Monday, August 31, 2009

Camping Trip

It must be getting late in the season. I went camping this weekend and only spent about an hour fishing. The main reason for the trip was to repair the trailer for the trip to Kentucky.

I got to the lake Friday evening after work and set up camp in the rain. It rained all evening. On top of that my wife and kids were going to meet me at the lake and did not show up until 9:30. I was thinking they would be there by 6:30 at the latest.

The rain was pretty anoying after I had set up camp. I was bored anyway so I got a plastic painting sheet out of the blazer. I tied it to each side of a picknick table and the other corners to my boat. I had a 2X4 that I was going to use to repair a boat trailer board that had rotted. I stuck that in the center of the plastic between the table and the boat. It drooped inwards so I looked in my truck and found a couple of stringers. I stabbed them through the plastic and then pulled it outwards until it was tight then stabbed the stringer into the ground. It made a nice little canopy and I was able to sit and wait on my wife to get there.

Her cell phone had died and finally she called from a payphone to tell me she was lost. I asked her where she was at. She was about 1/2 a mile from camp so I drove and showed her the rest of the way. Apparently she had been all around the lake before calling right before she came to the state park sign. I asked her why she didn't use the GPS that was in the van. I saw something click in her head as she picked it up. She had forgotten it was in there.

Saturday I got up and put the boat in the water so I could work on the trailer. I took the carpet off the old board and cut the new board to size. I then stretched the old carpet over the new board and stapled it on. The old board had rotted around a large knot in the wood and ended up breaking to pieces. The boat was sitting on carpet covering the metal. The metal had bent so I hit it back into place with a hammer then installed the new board. One of the tire covers was coming loose so I screwed it back together. While i was drilling it I slipped and drilled the inside bend of my left hand pointer finger. That hurt for a while but I got the trailer back in great condition.

Most of the weekend was spent in camp with the kids. The weather was not great as it rained Friday night, blew hard on Saturday, and Sunday a cold front had moved in. I did get a little fishing in on Saturday. I followed a canal back to some lilly pads. I pulled a rubber worm with a small weight across the tops of the lilly pads until a bass busted the surface. He missed the worm but it was pretty cool to watch. I also saw a small bass jump out of the water for a bug and land on a lilly pad where it flopped around for a while before it was able to fall off the side.

I am looking forward to Kentucky lake where I will be out in the boat most of the day every day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Patterns Throughout the Day

As I fish more and more for bass I am also reading continuously to learn and make myself a better angler. Here are some bass basics I read in an article by Charles Stuart in This information seems very useful especially for lakes around here. I have noticed that at certain periods throughout the day cetain presentations cease to work and other presentations start working better. This article really cleared that up. I would like to add that I also like to use a shallow crankbait for a morning bite as well. Here is a section from the article Bass Basics.


Buzzbaits and spinnerbaits can be excellent. Fish them on top or just below the surface. Your retrieve should be reasonably fast. Look for the fish to swirl beside the bait. If this happens but you do not catch a fish, a plastic worm will often do the job when cast to the same location. See below for the worm techniques.


Bass move to cover during the day. Fish "jig-n-pig" rigs close to the shoreline under fallen trees and bushes as these are "ambush points" for bass and you can capture larger fish. Fish this method very slowly along the bottom of the lake or river. Watch the line for movement or "twitching" and always set the hook hard. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits will attract bass from deep water. If you want to fish deep, reduce the line strength to perhaps 10-pound test and use a crankbait with a deep angled lip. Lipless crankbaits work well bounced off the bottom of the lake with an erratic retrieve. Plastic imitations of various shapes, styles, lengths and colors will also work fished with or without weights.


Plastic worms, crawfish, lizards, frogs, fish and grubs will all catch fish. Tube jigs and other plastic "shapes" which bear no resemblance to any living creature will catch bass on any given day. Do not be afraid to ask other fishermen what color is working that day. Your tackle dealer will also be able to tell you what is working in the area. Imitations such as soft plastics should be fished slowly. A good idea when trying a new lure is to drop it close to the shoreline and watch it move as you retrieve your line. The key to plastics is to make the imitation look as much like the real thing as possible. Watch closely and then imagine what you bait is doing when you cast out into the lake or river on your retrieve. You can also return to the morning methods shown above as the light begins to fade. This is when bass move back to shallow water and ambush points, such as downed trees, large rocks and lily pads to feed.

More Trips and a Glimpse Into the Past

I have finished booking our reservations at Kentucky Lake. We are actually getting a lake house on Lake Barkley. The two lakes are connected close to where the lake house is.

We started looking at cabins and cottages a couple weeks ago. There was one that caught my eye. It was a little more than I was wanting to pay for the week but was a beautiful lakehouse and had everything we would want for a fun filled week at the lake.

We ended up reserving it for 695.00. It has a complimentary boat dock and a 1000 square foot covered deck that will make a great play area for the kids and relaxing spot for us. The deciding factor was that I could not find anything that looked close to as nice even at the same price. Especially on the lake.

They seemed really nice when I spoke to them on the phone and their web site was nicely worded unlike some of the other sites I looked at.

I also booked a campground for this weekend on Indian Lake. I have only fished it once and barely did that time. The first time we went there we realized that the state campground was one of the best in the state. It has channels running through the campground so you can leave your boat in the water overnight.

Indian Lake also has some slightly larger bass and has many docks and lily pads to fish. It is also a very good lake for crappie and is the states #1 lake for saugeye fishing.

The main reason I got it is to leave the boat in the water while I fix one of the boards on the trailer. This week one of the boards that was rotting finally broke and I need to get everything ready for the Kentucky trip. I also need to install a hummingbird fish finder/gps unit. I am moving my smaller older unit to the front of the boat.

I am getting excited about both trips. I could easily live at the lake.

In fact, a couple years after college my wife and I were living and working in Omaha, NE. One of our landlords had not paid the city rental fees for the house we were living in. We came home one evening and they had posted a 30-day eviction notice on our door. I called the city and they told us what had happened and said not to pay him rent until he paid his rental dues. He came to our house later that day and said we needed to pay him rent so he could pay the rental dues. I would not give him his rent due to what the city had told me.

