Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Magnificent Trout

What an amazing rainbow trout. This is definitely one of my bigger rainbows, as the brown trout that I catch are more adaptable. Meaning that brown trout survive longer in most of the areas that I fish compared to the less hearty and more susceptible rainbow trout. The more I learn about trout…the more I have to face the fact that every single nick, scrape and touch hurts these fish immensely.

This fish has seen some rough times and I felt bad for even attempting this shot. Fortunately the barbless hook came out nice and easy. The fish didn’t want any nursing or coaxing back to health either. I lifted the fish up, grabbed the shot and SWOOOSH! It tore off into the water as soon as its belly dipped in.

“Good luck, fish!” I shouted my little prayer of sorts. “You are a @#%^& beast trout!”

(Above: My guess is this is a 24” trout. The top fin was worn off by something. The red hue you see on the bottom of the fish is reflection from my red pontoon boat. This takes away from the actual color pattern.)

The best part is that I was getting my biggest trout on big plastic swim baits. It seemed that the bigger the bait was the bigger the trout would be. It got to the point where I gave up everything else and went with big fluke on one rod and big stickbait on the other.

Selfishly I was throwing buzzabaits on the flat water and spinnerbaits when I saw chop. Now by “selfish” I mean that I was throwing these lures merely because of the fluttering action of the lure and the rapid fire action. Cast, retrieve. Cast, retrieve…”fire and crank”! The hits were much less. It was crazy watching the trout follow the big flashy blade though. Now trout on the spinner bait photo…I have damn near caught trout on everything else in my bass bag though.

The flukes are the Zoom 5” Super Fluke on a 3/0 wide gap hook simply because that is what I normally rig them with. Even with the larger hook…the big trout will hammer it. Silver color patterns seemed to work best. The key is to find an area that has a decent number of big trout and hit the place when you can see them rolling the surface.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Plague warning – Westminster

Bubonic Plague (infected flees/prairie dogs) found in Westminster Parks Area. Signs have been posted at Open Space areas near Standley Lake and Mower Reservoir. Officials recommend avoiding the area and definitely stress keeping your dogs out of this area completely until it tests clean again.

I will fish through a lot of stuff but you really have to be talking “Big Fish” before I will brave an area infected with something like this. West Nile is a mild cold compared to the Bubonic Plague.

Good luck and Good fishing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pulling fish from the salad-tutorial

Ok so the last post may have been a bit less informative than readers would like. The method used to pull the bass from the muck could use a bit more explanation. Going over this subject in some more detail may help. It will also help me bulk up that post count. In an effort to add value to my shameless “fish bragging” I submit to you: Pulling fish from the salad-A quick tutorial.

Key points are as follows:

1. Salad explained
2. Position is key
3. Some gear tips

Salad Explained:

Aquatic vegetation comes in four forms; algae, floating, submerged and emerged. The ones that really get in your way are the submerged plants like northern Watermilfoil. A lot of folks (including myself) incorrectly refer to this stuff as coontail. Regardless, this is difficult stuff to battle a lure through let alone haul a decent bass through. Aquatic vegetation traditionally gets thicker during the summer months and fades substantially in winter. These plants are vital to the ecosystem but can be detrimental if it becomes overabundant.

The most important factors of aquatic vegetation that correlate to fishing are oxygen and cover. Plants give oxygen when they are alive but remove oxygen when they die. Fish will tend to congregate near healthy plant growth for many reasons. Fish will avoid dead or dieing plant growth because those areas generally lack oxygen.

Below is a link to the Minnesota DNR site that is a good source for more information.


Position is key:

Anglers need to position themselves correctly before and after the hookup when fishing the heavy salad. Getting a good position to the structure before the cast helps your lure presentation greatly. Pick an area as close to the structure as possible with the most open water in between you and the structure.

After you hook into the fish position can also be very important. The fish will often dig into the weed muck as soon as they think there is trouble. The bass can really bury themselves. A lot of anglers break the fish off at this point. Shorebangers have less chance of getting good position when the fish is dug in. Boaters however can change position to pull the fish out easier. Below is my ultra easy four step method fro pulling the fish out of the salad.

(Above: This is the “before” slide and what generally gets you into this mess in the first place. 1. The fish strikes. 2. The fish digs into the weed muck.)

