour, so to speak, it's a series of quick-turn around trips in different direction.

Tomorrow night or Wednesday morning, I' drive north toward Center Hill Lake in Tennessee to do a quick photo shoot for Bandit Lures with legendary guide Jim Duckworth. Depending on when I go, what I get done between now and then and water conditions, I might do other fishing in Georgia or North Carolina along the way, which is where states five and six could come into play.

I'll be home by Thursday evening and on Friday I drive to Atlanta to fly to Arkansas to spend a couple of days bass fishing and shooting Norman Lures photos in Oklahoma with Eric Porterfield and a day in Arkansas with Chad Warner.

I fly home from Arkansas next Tuesday and leave the next day for Mississippi to spend a couple of days fishing and doing Bandit photo work with Pete Ponds.

That's a lot of running in a different directions for nine days, but I expect there will be some good fishing action mixed in, and I have no doubt I'll gather loads of fine material because all the guys I'm fishing with are great at what they do.

I suppose I'd better start going on stuff around here so I'll be ready to go when I need to later this week!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Catches & Catch-Up

There's no denying it. I've been woeful with this blog. The gap since the last post is the longest since I began the Jeff Samsel Fishing blog. I won't make excuses. I'll just move on. I also won't make any big promises, except that I'll try to do a better job of keeping things fresh.

That stuff acknowledged, I've gotten to do some good fishing since the last post. Not much local stuff, but trips to Texas, Florida and Alabama. The Florida trip in particular put a charge in the new year's species count because we did both freshwater and saltwater stuff and because a couple of the days produced a good mix of panfish species. The species tally through mid-March is at 21.

My most surprising catch of 2017 is pictured above. While fishing in Florida's Santa Fe River, I caught a mullet on a Rebel Crawfish, and the fish was hooked inside the mouth. Despite having grown up in Florida and having spent a lot of time around coastal waters over the years, I'd never before seen a mullet caught on an artificial lure, so when I realized what I had, I was pretty surprised.

My favorite fish this year has to go to big speckled trout I'll caught from a kayak in Texas. It took a YUM Swurm fished on a Bomber Shad-Head Jig-Head.