Monday, June 25, 2012

Extremely low flow prompts Fishing Closure-Steamboat Springs

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. - Extremely low flows and rising water temperatures have prompted Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials to implement a voluntary closure to all fishing in the Steamboat Springs section of the Yampa River. The closure will be in effect from the upstream boundary of the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area downstream through the city limits of Steamboat Springs, and anglers are asked to avoid this area.

Minimal spring snowmelt and lack of significant rain so far this year has led to very low flows and high water temperatures for many rivers and streams throughout the state. In Steamboat Springs, wildlife managers observed Yampa River water temperatures at 71 degrees on June 20 and the current flow of 81 cubic feet per second is well below the minimum 85 cfs established to trigger the voluntary closure.

In these conditions, already severely stressed fish weakened by warm waters often die when caught, even if they are quickly released back into the water.

"There appears to be little chance of precipitation adding measureable volume to the stream flow in the immediate future," said Senior Aquatic Biologist Sherman Hebein. "In this section of the Yampa River, median historical flows for this date are slightly over 1400 cfs, and the most current reading is well below that rate."

Diligent monitoring of rivers across western Colorado has been ongoing this year due to concerns about little to no moisture so far, and if current conditions continue, other rivers may see similar voluntary closures this summer.

"We ask the public for their cooperation to help us preserve our state's fisheries," said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. "We do not know how long this voluntary closure will remain in effect, but as soon as conditions are once again favorable, we will lift it and the public can once again enjoy world-class fishing in the Yampa River."

Velarde stresses that the Yampa River closure is voluntary for now and anglers are asked to avoid fishing there during the hottest part of the day, or preferably, to fish in other areas. However, if conditions worsen and several criteria established by regulation are met, a strict emergency closure enforced by law may become necessary.

For more information about the voluntary closure, please contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife office in Steamboat Springs at: 970-870-2197

For more information about fishing in places not affected by extremely low flows, please visit:
Colorado Parks and Wildlife was created by the merger of Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, two nationally recognized leaders in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs.

To learn more about Colorado's state parks, please see:
To learn more about Colorado's wildlife programs, please see:

####For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Checking in on J and the Fam

At work I am known as that guy that fishes a lot. At times I will subject them to fishing stories and they humor me by putting up with my outlandish sagas of shameless bragging. Jose has been the lead PM on a few projects that I have been involved with. This means that he has had to put up with a lot of my crap. Every once in a while he has told me a fish story with his family as the main stars. After some pleading he sent me a few pics and helped fill in the blanks.

The season more or less started with J’s wife landing a chunky common carp. This fish fought like a bear or at least a fish ten times the actual size. By the time they had landed the beast it was as if they had conquered the world…at least to the kids. J was muttering something about beginner’s luck. This started what would be known as the Carp Hunt of 2012.

The very next trip J’s wife does it again but this time with an even bigger fish. J grabs the camera on his phone and takes a quick shot for bragging rights. She smiles and holds the fish like a pro. I’m thinking 1 or 2 of my fashion blog followers are going to try and found out where she got those killer shades.

By now J is getting a bit of ribbing from the missus and even the kids who are casting like crazy trying to get in on the action. Just when he thinks all hope is lost and everyone starts talking about packing it all up, J gets a thump on his fishing pole. A set of the hook and the battle is on. The fish puts up a strong fight and everyone is sure that Dad is going to pull in the largest carp of the summer thus far. Cranking on the reel handle for a few more moments the fish is pulled into the shallows. Dad lands not a carp but rather an angry catfish.
The kids are immediately amazed at the sight of the whiskers. Dad explains that this is a catfish and those whiskers help it find things to eat. Wow’s, oooh’s and more questions led J to put it on a stringer to do a little shoreline hands on without the fish flopping all over the place.

“Oh wait…” J said just before taking it off the stringer and letting it go, “I need a picture.” Bless J’s heart that he remembered the ol stiff-arm trick and mean grimace. J, you are the best!

Now having seen Dad pull out a fish the kids felt a boost of renewed enthusiasm. “If dad can catch a fish…” Next thing you know the kids are in beachcombing-cast mode. Packing up and moving out was nixed. Now the plan was fish til dark.