(Above: This is the “After” slide and pretty much is self-explanatory. It doesn’t always work but will often make it easier.)

Some gear tips:

Quality line in the heaviest weight you can afford will grant you more ability to fight the weed mass head on. Braided lines are highly recommended by most experts but most of the regular Joe anglers aren’t going to re-spool just to fish that local lake. The experts don’t come to me for advice on gear and neither should you. Pick a quality line in 8-10lb range and adjust your drag accordingly.

Heavier rod gives you more leverage when battling rough cover. It is also less forgiving in regards to line breakage. Bass anglers generally lean towards heavier rods simply because bass territory is often mired in vegetation. Most brands of rod makers make a Medium-heavy action stick that I use quite a bit. Get the best you can afford but look for quality as opposed to brand names or flashy sporting goods stores.

Another note worth mentioning would be the use of a weedless lure like plastic baits. Rig the hook with the point tucked under the skin of the plastic lure for extra weedless action. At some point I will try to get a few posts out detailing these plastic lures a bit more.

Good luck and Good Fishing.

Dealing with the breakdown...

My best friend in the world these days is my Pathfinder. When I bought the vehicle a few years back I knew the clutch was a little bit soft. Time wore on and so did the part. The noise it would make at times was unbearable and reluctantly the vehicle had to go into the shop at a very crucial juncture in my fishing calendar. Big weekend plans were on the hook so to speak so waiting wasn’t an option. I wrote down two goals on a notepad…Get clutch fixed, FISH!

The place I have used in the past has been very reliable. I made the call and they said it would be a one-day install. But I should have prepared for worst-case scenario factoring in auto supply chain turmoil. The clutch had developed a worn bearing sleeve. Not an easy part to get and the one-day install became a much longer project. The wait for the part spilled over into the weekend and all plans were pretty much destroyed.

At the last minute I borrowed a car and loaded the tuber for some belly boat action. I was pretty bummed about the cancelled plans and knew my mind just might explode if I didn’t get out there and cast at least once or twice. Half my rods were set up for the high country trout scene but a few backup rods were in disarray. Those rods were wiped down, re-spooled and rigged for bass. Not ideal but would have to do (generally I try to spool the reels up 48 or more hours before the trip).

Early start at 5AM…this is good but 4AM would not have been out of the question for some fishing spots this time of year. Haul the tuber to the water, port in and start fishing the heavy, heavy weed bed. Weed growth varies greatly depending on the pond. This place is damn near “choked”. The holes and pockets created by the weed structure is where I started. Threw a number of casts with varying garb…nothing but bites from sunfish. I was knocking on the door but Mr. Hawg didn’t seem to be at home.

Then I get a solid thump of a bite. The rod snaps back and sets the hook. My hand is already cranking to bring the fish in but it had burrowed into the weed bed. I tried to horse the fish out and the line fell limp. The fish had come off the hook. This can be a problem fighting fish in heavy salad. With a deep sigh I brush off the frustration.

A few casts later and I get another solid thump. I put another heavy hookset onto what feels like a big fish. The rod is lifted as high as I can while cranking like a madman.

“Stay up. Stay up. Baby, stay up!” I murmur to myself. “Don’t go into the muck!”

Damned if that isn’t exactly what he did. Deep down into the weed bed and stopped. This fish wasn’t going anywhere. All could do was swim over and past the fish and try to ease it out of the underwater foliage. Tug, tug, tug. I pull as easy as I can get away with and the fish barely moves. Finally a few strands of plant break off and then a large piece of the weed-matte gives away. My hand reaches out and grabs the pile. Then I lift it all up by the lip to get the photo. Half of the pile falls back to the water but you get the idea.

(Above: Belly boating bucket with salad on the side. Literally had to dig this fish out of the weeds.)

The rest of the fish were nowhere near as hefty. I missed a few fish that may or may not have been as respectable. The smaller fish were not as prevalent at this location but still mobbing my lure at times. These little scrappers are too aggressive for their own good. Competition in the 4” to 12” size slot is pretty fierce right now. I could throw 12” lures and they would still hit them. Whatareyougonnado?

(Above: This is a great shot of a lily pad flower. They come in pink and white. Notice the bee flying in. Sometimes I get a non-fish picture that really makes me smile.)

