Sunday, September 25, 2011

Panther Martin Photo winner

Hold the pancake batter and put down the spatulas. Did these folks actually pick my photo for the monthly contest winner? Dusting off the inbox of my e-mail this morning I see a letter with “Winner” in the subject line.

“Clearly this must be a mistake or spam of some sort.” I mutter while working on my second cup of morning coffee. Upon further review it looks legit. Finally I get some kudos from the mainstream media even if it is a humble photo contest submission.

Public acclaim for my fishing exploits is virtually non-existent outside my blog for many reasons. A few fish pics and some shameless bragging is more than enough reward for me after the trip is over. One aspect of acknowledgment that I can’t resist however is the occasional photo submission. If you want to get in on this, check out the contest info and submit a few pictures with your favorite Panther Martin catch. Throwing a crimp down on those barbs is a nice touch as well.

Photo acknowledgement goes to Don. Beauty shot on this one, man!!! Thanks again to Panther Martin.

Good luck and good fishing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Buckeye Bass

(Above: Part bass\part butterfly? Maybe this fish is just showing a little wear from the last hook up.)

Another Saturday lake grind except this time it takes me quite a while to find the quality bass. Rather than working the old familiar structure spots I should have formulated the low water depth and the inlet letting fresh water in. Either it wasn’t letting water in when I was doing the early morning launch or I just plain missed it. After rowing across most of the lake through sun, wind and yellow perch there just wasn’t enough gas left in the tank to wait out the big fish that I had spooked when rolling into the sweet spot. That is just the way it goes sometimes especially on the few larger lakes that I fish. These waters test me the most. They take longer for me to learn and give the fish more area to move around. Unfortunately I still haven’t replaced the electronics burgled during the storage unit break in. The fish finder would have given me some advantage in the deep and murky water but the usual structure areas should have produced at least something. At one point I stopped and ran through the tackle box on a delicious clay incline that always has at least one fish. And that is what I got, one bite-one fish.

News you can use and it isn’t much.

Perch are starting to bring some serious anger. In some areas you could throw an engine piston and these fish would mob it with tiny bites. A few times I would think a respectable bass was putting a tiny bite on the bait when in reality it was a mere eight inch perch with a bad attitude. Tried my best to plink out a respectable fire tiger for the photo op but it wasn’t in the cards. Rather than fish the heavy murk, look for fresh water coming in. The lake begins with the letter Q…Oh no I’ve said too much. (small shout out to R.E.M. and their decision to dissolve the band.)

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mattsabasser Driving to Fish-Tips: “Give a wave instead of the finger”

Reaching some of the best fishing areas often requires a bit of driving. The journey to and from the fishing hole can be quite perilous. There may be a lot of fishing tips out there but few that offer advice intended to minimize trouble while traveling from Point A to Point B. I shall make an attempt to fill this void with “Driving to Fish-Tips”.

Give a wave instead of the finger

We see it all the time where someone less courteous cuts another driver off in traffic or makes an egregious offense on the road. A few angry car horns are likely exchanged with a follow up yell of “Whaddayadoin’?” The situation goes DEFCON 5 when one driver or both display the middle-finger\pluck yew hand gesture. For some reason this act ignites rage beyond comprehension and next thing you know people are trading paint or punches. While the cops sort things out ol Rusty the dog in back of the truck is thinking…

“We should be fishing right now.”

This type of thing could be avoided with a small concession of good will and a civil gesture before things escalate. Rather than flipping the bird and crashing your vehicle into the other driver, give them a friendly wave instead. This small act of forgiveness or admission will most likely diffuse the situation or at least keep things from evolving into a hostile entanglement.

A good fishing trip will always benefit from fewer problems. Hopefully these Drive to Fish Tips help anglers reach the water and return home to fish once again. Good luck and good fishing.

Friday, September 16, 2011

September Buckotage

September rolls across the landscape like a quiet hush dreaded by youth but met with subtle anticipation by the more serious anglers. For now the masses return to toils of books and agendas while leaving memories of summer behind. Crowds in our national forests subside along with the serious weekend traffic that urban areas may typically endure June through August. As parks and other wild areas breath this sigh of relief a much more complicated ballet takes place. Leaves fall from their graceful green and descend into the deep hues of fall. Colder nights and frosty mornings beckon the coming of winter. September is a time where older beasts move first into fall mode. Elk start to rut and fish will look to put on a serious feedbag before ice and snow lock everything up.

(Above: second picture try with the fish in one hand and me trying to keep the oar out of the shot with my knee. Some guys get a camera crew. I just want to fish.)

