Hey Howdy Hey

Holy shit have I been inconsistent with this thing of late. And by “of late,” I obviously mean “the last 2 months,” and by “inconsistent” I obviously mean “consistently not posting at all.”

So what is new? Not a whole lot, I guess. I have a write up of our vacation to Kentucky Lake saved as a draft that still needs finishing, and I also still need to get the images from everyone else’s cameras before posting it.

I’ve been doing as much fishing as possible. Had some luck on some new baits. I’m in a place now where I am kind of petered out on largemouth and have been getting to the river as much as possible, but, the subject of new baits, new techniques and new species is deserving of it’s own write up, one that I will, admittedly, probably never get around to.

The biggest news is the puppy. We are fostering a puppy through One Tail At A Time. Her name is Mallory, she is an absolute sweetheart and things, so far, are going splendidly. We all are getting used to living with each other. The cat has stopped hiding for the most part. A semblance of routine is beginning to form and, most importantly, my previously held experiences and assumptions about dog ownership are being shattered. Last night when I got home from an annoying day, I sat on the couch, Mallory jumped up next to me, put her head in my lap and stayed put for an hour. I just sat there watching Gilmore Girls with my wife and pet the dog. For an hour, she just laid there and absorbed my crabby mood like a sponge via petting. My previous plans to take a hot bath and drink a beer to unwind went completely out the window. Had no interest in getting up and spoiling the moment. So I didn’t. And it was awesome.

I hope things continue to go well with Mallory. She is a very chill, very affectionate and very cute.

Just like me.

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Posted in Blorg & Interweb, Fishing, Life Happens | 3 Comments

Puppy Day

We are getting a dog today. A puppy, to be more specific. By “getting,” what I really mean is that, we are going to foster the dog for 2 weeks to make sure she gets along with us (wife, daughter, cat and me) and that we get a long with her (beautiful cattle dog mix) and if we are all sympatico at the end of the 2 week foster period, we are adopting her.

I have never had a pet dog, and this is all very exciting for me. I only wish that instead of being at work I were able to be home when she gets dropped off so I could help my wife and daughter with what I am sure is quite a large task of acclimating a puppy to new people and surroundings, but my wife grew up living with hundreds (ok that may be an exaggeration) of pet dogs and has enough experience working in animal hospitals that I know she is ready for the task.

Anyway, with warm weather and fishing season upon us and with us getting a puppy, I will somehow have even less time to post things on here which, of course, is almost impossible, but, hey. Life. Whatever.

PUPPY DAY.

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LIGHTNING ROUND

I never have time for anything these days, which explains why I haven’t updated here in a long fuckin’ time. So, instead of devoting time I don’t have to the posts I want to do (I honestly have a handwritten list I add to whenever I get an idea), I am just going to rundown what has been going on for the past however long.

Fishing has been good. The pond has been producing, and not just for me. Grace and I have hooked and landed some nice largemouth, and she is not timid at all about handling them, which is nice to see.  She still needs a lot of practice playing and landing bass, but she seems to genuinely enjoy fishing, which warms my heart.

Speaking of the pond, I have been stopping to fish it in the mornings on my bike ride in to work. How’s the bike riding going? Well, it’s going well. I rode in every day last week, which is about 50 miles. Probably closer to 55 when you add in the random rides I took on my lunch breaks when the mood struck me. The pannier has held pretty well so far, and I have not had any major catastrophes besides a flat tire since the great rim-cracking of 2012. Enjoying riding more and more each day, look forward to taking a long-distance ride at some point, if I ever find the time. I’ve been using a site/app called Strava to track my rides, and it is real nice. It allows you to block off certain segments of your rides and gives you time, distance, elevation change and average speed for those segments, so now I know the big hill outside my apartment complex is a 91 foot elevation change at a 6% grade and my best time going up it is 1:50 at 9.4 miles an hour.

As I recall, I couldn’t walk for a few hours after doing that, too.

Speaking of Apps, Turntable.fm, a site which I have been a fan of for a while now, has finally released an Android app, and it is surprisingly good. If you are unaware with Turntable, I will spare you the details of what the site is and recommend you go check it out for yourself, as it is a great way to listen to music. The Android app sacrifices a few things that you can do on the website, like song previews and viewing the list of what has been played in the room, but overall the features are pretty closely in line with the website version of the service. I’ve encountered some buginess and crashing, but not anymore than any other new app.

I don’t have a segue into the portion of this post that relates to TV, and I am also tired and should go to bed, so here is a few sentences about a few shows.

GRIMM: This show has been a pleasant surprise. The season ended on a bit of an eyeroll, and the show in general could do with a lot less CG and police procedural, but in the end the show has created characters I actually want to sit down and watch each week, and that is a lot more important.

SHERLOCK: Yo…you should watch this show. It is really good. It’s got a British X-Files vibe to it. Not just in a “monsters/government conspiracy” sense, but, more importantly, in tone and in the dynamic relationship between the main characters.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: This once great show is just a big steamy pile of shit. Nobody even has the courtesy to put it in a bag and set it on fire so someone can stomp it out. They just kept trotting it out there at a blistering one-new-episode-a-month pace and, somehow, despite the weeks off between episodes, were unable to not only come up with any new ideas, they also seem to have forgotten how to even write cheap jokes. It’s unfortunate what has happened to this show, and even more unfortunate that I still bother watching it for some reason.

RIVER MONSTERS: Jeremy Wade is great, and I love watching him fish, but I really wish this show would drop the whole dramatic angle. If it was just dude going fishing for crazy weird fish throughout the world it would be a much better show. The whole dramatization of fish attacking people thing is dumb, but, whatever. Beggars can’t be choosers, and if the only way I can get Jeremy Wade on my tv is by him making a big deal about attacks, so be it.

I am fucking exhausted and should get to bed. