Monday, May 30, 2011

The Dog Days of...Spring?

Nothing like fishing on a nice spring day except when the temperature was 100 degrees.  Huh?  A fishing buddy and I ventured to one of our favorite bodies of water despite the hot weather forecast.  As a weekend warrior angler, I don't have the luxury of choosing my fishing trips based on solar lunar settings and optimal fishing weather, so I have to get out when my calendar permits.  Often that means dealing with adverse conditions of some sort.  Honestly, I think over the years it's helped me as an angler, having to adapt to adverse conditions to catch fish or risk getting clobbered by the skunk monster.  It's been a long time since I've been skunked and I had no plans start today.

We started at one location where the water was very murky due to recent rains.  Two weeks ago I did fairly well with numbers of largemouth but not size.  The water clarity then was much clearer.  So, today not only did we have to adapt to adverse weather, but also it's aftermath.  I tried my search baits using my baitcasting set up to no avail.  After hitting prime spots with casts that, by law (LOL) should have produced a hit and didn't, I had to find a way to get some strikes.  My buddy caught a small one on a drop shot worm, so I put on my thinking cap and went to a high confidence bait especially for this location.  Anyway, I opted for something a bit more finesse, not something that I'd go to under such conditions, but we're talking post spawn and I had to try something to trigger strikes. I used a 4" plastic green pumpkin worm on a Gamakatsu size 2 offset shank hook, and a 1/32 oz. bullet sinker, using 4 lb. diameter/12 lb. test Spiderwire Fluorobraid.  Normally shoreline weed growth and cover will hold bass this time of year, but like my last trip the bass seemed to be focused on weed growth and/or wood away from the bank.  The tactic paid off and I landed 6 bass with two pretty decent ones, not huge, but the fun 2 to 2.5 pounders.  The rest were around the 12" range.  My buddy was using the same basic lures but using mono 8 lb. test and not getting the quality bites that I was getting.  The only real difference that I could see was the fishing line.  Fishing was slow and the water levels were dropping, and we decided to try a different section of water.

Here's a pic of one of the better bass from the first spot:

We moved North to a much weedier, woodier, bassy looking area but the water was crystal clear.  We found bass to be more numerous but not with the size that we found at the first location.  My buddy had 5 bass landed before I had a legitimate hit.  What the heck?  I figured it was the line, so I switched to 8 lb. Seagar fluorocarbon and instantly had a hit.  It wasn't long that I was catching them at a decent rate.  However, the fish seemed much smaller.  I know this spot holds bigger fish, but, today we just couldn't locate them. At about 3 PM the heat was getting to us and we started losing focus.  I don't know for sure if that was it or the fish seemed to shut down, but I'm thinking it was us.  We found ourselves basing our fishing on where it was shady for us more than the best cover for the fish!  Perhaps that's why we didn't get any real quality fish there.  That said, it was interesting to me that in the same body of water, I had to adapt and change fishing line to get bites.  This really is a rare occurrence here, but hey, ya gotta do whatever you gotta do to produce strikes.

Here's my friend with one from the second location...yeah, he's acting goofy for this blog:

OK, now here was something weird...we saw two snapping turtles really battling it out.  It wasn't the type of thing where two of the same species fight for dominance without risk of injury, rather, it really appeared that one of the snappers was trying to kill the other.  The bites were downright ferocious.  We hadn't witnessed that before.  Could that have actually been breeding behavior? Or, was it males in a territorial dispute?  I don't know, but it was a pretty awesome seen.  It went on for a good 15 minutes.

Here's a video of a short part of the snapping turtle fight:

Anyway, we beat the weather today and caught fish, but then again, we quit early so maybe it actually beat us.

Until next time, tight lines.

The Outdoors Calls Me - An Introduction

OK, before I let you in on what makes me tick, let me explain the title of my blog.  Fat Boy is my username on most of the forums that I frequent.  I picked it for use on one of the first forums that I joined many years back,  I selected this name not because of a motorcycle, or my stature (although I tend to resemble the name now), but rather it was one of my favorite ice fishing jigs made by Lindy Fishing Tackle Company.  Here's a picture of a Fat Boy jig:
I've had a life long passion for fish in general.  I studied them as a kid all the way through college.  I am an aquarist and have kept many types of tanks over the years including freshwater tropical, freshwater local, marine and currently a brackish water local biotope, an oyster reef.  But most of all, I've fished since I was a young boy on the heels of my grandfather on his fishing adventures, for nearly 45 years.  I've been an avid angler for about 30 years now.

What do I fish for?  Well, I'd say that angling for bass is my favorite thing, whether it's largemouth or smallmouth.  I am fortunate to live in a great place with diverse environments that are home to these fish. 

I also frequently target muskie, walleye, stripers, trout and salmon of the Great Lakes and it's tributaries, crappie, yellow perch, and bluegills.  Heck, I love to catch anything that will bite.  Even on my bass trips, catching multiple species really is fun for me.  I've been fortunate to catch a lot of trophy sized fish over the years with many fishing buddies that have introduced me to opportunities to catch fish of a lifetime for many.  I'm happy to have many friends that fish with me on a regular and not so regular basis.

I've caught fish on all types of tackle, from baitcasting and spinning to fly fishing.  The picture at the top of the page was my first lake trout taken with a fly.  Prior to that catch, I've only caught lakers on spinning or baitcasting tackle.  In addition to the abundant fishing opportunities in my home state of Maryland and neighboring states, I've had the pleasure of fishing for trout in the Rockies and Appalachians, trout and salmon from the Great Lakes and it's tributaries, massive smallmouth from Lakes Erie and Ontario, and fishing on the ice in Wisconsin with my Iceshanty friends.  Well, you can tell what my winter passion is, ice fishing.  It's so much fun for those of you that have never done it.  Where else can you sit over a large school of biting fish without drifting away?  It's been a fortunate run for me that's for sure.  I hope to bring insight to those experiences and perhaps share some of the things that I've learned over the years.

Other hobbies of mine that will influence this blog:  I also love to bowhunt for whitetails, although being in the winter woods with my blackpowder is something special to me as well.  My daughter and I share a passion to collect sharks teeth and other marine vertebrate fossils in our region.  This competes with my hunting and fishing time, but is quality time with my daughter which I cherish.

Finally, I'd like to say that I'd like to dedicate this blog to my brother, Kyle C. Wilson, who passed away from a congenital heart defect at the young age of 36 a few years ago.  Although I introduced him to bowhunting, he wound up teaching me so much about deer hunting with the sticks and strings.  In fact, he had a knack for hunting those big bucks, many of which line my rec room walls. 
He was an outstanding angler as well, with a talent for catching muskie, walleye, and flathead catfish.  Kyle was an excellent bass angler.  Here's a pic of a nice walleye that he caught in my home state:
Kyle was an awesome swim coach too and many families across the country were touched by his coaching ability.  He believed in the pursuit of excellence at anything he did, and he obtained results too.  I miss him greatly.

Thanks to Bass Junky for turning me on to the blogging world.  His blog inspired me in addition to some great reading so make sure you visit his blog (linked on the left hand side of this page).

Now that we have the introductions in order, I'll be writing my next post.  I'm going fishing tomorrow, perhaps something worth reporting will happen.  If so, I'll have pics ready.  Until then, tight lines and thanks for visiting!