The next morning we woke up with a 24 hour eviction notice from him on our door. He had pulled some crazy things in the past and I knew if we did not get our things out of the house he was going to end up with some of them. He had already spent lots of time in the house while we were not there. One time he came in and started staining the hardwood floors in the living room. He did half the room and after a week I finished the other half because I could not take it any longer. He had also lit our candles in the bathroom while we were gone one weekend. Apparently he had a girl over while we were gone.

So with 24 hours to get out I called off work rented a storage unit and a moving truck and had everything out of the house by the end of the day. It hit us after our last load to the storage unit that we were now homeless with nowhere to go.

We drove back to the storage unit and I dug back to our camping supplies and loaded them into the car. We made our way outside of town to a place called 24 lakes near Freemont, NE. We set up camp. For the first week while we were looking for a place to live we camped at the lake in a little tiny tent with a great dane and 2 fish from the aquarium.

We had a hard time finding a place that would accept a great dane. We finally found a place that could get us in after a month and a half. We would have to stay at the lake until then.

I ended up talking to a guy at work that was wanting to get rid of his motorhome. It was a little older but had low miles. He could not get it to start and said the air conditioner quit working years ago but said if I could get it to start he would sell it to me for 1300.00. I went to take a look and the outside of the 28 foot motorhome was in great condition. On the inside you could see it had been used for some crazy partying. There was beer spilled everywhere and trash everywhere. The carpets were matted down and black and sticky. The fridgerator had meet left in it for who knows how long and had maggots crawling around. It was a mess.

I came back the next day and started to work on the motor to see if I could get it to start. Around dark it fired up and I had it running. The next 2 days I cleaned the insides of it with many different cleaners and carpet cleaners, spot removers, smell good things. I got everything really clean. The refrigerator was even clean but still had a foul odor. Finally on my day off I paid for it and drove it to the lake.

Once we had it to the lake I crawled on top and took the cover off the air conditioner. A wire had came disconnected and once I plugged it back in the air conditioner was up and running.

After that point we had to move once a week to a different lake still within the same park. Every evening I would go swimming and fishing and we would sit outside and barbecue. My wife even sat on the beach with the dog to watch fireworks on the fourth of July. It was only about 7 or 8 dollars a night for electric camping and showers were pay showers. We got good enough to take a .50 cent shower.

That was also one of the worst storm season's I have seen. We had heavy winds that broke tree branches down all over the campground and seemed like it was going to roll the motorhome. There were tornado warnings in the area quite a few times. One time during a hail storm we heard 30 miles south of us they were getting volleyball size hail. It had put holes in people's houses so big they could stick their kids through the holes in the roof of their houses. We spent a bit of time in the shower houses waiting out bad weather.

It was a great 2 months overall though. We saved money on rent and were outside living it up every day. When the apartment finally opened up we were both pretty upset. Not long after that we found out my job was ending and that we would be moving to Ohio. I sold the motorhome to my Grandmother who still enjoys it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Start Close Finish

I awoke to mildy cool weather Sunday morning. There was dew on the windows when I hooked up the boat and you could tell fall is right around the corner.

We considered just fishing to see if we could do decent. We haven't placed in the money at a tournament yet. We decided to go ahead and fish the tournement. We have been getting better each week we have fished it and if we get all of the fish in the boat we could walk away with some money.

As we pulled into the boat ramp about 15 minutes until the start of the tournament I saw that there were hardly any open parking spaces. There were a lot of boats there for that time of the morning. As I was paying the entry for the tournament I found out that there was another club tournament on the lake.

There was about 25 boats in our tournament and at least that in the other. With all of us on Deer Creek the water got covered pretty quickly.

We started off at a bank that we have had most of our luck on so far this season. The bass are of descent size and there are some good laydowns near the creek channel. Not long after the start of the tournament Gene was fishing one of the laydowns with a white suspending crankbait and hooked into a 2 pounder. That got us pretty excited. A little ways down the bank he hooked into another one next to a log that went about 1 3/4. We were really excited. Then Gene caught another 12 1/2 incher neer a tree base a little further down the bank. This was all by 9:30.

We were both happy that we had enterred the tournament. Gene was rubbing it in that he was catching all the fish. I really wanted to catch one.

There was another boat right behind us fishing the same bank about 50 feet behind us and another 50 feet behind them so we could not turn and fish it back. Why at the start of a tournament you would choose to fish right behind another boat is beyond me. I always want to fish fresh water at the beginning of the day. We reached a point that i had seen another boat fish so I decided to get us to another spot that we had caught decent fish. There were 2 boats there so we ventured back in the creek. We fished the bank on the way in. It looked good and I was wondering why we weren't catching anything until I saw 3 boats coming back down the creek.

Everywhere we went there were boats in all of our main places. We decided to hit a stretch of bank that had a 2 foot flat about the size of a football field. The trolling motor got us back there and we ended up catching a couple small bass and a crappie. One of the bass was 11 3/4 inches. We went back to our original area after that and caught a couple more small non keepers before the end of the tournament.

We ended up catching 7 bass (only 3 keepers), a saugeye, a crappie and a white bass in the 6 hours we fished. It was our best tournament to date. All of the other boats had worse days than usuall due to the volume of fishermen on the lake.

We ended up one out of the money with 4.61 pounds. We needed at least 2 more small fish to make the money though. It was a blast to have a chance. I wish I could have contributed to the keepers. Now I have to listen to Gene rub it in on how he outfished me. He says it doesn't happen often so he has to rub it in. He is getting a lot better as the season goes on though. He is becoming quite the bass man.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wednesday fishing for fun!

Mizike and I went fishing last Wednesday night and had a good time. I was not going to be able to fish our regualar Thursday night due to issues at work.

