Thursday, August 17, 2017

0 for 1

The final morning of my recent Florida trip brought tough fishing in a place where the bass action can be very good. After a couple of hours of having no fish come up for topwater, I tied on a Cotton Cordell Big O amd started cranking.

I'd probably been cranking the Big O for 10 minutes when I felt resistance that I at first thought was from grass. Then the grass started moving toward me faster than I was pulling it, so I snapped my wrist and announced, "Fish."

That word had barely escaped my mouth when a big head emerged, followed by the rest of a hefty bass. With one big head shake it tossed my cranking before returning to the water, and in a moment my opportunity was gone.

I realized too late that with the fish swimming toward me, I should have done much of a hookset. We guessed that bass, which turned out to be the only one to have bit that morning, to have been in the 6- or 7-pound range. Not a Florida giant, but a stout fish and one I sure would have liked to have landed.

Instead it was just another "big one that got away," but I suspect I'll be replaying that jump in my head for a very long time.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hot Fishing Trip

Fishing promises to be hot all this week. I don't know if I'll catch much, but since I started the current trip in Middle Georgia and will continue on to Florida tomorrow morning, I have confidence in the hot part.

Trip does promise great variety. I've already spent time wading a cool rocky river for shoal bass, and walking the banks of a small lake for largemouths. I'll spend the next couple of days doing salt stuff before continuing to Central Florida for more serious bass fishing.

The shoal bass were a little finicky but I still had a great time wading the river and have enjoyed my stay in a cool little camper cabin in Sprewell Bluff Park.

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.