It was a fairly short trip. I didn’t end up getting the vehicle back until Monday. Back on the road now but still have an issue either in the transfer case or possibly the transmission. Some of this I can do myself but I’m not really setup to replace transmissions and axles. If it ends being too much I gotta get a new rig.

“Sonofa!” I exclaim in the back of my head as reality sets in. “I wasn’t done breaking that one in yet.”

Good luck and Good Fishing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Super Pans!

I have been silly slammin’ these panfish lately. This year has been exceptional for quality panfish and I have been able to get quite a few good-sized samples. There is no limit to my obsession for panfish and when beauty gills like this are swimming around…well my sanity and fishing focus goes right goes over board.

The bigger pans seem to be rolling out of spawn mode but still hanging around the nesting area. The shallows are still packed with breeding bluegills but numbers are starting to thin out. This is due to a combination of predation and the fish spawning themselves out.

(Above: This is a “Super Panfish in regards to size and color. Bluegill and Green Sunfish are often referred to as “panfish”)

This day was another trip to the M Ponds instead this time I decided to lug my pontooner all the way back to the furthest pond. The trek is somewhat of a distance but easy going…unless you are hauling a one-wheeled pontoon boat loaded with gear. It was far more of a work out to the arms, legs and back than I expected.

“Haven’t even made a single cast yet…phew…Man!” I puffed and panted on the trail a few yards from the water. “Better be worth all this.”

There are some decent bass in here but it has been a while since I have hooked into anything over 18-inches. Most of the fish are 12 to 14-inches and very eager. There is a bounty of fish this size here and smaller. So finding the fish in this pond is not so much the test as finding BIG fish. This is one of those places where an angler has to thin out the smaller fish to get at the bigger ones. Even when I oversize the bait, I still have to weed through a few dinkers to find some quality fish.

(Above: New recruit looking to make his way up in the ranks of hawginess. These small guys gave me the business all day long.)

The weed growth was very manageable for July. Usually I expect this stuff to be choking this pond by now. Aquatic weeds are still a mystery of sorts to me. Far more complex than anglers give them credit and come in a few forms. The vegetation in this pond is in die off mode as opposed to exploding. Most of the ponds here are doing the same thing. 10 miles down the road…everything is CHOKED!

Right about now I see another school of beauty gills. Now just for the record, there is a mix of green sunfish and gills here. The bigger fish you see posted are the sunfish. “Gills” is just easier to say and kinda sounds cooler in my opinion. Plink, plink, plink. I hammer a few more of panfish. I just can’t help it.

“Wow! Look at this guy!” I exclaim. “He’s downright slabby!”

(above: Slabby refers to the term “slab” as these fish were very stocky. A bit like a crappie. “Me loves me some slabs!”)

“Alright, Matt. Shake off the panfish.” The voice in my head pulls me away from the school. “Otherwise we will never leave.”

The search for big fish continues. Now I am more focused than ever on catching the bigger bass. I had covered most of the lake already with ho-hum results. My “numbers philosophy” falls apart as we roll into the late summer-too many small fish scenario. My lure size tends to get bigger and bigger as we move closer to fall. Anglers need to constantly transition their game to match the conditions. I find tremendous success when I start compensating ahead of time.

A full lap of the lake had nearly been completed. The cattail structure to the north had been missed when I shot gunned to the back section. Now I had covered everything else except that area. Cattail structure is always prime time fishing areas this time of year for both oxygen and ambush points.

The boat is positioned. I throw out and Wham! Feels like a heavy fish. The line runs right and the fish busts the surface of the water.

“There we go!” I grit my teeth and try to steer the fish in. “Stay up. Stay up.” My voice seems to try to coax things as if I was bowling or something. “Hold on, baby!” The fish was landed and one of the biggest of the day.

(Above: Sometimes it’s a lot like work to get the big fish but always worth the extra effort.)

The last section of the lake was finished and the boat was rowed back to the port out area. Humidity and bugs seemed to swarm me immediately as I stepped onto the shoreline. A mix of mosquitoes and small gnats started forming up in squadrons around the aura of my body heat. This didn’t make getting the boat out any easier. It was a scramble to get the gear out from the tree line and tall grass to the dirt/sand trail. It was an even greater struggle getting the boat back to the truck. But that is what you do sometimes to get away from the pressure and away from the masses.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blog tweaks and updates…is this thing on?