Special thanks to J and the Fam for allowing me to share this with my very small handful of regular viewers. All of these pictures are under strict rules, restrictions, copyright laws and subject to severe penalty from the FCC, KFC, the BBC, NAACP, maybe even the KGB as well as J who might happen be an avid hunter with a few firearms.

Good luck and good fishing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

“If you are bringing worms, we aint fishing” A blogger re-post from Dog Hair in My Coffee

One of the most difficult things for me to convey is my passion for fish conservation and the desire to improve the sport. So many people in this country if not the world simply view fishing as a means to an end and that end is a meal. They do not see the beauty in the fish nor do they care about the angler that may come after them. Battling this mentality has become one of my greatest endeavors and most difficult obstacles. That is why I was completely jubilant after reading this post over at Dog Hair in my Coffee. Her post offers a glimpse into the evolution of fishing mentality and exemplifies an “awakening” of sorts. I highly recommend that folks check out the post in its entirety over at Here is a brief, captioned version of the original magic.

“If you are bringing worms, we aint fishing”

It was truly fascinating. There is a whole entire language devoted to the sport of fishing that I simply was unaware of. I really had no idea what he was talking about most of the time, since I've never really fished, other than putting a worm on a hook and dropping my line in a lake. (I did catch one fish when I was 12 and my dad took me fishing, but I haven't spent the rest of my life pining to repeat that experience) There is a science, an art, to the whole hobby, and I loved his complete absorption in it. He is a SERIOUS fisherman.
He is the one who said that THIS is fishing. He said if someone new asks him if he wants to go fishing, he says, "Are you bringing worms?" If they say yes, he replies, "no thanks, that's not fishing." For him, FISHING means you cast the line in, jerk it just so, skip it along the water, or sink it, depending on many things. Then you pull it out, and do it again. It seemed to be a lot of casting, pulling, constant walking along in the water. THAT sounds way more fun than what I THOUGHT fishing involved.

My only experience with fishing was spearing a worm, throwing the line in the lake, and then waiting, waiting, waiting. BO-RING. I really didn't understand why people enjoyed that. AND I had no idea there was any other way TO fish, except maybe FLY FISHING, you know, the kind we all watched in A River Runs Through It? With this new knowledge of fishing, I now also understand why people who TRULY fish also do "catch and release." It's a sport. I was under the impression that after all that time sitting on a bank with your line in the water, if you actually managed to get a fish to eat your worm, why would you throw him back? But now, now I get it.

Link to full blog post below. (I posted just enough to wet your whistle. Check out the full post and show D.H.I.M.C. some blogger love)

For the record, I wish to state that fishing with worms is not the end of the world or the worst thing folks can do out there on the water. My goal is to highlight the evolution from fishing with live bait to artificial methods. Making the fish believe that your tied fly or plastic lure is just as alive and tasty as some living creature is often considered the pinnacle of fishing skill. This practice transcends the act of fishing to a sport or even an art form in a lot of angler’s minds. This philosophy is not absolute or the only acceptable fishing method in Colorado. What I do suggest is that for many anglers there is fishing? And then there is FISHING!

I want to express my warm thanks to “L” for being a long time follower of my blog and friend. This post is a huge victory for me personally as it trumpets the fact one more person has a wider view into something that I love so much. This higher understanding helps fish and fishing in so many ways. In talking with her after the fly tying experience she exclaimed, “I had no idea that fishing could be this intense. There is a lot more to it than I realized.”

My amazement never ceases at how fantastic the blogger community really is.

Good luck and good fishing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hello Panfish!

Something about these pint-sized fin slappers makes me go nuts. As soon as I see a large school of gills or sunnies my bassin’ game flies right out the window. The strength of my addiction may come from the number of fish that occupy the shallows or edges of the weed-villa this time of year.

(Above: Fatty sunfish hybrid with dark green colors with yellow highlights. When bluegill and sunfish are put together, hybridization is common. Almost a supa’ pan but a far cry from a Mondo-gill.)

For me the real the trick is finding the large brooder sized panfish as opposed to the plethora of snack-sized gills that can fill a beachhead in early summer. Occasionally I have to pick through the batch until a larger one grabs the lure. Getting in early on the spawn action can also help. Outside of the spawn, panfish will congregate near structure for protection.

