Friday, September 7, 2012

Ten Days of Fishing Challenge - COMPLETED

Last Wednesday I started the fishing challenge of attempting to fish for at least an hour per day for 10 days straight.  The only real rule was that I couldn't fish the same body of water two days in a row.  Some crazy part of me decided I would add an additional rule that I wouldn't fish the same body of water twice for those ten days (I sort of broke that rule) in order to make it even more of a challenge.  I did fish ten bodies of water (I counted ponds in close proximity as 1) in ten days.  One day I fished Pick Me Up pond for .75 hours in addition to fishing a different body of water for over an hour.  I later used PMU pond as my only source of fishing one day after work.  So technically I strayed from the rules, but since I didn't need to fish there to meet my quota for the challenge, I still consider it to be within the rules.  If it is that big of a deal to someone out there, then I failed. I'm sorry.

The toughest part of the challenge was squeezing in time to fish after a ten hour work day. I usually limited those trips to a little over an hour and hit up water in between work and my house.  Those days were usually my worst number wise as it was tough to get a feel for what the fish wanted.  Regardless, everyday be it one hour or eight hours fished, I still managed to bring at least one fish to hand.

I kept a series of numbers and notes each day I was out including lengths, species, lures used, etc.  I made a fancy chart but it doesn't translate to the blog nicely. I'll just list the highlights in a list instead.

Bodies of water fished: 10
Hours fished:  25.25
Fish caught:  36
Fish per hour:  1.43
Length of total fish caught:  416 inches or 34.6 feet
Feet of fish per hour:  1.37
Average length of fish caught: 11.5 inches
Longest continuous time fished:  7.5 hours
Species caught: 7 (Largemouth, smallmouth, pickerel, rockbass, green sunfish, hybrid longear sunfish,                          bullhead)
Most numerous species caught: Largemouth (25 fish)
Largest fish: 24" Pickerel (New personal best)

This also completed the challenge of catching a 20" or greater pickerel, so I crossed that off and put up catch a 25" or greater pick.  I always need something new to shoot for.

As much as I like fishing, it did get a little tiresome trying to fit fishing in everyday.  Had I not had to work or I was catching more fish, I wouldn't have minded as much.  I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

10 Days of Fishing Challenge Attempt

Today started my attempt at knocking another item off the Flyyak fishing challenges list.  10 days of fishing for at least one hour each outing.  This wouldn't be too difficult except I work 0800-1830 four days of the week.  Another tricky part is that I can't fish the same body of water on consecutive days.  This means I can't hit up the same pond on my way home from work or the stream half a mile from my house just to log some hours.  I'll keep a running tally of some numbers and post the results.  Wish me luck!

Two of the fish from today's after work outing:

Monday, August 27, 2012

AFTCO Gear Review

I recently won some cool gear from AFTCO and the Outdoor Blogger Network with the condition that I write a review for the items I received.  After subjecting each of the items to multiple outings starting in early July, I have gotten a good feel for them in order to do a fair review.  The swag AFTCO sent me is as follows:  a Fathom Fishing Hat, a Lure Sun Fishing Buff, and a pair of Waterproof Fishing Pants.  

First up is the Fathom Fishing Hat.   The hat comes with an attractive embroidering of  AFTCO's logo and a tuna on the front and their slogan "If you fish," on the right rear of the hat.  The thing that I am most impressed about with this hat is the quality craftsmanship.  Just by inspecting this hat I know it is going to be difficult to destroy.  All the inner seams on the hat have an additional barrier sewn over them to protect the stitching.  I have worn this hat nearly every fishing outing since July (15-20 excursions) in plenty of sun and a decent amount of rain yet it looks the same as when I opened the box.  The thread work is remarkable and makes an all around great looking hat.  The hat works how it should blocking sun and rain allowing me to see in the water easier and keep fishing in adverse conditions.  The hat also seems to keep my head cooler than other hats due to the ample amount of air vents in the back four panels of the hat.  The only con I have found is the "Flexfit" method of fitting.  Flexfit is a spandex strap that runs the inner circumference of the hat preventing one from having to fit the hat using velcro or plastic that seems to break on every hat I have owned.  Their website states "one size fits most," which I believe is true and would fit anglers with large noggins.  My issue is the hat seems a little loose on me.  If I was kayaking 30 mph down the lake and a gust of wind came up, it would probably blow the hat off and I would be forced to actually have to pay for my second  AFTCO Fathom Fishing Hat.  I would absolutely recommend this hat to anyone in the market looking for a new lucky fishing hat.  But good luck destroying it to the point where it looks like your current hat.

