Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Hunting Story Posted

The Thirty Minute Eight Point Whitetail Buck

Read about the thirty minute buck hunt, Click Here,
This hunting story took place a dozen years ago or so, and is one of my favorite hunts of all time.  It all happened so fast.  Check it out!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cold Front Fishing Challenge

The great thing about fishing in the fall is that big fish are willing to bite a variety of baits despite adverse conditions.  Cold fronts, extreme changes in temperatures, and shorter days contribute to not only changes in fish behavior, but also to their ecosystem and prey as well.  Two weeks ago my buddy and I fished a lake on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and found a multitude of bass and chain pickerel in areas where weeds and lily pads were abundant.  That area teemed with life.  Baitfish and predators could be seen easily in the clear water slightly tinted by tanic acid.  Just about every piece of woody cover, point of lily pads or pocket of weeds held a predator of one sort or another.  We hit that spot again on Tuesday and that area was devoid of life after only two weeks had elapsed from our last trip. 

What happened?  Where did the fish go?  After spending all morning looking for them, we had only one toothy chain pickerel to show for it, and we all but gave up looking for them opting to catch panfish instead.  We weren't in a tournament, rather, we were out for fun.  And on these particular lakes, multispecies fishing opportunities can expand your fun and panfish can make your day.  But, that last trip spoiled me.  I wanted more chain pickerel and largemouth bass.  I craved that big reaction strike.  So, I'll detail the rest of the trip in this post on how we finally got on those big fish.

We were out on a beautiful fall morning, but the fishing was tough.  Here, Howard is tossing a chatterbait looking for the big reaction bite of big bass and chain pickerel.  We faced post cold front conditions, bluebird skies and other adverse conditions, but were determined to find them, and later we did.
So, before I move on, let me set the stage on what we were up against.  First, the weather wasn't in our favor.  A strong cold front had moved through, and another one was on the way.  The weather normally after a cold front, about three days later, stabilizes and the fishing improves, but when one front moves through soon after another one, the weather doesn't stablize and the fish feel those effects, and the bite is often tough.  And, even though daytime temperatures have been relatively stable, the night time low temperatures have been dropping.  Sometimes though, shorter days trigger feeding behavior in predatory fish that will set them on a feeding binge even during conditions that normally give the lock jaw, and that was what we were banking on.

In addition to the weather conditions, the State Department of Natural Resources launched their electroshock boat to study our lake on this particular day.  They hit four prime spots on the lake, shocking, sampling, and measuring fish along large sections of prime shoreline, deep in cover, out from cover, just about everywhere.  Their modified pontoon boats emit about a thousand volts of electricity using two long metal probes. 

The staff of three DNR Biologists include someone to drive the boat, and two staff to net fish.  After netting stunned fish of all species, they record measurements and population numbers for each species to determine the health of the lake population.  This data helps the DNR to determine the best way to regulate fishing on the lake and to help them determine other management options for the future health of the fishery.  Even though this usually puts a large population of the lakes fish in a non-feeding mode, all of the fish are released alive and well to feed another day, and more importantly will lead to better fishing for all anglers in the long run.  So, we had to decide if it was worth fishing here or moving to another lake. 

We launched on a beautiful morning.  At first, the lake was like a sheet of glass, but that would change.
Also, on a weekday, normally places like this seldom have other anglers.  On our last trip, we arrived to find only one other boat on the water all day long.  But on this day, three other boats followed our launch on the lake throughout the day.  That doesn't sound like much, but on a small lake, it's another concern.  Normally, if the DNR wasn't electroshocking the lake, we wouldn't think twice about that since there's more than enough fish for that number of boats, but about half the lakes prime spots have been fried.  So, that was another reason for us to move.

We fished last trips hot spots all morning and all we had to show for it was this lone chain pickerel.   The question about a spot change lingered in our minds, or should we stick it out?  Quality fish are in this lake, but would they bite?
Finally, the bite seemed to be off.  Where fishing was hot and fish activity once flourished a two weeks prior, it seemed lifeless and dead, and we didn't see but only a few small fish.  The baitfish and predators were gone.  Why?  Where did they go?  We noticed that the lily pads seemed to be dying off.  Also, the milfoil and hydrilla seemed to by dying off as well.  We theorized that the oxygen levels in those areas were low, leaving the fish uncomfortable enough to migrate to other areas of the lake.  The other option was that they may be deep into the cover, up in the lily pads.  We decided to take a look, pushing the boat into the pad fields to see if we could see any predatory fish or spook them, but we saw nothing.  They had migrated to other holding spots.  That was our challenge the rest of the day, to find them.

So, we moved down the lake.  The lake is situated along a wooded shoreline on each side along a Northwest to Southeast direction.  The Northwest winds were picking up as the sun rose over top of us.  The skies were bright blue, and the sunlight and glare were making visibility tough even with sunglasses.  The lake was no longer a sheet of glass.  Maybe the winds were piling up warmer water, oygenated water, down the lake, and maybe that's where the baitfish and predators were.  Our numbers were pitiful at this point, so we both opted to find some panfish to pad our catch rate.  Also, by doing that, you find baitfish and eventually predators.  Once you know where they are, a change in fishing methods is the only thing left to catch them, but that is sometimes a challenge in itself.

Finding panfish like this nice crappie can pad your catch numbers, but also help you find where conditions may be right for finding predatory fish like chain pickerel and largemouth bass.
We found plenty of good sized bluegills, shellcrackers, and a few crappie scattered around lily pad fields further down the lake near deeper water.  In some spots, the panfish bit just about every cast while casting small two inch twister tails on 1/32 ounce jigheads and light line.  That was fun, but I had big fish on my mind, and the panfish were starting to bore me.  We each had several chain pickerel bite our jigs off, leaving our line dancing in the wind.  We also picked up a few small bass on the panfish jigs.  We found the predators.  Now we had to figure out a way to catch them.

Chain pickerel like this one were biting off our panfish jigs.  We also caught a few smaller bass on the small lures, so the predators were here.  We just had to find a way to get more of them.  Plus, getting bitten off and retying new lures wastes fishing time and hurts the wallet.  If they're going to bite, I want to boat them.
By now, we had moved all the way to the other end of the lake.  The wind was stronger here, especially on the Southeastern shoreline, where the warmer water was piling up.  Howard and I tried several reaction baits and finesse presentations, but nothing seemed to work.  I managed to catch a pickerel using a larger grub and jighead, but just about every cast brought back some algae on my lure that I kept having to clean off, and that irritated me.  If the fish were actively striking that presentation, I'd put up with it, but the bites were few and far between.  Something had to change.  The fish had to be here.

