Monday, June 24, 2013

Mud Bass on the Shorebang

It looks like The City took over another one of my fishing spots. This place took me five years to get permission from the homeowners to launch my tooner on it. In exchange I would do a Mattsabasser trash haul once a year while expressing only respect when out there. Only a small portion of the lake was public access and that access was from shoreline only. I had heard that The City wanted more control but there was no follow up on my part. Roll the dice and pull the truck up on the place one weekend to discover that a lot indeed had changed.

(Above: First fish pulled out of weed cover. This is a fish with a side of salad picture.)

“You can’t take that boat on here.” A young poindexter immediately barks out as I approach with boat in tow.

After some discussion I choose not to launch and made a call to the homeowner leaving a voicemail. Eventually I did find out that boat access has been removed even from the landowners. This is heartbreaking as it took me so long to get that access on a privileged section of the water.

“It looks like this place is a shorebang situation from here on out.” I scoff in sadness and remembrance of years that have passed. “That figures.”

(Above: Respectable fin slapper. In previous years this would be a good skunk-beater or something that kept the action going between much larger fish. This year it was my best fish of the day.)

The ditch company isn’t paying for water shares from this drainage and or routing water from other sources. Instead of water fluctuations up and down, the pond loses a foot of depth every year. This and other factors hurt the system in so many ways. The City could put water in there and make the situation almost as good as it was but they won’t. Most of the shoreline is a muddish-like quicksand that smells from decades of wet decomposition.

(Above: Last fish picked out of the mudhole and I had to go in and get him costing me a pair of shoes.)

The same thing happened to another one of my favorite fishing places when The City took over. The fishing oasis that I had worked so hard to get access was turned over to the public in a similar fashion. Bad things happened and in a few short years the whole place was drained. The place was turned to mud. The only saving grace is the fact I am always looking for new water and I still managed to C&R a few fish out of this one.

The lure of the day was a 5 inch Yamamoto twin tail grub in watermelon flake. Every lake is different but this particular body of water has a lot of weeds and algae that limit some of my other gear options. It also sports a lot of frogs that the bass love to hammer. I throw this twin tail grub weightless on the heavy stuff and might slap on a 1/8oz or 1/4oz weight in less cover. A 2/0 extra wide gap hook or even worm style gets me a few more hooksets than the plastic frogs with the two prong hook setup.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fire Season already starting in Colorado

It doesn’t take much heat and dryness to create a dangerous situation in Colorado. Every year it seems to get worse. This year fire season didn’t wait long and we have several large fires to deal with. The Black Forest Fire took folks by surprise and was a bit of a flashback to the recent Waldo Fire. In both instances homes and lives were lost.

As we roll into the dry and hot season I want to urge caution and respect for the dangers that are present this time of year. I also want to express sincere prayers and wishes to all that are being affected by the Back Forest Fire and future fires that will undoubtedly occur.
(photo credit Mattsabasser-Cloradocastersblog)
(photo credit Mattsabasser-Cloradocastersblog)

link to photo from

Useful link for those need help or want to help folks impacted by the Black Forest Fire:

Link to timeline of events of Black Forest Fire:

There is also a map of the homes that were lost and a lot more on the story:

Good luck and good fishing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Always be ready for that one bite…and weather

Early summer conditions in Colorado usually mean water in the 65-70 degree range mixed with high winds. Wind has been blowing for several days at speeds that range from 5 to 60mph. These are the times when you pick the hot spot and gamble on the weather.

“Once the gate opens, all hell could break loose today.”

On this trip I had four rods;  two 7 foot, med-fast action with finesse or fast moving baits and two 6’6” heavy action rods for some jigging action. Jigs were digging up moss so I leaned heavily on the finesse baits. Fan casting in all directions I finally get a heavy thump on the line.

The fish battles ferociously and leaps out of the water twice trying to spit the hook with a frantic headshake.  Each time I hold my breath fighting to keep the line from going slack and losing the fish. I had to adjust the drag back and forth a few times before finally getting the fish to the hand. Took the picture and let it go.

