Friday, July 31, 2009

Similarities between Ohio and Forrest Wood Cup

I haven't been fishing since last Sunday. I needed my Thursday evening fix. We were so close last Sunday and I would have liked to get out yesterday evening to hone in on the bass some more and work on getting them into the boat. My wife has year end at her work though and has been putting in crazy hours this week. She has been working until close to midnight before coming home so I have been staying home with the boys. If my youngest was a little older and would pay attention to me they would have been out in the boat with me.

The bad thing about that is I don't get much fishing done. My oldest likes to change lures as much as Mike Iconelli. I guess I could teach him to tie his line before learning how to tie his shoes. He would pay attention to that. He doesn't like to learn if it's not something he is interested in. If I relate something to fishing he pays attention.

It was still a good evening. I was able to watch part of the live weigh in at the FLW Forrest Wood Cup. It looks like Pittsburg fishes a lot like the lakes around central ohio. It will be good to watch this one to see how the pros handle this type of water.

So far from the interviews with them they are going to smaller tackle for the smaller bass as there are not that many large fish in there. A 3 pounder is huge there. They are fishing several methods from finessing to burning a spinnerbait or topwater. One thing that seems to be working well for all the top finishers after day one is green rubber. They are also catching all of the fish along the banks. Sometimes out to 10 feet deep.

The top few anglers have found spots where the bass are loaded and will chase the bait to the boat even after the other fish have been hooked. That is good fishing.

For the most part the tournament is tough but it is nice to see the pro's fish the waters that a lot of us are used to fishing. You can't get to Hawg water all the time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Deer Creek Tournament #2

Mizike and I made it out last Thursday evening to search for some new tournament spots to fish. We tried some steep banks and a large cove on Deer Creek.

The cove looked good. There was a lot of flooded timber in about 5 foot of water next to a drop that went down to 11 foot. We fished around with several different lures but did not have any luck. I worked my way to the bank where I saw a fish keep surfacing under a branch. I cast my crawfish under the branch. My line hung on a twig above the spot. Almost instantly my line starts running to the side. I reeled in my slack but did not set the hook well due to my line hanging on the branch. The fish swam away and I was fishless.

We worked towards another spot I thought looked good. It was a small cove within the larger cove. I caught a bass and a couple white bass on a spoon at the point of the cove. There was not much size to either. We fished the cove out then headed to a high bank that I had seen others fishing the previous tournament. The wind was blowing into the bank pretty good and there was not much time left in the light so we worked it fairly fast with a crankbait. I missed one bass on the crankbait then caught one a ways down on a crawfish in about 5 foot of water. He was decent but not a keeper.

Sunday during the tournament Gene and I started out where I missed the first bass on the crankbait. We fished the high bank for a while then decided to try a huge point since the sun was shining on it. We worked it from the deep end towards the bank. We did not have any luck there so we headed up towards the river where we had luck before.

I missed one fish that hit as I was cranking over the top of some fallen trees. He hit and took me down and snapped my line. He ended up jumping right next to the boat and spit out the lure. I was able to get it back. It was a green and chartreuse series 3 strike king. Gene was casting a white spinner and lost one fairly close to where I missed mine. We moved to the next structure off the bank and Gene caught our first bass.

We worked our way on down the bank towards the river and I had a fish hit a crawfish. I set the hook hard and my line snapped. It started to get later and warm up and we were not having much luck. We moved back towards the dam to the large cove. There was a small cove near the mouth of the cove. We moved in there to get out of the large waves from all of the cabin cruisers shooting through the area.

Gene hooked up with a monster almost right away. It leaped into the air and as it did the crankbait came out and flew at Gene. It would have been close to a 3 lb. bass. We fished the cove for a while longer.

We had a little time left so we went back to see if we could get one of the 2 fish we missed in the same spot earlier in the day. No luck.

We weighed in 1 fish at 1.63 lbs. I didn't get 1st place weight but 2nd was 8.5 lbs. We had several opportunities to catch our 5 bass limit with fish that might have gotten us in the running for 1st or 2nd. My confidence level is the highest it has been all season.

We are finally getting things right to get the fish to bite, we just need to get them in the boat. We moved around more than in any of our other tournaments and I feel like we covered the areas well with the correct baits. I'm starting to establish patterns and getting confidence in several of my lures and techniques. I think we can actually win one of these tournaments this year.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Deer Creek Tournament # 1

It was an early morning Sunday when I got out of bed at 4:10 in the morning to hook up the boat and get ready to head down the road to Deer Creek. I had text Gene the night before and told him that the tournament was starting a couple weeks early and if he wanted to go I would be leaving the house at 4:30. He text back and said he would sleep on the couch when the bars closed.