We went to Alum Creek. Mizike showed up before me to get some extra fishing in. He caught one small bass by the time I arrived. He picked me up and asked where to catch the crappie. I had a little spot that was not too far out of the way so I took him there.

We fished with minnows which is pretty rare for me. I usually use a jig head and skirt when I fish for crappie. I used the jig head and hooked the minnow on it about 2 1/2 foot under a bobber. We had good crappie fishing and caught around 15. We kept 5 that were well above 9 inches and threw about that many back that were right on the line. Mizike also hooked into about a 6 1/2 lb. catfish on his ultralight. He got it to the boat and out of the water but his line broke when he was swinging it into the boat.

I had one pole hooked up for crappie fishing and the rest for bass. We anchored in one spot to float a bobber and cast around there looking for bass. I pulled out my hula popper first. I cast next to a tree branch that stuck down in the water and popped it slowly past it. On my fifth cast I looked at Mizike and said, "I'm about to make the bass under that branch mad and he's going to take this popper." Right as I ended my sentence the water boiled at my lure and I set the hook. After a good battle I finally landed the 1 1/2 lb largemouth. I wish I had instincts like that all the time.

I caught a couple more bass on the crappie rigs and one on a spinner next to a hump and a willow. The crappie were taking the bobbers under pretty regular and we were catching about 3/4 of the ones that bit. Setting the hooks on crappie doesn't work like it does on bass.

We fished for about 2 hours before a storm rolled in and soaked us. It was raining so hard that even with my bilge on the water was rising inside the boat. I thought we were going to have to pull up to shore to keep her afloat for a bit.

By the time we made it back to the ramp and backed the trailer in it had finished raining. It was still quite a trip. It always feels good to catch fish after fish and I love seeing fish hit topwater.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Deer Creek Tournament

After all the sun I had on Saturday there was no way I was going fishing on Sunday. I went to bed Saturday night with plans of sleeping in on Sunday then watching t.v. all day while I rehydrated.

In the middle of the night I heard a noise like the front door opening. I asked my wife if she heard it but she was out of bed. I assumed that it was her and went back to sleep. She woke me up and asked if I was going to the tournament in the morning. I told her no and put my head under a pillow. She said that Gene was downstairs sleeping on the couch. I told her I still was not feeling well from the dehydration and wasn't going to go.

She went downstairs to tell Gene and by the time she got back upstairs I was fully awake. I told her that I might as well go fishing since I was awake and feeling a little better.

I was concerned being able to find the fish when we got to the lake. I had not had any luck the day before but didn't get to fish much either. Gene had talked to a guy the night before that told him a good spot so we headed there first. Gene was fishing with a suspending crank and I fished with a craw. He caught a keeper withing the first 15 minutes fishing a fallen tree. I caught a small fish casting a spinner next to a rock bank.

We fished the main lake at the start of the tournament. Then once the boats came out and started making the water rough we headed to the no wake areas.

Late in the day as the sun was beating down on us I decided to try some back water areas. I put the trolling motor on 24 volt, high speed and headed down the shoreline. We casted spinners and crankbaits at the bank. We were trying to find active fish. I started to see bass rising to the surface around us on a flat that was only 2 feet deep. I cast past one of the rises and reeled to where the bass had risen and as it reached there the fish hit. It was about 50 foot from the boat and the bass was airborn several times before I finally got it in. It was a keeper.

We worked the area a little longer then cruised on trying to find some more active fish. One of the boats had saw me catch one and pulled up to the rock bank we were working toward. We worked back the other way until the tournament ended without any more luck. At the weigh in we found out the boat that had stopped at the rock bank had caught a 3 pounder for big bass at that spot.

We weighed in our 2 fish. They went 1.96 pounds. I felt like we had a pretty successful tournament. Even though we did not win I felt like we had a good day. We caught 3 bass and did not miss any of our bites. There are a couple things I would do different. I would work more areas and I would have fished more rubber baits. I also would have worked the area we caught the last fish with a few more baits to see if I could get another fish out of that area. There were several fish working the surface along that bank.

Fun in the Sun

There was an incredible urge to fish Saturday. It was partially due to how I had fished on Thursday as well as wanting to try a couple new things out.

Kimber decided she wanted to get some sun while I was out and my older son decided he wanted to go fishing too. I worked it out so my wife would come to the lake and we would meet at the beach then I would go fishing on my own to try some things out.

Well, plans don't always work out. My son was a brat and threw a fit for the first hour and a half at the lake. I did get to try fishing the river channel a little but not as much as I would have liked or quite the area I wanted to. My wife did not show up at the time she said she would be there.

We ended up at the beach anyhow and swam and played in the sand. It was pretty fun. My youngest tried eating shovels full of sand. I'd think he would learn.

It was hot, one of the hottest days we have had this year and Kimber and I got burned pretty bad.

After a couple hours at the beach I mentioned that I was going to go fishing. Kimber wanted to go in the boat some more and told my wife we should all go out. I fished around the boat ramp for a while then took them in. I decided that I had enough heat and sun and loaded the boat as well. I think I was dehydrated. I was pouring out swet and had a terrible headache and my hands were shaking bad enough I could barely open the hatches on the boat to store everything.

It was still a good day because we were at the lake.

TNT tournament results

Thursday was crazy to say the least. I was not ready for what was in store for us in order to compete in this tournament.

As usual I had to leave work and drive to O'Shaughnessy. My plan was to leave in plenty of time so I would get there, prep the boat and tie some lures on prior to the start of the tournament. Everything was going well until one associate showed up late. I hurried over to the plant to hand out paychecks but all of the associates there were already on the floor. I speed walked to the back of the building handed them their checks and by the time I made it back to the car I was taking off about 40 minutes behind the time I had planned.

I was starting to stress about making it to the lake on time. Then Mizike called. He said we had drawn the bullhorn boat. We were last and had to call out the boat numbers at the start of the tournament. I picked up my speed because I had to be there on time now. It seemed like every car I came to was turning and every light was red on the way to the lake.

