Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Road Trip

This weekend will be a 3-day weekend for my wife and I. Last week I brought up the idea of a family road trip. I had mentioned the idea of going towards North Carolina. I chose North Carolina because it will only take about 5-6 hours to get there. It is South of us, so it should be warmer for camping, and it is a state that none of us have been to.

It will be an unplanned road trip. We may not actually make it to North Carolina. We may not even make it out of Ohio. We will be on a quest to find something fun to do as a family. That may be just camping and hiking or it could be a new zoo or museum. The opportunities are endless.

Some of our best adventures have began with, "Let's take a roadtrip!" Since we moved to Ohio we have built memmories on all of our roadtrips. A few stand out more than others.

We discovered the Hocking Hills only an hour away from home. We also discovered Port Clinton, OH to which I have been back numerous times to fish for walleye off a head boat that leaves from there. There was Cave City, KY which we will have to go back to someday. There was also a stream in West Virginia that had free camping and lots of hiking around. I will only be able to find that again by driving around West Virginia all over again. Last year was Maine where we ate Lobster and staid at Arcadia National park one of the most beautiful parks and campgrounds I have seen. On that trip we saw Niagra Falls, and some attactions around there. We also spent time in the Adirondack Mountains.

My vacations as a child were roadtrips. My parents and I and sometimes a friend would set off towards the Rocky Mountains. We would spend days driving through the mountains looking for something great; a stream, a waterfall, a bear, an unusual camping spot. Each trip was always unique and would contribute to an unforgettable bank of memories.

One thing that helps but is not neccesary on a road trip are visitor's centers. They have a lot of information on the attractions the state has to offer. We sometimes stop and pick up the flyers for the attractions we are interested in seeing. Sometimes it is more fun to discover the attractions on your own. If you just drive upon them it feels as if it is your own attraction. GPS also will also pull up attractions near you. I have used this and found neat things I would have drove right past like a railroad museum where old train engines where brought and retired.

I am excited to get my roadtrip started.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saugeye at Indian Lake

A friend of mine, Chad had invited me to see his Father play in a band at a bar in Anna, Ohio. I had another friend, Gene, come with me so we could go fishing the next day.

Leo and I had made it home from the Deer Creek around 6:30 Saturday evening. I had time to get cleaned up before Gene showed up at the house.

We drove about an hour and a half to get to Anna. The band was really good and we had fun in Anna, staying at the bar until it closed. We made our way to Chad's house who lives at Indian Lake.

The next morning came fast and we weren't feeling great. We woke up to rain, so we hung around Chad's and watched a movie until around noon. Then we went to BlackHawk Bar and Grill and had an awesome breakfast for lunch. I had the 8 oz. ribeye with eggs, homefries, raisin toast and several cups of coffee for less than 10.00, and the steak was grilled perfectly.

Feeling better after a good warm meal we drove to the harbor to fish in the rainy windy conditions that the day had brought us. I started out with a rattling rogue in blue/silver. I have had luck with it in Kansas fishing for saugeye near rocks before. I ended up losing it and tied on a white beetle spin. I have never had luck fishing with saugeye of walleye before but saw a guy down the bank casting something similar and thought I would give it a shot. Eventually, I switched to old trusty, a 1/8 oz, jig head with green twister tail. A huge majority of my spawning walleye/saugeye have been caught on this setup.

After having no luck at the Harbor we drove to the spillway. It was a lot different than any other spillway I had seen before. All the water came over a wall, then ran into another wall that funnelled the water towards the center where there was an opening that released the water under a bridge to start the Great Miami River.

We fished the shallow spillway for a bit then walked down the river and tried several spots with no success. We had been fishing for quite a while when we got back to the truck. We pulled out the crappie rods and fished above the spillway for a while for crappie or bluegill while we took a short break and sat on a ledge.

It was apparent that the fish were not going to cooperate in that spot. I had heard that there was decent crappie fishing near the Moundwood boat ramp, so we drove there to check it out. There was a nice channel that ran back to the boat ramp and beyond that looked like an excellent fishing spot.

As we were getting out poles out to go catch crappie we saw a couple guys heave a stringer up in the air and started taking pictures of all the saugeye they had caught. I grabbed my walleye rod with the twister tied to it and started casting away. Right down the bank from us a guy caught a saugeye. I noticed he had 2 twisters tied on and had caught the fish on the top twister. He was using orange for the top twister and chartreuse for the bottom. I tied an orange twister on top and almost instantly caught the first saugeye.