Last time we fished this lake, we found lots of these golden
shiners, which we assumed were the coveted forage for
both bass and chain pickerel.
I opened up my crankbait box and searched for an answer.  This lake was shallow and weedy, so deep and medium divers were out.  I needed a good shallow crankbait.  Then, something in my box caught my eye and jarred my memory.  Last time we fished this lake, we found huge schools of golden shiners, and when we found them, we also found big chain pickerel and good sized bass.  In my box, the lure that caught my eye should be the perfect imitation of a golden shiner, a half ounce Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap in the gold with black back color. 

Lipless crankbaits are a good choice when imitating large baitfish like golden shiners, blueback herring, and various species of shad.  And, the rattling noise and vibrations on the retrieve often draw reaction strikes on both active and inactive fish.  The strikes when fishing these lures are often violent, and that was what I was hoping for. 

I had never tried lipless crankbaits in this particular lake.  I never had to, because the things that we tried on this day, like spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and plastic worms normally kept us busy with plenty of bites.  But not today.  So, I thought that I'd give it a shot.

On my first cast, I put the lure into an area that was about three feet deep.  After a few cranks I could feel the bait wasn't working properly, so I quickly reeled it in only to find thick hair like algae hanging from both treble hooks.  At first, I thought that I might be wasting my time, but then decided to place a cast toward deeper water, and try keeping my rod tip high while maintaining a medium retrieve speed.  The next cast went out to the deeper water.  After a few cranks, I had a bone jarring strike and a big fish on.  What did I have?  I wondered if I had hooked a chain pickerel or a big largemouth bass.  It didn't matter as I am tickled to catch either species, and besides, this fish was fighting like crazy.  The fish seemed to dig for the deep against the resistance of my medium power fast action St. Croix Avid baitcasting rod.  After a really good fight, the fish finally came up and boiled near the boat. 

Big bass...I wasn't sure how big, but it was big, and on a tough day of fishing, a fish like this can make your day.  Finally, I was able to get the bass to the side of the boat, careful to lip the fish and boat it without leaving two treble hooks imbedded in my hand.  We measured it and weighed it, twenty inches and four pounds, then I released it to fight another day.

This bass fell for a gold Rat-L-Trap, a good imitation of the golden shiner, probably the meal that this four pound largemouth bass was hunting for.  "Traps" make for great reaction bites especially on weedy lakes.
We figured that the predatory fish were in the deep end of the lake, so we decided to use the wind to drift across the lake while tossing our lipless crankbaits in search of them.  At first, it seemed as if I had a one fish wonder bite.  That is, I wonder why only one fish would bite it.  Maybe I didn't find a pattern, but rather, a lone fish that I fooled, while many others were down deep laughing at us.  Howard put on a six inch Senko and caught a couple decent bass and pickerel, so maybe he found a pattern.  I followed suit and tried one also, but no hits for me as we both drifted that deeper water in search of fish.

Howard found a couple nice bass and pickerel using a six inch Senko in the deeper water.
Well, I wasn't about to give up on my gold trap.  Fish like that bite for a reason.  There had to be more.  So, I went back to it, making cast after cast, joking that bass and pickerel were a fish of ten thousand casts, like the mighty musky.  After about thirty more casts, I gave up and went back to panfishing for a bit, kind of like a rest.  Panfish and minnows were dimpling the surface all around us, tempting me to try and catch them just to see what they were.  I landed a nice bluegill, followed by a nice crappie, only to be bitten off a few casts later by another toothy chainside.  Ah hah!  More predators.  Maybe they want my Rat-L-Trap again. 

So, I picked it back up and began chucking it.  Three casts later and I had a massive strike.  What did I have this time?  Again, the fish fought, sounding for the depths, even taking drag.  Big fish, but was it a pickerel or a bass?  Again, I'm thrilled as I fought this fish.  Finally it came to the surface and thrashed about, splashing Howard in the process.  It was a nice sized chain pickerel, my biggest one so far this year.  Now, maybe I was on to something. 

I brought the mighty pickerel to the side of the boat, and with those teeth and treble hooks thrashing about, I decided it wouldn't be the best idea to try and grab the fish, so I hoisted it into the boat.  Bad idea.  The fish thrashed even more and wouldn't you know, one of the treble hooks headed right for my crotch!  I tried my best to avoid the hooks but one of them stuck in the pants leg of my blue jeans, two of the hooks piercing all the way through my pants, right along my right groin area, with the fish still attached and flopping.  I was happy that I wasn't wearing shorts, because that would have been a nasty result.  Finally, the toothy predator calmed down and I was able to remove it from the lure.  I turned and posed as Howard snapped my photo with the fish, with the lure still hooked to my pants.  I released the beast and spent several minutes removing the lure from my pants, thankful that the hooks didn't penetrate any skin.

This nice size chain pickerel hammered my Rat-L-Trap, then proceeded to hook me!
The afternoon was finally heading to toward a close.  I was happy that I had two quality fish slam my lure.  So far, the catch  numbers weren't great, but any time I catch quality fish it's a good trip, and I'm thankful.  Howard and I decided to fish our way back to the ramp and hit the Western shoreline.  Howard tied on a chatterbait and I stuck with my Rat-L-Trap, fishing it as if it was a spinnerbait, working pockets along the weeds and lily pads, around woody cover, and out to deeper water.  We stayed away from shore knowing that the predators were not deep in the cover, but rather, they seemed to be hunting in the deeper water out from the cover.  We proved this on the trip back, as Howard and I hooked several chain pickerel and largemouth bass.

Several more bass and pickerel hit my gold Rat-L-Trap as we fished our way back to the ramp to end the day.
Howard with a quality chain pickerel that attacked his chatterbait.
After landing several bass and pickerel on our way back, some of them being decent size, we both marveled about how tough the day had been, but were glad that we made the right decision to stay and fish this lake out despite the tough conditions.  I finished with some nice crappie, well over a dozen nice bluegills, a good number of chain pickerel, and a bunch of nice largemouth on the day.  Howard did equally well, although he probably caught two to my one on the bluegills...that boy was on fire with those gills!

In summary, when facing tough conditions but you know that you're on a good lake with quality fish, don't give up on it especially in the fall.  When daylight is short, that's less fishing time, and a spot change takes time away from fishing.  You have to pull the boat out, drive to another spot, and launch again.  Plus, even if it's a good lake, you have to start from scratch to figure them out, and there's no guarantee that the fishing will be any better than what you left.  On the other hand, a spot change could really make your day, so it's a tough decision.  On this particular day, I feel that we made the right decision to stay.  I'll take a four pound bass and a big pickerel any day.  Fall fishing, big fish, that's what it's all about.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Potomac River Bass Anglers Beware...

...of the potential threat to your largemouth bass fishery.  Gene Mueller posted two articles, one sets the stage, and the other is the warning facing specifically bass anglers as a result of the first. 

