Sunday, June 9, 2019

Adding Nevada

This morning, while I was driving to the Atlanta airport to fly to Reno for a week of Nevada trout fishing, it occurred to me that I’ve never caught a fish (or fished, for that matter) in Nevada. Based on reports, that’s nearly certain to change tomorrow, so that got me wondering how many states remain where I’ve never caught a fish. Upon getting settled at the airport, I pulled up a map to survey and identified 11, including Nevada, so once I catch a fish this week, 10 states will remain.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Pine Bluff Preview

While I was in South Carolina last week, I got a chance to sample the offerings of a new fishing club that is being developed on property that fronts the Edisto River near the town of Ridgeville. Kevin Davis of Black Camp on the Santee Cooper Lakes thought a trip the Pine Bluff Sportsmen's Club property would yield good photo opportunities, and he was most certainly correct. Limited time only allowed us to fish one of the five ponds on the property, but a few hours on a single pond yielded a terrific mixed catch of crappie, bluegills and bass, including the largemouth in the photo above, which provided quite a surprise and a test to my ultralight gear when it attacked a 1/16-ounce Road Runner.

The club and the complete management plan are still being developed, but the ponds, which are restored sand mining pits, have been maturing over the years and already provide outstanding fishing opportunities. No doubt I'm hopeful to get back out there to spend time sampling more spots!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Spotty Start

My fishing year is off to a very spotty start in a couple of different ways.

First, I simply haven't fished that much. I've made trips to Florida, South Carolina and Alabama to fish a bit and gather content, but for a couple of different reasons, two of those got cut short and only amounted to one day on the water. I haven't done much local fishing on days between trips, so to say my fishing time has been spotty, when compared to a normal year, would be an understatement. Plans, as of now, are to fish all next week and plans are brewing for several other angling adventures, so by theory, that is about to change.

Second, you could say my early efforts have been "spotty" because all the bass I've caught this year have been on a Cotton Cordell Super Spot. A handful of saltwater fish fell to different offerings while I was in Florida, but all of my bass have been on a Spot.  That's not too surprising, I suppose. A Spot is a fabulous early-season bass lure and one I throw quite a bit during late winter and early spring. That said, assuming next week's fishing plans remain in tact, I'm going to try to add a little variety!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

First Fish of 2019

I'm not sure which is worse: that I didn't catch my first fish of 2019 until the about the third week of January or that it took a two more weeks to finally mention it in a blog post. Both are true, so I suppose it doesn't matter.

Fish No. 1 for me this year was the redfish pictured above, caught on a Bozka Salt Runner from Florida's Nassau River while I was fishing with Chris Holleman. It was in a high marsh area along the edge of the main river that you have to get into (and back out of) while the tide is pretty high or you'll be there till the next high tide! We managed to catch a couple of reds from that area and got out while we could. The same trip, which included time in the boat with Chris and with Nathan Johnson and Tim Mann, produced some more redfish, quite a few speckled trout and a few largemouth bass, although I didn't catch any of the bass, thus leaving my 2019 species list tally at two.

Next on the agenda is Santee Cooper, followed by Lake Guntersville, so it would seem I should start to get some freshwater species on this year's list. I would say, "reports to follow," but based on my recent blogging history and how it has compared to my intentions, I probably shouldn't state that as a fact quite yet.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Simple Surf Specks

I was mostly at the beach to capture coastal scenes and for the sake of finding proper backdrops for some needed lure photos, but of course I had to make a few casts in the best looking spots. I found two spots that held extra promise, and one of the two delivered.

The first was a short jetty with a nice tidal flow washing across the end and a couple of solid eddies. It looked great, but I was unable to make anything happen. The second was a steep section of beach right at the inlet that looked like it should be notably deeper than surrounding waters and that formed a big back eddy. It was toward the low end of an incoming tide so a lot of stuff that looked like it could be good at times was high and dry, making the deep hole seem extra promising.

On either my second or third cast, my Paradise Popper X-treme shot out of sight, and I set the hook into what turned out to be a 13- or 14-inch speckled trout. Knowing trout are seldom alone, I repeated the cast and got the same result, except with a slightly larger fish. Although it didn't turn out to be an every cast thing, I caught five or six and missed about the same number over the next hour or so, despite changing things up a few times in hopes of getting other types of photos. Eventually the bite died, which I attributed to the tide having risen quite a bit.