Just to absolutely convince myself that no one is even reading my “fishing dribble” I have added the “reactions” feature to the bloginess. This means folks don’t have to create a gmail account to chime in. Just click one of three reaction buttons. How easy is that?

What the ratings mean…

Awesome: The fish pictures, writing material and even custom artwork can be stacked up against anything else in Colorado as far as I am concerned. If you feel the same way about any particular post…give it an "awesome" rating.

Cool: Everything I post may not be “earth shattering-you should pay me to fish” type stuff. But I will always try to make them worthwhile to the reader. Blogs that are entertaining, informative and allow a venue for me to shamelessly brag about my fishing exploits…well that is "cool" at the very least.

Yawn: A lot of blog and forum posters will put what I call “Filler” in the litany of posts to increase the comment or post count. They will grab any old thing and slap it in there just to look active. If for any reason I post something that was a complete waste of time for the reader…by all means…hammer the bone!

Slideshows, videos, advanced formats and more bells and whistles will follow.

The website is not going away. It is just getting far less attention due to the blog’s overall simplicity. My role at work is expanding and I must compensate by taking on a lot more stuff. This is and will have impact on my fishing/posting schedule. Spending a lot of time producing website material is not possible right now. And with zero funding, no sponsors and even less time…this is a passion, an obsession and still just a hobby.

Even fishaholics gotta pay bills. Fishing bums make ends meet by guiding part time, working shops part time and living on a shoestring. No one pays me to fish. That is a damn shame. But at least the rating system will make it easier to get some kind of feedback on this blog.

Testing, testing…is this thing on?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monster fish killed after terrorizing Swiss swimmers

GENEVA (AFP) – Police divers have ended the reign of terror of a huge fish that was attacking swimmers in a Swiss lake.

The zander, which was 70 centimetres (two feet three inches) long and weighed eight kilos (17.5 pounds), was harpooned on Sunday after it bit six swimmers over the weekend, fish warden Fabio Croci told local media.

Two swimmers were treated in hospital for bite wounds up to 10 centimetres (four inches) long after being attacked on Lac Majeur, which borders Italy, he added.

Police divers at first tried to capture the carnivorous fish with a net, but when this failed they pursued the zander with a harpoon and managed to kill it.

The meat from the captured fish was served up to tourists at the lake.
"It is quite unusual for zanders to bite humans", Croci said, adding he suspected the fish was suffering from a hormonal imbalance which could be responsible for its aggression.


Matt’s Rant: This is one of those “fish fights back” stories that are funny and interesting to read. Typically I won’t burden the reader with this type of material but this article is post worthy in my opinion. "Zander"...I had no idea there even was such a fish.

More and more instances of hormonal imbalance are occurring in fish across the globe. I can’t say for sure if this “monster” fish is suffering from the same pharmaceutical poisoning that is happening in the US but I am leaning towards that conclusion. This is going to become a more serious problem as prescription drugs pass untreated into water supplies. Health departments are downplaying the severity even though biologists are greatly alarmed.

Did you know that in Maine and other areas of the east coast, male smallmouth are developing eggs? Other fish are going sterile and nearly every sample of fish is coming back with something. Remember when mercury poisoning was a big deal. That is nothing compared to what we will start seeing on a massive scale in 10 years.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Salvaged the memory card! (or at least some of it)

Remember that trip a while back where the heat or something caused my memory card to “dump” on me? I had captured some great footage both video and photo of various fish and what not. Well I came across a program called ZAR 8.4 and was able to recover some of the lost data. Not all of it but some of it.

The bluegill footage was exceptional for one particular fish. It was a beefy panfish and even though I caught a decent backup for the post I was a completely sick over losing the photos. I was damn near jubilant when I saw these pictures saved. Check out this amazing bluegill.

The bass pictures and a number of video clips were lost as well. Only the top portion could be seen in thumbnail mode and most wouldn’t open. The bluegill was what I really wanted and hats off to ZAR 8.4.

One video clip recovered was saved as well. This was an instance where I see a couple with a small baby literally “sicking” their dog on the spawning bluegill. As a true outdoor sportsman there is a responsibility to protect wildlife from menacing. (The original edit was 50MB so I had to break it up into parts with links as opposed to uploading directly.)