Next on the list is the Lure Sun Fishing Buff.  I didn't know much about buffs before receiving one for review.  I originally thought they for mainly saltwater use for anglers stalking flats all day in the tropics.  After wearing one a few outings, I find myself putting in on whenever I know I will be on the water for extended periods of time or when I am in skinny water and am trying to prevent the fish from seeing my pasty white glow my skin emits.  The buff is made of 100% spandex making it easy to adapt to multiple different styles.  AFTCO's buff comes in three neutral colors, all in camouflage patterns with AFTCO's logo and images of lures.  The buff is lightweight and I found only a burden to wear when covering both your nose and mouth, slightly obstructing your breathing.  An easy fix is to pull the buff down so that your nose sticks out and your mouth is still covered.  My favorite use for the buff is to keep me cool on the water.  Dipping the buff in the water and placing back around your neck provides instant relief in +90ยบ weather allowing you to keep fishing in comfort while also providing protection from the sun.  The buff's sun protection abilities are evident from my new tan line on my neck after a 12 hour canoe trip.  This prevents the need of applying and reapplying sunscreen on the water saving time and keeping your hands free of malodorous chemicals.  The buff also helps to cut down on one's visibility.  The camo patterns break up skin tones and allow a stealthy angler to get a little closer to their quarry.  I have gotten within rod's length of creek smallmouth and carp without being spotted with the aid of wearing the buff. The buff seems to need additional tapering or an elastic band at the top to fit snugly on my scrawny skull.  Without a hat to hold it down, or styling the buff cleverly, it slowly slinks downwards with continual motion.  This is barely an inconvenience and remedied in multiple, simple ways.  An elastic band may also help reduce the amount of condensation that forms on sunglasses when wearing.  Once again, I would recommend AFTCO's Lure Sun Fishing Buff to anyone who is actively looking for a buff to wear or those who woul

The last item to review is AFTCO's Waterproof Fishing Pants.  The pants' exterior is composed of 100% lightweight nylon allowing them to be easily stowed with your fishing tackle when rain may be in the forecast.  If it starts raining, you can pull the pants out and put them on over your current pants without having to take your shoes off thanks to the knee length zippers.  The zippers also have a protective velcro flap to prevent water from leaking through.  Another velcro band is present around the ankle cuffs allowing the pants to be tightened snugly around your ankles.  The pants have kept me fishing in adverse weather more than once.  After an hour of fishing in the rain,  my windbreaker started leaking water in various spots, yet the pants still continued to keep me bone dry.  Moisture runs off the pants easily and is impossible to keep wet as I have tried by wet wading while wearing these.  The pants are a great addition to my fishing equipment and are always present in my car or kayak should a storm come up while I am fishing.  The pants can be compressed into the size of a soda can making them simple to carry in a coat pocket and hardly noticeable.  I have zero complaints with the AFTCO's  Waterproof Fishing Pants.   

I want to say thank you again to both AFTCO and the Outdoor Blogger Network for allowing me the opportunity to review such great apparel.  Besides receiving the items for free, I received no other compensation or pressure to provide a good review.  AFTCO's products speak for themselves with their attention to detail and quality craftsmanship.

All AFTCO products tested receive two (bass) thumbs up!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Water Hazard Fishing

Lightning flashed over the ridge as my senko hit the water.  A storm was brewing only a mile away but lacked the energy, or motivation, to push itself over the top of the cliffs.  It was dancing its way east where it would find an opening formed by a river where it could continue south again.  I counted:  one.... two.... three.... four.... and set the hook on my twentieth-something fish as the thunder rolled over the ridge line, a trout stream, hundreds of misplaced golf balls and my head.  

Some intel told me of a series of seven small ponds in dense thickets and knee high grass; a result of a now defunct golf course.  Each pond consists of its' own mini-ecosystem and underwater terrain.  There are bowl  shaped ponds nearly devoid of structure, ponds the color of lime soup with high brick walls, ponds with duck weed dense enough to bounce a chip shot across, and the  ponds perfect for fishing, with a ring of weeds around its' edges and fallen trees protruding off rocky and sandy points.