I throw a lot fancier stuff for fish here but a 5” senko, black\blue flake is what got ‘em on what pretty much ended up on a one bite-one fish run for me. Fished for another hour without so much as a nibble. By then all hell did indeed break loose and winds started gusting heavily in the 40-50mph range. A land hurricane took over the entire situation and most of the boats headed for shore. Docking the boat was a challenge and a few folks had to be towed in by stronger craft.

Right about now I wish that I would have taken a picture of the boat ramp with waves and whitewater. That would have really rounded this post out perfectly. Dang Nabbit.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cabela's® Announces Opening Date of Thornton and Lone Tree, Colo., Stores

Cabela's Incorporated, the World's Foremost Outfitter® of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, will celebrate the official grand opening of its two Denver-area locations – Thornton and Lone Tree – Thursday, Aug. 15.

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies hosted by Cabela's executives and special guests will begin at 10:45 a.m. at each location and doors will open for business at 11 a.m. Opening day will begin a weekend-long celebration featuring outdoor celebrities, events for the entire family, giveaways and more.

The Lone Tree store will be located in Douglas County south of Denver in the new RidgeGate Commons development along Interstate 25 at RidgeGate Parkway, about a mile south of Park Meadows Mall. The 110,000-square-foot store will employ approximately 200 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees.

The Thornton store will be located north of Denver in a new retail development along Interstate 25 at 144th Avenue. The new development will be located on the southeast quadrant of the interchange and is being developed by Thornton Development, LLC. The 90,000-square-foot store will employ approximately 175 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees.

The stores' interiors are built in Cabela's next-generation format designed to surround customers in the outdoor experience. The exteriors reflect Cabela's popular store model with log construction, stonework, wood siding, a large glass storefront and metal roofing.

In addition to thousands of quality outdoor products, the stores feature a gabled entry facade, fireplace, Gun Library, Bargain Cave, Fudge Shop and mountain replica featuring North American game animals re-created in their natural habitat.
Photo credit link to Denver Post.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Photos from the field-June 2013

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.”

Normally I have a few clever and not so clever captions to go along with the pictures. This time the photos will be posted without my captions and will let the viewers make up their own.

As we roll through the last lush spoonfuls of late spring I want to wish everyone a safe and joyous summer.

Good luck and good blogging.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pennsylvania doctor, fishing guide rescue baby moose from southwestern Montana river

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- A Pennsylvania doctor on a guided fishing trip in southwestern Montana went home with an amazing tale of hauling in a 25-pound lunker — a baby moose she helped rescue from a rushing river.

Karen Sciascia of Red Hill, Pa., and a guide were fishing the Big Hole River on Saturday when they spotted a cow moose with a calf trying to cross the waterway.

"We were watching this adult female struggling back and forth, and we didn't see a baby until we got close," Sciascia told the Missoulian ( for a story published Thursday. "Mom kept pushing — the current was pretty swift. The mother bolted and took off across the river. She was trying to get across the main portion of the channel, and even she struggled."

When the calf stepped off the gravel bar into the water to follow its mother, it was swept downstream.

"It was small, and the river was swift," Sciascia said. "We lost sight of the baby. It was hurtling downstream and was being pushed by the river. It was too small to ever fight the current."

Sciascia and guide Seth McLean with Four Rivers Fishing Co. in Twin Bridges followed downriver, finally spotting the tiny moose's nose just above the water.

"We got up alongside it, and I just grabbed the little bugger. I scooped it up from the river under its front legs," Sciascia said.

"I tried to hold it out, not wanting to get my scent all over it, but it was basically limp," she said. "It was breathing, and with my hand on its chest, I could feel its heart beating real fast."

McLean rowed the raft upstream and snapped a photo before they dropped off the calf at the side of the river.

Link to full article and amazing photo of Karen Sciascia with the baby moose below. Photo provided by the Four Rivers Fishing Co.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Two big fatties

Did I mention that I like to fish? Have I talked about how much effort, pain and research I go through in hopes of catching really big fish? Every year I focus a lot of attention in hopes of landing some epic prespawn fatties. It seems to get tougher ever year.

These fish came from a section of ponds that are not very big and a total shorebang situation. Once again the trick wasn’t targeting the nesting the males but rather search casting the water just a few yards beyond the nesting zone.