I had the boat and blazer ready at 4:30 so I woke Gene up. He was a little slow getting up but I kept hurrying him since the tournament was supposed to start at 6 and we had a 45 minute drive to the lake.

We stopped at the convenience store and picked up some refreshments and gas for the blazer and were on the road. We reached the ramp around 5:40 am. There were not many boats there yet. The rest of the boats showed up in the next 15 minutes. There were probably only 15 boats in the tournament.

They had changed the time to 6:30 start. That will work better for me. I was really anxious to get started. We had found some fish last Thursday and I knew we had a good chance of making it in this tournament.

We took off the opposit direction as the rest of the boats. They all headed to the main lake while we headed toward the river. We started out at the far end of where we had caught them Thursday and worked the bank back towards the beginning.

Gene picked up his first bass on a green bomber right away. He had reeled the bomber in from a down tree to the boat and was letting his lure float up to the surface as the bass hit. It was just shy of 12 inches or right at 12 inches. I was measuring it and it flopped out of the boat. We rounded the point and I got hit on a brown worm on a shakey head. I didn't get a good hookset and as the fish came out of the water the worm came flying by my head. It was at least a 2 pound bass that I missed.

I switched to a berkley gulp crayfish and caught a 13 incher. He went in the livewell. I caught a couple more on the crayfish before reaching our starting point from Thursday. One was the highlight of my day. We had just crossed over a small cove and as I looked back I saw a group of about 5 rocks about a foot under the water. I cast in the middle with the weightless craw and lifted it to the surface. Just as it came up I saw a flash of green and WHAM! a bass nailed the craw. I set the hook and realed in a 11 7/8 incher. I had to let him go but the fight in that one was amazing.

We headed to the main lake to a place we saw a guy catching a lot of fish earlier in the spring. The white bass were slamming the surface all around us but we did not have any luck in that spot so we moved again to a cove near the dam. No luck there so back to our original bank.

We fished the bank towards the river and got a couple more small ones. There was one spot I was saving for later in the day that we were working towards. I stopped to cast at some isolated trees in the middle of the lake and as I did a boat passed us and headed to the exact spot I was going to hit.

They fished it for a bit and left so I went to try it even though they had just hit it. I jigged the craw around the rocks and caught another 11 7/8 incher.

We worked our way back towards the ramps stopping and fishing a few spots along the way with little success. It was close to 1 in the afternoon and the fish were not biting good. I did have 2 fish hit and I broke my line on both as I was setting the hook. I had old 12 lb. line on my rod and was dissapointed with myself for not changing it the last 2 years. I had not had any problems with it before that point but I will be replacing it before the next trip out.

At the weigh in we only had 1 fish to weigh in at .90 lbs. First place had 9.3 lbs and second had 6.6 lbs.

I am ready for next Sunday. I feel really good about this lake. I can catch fish here pretty easy and I have had some sizable fish on. I am going out Thursday evening again to fish some new spots. I fished last week pretty shallow and we did pick up a 2 pounder on Thursday but I think the bigger fish are hanging out near deeper water.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Deer Creek Tournament Practice

After traveling a quarter of the way around the U.S. and not catching any fish we finally got into 'em last night. Mizike and I headed to Deer Creek after work to find some good fishing spots for some Sunday morning tournaments we will be fishing there.

Mizike got his first bass, a 1 3/4 lber shortly after unloading. I was still getting things ready to start fishing and on his first cast towards the boat ramp he gets a solid strike on his crankbait. I tied on a crankbait as well and we worked up towards the river on the shady bank.

I cast towards a brushy fallen tree and just miss hanging up. Right as I started reeling a bass busted the lure and the fight was on. He made a flying leap right away, then I pulled him closer. About halfway to the boat he skies out of the water again and I see he is only 1 hooked. I attempt to keep him down in the water but the bass at this lake were extreemly aggressive and he jumped again right at the boat. I lifted him into the boat and realized that 2 hooks in the treble hook had went throught the lip and hooked the other side. He was not getting loose.

We drove up the river a ways further and spotted some isolated structure in 10 foot of water. We did not catch any bass there but Mizike did catch a descent saugeye and a huge crappie on his crankbait.

We traveled further and saw a rock shoreline. It was only about 2 foot deep but we fished it anyway. I cast out a plastic craw and had a small bite. I cast it back to the same area and had a fish slam it. I pulled back and reeled in a 11 3/4 inch largemouth.