Let's make sure that we stand up for our tidal bass fishery on the Potomac River, so we can enjoy catching fish like these and protect the resource for years to come.
Basically, in a nutshell, Robert T. Brown, head of the St. Mary's County Waterman's Association and the chairman of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission's Finfish Advisory Board opposes regulations regarding the harvest of menhaden and instead wants to impose regulations that affect largemouth bass fishing, creel limits, and catch and release fishing (even tournaments) creating a real threat to the fantastic tidal bass fishing in our state.  Every angler that fishes for largemouth bass and catfish in Maryland tidal waters needs to take note of this threat, and write the following people:

Gene suggests contacting Maryland DNR's director of Fisheries Tom O'Conell ( and Kirby Carpenter, director of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission in Colonial Beach, Md. to politely air our concerns. 

Gene Mueller has been our voice for years, bringing news on the politics of fishing to us and being an advocate for our fishery.  We need to take his advice, and wake up to prevent changes in our tidal bass fishing regulations that could damage our great bass fishery.
Here are the links to Gene's posts for more detail on this issue, and I suggest that if you're concerned that you read them and take heed:

Protect the menhaden...

Threat to Tidal Potomac bass fishing:

You can bet that in the next few days I'll be posting this info on various fishing forums, especially those read by anglers locally.  I suggest that you all do some research, and if what you've read here and on Gene's blog ticks you off as much as it does me, then you'll do something about it by spreading word of the threat and also write the powers that be about this.  Like Gene says, it's time Maryland takes back what's rightfully ours, the Potomac River so that we can ensure that Maryland residents as well as it's visitors can enjoy our bountiful bass fishery.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mixed Bag Multispecies Fishing Fun

So far, the vast majority of my blogging about fishing has centered around bass fishing, and you'd think that's all I like to do.  Without a doubt, bass fishing for bass is a passion of mine.  However, some of my favorite places to fish are the ones that give me the opportunity to catch good size fish, good numbers of fish, and different types of fish.  Variety, size, and numbers translate to fishing fun in my book.  Multispecies action gives the saying, "Variety is the spice of life" great merit in my book.  This time of year, October, is one of my favorite times to put together multispecies catches that leave me anxious to return another day.  My past two fishing trips were to such a place, where we were blessed with good catches of chain pickerel, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill sunfish amongst other species.  The pictures on this post were from my latest trip.

This chain pickerel fell for a white Z-man chatterbait with a white ringworm trailer.  Pickerel are toothy, agressive, strike with reckless abandon, and just plain fun to catch.  On this day, a front moved through and the bass shut down, but these toothy critters didn't disappoint, increasing my catch rate and fishing excitement.
My buddy Howard and I fished out of his pond hopper boat, an eleven foot Coleman Crawdad that, for years, supported the hefty weight of our bodies and tackle, enabling us to catch many very good fish of all kinds over the years.  Howard and I loaded the boat with two batteries, attached the trolling motor, paddles, life vests, tackle, snacks, drinks and fishing rods, slid the boat down the ramp, and were off just after first light in search of everything that lived in that lake to catch, photograph, and release. 

The three days prior to our trip were extremely windy, but the winds on this day had died down, and when we launched, the lake was like a sheet of glass.  The sun had just risen but was hidden behind clouds lingering from the low pressure system that had passed through the area a couple days earlier, leaving me with an irresistable photographic opportunity to shoot the silhouette Howard and his craft after he launched his boat.  We had a lot of rain during the week so the lake was full.  The water clarity was excellent, almost crystal clear except for the slight stain of tanic acid, jokingly refered to as "satanic acid" by Howard.  Warm temperatures thoughout the week probably had a positive effect on fish activity by keeping the lake water temperature up a bit in the fishes comfort zone.

The Coleman Crawdad, Howard's fishing machine, launches on a beautiful fall morning.
I loaded the boat with my tackle, and six rods rigged for all my possible hot patterns.  Six rods, really?  Well, when targeting multiple species, you need different rigs, right?  All week long when planning this trip, I spent hours at home fiddling with my tackle and rigging my rods in anticipation of the patterns that might have worked given the conditions that we were about to face. 

For largemouth bass and chain pickerel, I had my flipping/pitching rod rigged with a skirted Strike King Hack Attack jig and Denny Brauer chunk trailer on fifty pound Suffix 132 green braided line, to power fish out of heavy cover and pads.  I also had my medium power, fast action spinning rod Texas rigged with a four inch green pumpkin plastic worm rigged with a light wire hook and light weight on light eight pound Nanofil line for a fine finesse presentation.  I had another medium action outfit rigged with a popping plug on eight pound fluorocarbon line for possible topwater action.  I had a medium action baitcasting outfit rigged with a 1/2 ounce white chatterbait with a white plastic worm trailer, and another heavy action long baitcasting rod rigged with Live Target frog with heavy braided line in case the fish were hunkered down in the lily pads. 

And finally, for panfish, I had an ultralight rod rigged with a Kalin's Triple Threat grub in the lemon meringue color, using six pound test Nanofil that has a diameter equivalent to two pound test monofilament line.  That's a lot of fishing rods for a small pond hopper boat, but really, it's just being prepared for all of the situations that I thought that I'd encounter on the day.  That way, I didn't have to take time to cut a lure off and re-tie a different lure on, at least not as much.

Chain pickerel, sometimes nicknamed "jack fish" particularly in parts of Virginia, like this one can attack with lightning speed, giving the angler a thrill and a good fight.  This pickerel had a run in with one of the lakes predatory species.  Perhaps this pickerel was an osprey survivor.
My first fish was an average sized chain pickerel that came off a chatterbait being pulled from the weeds into the water.  As soon as it fell off the slop, the pickerel exploded on it.  Esox niger, the chain pickerel, is the smaller cousin of northern pike and muskellunge, or musky.  They have sharp teeth and can attack with lightning speed, and are known to cut your line if you don't use a steel leader.  I personally don't use a steel leader, accepting the fact that a few of my inexpensive jigs or plastic worms will be bitten off even when using heavy line, simply because I feel that the lures get better action and draw more strikes.  For some reason, on this day, the chatterbait was driving the pickerel nuts.  I finished with nineteen of them, with some of them approaching 23 inches in length.

Yellow perch like this on can provide good action and, if you really get into them, can really pad your numbers for the day.  They are agressive and hit any lure that will fit into their mouth.  This one hit a plastic worm.
Not long after that, Howard caught his first fish of the day, a chunky yellow perch, caught while he was targeting largemouth bass using a four inch plastic worm, traditionally on this particular day a hot bass lure.  The yellow perch were also very aggressive even after the front moved through and the wind picked up.  On the day, the perch attacked my plastic worm, Kalin's grub, and I even caught one on the large chatterbait!