My staying calm was gone. I couldn't settle down and was tense by the time I reached the lake. We hurried and got the boat to the ramp. I turned the key and it did not fire right away. I ran back and squeezed the bulb and tried again. It was turning over but not firing. I pushed in on the key to choke it nothing, throttled it up still nothing. Finally I just held on the key and it came to life. We made it on the water right as the directors were announcing the rules. We got the bullhorn and called out the boat numbers.

Finally after the last boat left I asked Mizike if he had any spots he wanted to start. He directed me to a fantastic looking bank that had a river channel running next to it. We pulled up and as he started casting I dropped the trolling motor. I pressed on the foot pedal and nothing happened. By this point I was feeling overwhelmed. We started searching for the problem. As we were the ski boats were bombing us with waves and pushed us next to shore into an overhanging tree.

We pushed our way out and Mizike started tracking the wires and checking fuses. He couldn't figure anything out. I casted a little while he was doing that. Then I don't know why but I started turning the trolling motor with the foot control back and forth. I felt a lurch in the motor and heard the problem. There was line wrapped around the prop. Must have happened at the end of the last trip and seized the motor before this trip.

Finally, about an hour after the start of the tournament we were able to fish. We tried the stretch of bank we had just floated down. I felt a couple of nibbles but they wouldn't take it enough to get a hook set.

We moved North to the shallower part of the lake to try it. We fished fast with spinners and crankbaits. We did not have any luck there. We finally came back towards the ramp and tried one last area with spinners where Mizike had caught one keeper before. We finished the tournament without a fish.

Here's how I did with my goals:

1. I didn't fish effectively on my casts. I made some good casts but was not following my instinct and slowing down. I didn't have purpose on a lot of casts. I was just throwing it out and reeling in.

2. Finding fish. I think we fished a spot that had fish but due to a lack of effort we did not catch any.

3. I didn't keep lures on my poles. I didn't even have a chance to tie lures on a couple of them prior to the tournament. I would tie a lure on then if I lost it I would grab a new pole.

4. Time got me again. After messing with the trolling motor for an hour we only had a couple hours left. We didn't use what time we had effectively. Instead we tried new water in 2 different locations that took most of the time, then had to leave early since we had not caught fish so Mizike could get home and showered before heading to work.

5. I fished the craw quite a bit and had some nibbles. I also used a beetle spin that I have had some luck on at O'Shaughnessy. I stuck with the baits I had confidence in but we fished all new areas that I did not so I guess this goal was half successful and half not.

This tournament was doomed from the beginning. I got way to stressed and things did not go right at all. There was something to be learned though. If I have an important tournament I will make sure I have plenty of time to arrive and have everything ready to go so I can relax for a while and mentally prepare before the start of the tournament.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TNT return and preperations

Summer weather is just getting here but fall is coming fast. We are finally starting to get the warmer days of summer I have been waiting for all year. It has been a great spring and early summer with only 3 days above 90 degrees so far this year.

As the summer continues on I am still continually thinking about bass. Even if I could be out there every day catching them, I would want more, I would want to start fishing for them at night as well.

To keep gaining experience and grow on my so far poor rookie year I am going to fish the Thursday TNT tournament at O'Shaughnessy tomorrow evening. I will be camping at Indian Lake this weekend and will not be able to get in the Sunday Deer Creek tournament.

O'Shaughnessy has been rough on us this year with no keeper bass during a tournament so far. I hope to turn that around tomorrow. I read some articles on mental preparation that should help me focus on fishing correctly and not focus on the previous tournaments we have had there. There was also an article by the same author that wrote about setting goals. He was writing about yearly goals but I think I will make some for this tournament as well.

Goal 1: I want to fish effectively on most of my casts. Casting for even a small amount of time without anything to show for it can be dulling. I start short casting or working areas that don't even look good. This week I want to refocus at least every half hour so I can make my casts count and keep my lure in the strike zone the longest and stay alert for when a strike does occur.

Goal 2: Find the fish. I have a few spots now that were a little more productive than others. I will try them but if we try several effective presentations and still do not get bites we will try another spot.

Goal 3: Keep lures on all of my poles. I have a bad habit of grabbing a different pole with a different lure if my line breaks. I might do this if fish are around but if I don't catch anything on the other lure I will at least re-tie my line and have it ready to go in case I need it.

Goal 4: Keep my focus on fishing and not on the time. I get scared of the time limit. According to the articles I read worry can cause you to tense up and that tension does not help fishing. If I need to I will relax a minute then get back to why I am there, to fish effectively.

Goal 5: Use my strengths that I have gained. I have tried lots of styles of fishing this year, but I am confortable working area's slowly with a craw. I will try other tackle as the fish show me what they want but I will keep a craw tied on as that is definately my confidence bait right now.

I still think we can win a tournament, but that will not be my goal this week. If I can fish effectively then winning will follow.

Weekend Update # 2

There was noise coming from downstairs as I awoke from a good night of sleep. My sons were playing with their toys as they normally do on weekend mornings around 8:30. I grabbed my glasses from the nightstand and made my way down to the living area and kitchen. My son grabs my leg and gives me my morning hug.

Still a little tired I see that Gene had not slept on the couch as usual on Saturday night. I walked outside to see if his car was at the house. It was not but as I rounded the corner Mizike had the garage door open and was gathering his gear to put in the van. I gave him a funny look and asked about the 9:00 time that we were originally going to start loading. He said that he could not sleep and had already been to wash and vacuum the van to prep it for packing.

As I smoked a cigarette still half asleep I called to make sure Gene was up and on his way. Right after I got off the phone Thomas called and said he was about at the house. It had been quite a while since we had been fishing together so I gave him directions until he reached the house.

As I took a shower Gene showed up and the 3 continued loading the van. The shower helped me wake up and gave me focus on the day. I started to get excited. We were about to set off on an adventure to one of the greatest walleye fisheries in the world.