The 3 hours we had to fish last night went quick and we only had a little time to stop by the isolated structure before returning to the boat dock. We didn't get anything at the isolated structure but as Mizike was backing down the ramp I cast to where I saw a bass surface at the corner of the boat ramp and the rocks. A fish slamed the worm on a shakey head I was using. I set the hook and then there was no pull. I got the worm back to the boat and saw it was half missing. I tried a quick cast back as Mizike was half down the ramp. Nothing, so I pulled around and loaded the boat.

One thing I noticed is that a lot of people take a lot of time to load a boat. There was a trailer that was backed down when we started backing down. We hooked up the boat, strapped it up, secured all the fishing gear and were on the road before they had the boat on the trailer. Glad they had 3 lanes to load and unload.

One other thing that was a little frustrating was the size of the boats on Deer Creek. There were Lake Erie sized boats that were like mini yachts driving all around creating huge waves. I had to sit down when they would pass because the 3 foot waves would really tip the Nitro. The waves could have been what was turning on the bite though. To me it seemed like a lot of pleasure boaters and there was not much area to get away from them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Northeast Vacation

We arrived back from our vacation North and East on Saturday. It was a good family trip that I am sure built some very good memories. I would have liked to have done more fishing but family time is just as important to me.

My wife 2 boys and I started out Friday morning driving up to Niagra Falls, NY. We had reserved a campsite for the first 2 nights at Four Mile Creek state campground. It was a short 6 1/2 hour drive after a couple of stops. We set up the campsite then went to get some food. I got to try my first New York pizza. It was very good. I also got a sub from a deli that was awesome.

Mizike and his girlfriend were at the campsite by the time we got back. We stayed up for a while sipping on rum and cokes. The next morning we got up and went to Niagra Falls. We had gotten the discovery pass so we had the opportunity to see everything. It was the 4th of July so it got very busy but the falls were awesome and the pass definately panned out. My favorite part of the falls was Cave of the Winds. The line was huge and it was a long wait to get down there but totally worth it. I was expecting a cave but was much more pleased with what it actually was. We walked up the waterfall to a spot they call the hurricane deck. I was holding my 3 year old's hand and it was a good thing. Right as we got to the top some extra water rushed over the platform and about washed us both back down the steps. Once on the hurricane deck we were able to experience the force of the falls. They crashed down on the deck with such a force that it created a hurricane like experience that was very exhilirating.

We had a ball, got soaked, and saw some awe inspiring views. One thing I would do different if I go back again is avoid the trams. They are sort of a joke and take longer than walking. My son loved them so it was ok once. I don't care for tight spaces though.

We had planned to see fireworks at the falls but there were people setting up in the good spots 5-6 hours before the fireworks so we decided to watch them at a little town near four mile creek. That was quite a treat. They put on a great show and the finally was the best I've ever seen. The booms echoed off the hills all around and the fireworks were shot off a huge hill right in front of where we were.

Mizike and his girlfriend headed back Sunday morning and we continued on with our vacation. The old fort Niagra was right near the campground and they were doing reinactments of the French Indian war so we decided to stop by before leaving the area. There were literally thousands of people camping and reinacting the war for several days. We had heard cannon fire from the campground but when we got there it was crazy how realistic it was. We watched 2 battles and toured the fort. It was crowded but not bad for what all was going on. Everybody did a really good job of representing the time frame during the battles. I felt really out of place in my Khaki's and Polo. I definately needed a sword.

After several hours at the fort we drove towards the Adirondack Mountains in New York. We got there late and found a campsite at Cranberry Lake. The next morning we got up and had breakfast at the local diner. I checked on a fishing liscence and they said I had to find the town clerk to buy one. I could not park near the town clerk so we headed out to see the area. We drove and walked around a few lakes. The lakes I saw held Walleye, bass, perch, Northern Pike, Tiger Musky, trout and I'm sure a few other species. I don't know if it was due to being Monday or the fact that there were so many lakes, but we only saw one boat fishing, the guys in the boat said that fishing there was great.

I finally found a place that was selling fishing liscences but it was raining and they wanted 15.00 for one day, week liscences were a lot better around 25.00. I decided to wait until we got to Maine to fish. We took the most direct route according to the GPS back to camp. It took us down a dirt road wide enough for one car with an old rickity one lane bridge that was protected on each side by orange road barrells and a 7 foot clearance board above the road. It was definately the way to see the area. We didn't have to worry about any other traffic.