This nice yellow perch attempted to engulf my 1/2 ounce chatterbait for lunch, showing how aggressive they were.
Soon after Howard's perch, I changed tactics and went to the ultralight.  I caught a nice bluegill sunfish right off the bat.  In my earlier posts, I talked about Nanofil line, the six pound line that I was using that had two pound diameter, or even thinner maybe.  For fishing plastic worms, it casts a country mile, but the thin line would break on my hook sets.  So, I went to the eight pound test for that purpose.  Now, I wasn't about to waste the thinner line, so I spooled my ultralight with the thinner Nanofil to fish for panfish with. 

I was very pleased that I could cast my 1/48 ounce jig just as far as when using four pound fluorocarbon line, if not further, with very little effort.  The line has no memory either, and is very sensitive, which is nice for jigging panfish so you can feel the bites easily.  You can feel every little thing, and the thump of a fat bluegill bite feels like a BIG thump.  At first, I was worried about the line visibility, but the fish weren't line shy at all, at least on this trip, including a bunch of fat bluegills caught throughout the day.  The Nanofil passed the panfish test.  My next test of that line will be through the ice this winter, and thus a final review of the brand for that purpose.

Bluegill sunfish like these were willing biters on my little jigs even on the white Nanofil line.
Normally, this lake produces good catches of fat slab crappie.  But on this day, the calicos were tough to find, but we both caught a few of them.  We were casting and slowly jigging our ultralight jigs.  Perhaps a change in technique would have landed more crappie.  Maybe that change would have been a micro tube jig, or perhaps a Berkley Power Wiggler fished under a float?  With other species cooperating, I wasn't going to spend much time re-rigging, so I stuck with my original plan.  Even though the crappie didn't cooperate as much as I had liked, the pickerel, perch, and 'gills gave us plenty of action.

Usually, on this particular lake, crappie are abundant.  But on this day, we only caught a few.  The other species kept us busy though, with plenty of action on the ultralight from pickerel, perch and bluegills.
What about the bass?  This lake has some big bass in it, and on some days you can rack up some decent numbers of quality largemouth.  Howard and I each caught a three pound bass, but once the front passed through and the wind picked up, the bluebird skies seemed to send the bass off the feed.  We each managed to catch our bass on the chatterbait.  Howard later lost one while jigging his chatterbait in deeper water.  He all but had the bass landed when it decided to behave like an acrobatic smallmouth bass, and leap high out of the water tossing Howard's lure back at him. 

Although the bass numbers didn't pile up, we knew that in future trips they will.  In the mean time, the chainsides kept us busy.  Perhaps one reason my bass numbers were low was because I spent a considerable amount of time catching the panfish on my ultralight.  The way I look at it though, I was really enjoying myself doing that and the fish were cooperating, and the action kept me giggling like a child every time I set the hook and fought the spunky fish to the boat.  After each catch, no matter the species, I took the time to admire the size of the fish, plus the beautiful coloration of each of them.  But, not so much time admiring as to harm them, so each one was carefully released to fight another day in a reasonable amount of time. 

I'm sure that I could have brought home a nice stringer for the dinner plate, but right now I still have plenty of fish in my freezer from my winter ice fishing trips, enough to get me through until we get ice again.  I don't know, but to me, the fish taste better when caught through the ice.  I don't have any scientific merit or reasoning behind that statement, but it just seems that way to me.  For me, open water fishing has become traditionally catch and release for many species (except for some saltwater or brackish fish that I can't get through the ice, like an occasional rockfish or white perch), while ice fishing fills my freezer only to meet my needs and no more.

This chunky largemouth bass annihilated my chatterbait.  The bass shut down not long after this fish was caught.
Howard with a nice fall chatterbait caught largemouth bass.
This golden shiner rounded out our sixth species caught
on the day.  Big baitfish like these are one reason that
the chain pickerel and bass in this pond reach good size.
We found a lot of chain pickerel active in one to three feet of water, relating to weeds that hadn't died off yet, in areas where baitfish were abundant, and especially in shallow water.  They attacked the bass lures that we threw, including Howard's favorite pickerel choice, a Bagley's perch color minnow, plastic worms, and of course, the chatterbait.  Towards the end of the day, the pickerel would charge out for the lures leaving a big bulging wake as they attacked our offerings.

Chain pickerel aren't huge like muskies or northerns, but they are every bit as aggressive.  It seemed as if every other cast along the lily pads, submerged weedbed clumps, or any sunken wood resulted in a savage pickerel strike at the end of the day. 

The evening bite was hot.  I finished with nineteen chainsides, one fat bass, sixteen bumphead bluegills, two fat crappie, one huge golden shiner, and fourteen nice sized yellow perch for a total of 53 fish, and six different species caught.  Not a bad multispecies day!  Howard had similar numbers, not a lot of any one species, but good numbers of everything including some nice sized pickerel.. 

The action picked up at the end of the day with chain pickerel attacking our lures nearly every cast, along with a few fat yellow perch getting in on the feeding action as well.
In summary, lakes like this one that provide good fishing for many different species, all of which are relatively good size, that make for difficult choices on the water.  It's a dilemma, what species to fish for?  The answer to me is clear, and it's spelled F-U-N.  What I mean by that is, I like to go with the flow, for what's biting, to try different techniques for different species, and let the fish tell you what to use.  If I catch many different species along the way, then my day is complete.  This is typical for this lake, to catch some of each species, but not really tear them up, and at the end of the day when you add up your numbers, you realize that you've had a pretty good doggone day of fishing.  On this particular day, the pickerel, perch, and bluegills gave us the most action and kept us quite busy all day long.  So, rather than beat my brains against the side of the boat trying to catch more bass when they weren't as active as we normally find them, I prefer to adapt to make the most of my experience on the lake, and sometimes it's the species that you don't normally target that make your day.  I'll take it!  And I'll take it every time!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nanofil Product Review: Update to the Update

Now that I've had adequate time to test this line, I've got some positive and negative experiences when using it.  But, for the most part, I think it's still the best superline out there for what it's designed for as long as you understand it's limitations.  It's not for power fishing, rather, it's designed for spinning applications, and Berkley states just that on the package. 

Here's a bass landed on Nanofil.  The eight pound test worked just fine even around thick cover to land bass like this one.  The line has everything that I like about superlines, yet has better castability than any line that I've ever used, making this my top choice for fishing finesse plastic worms on light line using light weight.
First, I'll get the negative out of the way, because it's things like this that will make or break your decision to buy the line or not.  Then, after that, I'll point out the positives.  And in my opinion, the positives outweight the negatives, making this my top choice to fish with for now for the purpose that I bought it for, spinning tackle light line finesse plastics fishing for bass.