(This is where the guy admits he doesn’t even know what kind of fish they are and tries to plead apathetic ignorance. Beyond ridiculous.)


(Here is where the guy starts questioning me and I point out the multiple laws being broke. After several minutes of my badgering, they finally pulled their dog out of the water and moved on. They mumbled a few derogatory comments but who cares. They left and that was my goal. Changing mentality is much harder.)

Activity like this seems to get worse every year. Refuse to tolerate this behavior. You can also confront without being a raging jerk. Notice how I turn the conversation into a Cliff Clavin biology sermon as opposed to name-calling and fist throwing. If they were simply cooling off their dog (which is still a violation) I would have just kept fishing. “No big deal.” But teaching your dog to attack spawning fish is a huge no-no in my book. Not the first time I have seen this done by the way. What’s wrong with these people?

While I am in post mode, here is a picture that I took after working some late hours. Even working 50 or 60 hours a week, a person needs to soak in some sunsets. There is so much beauty in Colorado that is raw and natural. Every time I feel myself taking this aspect for granted…the world slaps me in the face with a setting as awesome as this.

It kind of puts things in perspective for me. Even with this crazy world and trying to keep up with it…take some time to gaze at sunflowers and sunsets.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Summer highlight video

With the last couple of trips I have accumulated enough footage to put a decent montage together. There would be a lot more photograph and video footage of my trips if it didn’t take so much time away from the fishing. This clip contains some of the highlights from the first half of 2009. Enjoy.


Some of the clips lose more resolution than others. This is a problem caused by converting to AVI format and then combining with higher quality resolution MPG files. The sound fluctuates a bit from clip to clip as well and I am just too lazy to balance out the audio.

The spoof sponsors are something I try to keep going and some are funnier than others. But it does add an element beyond the sponsor dribble you get everywhere else. Just trying to make it fun. The Shmackity Shmackity Wa Wa sponsor was a bit of recycled material from the blog. There will be more to follow.

Both the MAD Show and Still Fishing are still in progress even though we have stepped back from our desired release of 6 video montages a year. Without additional support these are going to trickle out as we see fit.

Do you like things so far? Is there more material you would like to see here? Is this thing even on? Bueller?…Bueller? Sometimes I think I am just talking to the echo here. Shoot me an e-mail @ Coloradocasters@yahoo.com
Hope folks are enjoying the blog posts so far. Good luck and good fishing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Beauty Bow…It’s not always about warmwater.

(Above: What an amazing fish this is. A bit more delicate than warm water species. No time to focus on “mean mugging”. Just get the shot and go!)

Ok, so the bass footage has been pretty decent so far in 2009. Not taking advantage of the prespawn as much as I should have was a huge setback. Being able to bounce back with a few decent outings recently has really helped fill the pages with great pictures. With so much footage of warm water fish I decided to try and get a taste of the cold-water side of things. Loaded up the gear and headed to a spot that I recently scouted about 45 minutes west of Colorado Springs.

I was throwing spinners and spoons for trout and not getting quality results. Two small stocker sized trout had volunteered a few hits on the spinner and that was it. This was completely frustrating as both times I started out thinking that there was a big trout on the end. There is good fish here…I just wasn’t finding the pattern.

But here’s the crazy part. Running out of options I reach for some bass plastics. No fooling, man. I have caught trout on this stuff before. The plastics were also large enough to ward off the smaller trout that were tormenting me. I throw on a senko and work in tandem with the other stuff. Just when I am about to give up, the senko rod thumps loudly and then doubles over.

“Don’t lose this fish.” A voice echoed in my head.

There is a fine line between playing a trout and exhausting them. I am sure that line is crossed a few times by me. For larger fish I have no other option but to work them a bit longer. If I don’t, the fish is just going to thrash and bash around when I try to remove the hook or even consider the photo op. But playing the fish weakens the fish and a good number of trout die every year from overplaying and poor handling. This is a reality that a lot of anglers don’t even consider.

This trout was so fantastic that I took one shot and released. No second or third shot, no video. Heck I felt bad even touching the fish. Trout purists would also scoff at the vertical hold and for this I apologize. The fish is still swimming today unless some goober caught him later and took it home in a cooler.