Gene and I continued pulling in suageye after saugeye for about an hour. Then just as we thought we might get our limit the saugeye shut off. We ended the evening with a catch of 7 saugeye. Gene caught 3 and I brought in 4. I had one break my line and another got off after a good battle up to the bank. Gene had a couple get off on him near bank. One of them fell off as he was lifting it out of the water.

Once we arrived home we unpacked, took pictures, then I cleaned the fish. It was time for bed shortly after and as I laid in bed I thought of how much fun I had this weekend. There was quality time spent with my son, time spent with my friends, and I am finally fishing again after a long winter.

Deer Creek Saturday With My Son

I didn't quite do exactly what I had planned this weekend due to a number of reasons but I did make it out fishing and that is what is important.

I started out Saturday morning at the church to give blood with my wife. I did a different type of donation called a double red blood cell donation where they hook you up to a machine and seperate out the red blood cells and send everything back to you including some saline solution to keep you hydrated. I had never had a problem giving blood before but this time I got cold and kind of numb, I guess from the saline solution working its way through my veins.

I was a little dizzy feeling when we got done, but not enough so that it could keep me from the lake. We got back home and I started packing my gear. Leo, my 4 year old son, wanted to go fishing too so we got him ready to go.

I wanted to see Deer Creek's lake level. I wanted to see if the boat ramp was usable yet. We also had luck catching crappie from the dam this time of year last year and some bass from the corner of the dam. There were quite a few saugeye pulled from below the dam last year as well so we had quite a few options.

We got there and the lake was fuller than I have ever seen it. The water was boiling out below the dam. I think the lake will stay pretty full as they usually start filling it up from winter level on April 1st anyway.

We started at the Dam and I cast my new baitcast with a white Berkley Frenzy crankbait for quite a while seeing if I could get my first bass of the year. Leo was jigging a crappie jig under a bobber. Neither of us had any luck so we moved down the dam closer to the locks. I had seen a lot of crappie come out of that spot last year so we gave it a shot. Nothing!

There was a small, I mean small, cove near the North side of the dam that had a small stream of water running into the lake. I walked over there with a bass jig tied to my baitcast. I saw about a 3 pound largemouth suspended near a submerged log. I let some line out of the reel until the rod tip was sticking up in the air and the lure was on the ground. I grabbed some line from between a couple eyes on the pole and pulled the line out to the side. I started swinging the jig back and forth until it got above my target then gently let it glide into the water in front of the bass. With the line tight I lifted the rod tip a little. The bass was not moving but I felt a tick, tick, tick on my line. I thought to myself that my eyes were playing a trick on me. The fish was still suspended, but somehow he was taking my jig. Slowly, due to the confusion I jerked back on the rod and missed the other fish that had been biting my jig.

The large bass swam near shore after I accidentally hit him on the head a couple times with the jig. As he got near I saw that his eyes and mouth were thickly covered by a fungus. He wouldn't have bit even if I would have tried every bait in my box. I don't think his mouth would even open. I am curious if there would be anything I could have done to help him, like scrape the fungus off. He won't make it much longer in that condition. He was just swimming around in the warmer water of the shallow cove enjoying his last days.

We decided to drive below the dam to try the spillway area. As we drove in Leo spotted a playground on the other side of the river. He asked if we could go play. I pulled back on the road and drove across the river to the parking lot on the other side. We got out and Leo ran to the castle with slides. He played for a couple hours while I enjoyed being outside. We were withing sight of everybody fishing the river and I didn't see anybody having any luck. Finally, I convinced Leo that he had played long enough.

I gave him the option to fish some more or go home. He wanted to fish down at the river for saugeye so we grabbed the gear and walked down. His casting with a twister tail and jig head was really good and he has really gotten the concept of reeling slowly this year. If the fish would have been biting he would have caught one. We actually did see 1 saugeye pulled from the river slightly downstream from the bridge on the playground side.

Leo had a blast, he learned how to pop his line to release his lure from a snag. The cast and reel nature of saugeye fishing in the river was fun for him too. As we were getting ready to leave I told him that we needed to get home. He said to me, "One last cast, Dad!" He didn't want to give it up after hours of fishing without a bite. That's a sign of a true fisherman and made me feel really proud.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mother Nature's Prank

This morning I woke up and saw that Mother Nature had played a trick on us in Central Ohio. Over night we had a bit of snow, probably close to 2 inches but on top of that it came with high winds so had drifted all over. I got the Blazer scraped off and started to come to work and within 50 yards about lost control and almost slid into a neighbor who was cleaning his windows on his truck. I wasn't going fast and regained control quickly.