Both fish came off of the southwestern edge of the pond. This quarter of the lake congregated the nesting activity as it had everything a bass could want. Shallow nesting shelf and then a sharp incline that led instantly into deeper water. A little bit of wood structure and emerging plant growth mixed in as well. No tape, no weight. Just ham it up a lil and get the fish back to minimize the stress. These fish could be sisters they look so similar. Both fish hit a 4” salamander, green pumpkinseed rigged with an 1/8oz Texas rig.


Sport Preservation note: Put the big fish back! If you take fish like this out of the system ultimately you are hurting the sport in many ways. Each time I show a big fish picture I worry about how many people will be encouraged to take up the sport of angling only to take home everything they catch.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mako shark is possible record-breaking catch

An 11-foot-long mako shark, weighing in at 1,323.5 pounds, is no tall tale. The shark, caught off the southern California coast, was reeled in by Jason Johnston of Mesquite, Texas, and its size might be a world record.
(Screen shot from CBS video. Link to full article and video below)
The angler made the giant catch—using chopped fish as bait—while on a charter fishing trip off Huntington Beach, Calif., on Monday. It didn’t come easy, reports CBS Los Angeles.

“He took out a quarter-mile of line ... and five times he came out of the water over 20 feet,” Johnston told the station. “It was amazing.”

He added, “It’s unreal. This thing is definitely a killing machine. Any wrong step, I could have gone out of the boat and down to the bottom of the ocean."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sum Panz

Few things break my bass fishing concentration like a school of bluegill, sunfish and even crappie. These fish species are referred to as “panfish” as the filets fit nicely in a skillet pan.  Colorado may not compare to southern states that these species originate from but they are still impressive enough to fixate my attention. I can’t help myself especially when late spring\early summer arrives. The water becomes dotted with schools of these little fin slappers just asking for trouble.   

Colors can vary greatly depending on the species. Hybridization is common between sunfish and bluegill as they spawn at the same time. Pumpkinseed sunfish have a speckled color pattern as where green sunfish have a more defined vertical striped body. Bluegills are typically darker and sport a smaller mouth than sunfish.  In a lot of Colorado ponds the panfish species become intermixed and each fish is very unique from the other. Exact identification becomes more complicated when these genetic lines are blurred. For more information on sunfish and other fish species identification please review the links at the bottom of the post. 

The best time to chase gills is in the summer when they are aggressive and very active. I prefer to time things early so they are in their prime prespawn condition and there isn’t a lot of smaller fry to weed through. This is usually the beginning of May but can vary greatly in Colorado’s crazy weather.

Panfish take a beating from the natural predators if they exist within the same habitat. This natural cycle actually helps both sides as it keeps numbers adjusted for the sunfish while providing food for the predator base. Large brooder sized sunfish are crucial to population and should be released as they provide the most opportunity to keep the scales balanced. Larger gills and sunnies also make my photo ops way more impressive. These sixes and sevens do not justify a lot of shameless bragging like the fish that get ten inches and over.

These “pans” are from a trip where I spent the first part of the day in the tooner and then banged from the shoreline after loading up the gear. The plan was to boat and fish the whole lake before the crazy holiday crowds set in. On the way out I see an entire section that had been missed and loaded with fish. Finished loading the tooner and went back for another round.

Knowing you have a problem is the first step to reaching a cure. The remedy that I have found thus far is to sit on a school of panfish and HAMMER ‘em until the twitch in my casting elbow goes away.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

First casualties of 2013 drought: Henry Lake's fish

In the latest sign of Colorado's drought, Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Wednesday authorized a public fish salvage for Henry Lake, located northeast of Ordway in Crowley County.

Kevin Lusk, a water resource engineer with Colorado Springs Utilities and president of the Lake Henry Reservoir Co., a group that provides storage and distributes irrigation water for shareholders, pointed to the drought conditions as well for Henry Lake's draining.

Lusk said that at the last meeting in the second week of May that Henry Lake shareholders agreed to drain the water down to Meredith Reservoir, directly south of Henry Lake, "rather than sit on it and watch it evaporate away."

"Lake Henry is really pretty shallow and flat," Lusk said. "When the lake level gets low, the water evaporates really fast."

The fish salvage begins June 1 and lasts until the lake, which has been partially drained, has completely dried or until conditions become unfit for public access.