The reason you see less trout photos and videos from me is the fact that trout just can’t handle my shameless photo ops like bass do. I still fish for trout and hold my own but admit there is a lot for me to learn here. The high mountain experience is so breathtaking to the senses that you might see me actually stop fishing for a moment just to soak in the beauty. Yes…it’s that awesome!

I will try to get more of this type of material in the future. Good luck and good fishing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


My face is sunburned, my legs ache, my back is throbbing and it looks like my memory card for the camera is fried. This was a tough day of fishing. It seemed like last week I could do no wrong. This week was another story. Sunday I decided to try the flip side of PX, the M Ponds. Park the truck, unload the pontooner and then haul it about a mile or so to reach the first of three ponds. Halfway through the day my camera beeped with the message, “Memory card requires formatting.” I lost a lot of great footage. Luckily there was time in the day to put some pictures on the base memory of the camera itself.

On with the post…

Sunday at M Ponds

Sunday was hot with a mix of patchy clouds. Wind would be gusty and then nonexistent. The walk in with the pontooner is not an easy task. It feels like carrying a loaded wheelbarrow behind you. As soon as I reached the shoreline I saw swarms of bluegill spawning. Of course I plinked and released a few before putting the boat in. These were impressive on the average at 4 to 6”…a kid in a candy store.

The boat was pushed off and right away I was getting into bass. But all of them were hitting in the peewee league. Even when I sized up the lure…Dink, Dink, Dink. More fish from Tiny Town. The bigger fish were more reluctant. Even one or two of the bigger fish that I would spot seemed to brush off my lure temptations.

“Last week you would have hit that on a dead run.” I muttered.

I worked a nice smallie off the edge that was 15-inches and sturdy looking. Then a really nice 16’er bucket came along. The pattern was starting to form and things were looking really good. Then I ran into a patch of quality bluegill. Plan A went right out the window and I started hammering those panfish. Great specimens in the 6 and 8” range.

Then I spot one that was enormous. Wham! He hit the panfish rig on the first cast. The photo op was spectacular. I even threw on the tape measure, which says a lot because I don’t think the time has been taken to measure a fish by me in nearly two years. After taking care of my fish jones..I went back to the big fish hunt. Hooked and landed another quality bucket and when I went to do the photo op the card goes kaput. I tried a few times to remove, insert and restart. Same thing. I pulled the card out, stashed it in a secure place in the tackle bag and moved on. The memory in the camera would have to do for the rest of the day.

“That sucks. At least the camera still seems to be working fine.” I took a second to be disgusted and then looked forward. “Just have to catch more fish.”

I moved off the western edge and started working the weedline on the eastern side. The weed matte forms a lot of structure and the bigger fish tend to select ambush points on the edge of the large open pockets or lie waiting in the center bullying anything that passes. With fish a bit on the jittery side, I elected to fish the pockets from a distance. A few more casts and Wham! Instantly I could tell it was a smallie. Not a big one but a decent fish with great color.

(Above: This is my Never S.O.L. smallie shot with the base memory from the camera Check out those markings!)

The same rig I was using for buckets was also picking off smallies. Sight fishing for big fish was out. By this point in the day that was a lock. Throwing blind and search casting I started picking apart the weed structure and deep-water pockets ahead of me. Swimming the bait and letting it drop in and out of the weed matte seemed top work the best when the water was calm. When there was more wind it seemed to matter a lot less. The conditions made it perfect for a combination of sight and search fishing…even if it was always the reverse of what I wanted at the time.

The wind would kick up and I would battle it for a moment or drop anchor. At one point I let my course roll past the dogleg structure and moved into the cove. Once floating in the cove somewhat sheltered from the wind I started casting into the rough water created by the wind. I ran my bait as if it was a fish looking for shelter. As soon as the lure moved from the chop into the calm…WHAM! A jolt hit the line and the battle was on. This guy tried to run under the boat, around the oars and made several runs towards the thick weed matte. Luckily the wind had pushed us off into deeper water. I was able to work him in without having to dig him out of the weed muck.

(Above: Stocky smallmouth bass with dark, dark color pattern. These fish love to fight!)