The Negatives:
From what I've observed, the marked breaking strength of Nanofil is marked accurately, so don't think that by purchasing the really thin diameter stuff that it's going to be as strong braid for the same diameter.  That isn't the fault of Berkley by any means, rather, this negative was due to my preconceived opinion about how this line would perform.  I purchased the six pound test, two pound diameter version of this line, thinking mostly about maximizing casting distance and still having the strength of the braided line that I had been using.  Well, that wasn't the case, because on the second trip using it, I had a few break offs on the hook set.  As I've said before, this does happen with other super lines, but it seemed to happen more often than with other superlines.  I also mentioned earlier that I planned to upgrade my line situation.

As long as you check your line and re-tie often, you can pull bass like these out of the slop with Nanofil.
Next, the line will fray with use.  As long as you realize that, and clip a foot or two off every now and then, and make sure that if you're fishing heavy cover, rocks, etc. that you re-tie often, you should be OK.  Even knowing this, it's stronger than mono or fluorocarbon lines of the same diameter, and given the same issues with those lines, most anglers that I know re-tie, so what's the difference?

While fishing gin clear water on this particular day, the fish didn't seem to mind the visibility of Nanofil.
And the only other thing that I can think of is that it is very visible, although I have yet to notice it as a problem when using it simply because I'm still catching fish.  In other words, the fish don't care, so maybe the actual problem isn't a fishing issue, but rather a personal confidence issue.  I'm sure that there will be times when fishing gin clear water, that someone fishing fluorocarbon leader or line will get more bites than someone using Nanofil, but I'd guess that those times won't be frequent, and I have yet to experience that.

Another drawback is cost, but really it's not that much more expensive than other superlines.  And, since it's more durable than fluorocarbon or mono, you could argue that the longevity makes use of this line more cost effective than the others.  That said, Nanofil isn't as durable as other braids, so you have to trim a foot or two off your spool every now and then.

Chain pickerel like this one can cut through Nanofil with their sharp teeth, but they also cut through every other line as well.  As with any light line, to avoid this use larger lures or steel leader to prevent this from happening.  To give you an idea, I had a chain pickerel on this same day swallow a chatterbait whole, and cut through 17 pound Gamma line like it was butter too.  So, no matter what line you use, it's something to think about when targeting toothy critters.
Finally, as with any of the other superlines, toothy critters cut through it like butter.  But what lines can withstand that anyway?  Not many.  If that's an issue, keep using steel leaders.

The Positives: 
First, I seem to have solved the problem with breakoffs on the hook set in two ways.  I went to the next heaviest diameter/strength recently, using the eight pound test, and have yet to have a break off on the hookset.  Part of that may be due to self training to remember not to set the hook too hard, but mostly I think that the thicker diameter line is making the difference so far.

As stated in my other reviews, the line has no stretch, taking less effort to drive the hook home when setting the hook.  And, the line is much more sensitive or at the least the same as other braids and superlines.  As I said earlier in this post, it's still stronger than monofilament or fluorocarbon as long as it hasn't shown much wear (fraying), but not quite as strong as braid or fused lines like Fireline. 

And, even using the thicker diameter, the eight pound test casts further and with less friction than any other line that I've used to date.  I also noticed something weird, but can't say it's a negative, but when you cast a long distance with this line, it seems to float in the air after the lure hits the waters surface.  Now, it doesn't seem to be a problem even when the fish hit instantly (as the lure hits the water) because the line doesn't stretch and is very sensitve.  In other words, this hasn't caused me to lose any fish that I know of.  It's just an observation, kind of a weird feeling.

Another nice thing about Nanofil is that the line has no memory at all.  It doesn't kink up, and conforms to any spool without jumping off of the spool.  The first time that I used it, I actually overfilled the spool and worried about the consequences of that, but to my pleasant surprise, I fished all day without one line twist or tangle.  In fact, it may have contributed to even longer casts.  Since then, I've reduced the amount of backing to get the spool level to where I feel more comfortable.  Another good thing about this is, that if you ever feel that the "end" of the line that you're using is worn out, reel it off the spool onto another reel empty spool so that the end that was buried is now out front, the business end so to speak, on your reel.  This is a trick that many anglers use on all their superlines, and with Nanofil, this tip works equally well.

In summary, I think that the positives outweight the negatives, and even some of the negatives may happen using other lines anyway.  And, using it for what it was designed to do, I've found that this line meets my needs nicely, so I'm going to stick to using it.  I hope that my reviews will help you decide what's best for you.  I tried to be as objective as possible, and lay it all out there, so that you can make an informed decision.  If I had to advise you on anything regarding your decision, don't go too light thinking that this line is as strong as the braid that you've been using.  I'm using the same pound test as I do when using fluorocarbon.  You can use that as a guide, but since this stuff is so thin, you might even want to go a bit higher than you would with other lines.

To get the complete chronological story of my Nanofil product reviews that led up to this one, you can read my previous posts linked below.  I was reviewing as I learned about the line, so it starts out all positive (like it's the greatest thing since slice bread) to a more realistic opinion of the line.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cooling Fall Temperatures = Hot Fall Bass Bite

A crisp fifty degree temperature and light fog greeted us as we arrived at our fishing destination on this cool fall morning.  The leaves on the trees are just now starting to change.  A whitetail doe crossed the path on the way to our fishing hole, nervously looking back at us.  A great blue heron sat high in a blow down with it's head tucked between it's shoulders as if trying to stay warm in the chilly morning foggy air.  Nearby, a majestic bald eagle soared over a popular smallmouth river in search of a fishy breakfast.  Nasty double breasted cormorants, not native to Maryland after arriving and nesting in 1991, also cruised the river in search of fish.  Today's quarry, Micropterus salmoides, the largemouth bass, awaited us.  The water, slightly stained from recent rains, was just the way we like it, and based on past experience seemed just the ticket for a great reaction bite. 

I had a white Z-Man Chatterbait with gold blades tied on from my last trip.  Yeah, I'm lazy, because if a lure is tied on from the last trip it will more than likely see my first cast of the day.  And it just happened to be a hot lure last time, so why not?  On my other rod, I had Nanofil spooled on my series 400 Shimano Symetry reel on a medium power fast action St. Croix Avid spinning rod, and tied to that was a four inch green pumpkin plastic worm with a light wire Gamakatsu offset shank worm hook and a small bullet sinker.  We fished from the bank today at one of our shoreline hot spots, which is a tradition for us and usually makes for some fine fall fishing.  I carry two rods while doing this, one clipped to the back of my vest while I fish the other, keeping my hands free.  I carry much of my tackle in a fishing vest, with my spinnerbaits hanging over my shoulder in a Cabelas spinnerbait bag.  My vest holds several styles and colors of plastic worms, sinking soft stickbaits, and tubes along with the nece

ssary hardware to fish them.  Also, pockets hold extra spools of line, lure dye, a wacky rig tool, line clippers, forceps, sunscreen, water bottles,and a few other items of personal need.  My spinnerbait bag holds several varieties of spinnerbaits and chatterbaits in several colors along with trailers, trailer hooks, extra skirts and spinnerbait blades.  The bag is supported over my shoulder by a lap top shoulder strap that I pirated for fishing purposes (it's my wife's lap top bag...shhhh...don't tell her).  That's all I need for this spot today, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits for my reaction bite, and plenty of soft plastics to follow and work hot spots more carefully and thoroughly.

