Friday, July 30, 2010

A Whole Lot of Randomness

This weekend Christina and I are going to Cedar Point Amusement Point at Sandusky, OH. They are well know for their roller coasters. Christina has not been to Cedar Point. I went last year and it was awesome. It has been so fun getting to spend quality time with my wife the last week. We are definitely enjoying our time alone together.

We called Charity last night to check on the boys. The boys were already in bed so we could not talk to them. It sounds like they are having fun. Leo and Bella have been swimming a lot and Gavin is a garden picking fool. Charity says they are working with him to make sure he picks the red tomatoes instead of all of the tomatoes. They are lucky he isn't just pulling up the plants. Gavin's a little destructor.

They will be leaving Charity's soon to go to Cherish's for a day or two, then on to Grandma and Grandpa Hickert's for a week. After that they will be back to Cherish's for the next week to spend time with their 8 cousins. Finally, we will meet up with them in Kansas City at Mizike and Kimber's wedding.

I'm glad I didn't have to plan all that.

This Sunday I have a club tournament at O'Shaughnessy. I am yet to catch a keeper bass there. This doesn't discourage me. I am still unhumbled after the Ohio river tournament and know that I can catch bass 10 times better than last year. I am actually excited to go to a lake that I had such a poor experience at many times last year. I know the fishing can be good there and I am going to do what my gut told me to do all last year. Slow down and fish areas with slower presentations. I didn't have confidence in myself last year.

We'll see if confidence will help me out this year. Lets get this thing started. C'mon keeper bass!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Three Weeks Without Kids

The next three weeks will be a change of pace. Christina dropped off the kids at her sisters in Missouri. They will spend the week with her sister Charity. Then they will be shipped to Kansas to spend a week with my parents. For the last week they will be spending time With Cherish and Todd and their 8 cousins.

Christina said that Leo was pretty much pushing her out the door on Sunday. He kept saying, "Are you leaving yet Mom." He was ready to get his vacation started. He was even sick running a 100 degree temperature.

Christina returned Sunday evening and we relaxed and watched some T.V. I was hurting from Saturday. I drank 5 bottles of propel out on the water but somehow still got dehydrated. I was cramping up Saturday evening and night and by Sunday my legs felt like they had went through a meat tenderizer.

Last night we started out the week without the kids right. Christina's work had bought a section of tickets for the Columbus Clippers Minor League Baseball game for Dime a Dog night. Once we arrived at the ballpark we stood in line for 10 dogs and then went to find a beer stand that I had heard had happy hour until 7:00 with 2.00 beers. They didn't have the happy hour so I had to get a beer for 8.00. Then we made our way back to the seats in time for the game to start.

It was my first baseball game other than kids games. At first the crowd did not seem to into the game. Everybody was pretty quiet. As the game went on the Mascot seemed to get the crowd fired up. He was on our side of the field and got the wave started. It took about 7 or 8 tries to get it to circle the field.

The clippers started off good and finished strong for a win. I enjoyed the game but also enjoyed everything else about being at the field. A few rows down a few guys bought hotdogs and had a hotdog eating contest. Baseball is a lot more fun live.

In the next few weeks we have a lot of things we would like to do. A few more dates are in order as well as some house work.

I also listed my boat for sale on craigslist. I would like to sell it and purchase a bass boat so I can take my tournament fishing to another level. I like being a co-angler and will still continue to be co-angler in some events.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Super Tough Tournaments are Awesome!

Super tough tournaments are awesome if you are one of the few to catch a fish. The Ohio River tournament out of Maysville, KY was an especially tough tournament. It had rained a lot down there since Tuesday and the water was muddy. I'm talking barely seeing a chartreuse spinnerbait 2 inches under the surface muddy.

There were a few people that located some fish but not many. Four bass won the boater side with 5-11 and 2 bass won the co-angler side with 4-02. I don't know if you had to be lucky or good in this tournament but I wasn't either of those.

Jay Gillfillan won the boater side. That is awesome! He is a friend of a friend. I had been introduced to him at the Indian Lake BFL and talked to him after registration at this tournament.

I have to say that I am very happy with my experience in the FLW BFL so far. Everybody is so helpful and friendly. I guess we all have something in common. I was going to camp once I got down to the Ohio River. I met Jim Lovelace right away when I got to the tournament site. He had offered to be my guaranteed boater for the Ohio river tournaments so that I could be guaranteed to fish. He said that he had an extra bed at the hotel and offered to let me stay there.

We went out to eat at applebee's. We ran into my boater draw there and talked for a while why we were waiting to be seated.