By the time I got to the exit of the developement I could see that traffic was backed up on the main road so I could not even get out of the developement. There was an accident right up the street. I went back to the house to wait for the accident to get cleaned up. I left again about 15-20 minutes later and the traffic had cleared up some. I pulled out on the road and it was complete ice. This morning was the worst drive into work I have had this year, and in February we broke a 100 year record for th most snowfall in the month of Feb. in the area.

There were cars in the ditches all over the place on the way to work. Some of the road would be clear then you would come to a 50 foot patch of inch thick ice and everybody would slam on their brakes causing people to slide right off the road. By the time I reached work most of the road was covered in ice.

I know a lot of people including myself assumed that the roads and ground were warm enough that the snow would not stick on the roads. They cooled down quicker than we thought.

I'm glad it will be such a short cold period. It should have a minimal affect on the fishing. It could even make fishing better. As the water cooled the last 2 days the fish have probably slowed on their feeding, when it warms this weekend the fish should begin feeding again. I might be optimistic about it picking up by this weekend but I can hope since I have 2 big fishing days planned.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weekends Filling Up!

It's that time of year again when my weekend schedule fills fast. This weekend I will be going to Indian Lake. The saugeye are supposed to be stacked up under the dam. I will stick around to watch a buddy's Dad's band play at a local bar after a few hours of fishing. Sunday I will make my way up to Freemont to fish for Walleye in the river downtown with Thomas (my first Ohio fishing buddy). I got a report that the walleye were being caught there this last weekend.

I really need to get out bass fishing. My first tournament is exactly 1 month away. This weekend will be spent walleye/saugeye fishing, the last 2 weekends I went crappie fishing. I brought up taking a road trip next weekend to my wife since we both have a 3 day weekend. Now I think we will be going to North Carolina. I am ready for a good roadtrip.

That leaves 2 weekends open before tournament season begins to get out bass fishing. I will be primarily bass fishing once tournament season starts until fall. There is only 1 open weekend from mid May until the end of October so I better spend some time with friends and my family now.

I reserved a few campsites today for a camping trip over the 4th of July with my wife's family. We will be staying 4 nights at Wilson Lake in Kansas. I don't know why I keep doing this to myself. It's like 120 degrees and humid that time of year. I can't sleep in a tent in weather like that. It should be fun. We haven't camped with her family before. Camping with 14 kids, how could that not be fun!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hocking Hills and Christina's Family visit

Christina's family came out this last weekend but we did not make it to Washington D.C. as planned. We ended up spending time around Columbus. Friday morning I cooked pancakes scrambled eggs and little smokies for 11 kids and 4 adults. That was quite a feat. The pancakes went over well and I went through a whole box of pancake mix. Luckily, I had a second box (Forgot I had already bought one).

The kids played outside since it was nice. I went shopping for my Mom's birthday present at Gander Mountain. It's awesome to be able to buy your Mom fishing lures for her birthday. She loves to fish as much as I do, but she fishes strictly for walleye and crappie.

I picked up some worms at Gander Mountain and when I got back home my oldest nephew and I went exploring the creek behind the house looking for a good fishing hole. We found several but I guess the recent flooding has displaced all the fish because we had no luck.

We got called back to the house for sandwiches then we loaded the van and suburban to drive to Hocking Hills to go hiking the rest of the day. I wasn't sure about having 11 kids climbing around steep cliffs and rocky drop offs.

The kids had a blast exploring the area at Old Man's Cave and the Rock House. The rockhouse was a huge hit as the kids wanted to make it a permanent home and had all picked out their rooms in the crevices of the cave.

Here are some pictures from our adventure to Hocking Hills.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Leo's first fish of 2010

Yesterday afternoon my oldest son Leo said he wanted to go fishing really bad. I asked him, "What if you don't catch any fish?" He told me, "I will just keep fishing to practice."

I was going to wait until I was sure he would be able to catch fish before I took him out. The fish are moving really slow right now and like a slow presentation due to the cold water. After his comment I realized how badly he wanted to just fish, whether he caught something or not.