We had a short ten minute walk before reaching the first good hole.  My buddy Howard and I exchanged stories about fishing this spot over the years, bringing up fond memories of past fall bites.  We reminisced about a fall day twenty years ago when we both tossed tandem white spinnerbaits and caught good numbers of three to five pound largemouth that were holding tight to woody cover, but would shoot out from as much as five feet away to nail our shiny offering.  Howard and I have fished together since we met at my brother and sister's swim meet nearly thirty years ago. 

My friend Howard and I have been through a lot together.
He's not just an excellent angler, and a fishing buddy,
but also one of my best friends.  Here he is with a nice bass.
Wow, was it that long ago?  It seems like yesterday.  We both learned to fish baitcasting gear together.  Back then, the only reels available were left handed models for some reason.  So, even though we reeled with our left hands with spinning tackle, we had to learn to cast right handed and switch the rod and reel to our left hand and reel right handed when using baitcasting tackle. 

Howard and I cracked up, resurrecting a story about, while fishing this very body of water, me learning to use a baitcaster for the very first time.  I was pitching a large buzzbait in late summer, and found a nice log along side the near shoreline.  I brought the lure back past the log and was just about to lift it out for another cast when all of a sudden the water erupted at my feet.  The fish hit so hard that my glasses got soaked and I could hardly see.  Howard nearby observed my struggle as I held on to the monster bass for dear life.  I wasn't used to cranking the fish in and fighting the fish with a rod in my left hand, and in an embarassingly loud panic reaction blurted out, "How do I fight this thing?"  Eventually I calmed down and figured it out as I finally landed a twenty two inch smallmouth bass.  It was my biggest smallmouth landed for nearly eight more years, but it's an embarassingly funny moment that lives in both Howard's and my minds to this day. 

Since then, the baitcaster has been my favorite tool for tossing larger sized bass baits, and eventually I'd own several different styles of baitcasting combos including ones for specialty techniques like pitching and flipping.  I'm not sure that I'd have learned all that if it wasn't for my good friend Howard.  Together, we learned stuff like that over the years, learned to expertly fish this body of water, learned to fish other bodies of water together all around our state and our neighboring states.  We learned to ice fish together, to crappie fish, fly fish, to bow hunt, gun hunt, and we both bought our first boats within a few weeks of each other, Bass Tracker TX 17s with 70 horsepower two stroke motors.  I stood up for him at his wedding, and he was an usher at my wedding. 

My first bass of the day.  It may have been chilly in the morning, but this fall bass fishing was hot all day long.
After laughing and joking about that for a few minutes, we arrived at our first destination.  The bank was pretty steep, but you could cast to this particular log jam that looked so bassy.  But if you hooked a bass here, you'd never get it out over all that brush, so you'd have to climb down and get it.  I tossed my chatterbait along side the biggest log just inches away, and brought the lure back along the tree trunk when a bass shot out and nailed it.  As I saw the bait disappear, I set the hook. 

The bass tried to bury itself in the log jam, but my medium heavy power fast action St. Croix Avid baitcasting rod powered him out and over the timber.  The bass fought back and headed down again, but I was able to turn him one more time.  After that, it was clear of danger and I took my time to land it.  I had to climb down the bank, through Rosa multifora, or wild rose bushes, drawing blood on the back of both hands as I bulled my way through the thicket to get to my prize bass.  My heavy lug sole boot gave way to the muddy bank as I nearly went feet first into the water, but was able to gain a little traction with my other foot.  While on my knees, contorted as if playing the family game twister, I was able to reach down and lip the chunky largemouth bass.  I climbed back up the bank and Howard took my picture.  The bass wasn't huge, but it was a nice start for the day, setting the stage for one of the best fall fishing days that I can remember.

This bass, caught on a recent trip,  hit a white chatterbait with
 a bright white grub trailer.  Reaction baits like this in the
 fall can produce nice bass catches.
Recently I posted the power of the color white in the fall.  When fishing reaction baits like spinnerbaits or chatterbaits, I'm convinced that either lure would have worked equally well today, with the flash and movement drawing violent speedy largemouth predatory strikes.  But the visibility of the bright white color on such a nice bright and sunny fall day really allows bucketmouths to hone in for the attack.

Chartreuse is also a great color for this, but I prefer it for the warmer months, and white for cooler temperatures.  Maybe it's just me, but it's worked for nearly thirty years each and every year.  The bass aren't picky now, and the white bait is easy to see when worked a foot or three beneath the surface.  When it disappears, it's probably a fish, so set the hook and hang on.

Since I had worked so hard to get down that bank, I had a little bit of casting room, so I thought that I'd try a few more casts.  On my next cast, I worked the lure past the end of the log and wham, a chunky two pound largemouth attacked my chatterbait after letting it fall a foot or so.  I landed that fish and quicky unhooked it.  Howard stood at the top of the bank tying on his chatterbait after seeing my early success. 

I placed my next cast to the same spot, hoping they were stacked in there, and sure enough another nice bass launched from the cover and attempted to mutilate my chatterbait, but missed, pulling the skirt and trailer down the hook shank.  I quicky reeled up and fixed the bait, then tossed it back again and the fish took the lure this time.  This bass wasn't as big, but I'd take a pound and a half fish to make it three quick fish any day.  I tried a couple more casts without any further action and decided to climb back up the bank.  Not a bad start for the day, three fish in the first four casts.  Howard assisted me out of the thicket and after a high five, we continued to the next spot.  It was his turn, to work the next set of timber, and he would make the most of it.

The Z-Man Chatterbait, upper left, has been hot lately on my
home waters for largemouth bass and chain pickerel.
Chatterbaits are basically skirted jigs with a piece of metal attached to the eye, with a snap poking through the metal blade for a line tie.  It's a simple concept, but provides a bit of flash, plenty of action, and vibration that is an alternative to fishing a spinnerbait, and perfect for fall reaction bass bites. 

Fish hammer them, what can I say?  You can fish them on a straight retrieve, or jig them and let them fall (yo yo style retrieve), crank 'em over cover and let them drop, or burn them just under the surface.  I used a fat four inch white grub as a trailer today, giving it a nice large profile. 

