Thursday, August 25, 2016

Species 30, I Think

I've been somewhat slack in recording species as I've caught them this year (and even slacker about recording interesting catches), but if my 2016 tally is complete, the fallfish pictured above is species No. 30 for the year. As I understand it fallfish, which are basically giant minnows, are fairly commonly caught by stream fishermen seeking other species in the Northeast. However, I think they much more commonly grab fly-fishing nymphs drifted close to the bottom than crankbaits. This one came from the Penobscot River in Maine while Asher and I were smallmouth fishing with Doug Teel of Northridge Outfitters.

Looking down the list my "firsts" of any give species for the year, which are the only fish I record, they have come from eight states. Arkansas has added the most species, with seven that all came from a single trip during April. Georgia and Florida are close, though, so with one third of the year remaining, one of those two could take the lead. Looking down the list, my favorite inclusions would have to be the Guadalupe bass from Texas and the Suwannee bass from Florida, both of which were all-time first catches for me.

I'm fishing in Georgia and Alabama next week. I wonder whether the list will grow.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Thinks it's a Truck

I really debated taking my Expedition on my most recent trek with Asher because I was a bit concerned about clearance with my Fiesta on some logging roads in Maine. I was told that I "should be OK," though, and decided to hope for the best.

Just as it did last summer, carrying us 8008 miles and conquering mountain roads all over the West during the Rebel Trout Trek, and just as it has on so many Southern Appalachian back roads, the little car performed nicely as we added another 3000+ miles to its odometer. It got seriously dirty, threw a few rocks and bumped bottom once on a New Hampshire logging road, but it kept trucking along and never flirted with getting stuck anywhere.

What I like most about my little car, not surprisingly, is its fuel efficiency. At 40 mpg, it's mighty practical for long drives. What impresses me, along with surprising toughness, is how much junk fits in such a small car with a good hatchback design. Much larger sedans and even some small SUVs would carry less or make gear much harder to access.

Asher and I have learned how to pack the Fiesta so the stuff we need the most stays pretty handy. Not that we don't sometimes lose that order in two weeks on the road with too much junk. We do. But it doesn't take long to get it back in place.

There may be a 4WD or AWD need somewhere in the future, but for now we'll let the little car keep pretending it's a truck!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


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.