Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some late gills

Normally I am only chasing bluegills and sunfish in the early summer. Stumbling across a group of gills suspending off of wood structure the other day I had to give them a cast. There was a decent grouping of fish with good size and something I don’t typically see so late in the year. Switching up from streamer to nymph, my casting elbow went to work on these little guys.

First up was a beaded head nymph. The sun would catch the brass and the fish would go after it. More than once a fish would take a nip rather than a more committing bite. This typically means the pattern is off a little. A few more curious looks and I switch up again.  

The next pattern is a smaller brown nymph with some horsehair. This gave the fly more of a hackled look and offered a bit of crunch when the fish bite down. This was the ticket and fish would commit on the first swipe.  

A helpful hint when fishing for late season gills is to keep the bait moving rather than leave it stationary. This gives the lure more of a fleeing motion and the fish will hit more aggressively. It works best if you are sight fishing as you can gauge the movement of the bait with the fish’s demeanor.

The gill action was so good later in the day that I virtually forgot about bass fishing. Of course it helps that I managed to catch a few buckets on the frigid morning bite.

 The fall fishing season is underway. I have had to change my game from fast to slow for the bass. The bluegill action is so sporadic at this time of year that I simply take it as it comes. Water temps on the smaller lakes that I fish have dropped below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. My fishing results get very inconsistent from here on out. I will have to lean on the electronics more and less on the sight fishing.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fish will eat anything sometimes…even fingers.

Idaho fisherman catches fish with human finger inside.

A fisherman found a human finger in the belly of a trout caught in a remote northern Idaho lake. And detectives located the owner, who delivered a surprising message.

Despite the hard work of investigators, Haans Galassi said he did not want to be reunited with his severed digit.
"At first the sheriff asked me if I wanted it back, and I was thinking 'um, no!" Galassi, 31, said.

The reunion may bring back too much pain for Galassi, who is getting over the accident two months ago on an Idaho lake.

Galassi was wakeboarding on Priest Lake in July while holding on to a rope attached to a speed boat. Then things went terribly wrong.

He noticed too much slack in the rope, tried to correct it and the rope wrapped around his left hand, he said.
"It pulled me over in the water and dragged me for a few feet before it broke me free," Galassi said. "I didn't feel pain at first, just numbness, and I pulled my hand out of water and it was bad news. I look and see I'm missing all four fingers at that point."

Galassi was rushed to the hospital and has been trying to get by without his fingers. He learned that he can still grip and grab items such as a steering wheel with his affected hand.

And then he got the strange phone call Tuesday from Det. Gary Johnston of the Bonner County Sheriff's Department.The fisherman who found the finger on September 11 quickly put it in a freezer and called the sheriff's department, Johnston said.

"The lake is cold and deep so it was in remarkably good shape," Johnston said. "We'd fingerprinted it and sent it to the state lab to match what's on file and lo and behold, they came back and said that's Haans' little finger."
Fisherman Calvin Nolan told CNN how he made the grisly discovery as he gutted a trout caught by his friend Mark Blackstone as they fished together.

He had noticed something in the gut of the fish that he thought looked like a crawdad, or crayfish, which they had been using as bait -- but Blackstone said, "No, that's a finger."

Nolan said the digit was very well preserved when they first found it, adding: "It was as fresh as if it was on my finger."

The two fishermen, who turned the 4-5 lb trout over to the sheriff's department, were so amazed by their unlikely discovery that they both bought lottery tickets afterward, Nolan said.

"I've caught a zillion fish, but never one with a human finger," he added.

In the meantime, since Galassi said he did not want the finger, the sheriff's department will leave it in an evidence freezer in case he changes his mind, Johnston said.

And Galassi may just do that.

"Now I'm thinking, what if I can get it put back on?" he said. "I've called my doctor to see if they can put it back on and I'm waiting for him to call me back."

Link to full article on CNN

Matt’s Rant” Fish live to eat. When they are not fighting against the biological elements that keep them alive, fish are trying to eat. Some anglers search for the perfect pattern while others get lucky by timing things right and trickin’ ‘em. Most of my fishing is a stumbling effort in between both methods. Best wishes to Mr. Galassi and hope he continues to do well despite the accident.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Don digs out another great bass

Fishing the tail end of the summer bite and the weather was perfect. The sun was out, the wind was calm, and the air temperatures were blissfully perched in the low 70’s. You think the fishing would be great? Instead we found ourselves grinding out the day and switching up baits.

Then I see Don’s fly rod bend over as he sets the hook on a brute fish. The fish hit the streamer and went straight for the weeds. Before Don could absorb all of the slack in one hand while lifting the rod with the other the fish was burrowed in deep. The line stopped moving and we both feared that the fish had spit the hook while spinning around in the thick matte.