My boater this tournament had a run of bad luck during prefish and had gotten mud plugged into one of his hoses. That cost him his first practice day as he worked on that and on his second practice day he ran down the river looking for spots to fish during the tournament.

Tournament morning we zoomed down the Ohio River. I knew it was going to be a tough tournament but was positive we would find a fish.

Throughout the day it got hotter and more humid. We fished hard but couldn't get a fish to bite. It was a very humbling experience to skunk in this tournament. I probably would have tried some different areas or techniques if I had my own boat. I really don't think anything I would have tried would have worked any better than what we did. Plain and simple, it was just tough fishing for all.

At one point we started to go upriver. As we were boating toward the power plant on the East side of Maysville, the air started to get hot. Hotter than it already was. It was an unbearable hot. We slowed down to look at a creek that had flowing water into the river. As we were slowing down I noticed the temperature on the electronics was showing 100 degree water temperature. I felt the water and it was hot. We left that area. We were getting low on fuel so we could not get too far away from the ramp so we fished the main river a little ways from the ramp.

It is easy to be a co-angler. All we do is show up and fish. I didn't realize until this week how much more added pressure comes from trying to get your co-angler on fish as well. At the previous 2 tournaments it was easy for the co-anglers to catch a fish, as it was easy for the boaters to know where to find the fish. This week I heard from more than one boater that they were more concerned about getting their co-anglers a fish especially if their co-anglers were doing well in the standings.

I hope my boater don't beat himself up over me not catching a fish. I had a fun rewarding experience even though I did not catch a fish. This was probably the toughest fishing I have experienced. We fished some fishy looking areas. I still can't believe that we didn't even catch a short fish or a bonus other species fish. I was waiting for a bite all day as I put my lure in more than one perfect place for the fish to bite.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Upcoming FLW BFL Buckeye Tournament Ohio River

Tomorrow will be our 3rd FLW BFL Buckeye tournament of the year. We are taking off out of Maysville, KY on the Ohio River. The last 3 tournaments will be on the Ohio River.

From what I have heard and read, it will be tough fishing. There should be a decent early morning bite. Possibly topwater and crankbait in the morning with slower action in the later morning and afternoon.

My confidence is high that I will catch some fish. It seems that I can catch fish almost anywhere with a finesse setup. My hookup ratio has gone up greatly in the last few weeks with a finesse setup. I was thinking that it was the hook that I was using but it was all in my hook set.

I was scared of setting a smaller hook as I wasn't sure if it would grab or pull free. At first I would reel fast to make the hookset or give a half hearted attempt. Now I set the hook just like i was setting the hook with a 3/0, doubling the rod over on the hookset. The more I have fished with the smaller hook I have realized that it gives a much better hookset and is harder to remove once it is set.

I hear the Ohio River is a good place for spinnerbaits as well. I love fishing spinnerbaits. Hopefully I can dial up a spinnerbait bite at some point tomorrow.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Grand Lake St. Marys Algae Bloom

I had heard earlier in the season that Grand Lake St. Marys was experiencing an algae bloom. One of the guys at work had bought a camper and was thinking of parking it there but had not because of the algae bloom.

I had heard of algae blooms at lakes in Kansas but didn't realize it could shut down a fishery. I just read in the Dayton Daily news that the Ohio EPA has banned all human contact with the lake water poisoned by the toxin-spewing cyanobacteria, a blue green algae. The Ohio EPA has banned swimming, boating or eating fish from the lake.

The reports that I am reading say runoff from the entire watershed is causing the problem. A key culprit is the winter application of manure on frozen ground that washes out with snow melt.

They are estimating that it could take decades to restore the lake to its natural state. If they could reduce nitrogen and phosphorous from entering the lake now, in 10 years it could be a nicer place.

From reports at work, the smell is horrible around the lake.

I had finished in 4th place at the FLW BFL tournament there earlier this year and at that time it was a wonderful lake. A lot of the lake is set up for tourism. I hate to see any of our public waterways hurting like this.

C.J. Brown Club Tournament

We had our C.J. Brown Reservoir club tournament on Sunday. There is just 1 word I can think of for the fishing there this week. Tough.

I thought that with the late afternoon bite I had there 2 weeks ago that fishing there early in the morning would be awesome. The bass had a different thought.

I fished hard and finally at noon, 6 hours after the start of the tournament I boated my first keeper. There had been 3 shorts that came earlier in the day. I did miss one decent largemouth early in the morning. He probably would have put me in the money.

One of the short fish I brought in had an s-shape'd body. I'm not sure what happened to him but he was definately deformed.