We finally had everything packed and sent the wife and kids off to church then it was our turn to get on the road. The 3 hour trip to the lake went quick with all of the joking and talking we were doing. Once we arrived to Port Clinton we stopped at a gas station to get some cash. The ATM was down so we continued down the road to a bank ATM to get some cash to enter the big fish competition and to tip the first mate on the head boat.

Next, we continued on to Fisherman's Wharf. It was pretty quiet near the store. It was Sunday and a lot of the crowd that had been there for the weekend were already on their way home. We found a spot to park and went into the store to get paid up. The store was unusually quiet as well and we were able to pay for the boat rather quickly. When we paid there were only 6 of us signed up. That was pretty exciting, that meant we would be able to fish off any part of the boat we wanted.

We picked up some Subway to take on the boat with us then came back to the van to wait to load into the boat. After about an hour of waiting in 95 degree heat we finally loaded. The boat we were originally going to take was out of commission due to the batteries not taking a recharge so they put us on another boat that still needed gas. We sat on the boat for almost another hour before taking off. That was a little frustrating because the captain and first mate said the last trip out they had found the walleye and caught most of their fish on the last drift. The conditions were changing and I knew that if we did not get out there to catch some right away we might not keep up with them or find them that evening.

The boat was filled up and we headed out for our 6 hour instead of 7 hour trip. We travelled further North than I have been in the head boats. I wasn't worried since we had taken plenty of beverages with us to keep us occupied on the trip out.

Once we arrived to our destination there were 3 to 4 foot swells. There were only 11 of us fishing but I decided I was going to fish off the bow so I could cast and reel instead of drift. It was rough on the bow because it lifted and lowered more with each wave than the rest of the boat. I was having a hard time getting my sea legs and had to hold onto the rail several times to keep from falling.

I finally figured out that it would only toss us around once out of 4 or 5 waves and the rest of the time I could manage to get a cast out and start reeling. The front of the boat paid off as I had my first hit as I was slowly lifting my harness off the bottom. I reeled it in and had a fairly large white perch. Mizike had a white perch on just about the same time. We fished for a while longer before the captain finally pulled in the first walleye. I followed with a small 16 incher.

One other guy on the boat caught a walleye on the first spot we tried. We had caught a few more white perch and some sheep heads. Finally the captain decided that he had lost the walleye they had been on earlier and made a half hour trip back towards port clinton.

Fishing there was not any better. Thomas caught a small walleye and the rest of the boat caught a couple more walleye as well as some yellow perch and more white perch. One guy on the back of the boat also caught a nice catfish. We were fishing a sunken ship.

It was probably a good thing we moved from the last spot because a storm had came in and looked like it was over where we had been. The captain commented on that being the reason we were not getting a good bite. The barometric pressure was changing and had shut off the bite.

The last 2 times we had been out the bite was slow. I am wondering if Lake Erie is getting fished out since they have not had a good walleye hatch for several years. The fish we had caught were just moving into keeper size. That could be a possibility. It could be that we just had 2 poor trips out to Erie due to the weather this year.

It was still good to be out there fishing. I might have as good of luck in the inland lakes but the potential to really get into em' goes way up when you go to Erie.

I will probably wait until next year to go back. I guess I will have to find some saugeye around home to catch to eat or live on crappie until next year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekend Update # 1

We started a fire in the firepit behind the house Friday night in anticipation of roasting marshmallows for s'mores. Shawn and his wife had just shown up for the occasion slightly after the sun had gone down. A long week of work called for a few barley filled beverages.

I tore a paper grocery bag in 3 pieces then rolled them and placed some kindling and wood over the top of them tee pee style in the metal fire pit. I lit the paper as Shawn, his wife Jody, my wife, and Mizike's girlfriend Kimber gathered chairs to put around the fire. The paper was dry and I lit it in several spots so that all sides of the fire would ignite at once. The kindling and wood did not take long to burst into flames and before the chairs were arranged the fire was illuminating the back of the house and the woods behind us. At that same moment a few raindrops came down from the sky. Our perfect night for s'mores was getting ready to change.

The girls hurried inside while Shawn and I huddled around the fire to tell some tales of work and life. The light rain subdued and we continued to talk around the fire while the girls were inside chatting. After a couple of beers the girls asked if it was raining out still. We let them know that it had quit. Everybody gathered outside. Only a couple s'mores were made but stories were told and everybody became mesmorized by the flames of the fire.

Mizike arrived home after his shift at work. He sat around with us for a bit but he was ready for the bar scene. Jody was tired and Shawn and her decided it was time to leave. I was going to go to bed after a good evening when Kimber said I had to go to the bar with Mike because she was not feeling well. I had already been drinking and Mizike was going to be drinking so we convinced her to drive us to the bar and we would find a ride home.

At the bar we met a group of friends on the patio. We started out with a drink a piece. It was good and went down quick. I told Mizike I was going to order 4 more for each of us so we would not have to wait for drinks. When I asked for 8 drinks total the bartender had me clarify at least 3 times before making them. It was already a little late, I guess she didn't think we would finish them in time. I got back to the table and there were shots lining the table. There were 2 sitting in front of where I had been sitting. One of the others at the table had decided that was the night to drink as well.

We toasted and had the first shot followed with a whiskey and coke chaser, then another shot followed by 3 whiskey and coke chasers. With the beer and whiskey and cherry bomb's in my stomach I started feeling realy good. I started making my way around the bar and conversing with some friends that I had not seen in a while. Time went fast and it was closing time.

In the parking lot we discussed eating at waffle house. It was decided, and to Waffle house we went. They must love the drunk after bar crowds they get in there with everybody loud and obnoxious. We ate well and once outside the discussion of after hours came about. We were on the way to go to after hours when the lead car turned off the route and started heading towards our house. We got out and I said "What about after hours?" Mizike said, "It's 4:30 in the morning." I got his point and we headed inside for bed.

I woke up around 8:30 Saturday morning. I felt rested and was in the mood for fishing. My son came in the room and I asked him if he wanted to go. He did, so I loaded the van to go. We went to Madison Lake, a small lake close to the house. We have had some luck bluegill fishing there and I thought it would be a good lake to try some of my new baits that arrived in the mail Friday afternoon on some small bass.