At first Don tried to horse the fish out of the weed-muck. Then he relaxed the rod and gave the fish all the room it needed to work itself out. Lastly he pulled on the line hoping to at least salvage his rig. The heavy clump of weeds starts to slowly rise up to the boat finally giving way.

“All I see is weeds.” Don murmurs while reaching down to start picking through the weed clump for his fly pattern.

As the clump of weeds reach the surface of the water an enormous thrashing of water takes place. Don reaches his hand in the water and pulls up a fatty bass. I get him to mug it up on one photo before he quickly removes the fly and let the fish go. We chased a small “brunch-bite” for half and hour and then went back to the doldrums.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mattsabasser Driving to Fish-Tips: Don’t crash into the creek

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”.

Don’t crash into the creek

(This story is a few days old and less of a developing story than this vidcapture may portray. I fish this stretch and still not sure how this person smacked right into the sweet spot.)

Most of these Driving to Fish Tips are common sense stuff for most of us and a few basic reminders never hurt. It may seem a little absurd for me to say something like, “Can you keep your vehicle out of the creek, please?” But once a year someone manages to drive their vehicle into one or two of the streams that I fish. 

Canyon roads in Colorado have some perilous turns and twists but we’re not talking about some promoted goat path featured on “IRT Deadliest Roads”. Simple things like driving a modest speed and being mindful of the road would help keep the vehicle under control. Maybe I am just asking too much and should keep one eye open for out of control vehicles while fishing. Once again as a friendly reminder I urge folks to match the hatch, crash the hatch but please do not crash into the creek.

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.

Quick cast down town

“Just grab the gear and go.” These words slip into my brain sent probably by my casting elbow. “There is enough time to hit the DT section.” Next thing I know a rod is loaded up and my truck is heading to the water.

A few rainstorms here and there have created a spur of action on the creek. Water running through the drainage areas can wash all sorts of insects into the main flow. This can kick trout into feeding mode. It also allows me to get away with a few spin patterns. Fall colors such as gold, brown and yellow are primary patterns this time of year. Second choice is black or olive. A few casts and the fish will tell me what they prefer.  

The downtown stretch can offer a decent numbers day in regards to fish but don’t expect much in the way of size. In fact I am surprised when twelve inchers come to the hand. If you fish this stretch it helps to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The bite is slightly better and the trail traffic is substantially less. Catch and release is prescribed as the fish populations are constantly rebuilding from on disaster or another.  

Even when things get hectic for me there is still time enough to grab a quick cast. Similar to this post the trip was quick and to the point. This material is a week or two old so a short write up will help add it to the post section.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, September 19, 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.”

This excerpt is sort of like a “what I did this summer”. It is amazing that this old Canon Powershot lasted as long as it did. Last week it started acting crazy. I am still looking at upgrades but just being lazy about it. Apologies for the less than professional quality in most of my photos.

Another wrong turn

(Above: My life is filled with those moments that I realize too late that a wrong turn was made. This definitely looks like it could be one of those times.)

Wild Ride

(Above: I am not exactly sure what is going on in this photo. Why do pictures of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster always turn out blurry?)

Ready to Pounce

(Above: Being attacked by a mountain lion or puma is possibly one of my worst fears. Something like this is quite possible all over Colorado so it helps to keep eyes open for anything. Luckily I spotted this feline before it could ambush me.)

Rock Planter

(Above: Now and then I come across what is sometimes called “wormrock”. Holes such as this are remnants from excavation. Looks as if some local foliage moved in and making good use of the summer real estate.)

Amusement by Lakeside

(Above: This summer I finally talked myself into going to Lakeside Amusement Park. Riding that rickety old white roller coaster may just be one of the scariest things I have ever done. It was good to finally scratch this off the bucket list.)

There are a number of projects getting underway at work that have already sidelined me from some of my fishing. Add that to a few skunkaroo trips and it really starts to make a dent in the blog material. Hopefully I can make do with just a few fishing weekends while keeping the train on the tracks.

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

Good luck and good blogging.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fisherman adrift for 106 days in Pacific says shark led him to rescuers

A man who survived while adrift in the Pacific for 106 days is crediting a shark for helping to save his life.

Toakai Teitoi, 41, a policeman from the Central Pacific island nation of Kiribati, had been traveling with his brother-in-law on what was supposed to be a short voyage, beginning May 27, from the Kiribati capital of Tarawa to his home island of Maiana.

But the mariners decided to fish along the way, and fell asleep during the night. When they awoke they were far at sea and adrift in their 15-foot wooden vessel. They soon ran out of fuel, and were short on water.

"We had food, but the problem was we had nothing to drink," Teitoi told Agence France-Presse news service.

Dehydration was severe. Falaile, the 52-year-old brother-in-law, died on July 4. That night, Teitoi slept next to him, "like at a funeral," before an emotional burial at sea the next morning.