Gene Mueller also loves chatterbaits when fishing the weedy and woody shorelines of the Upper Tidal Potomac River, a hot spot famous for it's tremendous largemouth bass fishery, but recently infamous for it's unwanted population of the Chinese northern snakehead.  Gene wrote to me about the chatterbait, lauding it's ability to be weedless in just about any cover.  He likes to add three or four inch soft plastics as trailers, like sassy shad style baits, to give them bulk.  He feels that this bulk attracts big bass bites, and I agree wholeheartedly. 

Although I've had success on other bodies of water using this lure in the past, including the Upper Tidal Potomac, I had yet to try it in my local hot spot.  Why?  I don't know really, I guess I've tossed so many spinnerbaits with great success here in the past that I never felt the need to try much else.  But today, I'm glad that I did. 

Gene Mueller with a huge Chinese snakehead from the Upper Tidal Potomac River that he subsequently killed properly as instructed by the Marland Department of Natural Resources.  Make sure that you check out his blog, linked on this web page. 
Gene posts fishing reports in the Washington Times each week, along with some great narrative about fishing and outdoors news (, often touting chatterbaits as a hot lure in our area.  So, it finally sunk in that I'd better make more use out of them than I had in the past.  Thanks Gene!  By the way, his blog is fantastic, and is great for folks local to the Washington D.C. area, but often his posts offer angling tips and stories that are not only appealing to anyone, but may give you a tip that might work well in your fishing area.  In addition, he posts informative articles about hunting and political activities related to the future of our favorite sports.  You can find his blog here at

Howard nailed this well fed healthy bass on a 1/2 oz. white chatterbait.
It wasn't long before Howard got into the action while landing a fat well fed largemouth bass on his chatterbait.  He pitched his chatterbait past a clump of weeds in about four feet of water that clung to a pair of sunken logs about fifteen feet from shore, and his bass shot out, and the strike nearly ripped the rod from his hands.  Howard put the boots to the fish and hoisted it out of the water and lipped in one quick move.  He stopped to allow a picture, but I could tell he wanted to get that lure right back in.  So, I quickly snapped a picture and he was back in business.

We were far from done.  Each piece of woody cover seemed to hold a willing bass as long as there was some depth around the cover.  The weeds normally hold fish in the warmer months, but they're dying off now.  Baitfish still hold amongst the weeds, but the colder temperatures seemed to keep the bass from holding there.  Later in the day, the temperatures warmed, and we were able to find a few bass cruising the weed edges with chatterbaits and the four inch plastic worms.

Green pumpkin plastic worms, Texas rigged with light
weight on light line, like this Zoom Dead Ringer, proved
extremely effective today.
We managed to find a downed tree, probably left in that state from Hurricane Irene a month ago.  Leaves still grew green on the tree, indicating it's a recent fall, but there was plenty of algae, weed clumps and duckweed clinging to the branches and trunk of the tree where it met the water.  To me, that was a sign that this was fish holding cover, being there long enough for largemouth and baitfish to find sanctary and ambush points. 

And, man, did that tree hold fish. Howard first proved it by nailing several bass from that tree using a plastic worm while I continued with the chatterbait.  After I switched to my plastic worm set up, Howard and I pulled out bass after bass, most of them averaging twelve to thirteen inches, but we both landed a few between two and three pounds. 

With limited fishing time because both of us had family duties late in the afternoon, cover like this with it's fish holding ability was the ticket to a great afternoon.  I lost two fish in the thick cover, but other than that, landed twenty two well fed largemouth between ten and eighteen inches long.  Howard had similar results.  We pitched to pocket after pocket along that tree, with each one holding several fish.  After removing a few fish from each pocket, it wasn't long that others moved in.  It was almost as if Howard and I were serving fast food, and it was lunch time for the bass, and they were waiting in line for their happy meals.  Four inch plastic worms on light line using light weight was the ticket at this spot, and green pumpkin was all you needed to keep them happy. 

Could you have pitched heavier stuff and nailed some bass here?  Absolutely, but my flipping rod was at home.  We were working from shore, and to stay mobile, you can't carry too many rods and fish effectively.  The tree branches were too numerous and thick to work a spinnerbait or chatterbait effectively here, but that worm slid through the branches with ease, and when pitched in with little splash kept the bass on the feed for a couple hours.  We both giggled like kids after landing bass after bass at this spot.  The only thing that kept us from doing more sore mouth damage to that fish population was time, our deadline to meet our family obligations.  So, we wrapped it up and decided to work our way back to our vehicles.

I decided to work the chatterbait while fishing our way back, and with little fishing time left, the best option now was to cover some water quickly looking for aggressive bass.  I picked up a few bass with the chatterbait fished parallel to shore along the dying weedbeds with some success.  These fish weren't big, but they were nice and fat, and a lot of fun.  Howard followed with his plastic worm when I'd have a hit and miss, landing several decent sized fish that way.  We worked our way back to our starting spot.  Howard first worked it with the plastic worm without any bites. 

I decided to give the chatterbait a go, and sure enough, a chunky two pound largemouth rocketed from the cover to munch on the chattering lure.  It took the lure down into the cover, but I was able to turn it and move it out.  I climbed down through the thicket again to land that fish, spilling more blood on my elbows, forearms and hands to the thorn bushes lining the bank. 

While down there, I decided to once again toss my chatterbait along that cover.  Why not?  I was down there, the cast was relatively easy, and if I hooked one I was in a position to land it easily if it was big.  But what were the chances that another bass was there, especially since I took four fish out of there already on the day?  Well, my next cast proved that there was a willing bass there, and it was a biggun.  It shot out from under the log to inhale my lure, but before I could set the hook it let go, leaving me with a chatterbait with the skirt and trailer hanging down by the hook gap and me with a dang it look on my face.  I tried several casts with both the chatterbait and the worm to no avail.  It was time to go anyway.  I know where this fish lives, so I'll be back to get her another day.

What a day.  In summary, I landed thirty nine bass between ten and nineteen inches on the day, and one fat crappie on a plastic worm.  Fifteen of the bass came via the chatterbait, the rest on plastic worms.  Howard had similar numbers.  He lost count when he ran out of all twelve fingers and toes (just kidding Howard)!  Anyway, I love the bowhunting opportunities that October presents, but when it cools down and your buddies are in the woods after those deer, don't overlook the hot fall largemouth bass bite.  Even though it's cool outside, it's hot under water.

Monday, October 3, 2011

White is Tight for Bass!

This largemouth fell for a white chatterbait as temperatures
locally began to cool.
 These days, when you ask a bass angler, "what's your favorite color?", you'll get a variety of responses.  We've heard many times that when you have those bluebird skies and clear water, that we should use natural colors that best imitate prey, i.e. green pumpkin, watermelon, smoke.  Or when the water is muddy, the experts recommendation for us to use chartreuse or black.  Or when the water is clear and the skies are dark, we'd do well to use darker colors like junebug, or black and blue, or maybe bright colors like chartreuse.  Those are good suggestions, for sure, but often the most basic of colors falls off the radar that could possibly be the best color choice in many situations,and that is the color white.