(Above: This is a more typical size of sunny-gill’er that I come across. Not only do these fish offer spectacular colors but they also help make largemouth bass FAT!)

My panfish setup these days is that Abu Garcia rod that I ranted about a few years ago on the website that I never update. Labeled as a 7’ medium-heavy action “Super 7” rod, the tip is more of a wet noodle. Maybe someone put the wrong markings on the handle as this is more of a fast action rod if anything. Throw on some of my standard 6lb line (because I may need this rod for something else or maybe I just expect really big panfish) and rig up with a 1/8 or 1/16oz jig.

Various flies, micro-crankbaits and just about anything super tiny will work. Panfish are very aggressive when grouped up and hit all kinds of presentations. Maybe this is why panfish are such a great way to introduce fishing to beginners looking for near gimme success.

If the fish inspect but do not bite, use the fight or flee concept and move your bait away from the fish when they move in for a closer look and then stop short allowing the fish to catch up. Sometimes that creates a dog chasing a moving car instinct and the fish will hit first, ask questions later. This is a good rule for any predator species and a good rule of thumb for any sight fishing. 

(Above: Had to steal a picture from a previous trip to show something as close to a true bluegill as I can and wouldn’t put money down that this is 100% McGillacutty.)

(Above: You can actually see the teeth on this sunny-giller if you look closely. Just a few years ago this pond was filled with pure sunfish that showed their original speckle pattern. This one is a bit watered down.)

Some pond experts such as Pond Boss and others suggest that bluegills make better bass forage as opposed to sunfish. Sunfish have a larger mouth and can predate on other sport fish longer during the fry stage. Mixing the different types of panfish can lead to hybridization. Hybridization that occurs tends to blur accurate species identification and weaken populations over time in my opinion. Introduction happens naturally so complete purity may be impossible. Not the worst thing that could happen by any means but it does lend a fish rant now and then. If you are building a new pond, chose one type of sunfish and manage it with the same concern applied to sport fish. The result optimally would be 10-inch panfish that would require periodic if not systematic harvesting.

(Above: Another fatty gill photo of the fish above. These fish tend to group together early summer to crank out baby-gills that help plump up the higher end of the food chain.)

The term panfish comes from these fish generally being the perfect size for an eight-inch skillet. Bluegill and sunfish are a tasty fish with flaky white meat similar to perch and crappie. I encourage folks to selectively harvest this fish by removing a large handful of the smaller fish when prevalent. Please leave the large brooder gills and sunnies for next year’s crop while allowing this Mattsabasser the super-pan action that I love so much. If we work together anglers can reach the optimum of more fish for the table and better sport fishing as well. Moderation, self control and a little more skill with a fillet knife is key. Anyone can trim out a large gill but can you do the same to the smaller panfish in the 4 to 6-inch range? Plenty of good eating in this size slot.

Below are a few web references that I use in regards to bluegill and sunfish identification. Generally I look for yellow or orange on the fins, shape of mouth (small for bluegill, large for sunfish) and any red\orange coloring on the gill plate\dot thingy on the side of their head.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Monday, June 18, 2012

5280-Go Play Outside!

The good folks at 5280 sent me an e-mail requesting that ColoradoCasters post their Go Play Outside article. The first thing that crossed my mind was, “how did these people find little ol me?” 5280 is a magazine and online publication that highlights things to do and other information about Denver and Colorado in general. I have gotten a lot of great ideas from these folks as well as gained a better insight into food, entertainment and even history. Honestly this is one of the few mags that I grab at the checkout counter of my local grocer.

5280 has a summer guide that covers a number of outdoor options in Colorado that are close to the metro area. As a little payback for those few editions that I browsed but didn’t pay for, ColoradoCasters directs you to 5280 and their Go Play Outside Summer Guide with a brief intro and link below. I will also add an image link to the 5280 homepage on the blogilicious sidebar.

Get outta the house, go get a little dirty…but don’t go too far, OK? That’s what your mom always said, right? School was out, the weather was hot, and the whole day stretched out in front of you. It was good summertime advice—so we used it as a guide for creating this year’s rundown of 21 amazing, warm-weather adventures. We give you a taste of the hiking, camping, paddling, fishing, climbing, mountain biking, and road cycling within two hours of Denver. Plus, we’ve found the best spots to eat, drink, refuel, and stock up for your journey, whether you’re running the rapids, hitting the trail, or throwing out a line.