I called my buddy Gene and we picked him up and headed to the river where I had some luck last weekend.

The crappie and bluegill were really biting. We caught over 50 and ended up keeping 11 fish.

Leo caught his first fish of the year and the biggest gill of the day. He was casting into a good spot and I kept telling him to slow down when reeling in. Finally he got it slow enough and when his bobber went under he set the hook and brought the fish in. I think he's ready to fish this year. He did leave shortly after catching the fish to tell his Mom who was sitting up the bank in the van. It was getting cold so she kept him in the van to play.

Mizike had called me earlier in the day to say he was fishing in Oklahoma. I told him I was going fishing later and he ended up telling me he was not fishing and the weather there was not cooperative for the weekend. I thought it would be funny to spell out his name with fish and pic message it to him. I also let him know that Leo had caught a fish before he did this year. I think he was mad or a little jealous because he did not respond.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life Changes Update and D.C. this weekend

A few weeks ago I posted that I would be trying to make some life changes starting on March 14th. So far I am on my 3rd smokeless day. It hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. The first day was definately the hardest. I had to keep convincing myself that I did not need a cigarette. I still feel a little lost without stepping outside every few hours.

I haven't gotten the boat all the way ready like I had wanted. I have excercised some but need to start a routine of running every night. I had wanted to spend more quality time with the family. I don't think you can do both quality family time and quitting smoking. I have been a little edgy so far. I have to keep working at it.

I was hoping to be out fishing every weekend once ice out came. I have had dreams of casting a red eye shad out of the boat once this weekend hits, but I will have to hold off for another week. Christina's Mom and Sister with her 8 children are driving out from Kansas to visit this weekend. They are talking about driving to Washington, D.C. I took Friday off work so I could go too. I've never really wanted to go to D.C. but my wife has been trying to get me to go for years. I like road trips and I'm sure D.C. will be fun for a couple days.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My First Fish of the Year

I made it out to Delaware lake today. After a long winter the ice is finally off most of the lakes and ponds in the area and I was able to pick up my first fish of the year. I found a slow spot in the river dumping into Delaware and popped a jig under a bobber in about 1 to 2 foot of water. I ended up catching about 10 crappie, 3 of which were well over 9 inches. I had 2 that touched 9 inches but it was close so they got to swim another day.

It started out nice today with it reaching close to 50 degrees, the last week has been great with temperatures around 55-70. I caught my 10 fish then it started blowing from the North and got chilly really fast. The fish were affected by it and I couldn't get any more bites once the cold wind hit.

You could tell the lake just finished with ice out as there were dead shad everywhere around the banks. The birds will eat good for a while.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

9 Days Till Spring

Spring is close. Most of our snow is now melted and it is supposed to be up to 65 degrees today. After not getting over freezing for the whole month of February that is a welcome change.

As I was driving to work this morning I noticed the rivers were all out of their banks. Hopefully that will help to melt the ice off the lakes. I am going to drive to a couple of the lakes this weekend to see if there is any open water. Last week at Deer Creek there was a really small open patch near the boat ramp by the dam.

I hope there are some decent sized open areas. I would love to cast somewhere other than the front yard. Once the rivers receed a bit I am sure the saugeye will be stacked up below the dams. It should make some really good fishing in about a week or two. I'm ready to get that skunk off my back for the year.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mizike's last weekend in Ohio

This was my last weekend with Mizike. He took Saturday off work so we could get one last day in together. Friday night we got started early at Joe's crab shack. Then made our way back to the house where we continued drinking. We eventually had a bragging rights forever poker game that was between Mizike, Kimber, Christina and myself once the kids had gone to bed.

I ended up with all the chips and this is my first brag. We ended up drinking way too much. Somewhere in the middle of the morning we decided it would be a good idea to start a fire behind the house. We ended up waking up a few neighbors as we might have had the fire going pretty good.

The next day was rough but we managed to get out to fish as it was the first decent day of the year. We went below the dam at Deer Creek. There were about 70 other anglers out trying their luck as well and nobody was catching anything. I should have looked at Big Indiana Bass's blog and seen that he has been fishing rivers. We definately would have tried that.

Mizikes last weekend was at least a decent weekend. He mentioned that he is glad he doesn't have to drink like that again for some time. At least until his bachelor party weekend at Lake Gibson, OK. We are going to try to get everybody together for a weekend at Mizike's relatives cabin on the lake.