During the fall, bass go on a feeding binge, fattening up presumably for the upcoming winter, with that behavior being triggered by cooling water temperatures and shorter days.  Reaction baits and faster moving lures work quite well, like spinnerbaits and crankbaits, and during cold fronts, soft plastics take fish when the reaction bite is off.  The bottom line is that even during fronts, bass in the fall seem more willing to strike in general than other times of the year, at least, that's my observation.  What I'm getting at here is that the fish just aren't as picky, and while all of their senses are on high alert, the visual attractiveness of the color white to them is often too tempting to resist, and it's not just bass, but many other species as well.  Why?  Because of the visibility of the color white, they simply can see it easier than anything else.

Chain pickerel also hammered our white chatterbaits.
So, given the varied characteristics of bass lures that draw strikes, the color white allows them to visually hone in on their target resulting in savage strikes.  As you know, white reflects all light, so it's the most visible color throughout the water column.  Reaction lures like spinnerbaits and chatterbaits already drive them nuts, and throw in the most visible color and the bass just can't miss. 

White is also a versatile color.  Because of it's light reflecting ability, it's a great color to use in muddy or stained water all year long.  White is a color that's common in nature, yet when mother nature paints an individual animal in all white in the form of albinism, natural selection tends to weed those individuals out of the population.  White prey items disappear faster than their more commonly hued brethren.  So, perhaps white as a color tends to reflect albinism which enhances that feeding instinct.  Therefore, it's really a color that can be effective all year long.

White soft plastics make great trailers for lures like
spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, but also are
terrific when fished like your other favorite soft
How about seasonal hot patterns with this color?  In the spring, white spinnerbaits maybe with a hint of chartreuse are one of the most popular colors of all.  The crankbait colors of Tennessee shad and the more recent sexy shad colors suggest white prey, or, natural colors of prey over a white background or imitated belly coloration.  Late spring and early summer for jig pitchers is a great time to try swim jigs around weed beds or heavy cover for largemouth.  During hot weather, white floating worms and other soft plastics can be very effective too.  White buzzbaits or curl tailed grubs are candy for summer smallmouth on moving water.  Thick clouds of white mayflies on August smallmouth and trout streams send the predatory fish into a feeding frenzy often imitated with great success by fly anglers with white miller and white Wulff dry flies, and even white wooly buggers.  White spinnerbaits and the fall go hand in hand, and tend to be one of my top lure choices for largemouth.  And white twister tails and tubes fishing in the colder months can be deadly for more inactive bass when fished through the ice.

Many lures, from topwater plugs to crankbaits, have white
bellies that perfectly imitate the natural coloration of the
bellies of baitfish.
Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits in white are one
of the best reaction bait combinations that you can use any time.

The visibility of the color white also helps anglers when fishing shallow water subsurface retrieves on lures like spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, moving plastics and jigs, and even crankbaits because often if the water is clear enough, you can see the strikes, or at least your lure being engulfed.  Not only does that give you an edge knowing that a fish is striking, but it seems to make that strike seem even more exciting than those that you don't see.  I guess it's not on par with topwater strikes, but it may be the next best thing!

In summary, when choosing colors of your favorite lures, don't overlook one of the most basic of colors.  So really, it's a great choice, any time, any season, but particulary effective during the cooling temperatures leading through the fall.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

National Hunting and Fishing Day Recap

The National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration at the Rockville Chapter of the Izaak Walton League in Maryland had a great turnout and offered a lot of fun activities for families.
Everything turned out to be perfect last week for the 2011 National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration at the Rockville, MD Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.  Prior to the event, the weather threatened to dump buckets of rain and localized flooding, but as it turned out the rain didn't amount to a whole lot in our area, Seneca Creek didn't flood, and it didn't rain at all during the event despite the gloomy prediction. 

The bluegills in the IWL lake kept kids and parents alike
busy as they were quite active last Saturday.  Nightcrawlers
under a float were the ticket for many entertained anglers.
The event was divided into two main sections on the property.  The IWL Chapter House is located off of Waring Station Road, was the site of many of the hunting related activities staged at the event, including an archery station, trap shooting, blackpowder and other shooting demonstrations, free food sporting all types of wild game along with the typical cookout foods, and many other fun things.  The turkey shoot was the finale as in previous years, where prizes were given out for each round.  The other events were held down by the IWL's private lake, including fishing, kayaking and canoeing, fly tying, ice cream making, conservation booths by IWL members and the Maryland DNR, amongst other fun activities for all family members, and the IWL also had free hot dogs and burgers, and drinks for all.  I also had some of my fossil collection on display, and a station set up for anyone who wanted to search through gravel obtained from the Aurora, NC spoil material for micro shark teeth and other fossils.  I have to report that several whale shark teeth were found by the kids searching the material, and I think that most of them had fun.  Even some of the parents got into the act!  Anyway, the event was a success and turnout was very good.  The dedicated and wonderful members of the Rockville Chapter of the IWL and invited guests who donated their time and expertise to share with the community really put on a fantastic event, coordinated by Theresa Daly, for the families of members and visitors that attended.

Here are some more pictures that I took that I'll share with you.  Unfortunately, I spent the entire time down by the lake, so I didn't get any shots of the Chapter House activities.

I set up two tables to display my fossil collection, and a third table so that folks could experience looking for micro shark teeth sorting through pre-sifted material from the Aurora PCS Phosphate Mine spoil material.  Several
whale shark teeth were amongst the hundreds of fossils and shark teeth found  last Saturday.

These youngsters found a lot of cool micro fossils while sorting through the highly fossiliferous gravel that I brought back from North Carolina.

Under the pavillion, youngsters sort through fossiliferous gravel looking for shark teeth.

These IWL members worked hard to feed the visitors, members, and volunteers, cooking burgers and hot dogs all afternoon.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources had a nice booth for the IWL Visitors last Sunday.  That bobcat mount was really cool!

Two of the IWL volunteers at their exhibits last Sunday exchange outdoors stories.  I thought the fly tying station was a really neat idea. 

The local Boy Scouts ran an ice cream making station that was quite popular. Too bad I was on a diet or I might have joined in the ice cream making fun.

The fishing booth set up anglers with fishing rods, bait and tackle so that they could try and catch the IWL lake's bluegills.  These guys were really busy last Sunday!

This young angler intently watches her bobber as IWL visitors enjoy the canoeing and kayaking activity in the background at the IWL lake during National Hunting and Fishing Day.