Fall bassin’ offers a fickle bite and the water will remain mostly flat compared to the hubbly-bubbly top water action of summer. The fish for me right now seem tight-lipped one minute and almost desperate the next. My guess is that the tight-lipped fish has just eaten. The desperate fish will hit almost anything. Maybe the real trick is finding that big fish before it fills the belly. This may be one special day of the week or it may simply be as easy as “it eats when it can”. Rather than trying to dial in the perfect day or even hour to fish I try to get out and cast.
(Above: Another open mouth-in the water shot. Sometimes a quick grab click and go is the best photo op option.)

Normally I rely on the big baitfish pattern in fall. I run the spinnerbait in sunfish or even bass colors before resorting to cranks and Rat-L’s. Cast and rip. Then I cast and slow flutter the situation with some loosey-goosy raise and drop. Here I am raising the blade to the top of the water and then letting it drop straight down. I typically miss a few hits here and there but this time I get nothing on the wiretap from fish city.


Grab the second rod with the black\blue creature pattern. This is a skirted jig combo with a delicious plastic grub trailer. Really this thing resembles nothing in the natural world but catches that one or two fish by surprise. These are fish that may have seen just about anything else and willing to give an ugly creature presentation a go. When a heavy bucketmouth bites down I hold my breath and fight a battle of distance and strength. One mistake could make the difference between victory or defeat. 
(Above: Looks like I got a little too close to the camera on this one.)

September also offers the last public access for some places, which is important for the spots that may have received a lot of focus early in the season but almost forgotten in fall. These are the times I dust off my spring schedule and make a cast in places possibly for the last time of the year.

Fall is not exactly my best time for bass (I’m just being honest) but it is the season where I have the chance to land fish in their heaviest condition as well as land that one big monster fish looking to bulk up. On the right hour of the right day…wow, you may pull fish out of places you never thought possible.  

 My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Photos from the field

Through my adventures photos are taken that never seem to make it into specific fish posts. So much of my fishing goes unseen or heard. Even though these pictures may not be ready for prime time fishing posts, I have found a way to fit them in an excerpt called “Photos from the field.”

Lonely Caboose
(Above: One day a train comes and drops off the tail end and chugs off into the distance leaving this little caboose lonely in the cloudy sunset. My heart goes out to this little green caboose left all alone. “It’s okay BN-278397” I say with the tiny soft spot in my heart “They will come back for you. Until then you have an awesome view.”

Amanita muscaria
(Above: Commonly known as fly agaric to people who know a lot about mushrooms. This is a toxic shroom that can be found in coniferous forests all over the world. Considered inedible it can be consumed after parboiling. Deaths from consumption are rare and this variety is somewhat famed for its toxic yet hallucinogenic properties which I don’t expect to be testing anytime soon. These examples are slightly discolored and usually exhibit bright red colors instead of the slightly brownish hues you see here.)

Stowaway Scallywag!
(Above: Doing a deck check on my floating vessel and stumbled across a stowaway scallywag! Actually I pulled him aboard while retrieving a skirted jig combo with a morning splash of Crawbug scent. Guess this clawed bugger got a little frisky as most guys do in the morning. Maybe I grabbed the wrong scent as my lure was not violated by anything other than this clawed Don Juan.)

Perfect cast
(Above: Most anglers are in constant search of the perfect cast. For me that means getting the tip of the line into a tough spot. Here Don is showing how it is done flipping a small fly under an overhanging tree branch. The fly landed perfectly with the line straight behind it. Had I attempted this cast the next half hour would have been spent digging the rig from the branches.)

Lex Luthor…home away from home?
(Above: Throughout my career I have worked on some fairly sophisticated communication projects. Some have been for the military and even government entities but I know very little about these two arrays sticking out of two suspicious looking earth domes. My guess is this could be a vacation home for Lex Luthor or some evil genius. Not a full fledge base or anything but more of a home away from home used to get away from that whole world domination scene once in a while.)

Thank you so much for your views, comments and rates. This blog is fueled by your support. 

Good luck and good fishing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

West Nile Virus found in Lakewood…don’t panic.

If they find West Nile in one pond…it just may be in the pond right next to it and say the 6 or 7 more ponds within a mile radius of this one. Funding for west Nile Virus control has been put on the chopping block for most communities despite the residents’ concerns of more local ponds testing positive for West Nile Virus.
Sanctuary Park is an area routinely tested for West Nile and now that it has turned up positive for the germ, more areas will likely be tested. Hopefully these other areas test negative and we avoid an epidemic of some kind. My concern is partly because I fish this area a few times a year. Most of the ponds are situated in park settings where a lot of children play. Kids are far more susceptible to the harmful effects of this virus than adults which should definitely create some serious concern for parents.