ColoradoCasters would like to extend a warm thank you to 5280 for putting together so much information about Denver and Colorado into the 5280 format. The fact they were kind enough to reach out and acknowledge my existence. Funny how a simple marketing e-mail can bring a smile to my face.

Good luck and good fishing.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

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.”

It never gets old

You think after so many years of fishing that it would get old to me. Even with this mega-no big fish slump of 2012 I still feel my heart racing with every thump and hookset. For fishaholics cast after cast…it never gets old.

Der Frog 2012

My eye catches something moving from the water and into the cattails. Hoping for another painted turtle catch I row in for a closer look. Within a few moments a large frog is landed. I am guessing this is a Western Chorus Frog but won’t bet money on it. Best grimmace shot ever!

Hooked into something BIG!

Oh brother. Not sure why I do things like this and then post it up on the internet. Something about big fish just makes me crazy and this fish was already landed by the time I got there.

Red Bull Car

Every once in a while I see this little car zipping around town. When it comes to a stop two girls get out and start handing out red bull from backpacks designed similar to the car. I am not a big fan of energy drinks but will applaud the creativity of the marketing campaign. And this car is kinda cool.

Summer fun

My 10-year-old daughter threw a summer party and Dad was on the hook for decorations, refreshments and setting up this slip and slide dealio. Having shot down so many other creative ideas from the kiddo (such as the hover-skateboard and indoor insect zoo) I decided to go along with this one. Take a tarp, wet it down and then let the kids run down it with an air mattress. This Dad was fairly impressed at the fact these kids wanted to do something besides movies and video games. Thankfully the police and neighbors didn’t shut the whole thing down.

ColoradoCasters wants to wish everyone a safe and Happy summer. Whether you are having a Stay-Vacation or venturing further out into the wilderness, do your best to make the most out of your summer plans. Before you know it, summer will be gone.

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

Good luck and good fishing.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chasing the deep fish of summer

As temperatures rise, big fish go deep. This is about as technical as my summer fishing gets. As the bluegill spawn starts to wind down, the shallow water becomes less of a smorgasbord. Predators will move away from the shallow the water following the baitfish to deeper havens. Submerged structure points are primary targets along with the weed-villas forming in the middle of the lake. My shore casting is less than 25% in most cases and my game changes to the deep end of the pool.

(Above: Deep bucket pulled out of the slop. This fish hit a 6” solid black stickbait fished weightless. Cast to the edge of the weed villa and let fall effortlessly to the bottom. The bass hit about halfway down and then went straight into the weeds.)

The first thing I look for is structure and then I look for baitfish. Leaning on the fish finding unit can be key to locating some crucial areas such as submerged rocks and other things below that you would not see otherwise. Even if I don’t get “fish-blips” on the screen, tasty looking spots will always get a cast or two.

Approach to the structure is key especially in smaller lakes without substantial depth. Summer bass are fairly easy to spook so barreling right to the woodpile or weed bed is going to cost you. I like to fish ahead of my direction and explore the water with a good search bait a few yards in front of my target while slowly moving in. This allows me to pick off fish in the area while setting up my position on those key structure points. It doesn’t always work out that way as my patience fails me at times or on a lake I don’t know very well. However at the very least I can make mental note of the area where I did spook that big fish for a return pass later or another day perhaps.

(Above: This fish came out of nowhere on a spinnerbait search cast through a school of baitfish suspending in the middle of nowhere for no good reason.)

My deep diving arsenal is nearly the same as my regular bass slinging stuff and fairly basic. Plastic stickbaits, lightly weighted grubs, a few swimbait patterns and the occasional spinnerbait cast or off the wall creature pattern. Single hook option is what I prefer in most summer-heavy cover situations. The spinnerbait makes a good search cast option when you see fish suspending in the open water. Matching colors to baitfish patterns such as bluegill or shad makes your presentation virtually irresistible. Crankbaits are something I am using less and less because of so many hooks to dig out. A lipless crank is ideal in some deep-water situations so I will have a few on standby in the tackle bag.

(Above: This is a sample of one of the big baitfish presentations that I use. Sometimes a plastic trailer can dress up a sexy skirted spinnerbait to be even more delicious.)