Teitoi shared scant details of the ordeal after arriving in Majuro, in the Marshall Islands, on Saturday. He said he prayed the night Falaile died, and the next day a storm arrived and, over the next several days, he was able to fill two five-gallon containers with fresh water.

Days and weeks passed, however, and Teitoi, a father of six, did not know whether he'd live or die. He subsided mostly on fish and protected himself against the searing tropical sun by curling up in a small, covered portion of the bow.

It was on the afternoon of Sept. 11 that he awoke to the sound of scratching against his boat. A six-foot shark was circling the boat and, Teitoi said, bumping against its hull.

"He was guiding me to a fishing boat," Teitoi said. "I looked up and there was the stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me."

The first thing he asked for after he was plucked from the water was a cigarette, or "a smoke." He was given food and juice and his rescuers continued to fish for several days before delivering him to Majuro.

Teitoi, who seemed in good health, said he booked flights back to his home island, adding, "I'll never go by boat again."

The record for drifting at sea is believed to be held by two fishermen, also from Kiribati, who were at sea for 177 days before coming ashore in Samoa in 1992

Link to story posted on GrindTV

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Transitioning into fall

A lot of bassers will tell you fall bass fishing is some of the best you can get in Colorado in regards to size and quality of fish. This may be true especially this year, as summer has drawn out hotter and longer than ever. However fall bass fishing can be very challenging for me and admittedly not my best game. So as soon as I see the end of summer approaching my transition to fall begins.

The change in seasons can be very subtle for those of us that live indoors and we may not see fall coming until the leaves are yellow. Daytime temperatures are still flirting with 80 and even 90 degrees but the heat index is dropping near 50 in the evening hours. Water temperatures at the warm water destinations that I fish regularly are at 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit. This means metabolisms are still high and fish should be active. This is the tail end of the summer bite and it still fishes and feels like summer from the boat. But the colder nights and shorter days let the fish know things are changing and time is running out. Bass will be looking to bulk up before winter when their body factory slows down. 

The first thing I start to notice about fall fishing is the drop off in forage. Most fish have stopped spawning and the smorgasbord of summer starts to dwindle down to a mere soup line at best. Populations of fish dwelling in the shallows become increasingly less once we leave the warm days of summer. Lions generally follow the herds of their prey and this mentality transitions over to my bass fishing. Once smaller fish leave the shallow spawning grounds the largemouth go with them. I find myself searching out the deeper structure points and leaning more on the electronics this time of year. Once I locate deep structure such as rock piles, sunken trees or submerged points fish of all sizes will generally pop up on the electronics (even on my cheap sonar).

Baitfish patterns like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the bread and butter of the fall season. I also like to throw ½oz spoons in fall if there is plenty of open water to cover. The colors transition to darker colors with more orange, brown and red. I also tend to go bigger in the fall and then dial down ¼oz if bites don’t come along. My thinking here is that the bass will be keying on larger fish because that is the most common food source at this time. It isn’t a perfect science and not near as consistent as I would like.

My next option is jigging with crawdad presentations and a few plastic options. Once again this is generally the stuff I threw in July at the same locations. In reality the fish will most likely hit anything that is well conceived and presented. The only difference is that I am slowing the retrieve and going a lot deeper with the lure. In some cases I will work the bait right on the bottom with very little movement if I think the fish are beneath me. This technique often triggers a reaction bite from even stubborn fish.

In the case above I am throwing a combination of fly and bass material. Nothing pretty about this rig and I have a few kinks to work out before getting too yackity shmackity. The style is similar to the ones That Mountain Goat Keith made for Don, which he has had success with. The trick to this bait is a color combination with natural movement in the water and a perfect balance of weight. The lure needs to fall like a fleeing fish but not dig itself into the weed matte below.

This year I have done more fly-fishing for bass than trout and the success is a combination of water and luck. The fish at some of my regular haunts may have gotten wise to my spin gear but they completely let their guard down on anything with bunny fur. Quite a few of my late summer trout destinations are on hold right now due to drought conditions. So why not try to trick a few bass that have been ignoring my spin game? It is not so much a preference as a need for success.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Parker fisherman hooks surprise catch: a piranha

Parker – One fisherman got the surprise of his life when he discovered a species of Piranha living inside a neighborhood lake that’s more likely to be the home of bass and tadpoles.
“I’m worried about it eating all my other fish,” said Garry Norman while admiring his latest catch from Bingham Lake in Parker.

The fish, which experts believe is a Pacu, is a native of South America and not a species of fish normally found in Colorado. Some suggest the fish was first brought to the United States as a pet but its owner likely abandoned the Pacu after only a number of months.

“People get them at pet shops they don’t want to flush them down the toilet and when they can’t afford to feed them they’ll let them go.” added one fisherman when asked about the unlikely discovery.