I fished them all in hopes of a lurking lunker that could crush a stray golf ball in its' jaws.  After my fifth or so fish I realized that goal would probably not be obtained, but catching a whole bunch of 10-14 inch bass might be.  I tossed, and caught fish on, flukes, senkos, frogs, and crankbaits.  Fish after unsuspecting fish tore up my plastics and knocked the paint off my lures until my thumbs were raw.  In total, I caught 26 largemouth with 5 giant green sunfish and bluegill.  I am absolutely certain those panfish crushed whatever unofficial record I had of largest fish, of each species.  There may be some larger fish cruising under the weed mats, but I still had a great day.

This knocked off the challenge of catching my limit of bass from one body of water- which wasn't as grandiose as I was hoping- but added another challenge. To catch a bluegill greater than 10 inches.

Double Bass Thumb

A strange thing I noticed while fishing these ponds was that there were some green sunfish nesting.  It seemed as though they collected the lost golf balls and put them in the nest.  The first thing I thought was that they were acting like bower birds and collecting items to attract a mate, but in retrospect they were probably thinking the balls were big rocks to put in the nest.  Still interesting to see.

Friday, August 3, 2012

How Far Do You Go?

In order to get to some of our favorite fishing holes we have undoubtedly walked gingerly through poison ivy, scraped through briars, or stomped through stinging nettles.  We have had to suffer blisters on our feet from wading in the wrong shoes.  We have swatted at teems of mosquitoes and deer flies.  Worst of all, we have had to deal with wrath of our wives or mothers as to why we were coming home late... again.  We suffer, but manage, through many adversities all in pursuit of fish.

The aforementioned conditions are something I have become accustom to.  I have learned to identify potential hazards while out fishing and I try my best to avoid them to prevent any unnecessary pain or discomfort.  This is achieved fairly easily since Pennsylvania is not even close to being on the "Things that want to kill you" list.

So I wandered up my local stream, not worrying about being mauled by a puma or infested with an exotic parasite in search of dumb fish that like to eat small plastic fish (I call them dumb because I have yet to fool a smart fish).  I found a fish willing to eat my offering on the edge of a brush pile which then promptly turned and dove back under the tangle of tree limbs and vines.  I figured it would pop itself off the hook and I would have to drag out a limb to retrieve my bait.  After half a minute of yanking and the fish still fighting, I came up with a second solution.  I could go in after the fish.  I don't recall thinking much on this, so I took my shirt off, dumped out my pockets, and I waded in up to my stomach.  I tugged some more with out any luck, held my breath, and went noodling for an already hooked, thirteen inch largemouth.  I touched the fish, found the hook and did some blind untangling of line.  The fish was free of the limbs and after two more seconds, my hook.
Truly wet wading

Afterwards, I thought I may have gone a little further than most people would have to catch a fish.  Especially after seeing the dead goose floating twenty feet upstream.

How far have you gone, or are willing to go, to catch or land a fish?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Here fishy, fishy, fishy.

Where have I been?  I have only had one real post since June.  A snap of the fingers and the months have flown by and we are almost at August.  My fishing hasn't been much since my last post, my fly fishing less than that, and my fly tying non-existent.  I have worked a little on the list.  This included a muskie following my lure and catching a few minnows in search of a wild trout.  Most of my fishing I have done has been at the local stream and pond.  There was an outing to the shore for some flounder- which I did catch- but the photos have eluded me.  All I've got is a picture of this guy.

Oyster toadfish AKA winner of the squishiest fish contest

There was also some time spent on the James River which only brought a few small smallmouth and fall fish to hand.  The water there was some of the clearest I have ever fished which affected my game I think.  I had many follows but most fish would turn away upon closer inspection.  Even my go to flies and lures were being shut down.  Jackie managed just as many fish as me after ignoring most of my advice (smart girl).  I am proud of her as she picked her lures, caught her fish and unhooked them all on her own.  There's still hope for her.

James River Smally
The rest of the shots are pictures from some top water action today.  Most fish came on buzzbaits with a couple hitting a fluke.  It has been a long time since I have actively pursued Perkiomen Creek smallies.  My old fishing holes seem to have filled in and new ones opened in the last two years.  Next time I will be taking my fly rod for that 15+ incher that got away.  The largemouth came from Pickmeup Pond.  It seems as though the average size has bumped up two inches since April.  The trick was keeping the fish out of the weed mats on the bottom and the duckweed soup on top.  All fish didn't hesitate to slam a buzzbait through the slop.


Maybe my next post will be of the dragon fly pattern I have bouncing around in my head... but probably not.