The keeper came after I had fanned a bank with a red eye shad. I was trying to get a reaction strike or make a bass mad. Then I moved in with a finesse worm and he bit. He measured over 12 1/2 inches but was only .89 pounds, long and skinny. I think I got him to bite by disturbing him then moving in with a slower bait.

I finished 6 out of 9. Three of the club members did not catch a bass. First place had 3 keepers and 2nd place had 2. One of the guys with one fish caught his in the last few minutes before the end of the tournament.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wilson Lake Kansas and Lake of the Ozarks vacation

I didn't fall of the edge of earth but I was right next to it the last week. Cell phone service didn't reach where we were camping and I was unplugged from any computer usage for over a week.

We camped with my in-laws for several days at Wilson lake in Kansas and toward the end of the week celebrated Mizike's bachelor party at a lake house on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Wilson is an excellent bass fishery. I would have loved to have a boat but bank fishing was phenomenal. I caught tons of smallmouth bass with some big largemouth mixed in. I had a 5-6 pound largemouth come out of the water and shake my lure loose at one point.

The lake reminds me of what I would think lake Meade would look like on a smaller level. There were huge canyons with rock face walls and steep drop offs. There were also areas that were shallower near the bank line with grass, willows and shrubs coming up out of the water.

I didn't get to do a lot of fishing as I was spending time with family but the time that I got was awesome.

My nephew Peyton and I spent some time down below the spillway fishing for catfish and anything that would bite as well. We caught tons of fish down there along with some decent sized catfish. I had a snapping turtle hit my plastic worm as I drug it across his face and had a fun fight with him until the hook finally slipped out. Peyton broke off on a big fish that he couldn't get to the surface or slow down. I did the same thing then lost an 8 to 10 pounder as I was lifting it up the cement wall. Peyton caught a good sized catfish and we got a picture of him with it. The next day he had a 5 - 6 pounder that he brought back to camp in a cooler but we didn't get a picture of that one.

Leo had fun climbing in the trees and swimming with his cousins. Gavin was scared of the water. He had fallen into the deep end of a pool a couple weeks before and was deathly scared of getting close to the water of seeing us out in it. By the end of the week he was back to his daring self running and wading in the water up to his chest.

Leo and Gavin filled cups with rolly polly's and were playing with any bug they could find. Everybody played volleyball, kickball and baseball throughout the week. Peyton, Anton, and David helped me put on a fireworks show on the 4th of July.

Mom and Dad showed up on their way home from visiting family at Council Grove lake. We ate lunch with them and the in-laws at a restaurant in Lucas, KS and visited a place called The Garden of Eden afterward. That is one strange place. There is a huge story about it when you visit. Everything is built out of limestone or cement and everything the guy built represented his religious beliefs or his political beliefs. He built the whole place for tourism. In the mausoleum you can even view his body behind enclosed glass. I would recommend visiting if you ever near the area.

We spent the latter half of the week with Christina's Mom and Dad in a cabin at Wilson. We settled down and played cards and relaxed. One day we went wine tasting and ate at an awesome restaurant in Russell.

The week went quick and I was soon on my way to Lake of the Ozarks. We had a blast there, shooting fireworks, drinking, socializing, swimming, fishing, boating and jumping off cliffs. The place we stayed at LakeWest Rentals was a well kept nice out of the way place with a boat that you can rent while you stay at the cabin. I would have recommended it but was not happy about how some things turned out and how it cost me hundreds of dollars for small mistakes. The owner verbally treated my like I was a little kid.

We took the boat out about an hour before dark to get some evening fishing in. Mizike hooked into a large fish neer the shore that towed us out deep and around a cove not far from the cabin. He fought the fish for over a half hour until it was getting close to dark and finally started wrenching on it to try to get it to the boat eventually breaking his line.

It was getting close to dusk so we turned on the lights to the boat. The back light did not come on. We messed with it for about 10 minutes to get it to turn on and started to the cabin. We went slow for safety reasons on our way back to the cabin and as we were pulling into the cove with the cabin the owner called. He said "I noticed you are not in with the boat yet and it is dark." I told him about the fish that we were fighting and that we were getting ready to dock the boat. He said, "Well the rules say that you cannot have the boat out after dark." I assured him that we were pulling the boat in and it was just past dark.