In the rod department I like a 6’6” or 7’ heavy action stick. The heavy action helps me pull fish out of the weed-villa and other thick cover. My preference for line is very light. This can get me into trouble in the summer time as line strength is also crucial against heavy cover. I tend to upgrade from 6 to 8lb test (Hi-Seas Grand Slam) or 15lb Fireline braid for thick conditions. This is the same stuff I use for my fly-bassin’ lately. Note: Whoever is leaving huge wads of braided line out at Ward Pond should probably just give up fishing altogether. Perhaps look at other sports like basketball or shuffleboard.

The shallows may still offer a decent fish or two, as some fish tend to associate to shallow\shoreline areas out of personal preference or just plain habit. Look for deeper areas of water near cattails, wood structure or that layer of filamentous algae forming a large sheet for the fish to hide under. This is where a large fish might be hiding out to ambush prey in the shallows. I don’t mark the shallows completely off my list but as said before it is not the bread and butter of my summer bass fishing.

Smaller bass will often group up in the shallow water that is open and has less cover. These little fish are hungry and ultra-aggressive I tend to avoid these schools of smaller bass but immediately fish the water several yards deeper. My theory here is that the larger fish use the smaller ones to herd prey to them. The larger fish will often move in early morning or late evening to try and pick one of the smaller bass off especially if it is injured.

(Above: Just as soon as I get all yackity-shmackity about deep fish, a big chunk comes along in the shallows. There is always an exception to the rule.) 

Hopefully this post helps some folks find the deeper fish that dwell in summer while allowing me to milk a few recent bass pictures.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome to Fire Season in Colorado

Just when you think Colorado is out of the drought spell, we find ourselves in another dry summer situation with serious fire danger looming. Hot temperatures, low moisture and high winds all spell worst-case scenario for Colorado this time of year. It doesn’t take long for the lush green of spring to turn dry and brown…perfect tinder just waiting for a spark.

Conditions vary greatly from one area to the next and these conditions can change quickly. Before you venture out into the wilderness of this majestic state, it may help to check in on fire conditions where you wish to travel. The area you are going may have a different set of restrictions than where you are coming from as they establish these rules per county. Colorado Division of Emergency Management is a good source for this and the link is provided below.

 Not all counties have updates on the site so some additional phone calls may be needed. However the major recreational counties that I travel are here and this is a first stop for my summer planning. Jefferson County has been placed under Stage 2 restrictions.  Stage 2 pretty much means you can’t even say “fire” without a shovel in your hand or some sort of C02 backup nearby. Elbert County has a Stage 2 ban in place. “Ban” is more severe than “restrictions” so this escalates things to possible corporal punishment if caught launching illegal fireworks or tossing that lit cigarette butt out the window. Of course my rendition of the rules may be a bit outdated so I suggest reading through the information yourself when you get time.

 Hopefully this information helps folks know the what, when and why in regards to fire danger per Colorado County.

Link to Denver Post High Park Fire update: (Some amazing photos worth checking out)

Good luck and good fishing

Photo credit: Mattsabasser, picture taken from the Haymen fire two years after the fact.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mattsabasser Driving to Fish-Tips: Why that bumper sticker may be a bad idea.

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”.

Driving up the mountain to scout out a spot of blue on the map that I have had circled for some time now. A car pulls in front of me with a bumper sticker that says, “Fish Fear Me”. At that moment my mentality is altered and I put the gas pedal to the floor. As I watch his headlights fade in my rear view mirror my paranoid mind starts rationalizing the moment of reckless behavior.

“Tipped your hand, buddy.” My lips mutter while the truck rolls into the dirt pullout that barely fits one vehicle.

The other vehicle comes around the bend, slows down and practically crawls past me before speeding off in disappointed anger. At this juncture I feel a mix of jubilance and guilt. Eventually reality sunk in that there is only one fishing spot on this road and it is a very small section of water. Private property on both sides makes this 100-foot stretch barely big enough for one person. Had I not noticed the fishing bumper sticker (and extremely paranoid when it comes to fishing) that angler would have easily gotten the jump on the spot. This is just one example of how a bumper sticker can cost you.

