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.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bass Tours Back

Although my current writing priorities don't include much coverage of tour-level professional bass fishing, I'm still a fan of the sport and miss it during the offseason. Adding to that, I have quite a few friends who fish the Bassmaster Elite Series or FLW Tour, and I enjoy tracking their travels and following their seasons.

FLW got things started last week on Lake Guntersville, and the Elites are currently practicing on Tennessee's Cherokee Lake. The competition starts tomorrow. Both tours had unusual season openers simply based on the fact that they did not start in Florida. It's also a bit of a departure from the norm for the Elites to begin before the Bassmaster Classic.

Cherokee in February could have been brutal, weather wise, but it doesn't appear that will be the case. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold, with a fairly strong northwest wind that will make it feel even colder, but highs are supposed to hit the 60s on Saturday and Sunday. It also has been mild enough overall that it shouldn't be a total winter event, pattern wise. Word has it the bite has been tough, but the pros often say that, and someone (sometimes, a bunch of someones) almost invariably figures out something really good.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

To TJ, with Love

TJ - I wish I'd told you how much I appreciate you last week. But I didn't. And now I can't. At least not now. Not here, in person.

I also wish I could write something beautiful and inspiring and a fitting tribute to the friend you always were to me and to Nathaniel and to so many others. Words won't do that job, though. Plus, it's hard to write with a lovely flow when your mind and emotions are going in so many direction.

Pictures from trips together and memories from those trips make me laugh and cry at the same time. I'll always laugh about banana pudding milkshakes, an odd cackle from behind us at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, your ever-reliable way of bringing out a smile in photos, and so many other things. But it's still hard for me to grasp that we'll never again stand side by side on riverbank admiring a mountain landscape God crafted, have dinner together at a writer's event, or even just stand together trading stories.

I know you're where there's no sickness or sadness, and that thrills me, but I'll miss you so, and it saddens me to think about Kathy and Ron and other friends and coworkers who are used to having you in their lives on a daily basis.

You always took time to say thank you, asked how you could help me, showed genuine concern for me and my family, made me smile (made everyone smile), represented your company exceptionally well... The list could go on and on.

I guess what I'm trying to say -- and what I wish I'd said before -- is that I'm very thankful for your friendship and that I love you.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Fishing in Paris

My daughter and I are traveling to Paris in a couple of months (late March), and if it's a viable option, we hope to try a bit of "street fishing" in the city. Reports I've read so far are mixed. While there does seem to be some opportunity right in the middle of the city and for a good variety of species, I haven't found anything specific to likely river conditions that early in the year or about the best approaches.

Fishing sounds fun to us, but it's far from our main priority. We are going to see the city. For the sake of packing space, it would have to be fishing we could do with a couple of small pack rods and a fairly small box of lures. Also, we'd consider a day trip to an outlying area if there were practical transportation options, especially if it was another area we wanted to see anyway. However, the biggest interest would be trying to catch a fish or two from the Seine River or canals that run right through Paris.

If anyone who reads this has suggestions about locations, approaches or resources for learning more, I'd love to hear from you. If we do end up fishing, you can count on a Paris fishing report!