I got some of my 400.00 deposit for the house and boat back today but he had charged me 200.00 for having the boat out after dark. I had also called him the next morning as we went to the 2 marina's he had marked on his map with the boat and both were out of gas to see what his recommendation would be. He asked us to leave 50.00 on the table for the half tank of gas we had used. He charged me a 25.00 convenience charge for filling the boat up plus 85.00 for gas and 15.00 for oil. We had the boat shut off most the time we were using it and never got more than a half mile from the house. Gas at the marina's was 3.50 on the pumps so he is saying we used 24 gallons of gas and burned through 15.00 of oil. As a boat owner and boat user for 16+years there is no way we used that much gas. Maybe 10-12 gallons max and that's an extremely huge estimate. We only had the boat for 4 hours and fished and swam out of it most of that time with the motor off.

Did we violate the rules, yes. Was he at all forgiving, not at all. We never purposely violated the rules and he charged us for every little mistake. That is why I do not recommend Lake West Rentals.

The trip home seemed like it took forever.

Just some other gripes as I feel like I am losing my mind right now with all that has happened since Sunday. Somebody hit my car at a restaurant and did not report it as we were leaving the lake. They had hit the front driver's side and I did not notice until I noticed the steering was weird and got out and looked. Once at home somebody took a shopping cart down 3 quarters of our van and put a deep scratch in the paint from the front door to the tail light. My wife deposited the money from the cabins I had collected from the others and a 50.00 bill must have stuck to another and the deposit was 50.00 less than I had sent. My cell phone bill went over by 250 minutes, I was making a lot of calls planning then had tons of work calls on vacation.

Don't feel sorry for me I am working through all that. I am just glad we had a good safe trip. The rest is money. Just don't let me catch you damaging my vehicles cuz one more time may set me off.

Practice for C.J. Brown Reservoir

Sunday, June 27th, I had a free day from tournament fishing so Gene, Leo and I went to C.J. Brown to fish the lake. I had not been there so wanted some idea of how the lake layed out.

The front half by the dam was deep and the back half is shallow. They have a lot of sandy or rocky shoreline with a lot of brush hanging over the bank above the water.

We fished some and swam quite a bit. Mainly we were just there to have fun and get an idea of the lake. Oh, I also caught 5 bass! Three were smallmouth and 2 were largemouth. Two were easy keepers and the other 3 might have been as well.

It was extreemly windy, hot, humid and choppy from the fun boaters. I know where I will start out come tournament time this weekend. Most of my spots are main lake shoreline so I will have quite a bit to fish when all of us get our spots.

Delaware Club Tourney 6/26/10

I'm finally catching up from vacation and have tons to write about. I will have to shorten some stories or I will be on the computer for days.

First about my June 26th tournament at Delaware lake. In a previous post I mentioned that I haven't fished the lake for bass but had for crappie many times. I knew the layout of the lake and studied a few different maps to decide where to start.

I pulled into the lake and realized there must be another tournament going out. Shure enough another club tournament was going out of the other ramp in the state park. Not only that, there was a big tournament the next day with lots of people pre-fishing. The water was going to get beat up.

I pulled into my first spot, a high bank that has produced some big crappie. The drop from bank to deep water made me want to give it a shot. I started out a ways from where I wanted to end up since I was the only person to stop at this particular bank. I had a boat pull in behind me after a bit but I was able to work the whole bank area first. The first fish didn't hit the shakey MiRketti until about 8:00, then it was on! The first fish was a good keeper on a point of a small cove and on the other point of the small cove I pulled in another keeper.

I fished quickly to my main area as boats started pulling in quickly and there was a rocky area I wanted to post up on. Once there I pulled several short fish in. I cast a spinnerbait seeing if a larger bass would hit and wham, fight on. I didn't have any more luck on the spinnerbait so I kept fishing the shakey MiRketti trying to work my way through the short fish. There was no shortage of 11 - 11 3/4 inch bass. This lake is going to be great next year.

I caught over 20 bass during the tournament but only had the 3 keepers. I did try a few other areas with laydowns on the main lake and another cove that didn't seem to get as much pressure as some of the rest of the lake.

At the weigh in my fish came to 4.37 pounds after a dead fish penalty for 4th place. I had one die at the ramp while waiting for weigh in. I went through 2 bags of ice throughout the day but needed more. My boat doesn't have a recirculating livewell and the surface water was heating up quickly throughout the day. I feel really bad losing a fish, especially a keeper of that quality. Next tournament I will have rejuvenate and an aerator with lots of ice. The fish did not cost me a place but the crayfish that one of them spit out definately did. It was absolutely huge and if not spit up would have moved me into 3rd place money. It had fascinating colors and I wish I would have taken a picture of it. It had a greenish body with some oranges mixed in and the tips of its claws were blue. That is why you should dip the tips of your claws.

It was still a great club tourney. You can't beat catching 20 bass even if a majority of them are short fish. The talk at weigh in was that everybody whacked short fish.