The following morning I did some kayak stuff in another area, and when I finished that I realized it was close to dead low tide. If I scurried back to my spot at the end of the island, I could catch the incoming tide right from the front and possibly extent the bite. It worked perfectly, with the fish biting about twice as long and me catching about twice as many trout.

None of the trout were huge, but that was fine with me. There's just something fun about fishing alone on the beach with very simple gear, identifying a spot that seems like it should produce and finding success.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Blog Renewal

Fresh content on Jeff Samsel Fishing is farther past due than it has been in this history of this blog. I won't make any bold proclamations, but the plan is to get back to posting regularly, with a high priority being to wrap up my 10 Favorite Fishing Destinations list. I left that hanging with only a few to go.

To get something going, though, I'll just mention my most recent fishing trip, which was a little more than a week ago (too long, I know).  I spent a recent morning fishing one of our local delayed harvest streams and caught and released quite a few rainbows and browns. DH waters in Georgia and the Carolinas provide some fun and easy trout opportunities through the cool months and are always great for photo work for my job.

I also made a lakeside stop the same day and made a few hopeful casts. I didn't have high expectations, though, and that part of the day was more for the sake of getting some lure shots I needed. 

I'm not sure what's next on the agenda, fishing-wise, but I'll probably visit a few other recent outings as I seek to get back into a blogging groove.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Favorite Fishing Destinations Countdown: No. 4 - White River, Arkansas

Cranor's Guide Service
The Bull Shoals tailwater is about a 12-hour drive from my house, and there truly is no practical flying option for most travelers. (If you happen to own a small plane, you fly directly to Gaston's!) Despite the long drive, I've always visited the White River as often as have had the opportunity, and if such an opportunity were to arise, I'd happily hop in my car and make the trek as quickly as I could pack my bags and load appropriate gear!

The trout fishery below Bull Shoals Dam extends approximately 100 miles, and more than 1 million trout get stocked in these highly productive waters every year. Stocking efforts and excellent fishing continue 12 months a year, and the fishery is as diverse as it is large. It can be fished from the shore, from various kinds of boat, or by wading (dependent on water levels), and fly-fishing, lure fishing and bait fishing are all popular and productive on the White River. Rainbows far outnumber other species, but any given cast in this river could produce a rainbow, brown, brook or cutthroat trout (along with a few non-trout species, which become more plentiful as you move downriver).

Many anglers travel to the White primarily for fast action from stocked rainbows, with expectations of taking home a limit each day. Quite a few of those plan annual fishing vacations to riverside resorts like Gaston's White River Resort, going out in guide boats in the morning and spending the balance of each day simply enjoying the river. For some, it's the only fishing they do all year, but a trip they wouldn't miss for anything.

By far my favorite way to fish the White is from a boat with a jerkbait at the end of my line, casting to shoreline cover and over midriver gravel bars for hefty brown trout. Unlike the rainbows, browns in the White are river-bred, and a very restrictive limit makes it a virtual catch-and-release fishery. Average size is outstanding, and any given fish that hammers a jerkbait could turn out to be a genuine trophy.

Jerking for the big browns works best with at least a few generators running. Browns are pretty cautious by nature, but higher flows put them in ambush mode. On lower water, I like to wade the river with light spinning gear and small plugs like a Rebel Middle Wee-Crawfish or TD47 Tracdown Ghost Minnow. That approach produces mostly rainbows, with an occasional brown in the mix.

Because the river is so large, the rainbows spread out, and many don't get caught right away. Because stockings are spread through the year and fish grow quickly in the White's fertile waters, you don't catch all "cookie cutter" fish like you do in many stocked trout streams. Common rainbow catches range from about 10 to18 inches, and they vary substantially in fatness and coloration.

Of course, as good as the trout fishing is, the White River's appeals extend far beyond fishing action. It's a beautiful river bounded by high bluff banks and is thick in Ozarks culture and simply a great place to be. From fabulous shore lunches with good friends at Gaston's to riverside camping in Bull Shoals/White River State Park to days of catching jumbo browns with Donald Cranor and his team of trophy trout specialists, I've enjoyed so many extraordinary times at the White since my first visit, which was more than a dozen years ago.

Most of my experience on the White has been in the first 20 or so miles downstream of the dam, so I know I've only skimmed the surface of what this amazing river has to offer. You can trust that my intent is to continue White River exploration for many years!