We got back to camp a little before dark and the wife and younger son left for town to do laundry. The older and I built a fire and played outside until they returned.

The next morning we packed up the tent and camp and drove to Maine. We were in rain the whole way through Vermont, New Hampshire and into Maine. We traveled near the Canadian border and the scenery was beautiful. At a town near Lake Champlaine we saw a professional FLW bass fisherman pulling his boat. He actually turned right in front of us with his Chevy truck and Chevy stickered boat. I was super excited about it. I hadn't realized that they were having a tournament the following weekend. I wanted to drive by the lake and fish it because it was on the B.A.S.S. Elite Series earlier this year. The rain did not slow so we drove through to Maine.

We arrived in Maine with some daylight left. We stopped in a state park to get out and view some water falls. As soon as I got out of the vehicle I saw that it cost to hike on their trails. It was 3.00 a person and the trail did not even seem like a tenth of a mile long. It didn't even have a sign to say.

We drove on and figured that they only charge in the State Park. I found a place outside the park and bought a 3 day fishing liscence to start the next day. We drove on into the mountains until we found a lake I wanted to fish the next day. It was late and raining so we got a motel room.

The next morning we got up and went to the lake. It was still raining. I pulled in and there was a park officer (not in a state park) standing at the entrance wanting 5.00 a person to park to look at the lake in the rain. I asked if you had to pay a 5.00 fee a person at every lake in Maine because I like to see a lake before I fish it. She said every lake has a fee. I drove off and cursed an hour about driving 1000 miles to fish a state that cost me 25.00 for liscence and that wouldn't even let you fish.

We called the Inland Parks and Recreation Department and they said there are a few non State lakes that could be fished for free. I tried one and didn't even see a fish rise.

We decided to stick it out in Maine to see what else they had to offer. I had to try the lobster anyway. So we headed to the furthest point East in the United States. East of Lubec Maine we stumbled upon a lighthouse that was right on the point of the furthest point East. It was something cool to say we did. We got pictures and headed back South. My wife thought that one of her co-workers had camped on a beach at Acadia National Park. I don't think they did but the park was beautiful, except for the 50.00 a night to tent camp. We stayed there for 2 nights anyway it was that neat.

The first day in Acadia we fished in the Sound. I bought some flashy spoons like directed by the camp host and cast during the high tide with my oldest son but did not have any luck. He had a ball catching sea weed, so I guess it was not a total loss.

We ate lobster finally that evening. We stopped at a lobster pound and they had a 1 1/2 lb. lobster, 2 pounds muscles, corn on the cob, cole slaw, and a dinner roll for 21.00. I had never had lobster so I asked a stranger how to eat one. He was really nice and explained it to us. It was so good my older son ate half of my lobster and half of his Mom's.

We got back to camp and hung out the rest of the evening. The next day we started heading back towards Columbus but we wanted to see some more area we had never and might not ever see again so we drove South to Rhode Island. We passed through New Hampshire, Massachussetes and into Rhode Island. We ate McDonald's for supper in a scary part of Providence thanks to my older son. That was number 6 McDonald's stop. I set my GPS to home from there.

It took us through Connecticut and into New York City. I didn't want to go near New York City in any of this. The GPS could not keep up with all the roads and we ended up stopping at a light in the Bronx at Midnight. A guy came up trying to wash my windshield and another trying to sell flowers. I couldn't get out of there fast enough when the light changed.

We went across the Washington Bridge and onto the New Jersey turnpike. In New Jersey I stopped to get gas. I got out of the car and went to pump the gas into the tank and a guy came running up to me all mad and grabbed the pump out of my hand. I thought it was another street guy trying to make a buck so I told him I would get it and was ready to throw down if he didn't listen. I didn't know him and wasn't going to have him close to my car. He said it is illegal to pump your own gas there and that he worked there. He got a tip from me after all.

We drove into Pennsylvania and about half way through and 20 hours of driving I couldn't go no more. I pulled off in a rest area after pulling off into a military base by accident. We slept for a few hours then my wife drove us the rest of the way to Columbus.

Once back, I showered and was off again to play at Dave and Busters. A couple extra people ended up back at the house afterwards playing Wii and P&A. The next morning 6 of us headed to Cedar Point to ride Coasters. I would recommend the Millinium Force at dark. It was crazy. There were a couple coasters that got to me and I wondered how I ended up on them. We were back home by 3 AM and I was off to work a few hours later. My vacation was over.