We got to our spot and fished for a little while before my son was tired of fishing. My wife took the 2 boys to the park and I was able to try my new craws. I walked to the rocks of the dam casting along the bank where there were breaks from the trees. I had a couple of small nibbles on the way to the rocks. Then at the corner of the dam I stood on a rock and cast to the shad of an overhanging tree branch. There was a bass there and he nibbled at the bait but when I set the hook there was no fish attached.

I fished for a little bit longer then decided to walk the bank to the playground to meet up with the wife and kids. I was walking around one cove when I saw at the tip of the cove there was a tree lined with brush hanging over the water. In front of that I saw logs floating in the water with green seeds from the tree covering the top of the water between the tree and the logs.

I thought back to fishing in Kansas and remembered that there is always a bass under those seeds if they are gathered between structure. I took my craw and flipped it in the green. Immediately my line cuts through the seed and heads under one of the logs. I pull up on my rod to set the hook. Out comes the jig head. The fish had successfully gotten the plastic craw.

I walked back to the van and got some new rubber and walked the cove again with no luck. I got to the point near the playground and was on my last cast when I heard a thumping getting really close to the back of my head. I turned around just in time to see a flock of ducks dive bombing me. I ducked and covered right as they swooped past me and landed in the cove I had just fished. A couple at the picnic table were laughing hysterically. I guess the ducks didn't see me or did not care but I would have been whacked if I had not dodged them.

I walked back to the van and of course my wife had not seen it happen and did not see the humor of it. She would have been on the ground rolling if I would have walked back with duck feathers lining my mouth. We headed home to relax before going to see Harry Potter in Imax 3D that evening.

The 3D part of Harry Potter was awesome besides the fact that my oldest did not want to wear the glasses and I kept trying to put them on. The 3D was only for a small portion of the beginning of the movie. However, it was the best 3D I havr seen so far. I guess I will take a little bit of really good 3D over a whole movie of so-so 3D.

We finally got home about midnight and hurried to bed for our Sunday trip to lake Erie.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Upcoming trips

It's Friday. Two more days and Gene, Mizike and I will be heading to lake Erie for a trip out on the headboat to fish for walleye. We are stocked up on worms and harnesses from out last trip out this spring. We only caught 3 walleye that trip. We had a cold front come through and the bite turned off. I luckily caught 2 before that happened.

I have been going at least once a year with Gene for the last 5 years. It has become kind of a tradition. We had each gotten different jobs this last year so our schedules do not work out quite as well as working together. I have reserved the evening outing from 3 PM - 10 PM on Sunday. We will take off from home about 10 AM and drive there Sunday. Once we are done fishing Mizike can drive us back since he has to work 3rd shift this week. Gene and I can sleep so we can get up the next day.

It will be close to 2 or 3 in the morning before we get home. If there's something to be tired at work for it is fishing.

I ordered some new fishing tackle the other day. I keep thinking I should have enough but it seems that I keep needing more. I have 2 full tackle bags and 1 tackle box along with a seperate bag for my rubber baits. I keep asking myself if I need it all but each time I am out at the lake I find that I need just a small change on something. I need to run a little deeper or a little shallower, or a slight change in color.

The main reason I bought new tackle was because I am 1 berkley crazy legs chigger craw away from running out of a hot pattern for this summer. I ordered 3 bags to stock me back up. I also ordered 3 bags of 5" senko's. I keep hearing how good they are but have yet to try them. I am also getting 3 bags of 5" skirted double tail creature baits, 1 package of baby hogs, and 8 bags of smallie beaver's.

I am pretty excited to try some of these out.

Next weekend I am scheduling a camping trip to Indian Lake. It will give me some different experience for bass fishing. It has a lot of boat docks and rocky banks along with channels. It is a shallow lake and only has one area that has much depth to it. From what I have seen on tournament results it has a little larger fish than some of the other lakes I am fishing.

I am still working on our vacation for September. It will be at Kentucky Lake I just haven't set the dates yet. I am really excited. I just watched the FLW Kentucky Lake tournament last night. I love DVR. That's the only way I can ever watch fishing. The size of the fish that come out of there are huge. I am happy with a 2 1/2 pounder but the opportunity to see 4's and 5's is amazing. A whole week at the lake will be great too. It looks like a beautiful lake too. The closer September gets the more anxious I will be too.

My 3 year old loves to fish and camp. He will love being out there with just us and getting to fish every day. My 1 year old will have fun too.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Plan to becoming a pro fisherman

I might be getting ahead of myself but I really want to become a pro fisherman. I have looked up the routes to get to both the Bassmasters Elite Series and the FLW Tour. Both are very expensive and the routes to get there are not that easy. I also looked at smaller series like the Stren Series. I think the best route for me is to shoor for the Elites.

After looking at it I decided it is not impossible for a good fisherman to get on the Series to compete with the other Pro's. I look at some of the better fisherman in the tournaments I fish and think that these guys could do it. They are consistent and bring in big fish week in week out. One thing that I do notice though is that we fish the same lakes and from talking with them they always fish these lakes. They have had time to figure them out and know where the bass are located. Given the same situation and similar lakes they would do good but if they were to try a different lake in different conditions they would have to start over to pattern the bass and figure out where they would be.

I'm sure that there are several guys I fish with that could still do that.

I have devised my plan to shoot for the pro's. Like any plan it will take revision along the way but I have to start somewhere to go after my dream.

First I am going to try to join a bass club by the end of this year. I have already e-mailed the president of a club I had talked to at one of the clubs opens this spring. He e-mailed back and said to call him. I will learn as much as I can from from the other anglers in the club. It will also give me the opportunity to start giving back to the sport that gives so much to me.