When I bought my Xterra from the previous owner it was littered with bumper stickers of various music groups such as Widespread Panic, Pink Floyd and Bob Marley. One sticker supported a medical marijuana outlet west of Boulder. They all trumpeted possible drug use attracting unwanted attention from others on the road. Before getting new tires, an oil change and overall check-up…these stickers had to go.

Political bumper stickers can also cause trouble. It may seem like a small thing to show support for your candidate but realize some people are very serious about this issue. If they are on the opposite side of the political spectrum, they may not agree with your stance or the bumper sticker. If they practically sideswipe your car on the way to work, give you the finger and a painful scowl…this could be why.

In closing we can admit that I am not a fan of bumper stickers for a few reasons. Some folks adore these printed out plastic label vehicle decoration statements. They don’t make your car go faster and they don’t make you a better angler. Before plastering them on your vehicle ask yourself how this may come back to haunt you.

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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Don strikes again-Ode to Dahlberg

When it comes to Don and his fishing, the D stands for determination. Fishing a lake with big fish potential Don spent a lot of the day grinding things out in the no-catch section. Determined to make the day pay off he suggests another lap around the 40-surface acre pool. Moments later I look back and see Don with the long rod nearly doubled over on a really big fish. Both of us held our breath the entire time until the fish was landed. Get the photo op, let the fish go and revel in the victory for a few moments before casting out once again.

“That was for you, Larry.” He said laying out the next cast.

Larry Dahlberg is one of Don’s heroes and a great hunter of big fish. He even has a website that matches his philosophy called Hunt for Big Fish.

I have added an image link to this site on my blogilicious to help increase the passion for catching and releasing big fish. Next time you land a big fish, let it go and say, “That was for you, Larry.”

Good luck and good fishing

Inside ColoradoCasters: Mattsabasser garb explained

Fashion blogs are growing immense popularity on blogger and other formats. The numbers of hits and followers have been explosive on a few blogs that I admire from a distance with subtle envy. Maybe I could create an excerpt called “Fashion Angler Update” and run it on a sporadic basis on the blogilicious. Maybe for the first run I can cover a little history regarding the Mattsabasser garb that has been a mainstay of my angling attire.
It didn’t take long for me to adapt the same clothes I used in my construction days into my outdoor\fishing adventures. As a youth I considered myself the Colorado version of Tarzan and ran through the woods in little more than shorts and maybe a pair of shoes. The scratches and bug bites in weird places just came along with the territory. My body didn’t want to be weighted down with fabric and my skin seemed to love soaking up the sunshine. Now everything has changed. I cover up as much as possible from sun, bugs and thorn bushes that magically appear out of nowhere.

The hoodie came about after working construction between high school and college. I wear them year round even though they can be a bit uncomfortable in the summer. Once upon a time a handful of these hoodies were purchased in several colors and they are still in use today. The material is a 50/50 blend of polyester and cotton. Not perfectly ideal for outdoor use but does the job while being comfortable and easy to wash. Light colors for hotter days and darker colors for cold ones. Folks would look at me a bit strangely back in the day but now I see quite a few anglers have adopted the hoodie getup as well.

The camo pants: I can’t say enough about how much I love these pants. Fairly light and durable considering the weight of the fabric. Dickees are stronger but too heavy for my mountain excursions and too hot for my summer rambles. Regular jeans are ok but these allow more movement and have more pockets. And with the camo pattern only the smart fish see me coming. That last part is probably way too optimistic.

The bass glove: One day I came home after catching bass in the double digits with a few of them over four pounds. These were angry fish that fought hard and refused to make the hook removal easy. Rigid gum lines and spiny fins took their toll on my hands. The fish would even shake its head using my own hooks against me at times. Every trip seemed to end up with band-aids on my fingers. Mild infection lingered adding an extra element of pain to the fish post creation. Then I put the glove on my left hand. Each bass gets a grab with that arm and the glove takes most of the abuse. The glove also comes in handy on cliff dives and at other times when I need to use one hand in danger. Sure there may be some Michael Jackson jokes or some heckling from the peanut gallery.

The image was done using magcover to see what it would look like if I created a fashion blog for angling. If you want to experiment with this yourself, I will add a link below.