Here is a map with the lake and the other pond just across the street. This area contains many parks with small ponds, irrigations and even swimming pools. Below is the news blurb from the Denver Post that makes this positive finding for West Nile Virus sound like something that “pops up” like a distant relative or something much less serious followed up with “…these positive tests shouldn’t alarm residents.” I’m thinking this is just the sort of thing that would alarm me if I frequented this area…and I do.
The fact that a small percentage of mosquitos can survive winter leads me to believe that we should look immediatey to treatment and additional testing of this area heavily populated with children and elderly which are more suceptible. Otherwise next year could see a spike in folks reporting West Nile Virus occurences.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mr. Brown and the muddy details

It just so happens that I might do a little bit of fishing now and then. Casting at any spot that looks like it has a chance my casting elbow knocks on a few fish doors with hopes of pulling in a big fin slapper. Once in a while I actually do catch a fish that is not from the ho-hum section. This is a recent account of one of those times and the muddy details that go along with it.

(Above: No one gets tired of my small trout photos more than me. This is not a “huge” trout by Colorado standards but definitely not as Ho-Hum as folks are more or less used to seeing on my blog. If I catch fish bigger than this on a regular basis I might actually have to tone down the heavy forward holds…maybe.)

This fish came about by checking out a different stretch of river on the eastern slope. Just when I think every scrap of good water has been fished on this side of the big ridge, someone or some water shows me how wrong I am. As soon as I saw this place the pain of a hypothetical boot kicking me in the posterior was strongly felt…”Why haven’t I checked this place out before?” It’s not even on my list even though this Mattsabasser has driven by it many times.

Step to the early morning water and start the exploration casting with almost no wind and clear summer skies. I pull in a 4inch brown trout on the third cast and a 6inch brown trout a few casts later. This is what I more or less expected to happen the entire day and I moved down the stretch wandering between open spots and tall, lush summer grasses. Expectations were set on low and I was ready to play tag and let go with small fish all day long. The stretch wasn’t crowded and there was plenty of shade. Watching small hatches and herds of hoppers I stuck to my game plan ready for anything.

Maybe an hour or so into the day while throwing out one of my usual presentations a heavy thump comes out of nowhere. My rod bends down and the line starts moving upstream into the current. Right away I knew this was a big fish (meaning I panicked the whole time) and held my breath with every turn of the reel handle. At any minute I expected the fish to spit the hook and my left hand adjusted the drag not once but twice during the battle. In and out of the current this fish surprisingly seemed easier to control than the tiny sporadic fish that most consider “bait” (but what I am used to catching most of the time). The weight of the fish kept it from leaping out of the water or diving under rock edges like a smaller fish would. Finally get the fish to hand and roll with the photo op. The photo does the fish justice for once, which makes me friggen jomama-jubilous!

As for the details of the what, how, when and where I have to stick to my usual tradition of muddy details. Wind speed, water temp and even presentation statistics are all things I try to work into the story as opposed to the streamline copy\paste chart that might accompany an actual fishing report. Location is the hardest for me to divulge. A good water hound with determination in their tackle bag will find good fishing in Colorado considering all of the research tools they have at their disposal. Aside from location, most folks in Colorado would simply argue with me on the details anyway. Others might tell me that I am wrong for throwing me some spin gear at trout now and then. Instead I suggest readers soak up the adventure because that is where my writing focus is aimed. Hopefully there is enough adventure, conservation material and other elements that help readers swallow my shameless bragging. It is a work in progress.

Special thanks goes out to Dan (whom I met through a former co-worker) for the invite\tag along situation. It is greatly appreciated. My personal code for fishing other people’s water or the water they share with me is as thus:

  1. E-mail before visiting the location a second time.

  1. Keep the location tight lipped unless otherwise specified and even then a person should think very hard before going all bla bla bla on the location someone offers to you.

  1. Be willing to share a few hot spots with the same quality or better or at the very least return the favor with a follow up trip somewhere else. If they are willing to put up with me again that is.

This is just my personal code but find these rules help smooth out any wrinkles and spare any harsh feelings in regards to something that I view as precious as good fishable water. This is a special spot for Dan and it would be extremely bad form of me to think otherwise.

My name is Matt. If you must take, take from the lake. What is caught in the creek stays in the creek.