I will also compete in smaller tournaments and get in as much fishing as I can while working to support the family and spending time with them. I will also fish as much different water as I can. I want to be confident on different waters as well as using different techniques and lures. I am also going to try to enter a few pro ams next year as an amature. I think that will be huge. It will help me to see how to go about fishing a tournament as a pro and the experience I can gain by fishing with new people and seeing how they fish will be invaluable.

Any money I earn in tournaments or on the side I am putting into a savings account. I also sell on ebay for side money. I think I can pull quite a bit of the money I need by doing that in the next few years. I am also going to try to sell my house in the next year and move into something more affordable. This is something we need to do anyway. I have been working on paying down most of our debt. I started about 3 years ago and most of it should be paid off in 3 more years besides the house.

Once my wife can support everything off her salary and we are living comfortably I am going to take my shot. That is if I feel confident I can win or compete at that level. Right now I am not at that level. I can catch bass and have came a long way since this winter, a lot has came back to me, but I need a lot more experience and some help. I will have an open mind and try to absorb and utilize everything I can.

I am hoping in 3 years I will be able to take my shot. I want to take the year off work and fish all three bass open series. I would have to quit, the company would not just let me have a year off. The top 7 in points from each open series have an option to move up to the elites. Each tournament is a thousand dollar entry. I figured up the cost for the tournaments, a weeks stay including food and gas. It would be close to another 1000.00 to prefish and for gas to and from the lakes with motel room. I need at least 18000.00 saved in order to take my shot.

To make it in the top 7 I will have recouped some of the cost to help pay for the elite entries if I make it. I will have to see from there if it is enough to get me through the next year.

I have talked to my wife and she was surprisingly supportive of my plan.

I do have concerns about being on the road all the time. I wish I would have went after this a little earlier in life before I started a family. I didn't have the money to pursue it back then. I was lucky just to have enough money to make it to the lake.

I have a lot to prove to myself. I don't give up on dreams easily.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ramblings of the past

I have been fishing since I was a little kid. I remember fishing with a willow branch, some monofilament tied onto it, with a hook and worm catching bluegill out of a sandpit. I don't know how old I was but it was definately before I turned 5. I grew up fishing with my mom and dad. Mom would take me when Dad was working and Dad would do the same. When they were both off we were all fishing.

We had a lake about 30 minutes from the house that was the main lake for our fishing occasions but we would travel several hours to camp and fish at other lakes. I mainly fished for Walleye and Crappie until I got into high school. Dad was good at finding the Walleye. He enterred a tournament and took 7th place with my uncle at the Kansas Governor's cup at Waconda (Glen Elder) Lake.

I spent my allowance on fishing supplies and fireworks. By the time I was in Grade School I had a full arsenal of tackle and some great spinning rod and reels. I was outfishing my parents in Fourth Grade when we lived in Arkansas for a while. Even when we were camping and fishing all day in the boat, when we would get back to camp I would continue to fish from bank.

While we were living in Arkansas for a year Dad was invited to go fishing with a bass tournament fisherman at Greers Ferry. He was not able to take me since he did not know the guy that well, but my feelings were hurt. I had gone on almost every fishing trip Dad had gone on and I felt I would not have been in the way and could have caught bass. I had caught them before while fishing for other species of fish.

He showed me what he learned from the other guy when he got home. He taught me how to Texas rig a worm so that it was weedless and told me how bass would pick them up and you would have to set the hook in order to drive the hook into their mouth. I knew you didn't do that with Walleye or Crappie or you would pull the hook right out of their mouth.

I think it was that trip that really started my interest in bass fishing. I wanted to show Dad that I could catch bass and could learn how to do it on my own. I started with a few bass lures like a jitterbug that I had gotten as a present in some of the lakes around. The bass were a tough fish to catch on purpose but I started to catch a few.

I was already reading Field and Stream and In-fisherman making sure I knew the latest lures and strategies to catch all types of fish.

When we moved back to Kansas in time for 5th grade I had a friend that also fished with his Dad. They didn't go as much as I did but we started asking for each other to go on all camping and fishing trips. He and his dad taught me a majority of what I know bass fishing. They always fished for bass. My dad and me showed him how to catch walleye, crappie, and other sport fish.

When we got into High School we got our learners permit. I bought a small ABC plastic boat and used Dad's pickup and we would go to the lake and sandpits every chance we would get. We honed in on our bass fishing. We could find them anywhere and started catching up to 5 lb largemouths. We would have a ball and try different techniques. Some of them were absolutely crazy but ended up catching fish. At that time Fish Fishburne was on t.v. and he was wacky. We loved him so we tried to be whacky like him.

I remember taking a girl on a date in high school. We went to the movies and after the movies I took her to a really nice spot on the lake that was not heavily trafficed. I was telling her stories how we could outfish about anybody on the lake. To show her I found some wadded up monofilament in the rocks and an old fishing lure not to far from there. I spotted an area that was sure to hold a largemouth and threw the lure into the water. I pulled the string in by hand and sure enough a 2 lber hit and I pulled him in. She was not as impressed as the guys at work when I told them how the date had went.

My friend and I had little competitions each time we went to the lake. They were just for fun but ended up getting pretty crazy. One time we were doing first, biggest, most. As we were driving to our spot we were crossing a bridge. I grabbed a pole out of the back seat and cast a buzzbait while driving. I was letting it pull with the speed of the car like trolling. A bass hit and I had to stop the car to reel it in.

My friend and I were always trying to build memories and some of those trips will not be forgotten.

During my high school years I always wanted to get into a tournament but my Dad's boat did not have a livewell. I was able to enter a couple of tournaments with other guys I knew and we did o.k. They were multi species tournaments put on by my company though. I got biggest bullhead my first year. It was about 4lbs and only a little over a foot long. The next year I borrowed Dad's boat and 2 of my friends went out with me. We planned out how to get largest fish overall and took the boat clear back on the creek and cast out some corn. I hooked into a monster carp and once we got back to weigh in not only did we have largest fish, we had total most pounds and largest carp. We also caught a bass that won that catagory. We took home nearly 1000 dollars. We all three kissed the carp before turning him loose.