Look for more excerpts of Fashion Angler Update on ColoradoCasters…maybe. Hope this answers a few questions and allows me to shamelessly generate a few random hits from fashion bloggers.

Good luck and good fishing.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Early Summer and Postspawn Zones

Beach towels, schools out and postspawn blues. Man I tell you summertime aint easy for the Mattsabasser. Public water gets really crowded at times and I have to pick my battles especially on the weekends. For whatever reason the fish gods spared me their usual smoting and blessed me with a few fish. But even better than that the sporadic storms and cloud cover kept some of the crowd and even the bugs away. This made the fish putty in my hands and they fell into two major zones; shallow and base incline. Sure you could find fish holding off structure at any depth. Hit that like a bad dog. No one says that anymore.

In the shallow water I found small nesting male fish that were ultra aggressive and easy to spot. In the deeper water I found larger fish clinging to the six to eight foot range. These can be the hardest fish for me in postspawn depending on my timing and just plain luck. The trick is casting to the front of you and spot the weed structure more than the fish. Tasty looking spots will hold fish or they won’t. Getting close enough to actually see the fish will often spook the fish away. Look for the structure and fish the fish you don’t see but know is there.
Occasionally I could pick up larger fish cruising for spawning baitfish on the lightweight plastics. Basic grub patterns work really well for me in this situation. Swimbait patterns matching the nesting fish patterns are my big fish plan B. Small lures get mobbed inside the school or try to mimic dying fish. Large lures act like a slightly larger bully going in for a swipe. Perfect meal for the alpha fish.

Sight fishing can be really exciting in the early stages of summer. When I see a patch of nesting bluegill or a flurry of passing shad I go into this whole lion\zebra mentality. Distance from shore varied but ten foot seemed to be ideal to fish both the incline and shallow water. What mattered most was the location of baitfish in relation to cover. More cover meant larger fish as long as there was a big glob of bluegill and sunfish nearby. 
This is the time where I might extend my range of exploration or tackle that one spot on the list that keeps getting pushed down the list. You know, just check it out. Shoot me an e-mail if you hit it big. (sigh) That never happens.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mattsabasser Explains-Ranks of Bait

We all can agree that angling comes in many different forms and styles. Colorado has a very large population of fishing brethren whether it be the small stream fly casters, big lake boaters or the leisure shore lounging crowd. These differences do not make one of us better than the other. They are simply differences. Within each person lies the various measure of skill level or the manner of fishing ethics that are employed. Having said that I do feel as if there are different ranks. Like designated positions on a team they act with purpose to get the fishing job done.

Bait fishing is considered one of the most common forms of fishing in North America if not the world. Colorado anglers are often divided as to the legitimacy of this tactic depending on the location or species they are targeting. I think bait fishing is an important part of angling but also see some of the downsides as well. Fishing with live bait will always be a mainstay in this state and a large number of fisher-folks support this view. Even though I chose a different method for my angling, I don’t view bait fishing as the enemy or doom of the world. It is my view that we would lose a large portion of participation in the sport if it were banned entirely.

It is also my view that a few bad apples are tainting the image of bait fishing by leaving a lot of trash and taking out way too many fish. Bad apples aside, I may have gone so far as to develop a ranking system for the most common levels of bait users found on any given body of water. Maybe I was just bored.

First Timer: Most kids that enter the world of fishing do so with a hook and worm. For the beginner it helps to eliminate a lot of the complexities while allowing the maximum potential for action. Live bait is generally on the menu for all fish and actively catching fish is what hooks the child into the sport of fishing for the long term. Not catching fish might make the day boring and memories of angling as a child will bring up recollections of disdain. If the youth chooses to not fish again no torch will be passed on. The future of water management may hang in the balance as a result.

Billy Bobber: Once the beginner gets a taste of their first success subsequent trips will follow. It will take a while for them to develop their individual style and preferences depending on their personal desires and surrounding angler mentorship. In most cases the subsequent trips to the lake will employ the use of the hook, worm and bobber setup. Success may be tied exclusively to the specific lake conditions, area they are fishing as well as timing. Some make it past this stage and some do not. A few will move on to more advanced methods of fishing, purchase waders or bellyboats and their lives will be filled with outdoor adventures.