Storm clouds started to build around 4PM. Keeping one eye on the weather and being prepared is essential when you are a good distance from any man made shelter. As the clouds got closer, the closer to shore I began to fish. As the rain came in I was able to port out and hunker down with the plastic umbrella. Luckily the big dark clouds rolled to the east and I just had to deal with some moderate rain and gusty wind. When the clouds cleared, the rain stopped and sun came back into the picture. The largemouth really seemed to get active. I was clobbered once as I threw under some trees but missed the hook set. Careless mistake caused by lack of focus. The heat and weather was taking it’s toll. Dink, Dink, Dink…More @#$%^& dink fish.

“They only make one size bigger and that @#$%^ is for alligators.”

I throw out again and feel a solid bite and a heavy pull on the rod. The line rose to the top of the water and a solid green bucket gives me his best surface break/water fountain aerial display and then Sploosh! Right back in. I would like to embellish more on this fish battle but that was pretty much it. He ran right at me and then the grab.

(Above: Decent bucket with the extra forward grab. My face may look a bit disgusted in this picture but really I am just waiting for my POS 12 MP camera to start beeping at me with some other excuse to trash me out here with no backup.)

Losing the spectacular bluegill footage began to wear on me. One was around 10” with a dark blue color pattern. I decided to go back and make another run through the pack of larger gills that I could find. I managed to pick one of them off after a few minutes. The larger, darker ones had longer tails and their back fins were split. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen this before. Note: The larger bluegills are absolutely crucial to the forage base. Must release!

(Above: This is a solid pattern bluegill in the 8, maybe 9-inch class. Really nice for Colorado.)

As the day wore on the daunting task of hauling the pontooner out began to linger in the back of my mind. Was there enough gas in the tank so to speak to make it back to the truck? I filled my head with visions of beer and food to propel me and the boat to the shoreline. Port out, tie down and haul out. Step, step, step. I felt like a mule of sorts toting around some fishing rickshaw from hell. There are times when I reach the truck and could almost kiss the tires. It was like someone actually stretched the trail or something.

Saturday (the day before) was not as successful and required so much more effort. By Sunday I was not crazy about the idea of walking the boat all the way back in to the M’s but really needed some good fish. The trip back nearly killed me. Even with all the pain, strain and memory card failures…it was soooo worth it.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summertime Shorebang

This time of year the shorebang can be a blessing and a curse. I love to sight fish and the shallow water shoreline attracts a lot of fishy business. Being able to walk the shoreline with patience, stealth and good vision is key. Sometimes you see the fish and sometimes you see the cover. That breaks up the game into two categories; sight fishing and search fishing. Even if you are fishing cover this basic premise is true. Fishing from shore during the summer is definitely a mixed bag of search and sight.

(Above: Sweet summer time bucket picked out of the cover. This is a beautiful fish. Must release!)

Weed and moss cover is creating a lot of structure this time of year. This gives baitfish many more places to hide, feed and even breed. Bluegill are going into spawn mode right now and pumping more little fish into the scene. Mosquitoes, dragonflies and a bunch of other creatures are also multiplying like crazy. We are talking a bonanza of fish forage here. All of this activity combines together and the fish start binge feeding. Smaller fish swarm on the smaller food layer and the big fish bully up on anything they want. The cover is where most of the action happens but fish will suspend in open water too.

The shore angler can take full of advantage of this situation. Walking the shoreline or simply standing there I look for fish and then cover. Even little fish is a good sign. If they are hanging around some type of cover I throw my lure around that cover as close as possible. Cast, cast, cast again. I see movement in the water that resembled a small boil under the surface. Cast one more time out at the edge of the weed mass. WHAM! The line tightened up on the splash.

(Above: Beauty shorebang bucket. For some places…shorebang is the only game in town.)

The downside, the curse of the shorebang is that you can’t move 360 degrees around the cover and you are limited by casting distance. Sometimes the belly boat or other craft can get you away from the cotton and other gunk mobbing up the gear right now but for the most part it doesn’t. Not for bass anyway. The bass are right there in that heavy junk close to shore. Some places don’t allow boats and you have no other option than casting from shore. Either way, most of the fish are in that zone between shoreline and deep water. You have to brave the gunk and junk if you want some of that green bucket love.

Good luck and Good Fishing.