Throughout high school I did most of my papers on fishing. I even did a fly tying demonstration at the local church and several other places. I was one of the first people to fly fish from the area. Fly fishing will always have a place in my heart. I caught my biggest bass to date on a fly. It was a little over 7 lbs at a sandpit near my house.

When I got into college I met somebody that did about as much if not more fishing as I did growing up. I didn't think it was possible. We skipped a few classes and went to every lake in a 100 mile radius of campus. We even enterred a catfishing contest put on by the campus and won that.

I have always fished. After my first year of college I slowed down a lot but managed to catch a few meals a year.

After college I moved to Wichita with my girlfriend now wife. There was not any fishing close and I ended up moving again with the company I work for now about 2 hours from her, so all of my free time was spent coming back to Wichita to spend time with her.

I ended up getting transferred to Omaha NE that winter and lived there for about a year. There was not any big water besides the river there. I did fish some smaller ponds and creeks around there but the fishing was limited.

That company was changing locations so I had the opportunity to move with my company again. There were about 3 sites I could transfer to. I looked at the maps around them and made my decision. I told my Director that I would like to move to Columbus, OH. He asked how I made my decision and I showed him a map and pointed out all the lakes in the area. He laughed at me for making a decision based on fishing.

I made the move and have not looked back. Each year I have been here I have fished more and more. I have tried out a lot of different waters and fished for many different species of fish. I even fulfilled a lifelong dream of fishing Lake Erie for Walleye. I still feel all warm inside each time I go there. I never thought that would be possible growing up.

Fishing is always on my mind. I like to do other things too but fishing will always be my favorite next to my family. Hopefully my family continues to like fishing too.

A lot of times I realize that I have an addiction. I can't get enough and it's hard for me to go home after a day on the lake. I often consider giving everything up to fish all the time. I would be completely happy. That's why I am pursuing a fishing career. I know it will take a lot of work but I have been doing fishing so long and have studied it more than anything else that I should be able to excel at something in this field.

I like tournaments and have dreams of becoming a successful pro someday, I would also be happy doing something else. I have considered going back to school and trying to become a park ranger. I have had dreams of writing for Field and Stream. I have written a couple articles and sent it to them. I have had one story I wrote in high school published. It was a great story about winter camping and building memories. I watched people read it and many of them cried.

My writing here is mostly jotting down thoughts, but I can write well. Most of my writing inspirations come from the old field and streams (1932-1960). Back then the writers told stories and you felt like you were taking the trip of a lifetime when you read them. Now there are mostly articles on how to's and about products. Those things are very important. I might try to write a piece or 2 and send them to a magazine. It would be neat to see my writing published in a major magazine even if I didn't make money doing it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Birthday fishing trip

We missed the tournament Sunday. I woke up at 6 AM with the phone stuck to my chest. I must have woke up at 4:45 and grabbed my phone to turn off the ring and fell right back asleep. When I rolled over at 6 the phone was indented into my chest. I woke up and quickly looked at the time. I thought I was dreaming. I couldn't have overslept. I just stand up and get out of bed if I wake up to go fishing. I must have still been sleeping when the alarm went off.

I had a really good feeling about the tournament too. It was my birthday so I was going to try extra hard to win it. Gene was downstairs on the couch. I asked him what he wanted to do since we had missed the beginning of the tournament. He said whatever. I decided that we should go fish Alum Creek and try to catch some Saugeye and Crappie.

We got to Alum Creek around 10 AM after getting some breakfast and bait. It was overcast and about 10 degrees cooler than the previous day. We started out trolling around some points and an island on the Northern end of the lake. Gene caught 2 white bass but no saugeye.

We decided to troll the Road Bed and then troll some points on the main lake but did not have any luck at those spots. We finally headed back to the Northwest side where we had discovered another old road bed in a cove. We had caught some crappie there during a bass tournament so we hit that for a few hours. We got a few crappie and tried casting a worm on a spinner for some Saugeye.

A while later I had saw a bass surfacing in the shade of a tree. I cast a crazy leg chigger craw out and he picked it up and swam with it. I yanked the rod back and reeled in a 11 1/2 inch largemouth. The next cast I flew the craw past the road bed and hopped it up over the bed. Right as it got to the edge of the roadbed I felt a tug on my line so I ripped it back and pulled in a 12 1/2 inch largemouth. He was pretty thick too.

We fished for crappie a while longer before moving around the shore fishing for some more bass. No luck through the next cove so we decided to try our spring crappie spot. On our way out of the no wake zone we decided to troll. As we crossed over a point Gene snagged one pole and while reeling in his other had a fish hit. He pulled in an 18 inch musky. He was pretty excited. We cast around the point a while then headed for the crappie spot.

It was quite a ride to the crappie spot. We didn't know if the crappie were there still or not. We finally got there and dropped anchor. We fished for a while and did not get any bites. Then I took my bobber and minnow off and just cast my jig liek we had this spring. I cast right up by bank and caught one. I thought they might be by bank so I cast again and I had another hit. They were about a foot out from bank.

We moved closer and caught a few more then they turned off. It was getting later in the day. After a bit I noticed that some smaller fish were surfacing behind us. I cast out and got one in the deeper water. They must have moved to feed.

We finally had 7 larger crappie and white bass in the livewell and it was getting close to dark so we headed home. Once we arrived at the house i unloaded the fish from the livewell and put the boat in the garage. I went to clean the fish and realized I had left my fillet knife in Dad's truck back in Kansas. I didn't want to try to fillet them without a knife and they were still alive so I put them in my coy pond. Once I get my knife I can fish them out of there and clean them. There are quite a few minnows in there to keep them happy until then.

All in all it was a good birthday filled with fishing for fun. I like to multi-species fish every once in a while. Fishing for bass around here can be a grind. Sometime in September my wife kids and I are going to go to Kentucky Barkley lakes in Tennessee. From what I have seen and heard there are large numbers of larger fish there. I am really excited to camp and fish for a week there.