Captain Bait and Wait: For some people catching fish is not the most important part of the equation. I know it sounds crazy but some people actually prefer to relax or have fun while fishing as opposed to sacrificing body and mind for one good fish. Captain Bait and Wait would like to catch a fish but it is not a requirement and in many cases the fish will have to come to him.

CBW’s are usually found close to the parking lot but a few are willing to trek quite a ways to find shoreline solitude. This is generally for napping purposes as opposed to finding the best fishing spot. Tools of the trade may be a Zebco101 closed-face reel and a foldem-up chair for full scale lounging. I have seen even seen the deployment of actual living room furniture and big surf fishing equipment. Others simply bring an umbrella and a good book. Once again, to each their own as long as they remember to take all this stuff back home with them.

Master Baiter: Possibly one of the most fish catchin’est people out there is an angler that knows the species, knows the menu and expertly fishes with the best live bait option that is legal for that particular body of water. In many cases the fish don’t stand a chance as the method is exactly what the species has done its entire existence. This method employs one part knowledge, one part skill and can leave the rest up to the fish’ natural habits. With stinky hands and a full cooler…the Master Baiter is a force to be reckoned for many reasons. The Master Baiter could be my best friend or my worst enemy depending the type of fish they are taking out, where and when.

A number of fisheries in the state prohibit the use of live bait for various reasons. These areas tend to fish better in my opinion and I would like to see more added to the list. Not all, just more. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to your local water managers and Colorado Parks and Wildlife voicing your opinion on a particular body of water if you want changes\improvements made.

Once again, one rank is no better than the other in the overall scope of the universe and fishing. They all catch fish on any given day or the other. The love of the outdoor experience and the dream of one more cast helps fuel our passion for the sport.

Good luck and good fishing.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

FISHmas Last Gasp

Another day and another fish-venture. Taking one of my last FISHmas PTO days, I chose to hit some big water as opposed to my usual small pondin'. Water temp for this 150-surface acre lake was at 61-degrees when the boat was put in. Air temperatures were much higher and would reach 80-degrees by midday. I expected the fish to be staging in prime prespawn\spawn mode with the smaller male fish nesting and larger females cruising nearby. This was not the case at all. Once again I was either too early or too late. A few fish looked as if they were starting to stage but the fatty bass were nowhere to be seen. This shifted my game into two modes: structure and search.

(Above The red line indicates the zigzag pattern of the boat in relationship to structure and nesting fish. The orange circles reference the cast radius, which is greatly out of scale by the way. Nesting areas were given a much larger range than shown.)

The structure would get focused casts within a small radius. 3” or 4” grub patterns rigged weightless or Texas-rigged with a 1/4oz weight or less tends to be my favorite in this situation. Selecting the size and color can be the key for timid\pressured fish. If this doesn’t work I will start working the edges with baitfish and creature patterns. Approach the structure very slowly and cast ahead of you before moving in to spot fish.

The fish shown above is an estimated 19-inches in length and about 4lbs. Crawdad presentations in black and blue were getting attention but orange\brown combinations worked much better. In this case I am throwing a 3.25” Yum crawbug in “crawdad” color, which is a two tone, green and orange pumpkin. This is dressed with a ¼ or 1/2 oz jig head hook.

When I come upon a nesting male the casting range was increased dramatically. Spinnerbaits, swimbaits and even crankbaits were thrown in varying speeds hoping to lock into the mega-bucket that is hopefully cruising nearby. Occasionally my lack of self-control would get the better of me and the nesting fish would get nailed. The fish can’t help itself and I should know better. Quick handling and release makes this behavoir a little less shameless but not much.

By noon the wind was howling and a small land hurricane was forming. Juice on the battery was getting low so we made a dash over to the sheltered edges and worked our way back to the landing. Whitecaps were crashing on the shoreline by the time we made it in. The Minnkota 35 and battery gave us all she had. Don and I would have preferred a two trolling motor setup but I still haven’t replaced mine from the storage unit break in of 2011.

My hopes for big prespawn bass in 2012 have been more or less reduced to ashes. Didn’t get out enough and my timing was slightly worse than terrible in regards to the right spot at the right time. Sure I may be catching fish but the results are far more ho-hum than spectacular. Rather than reach for my bag of excuses I simply have to fish harder. Most of my fish are caught on luck with a lot of determination.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.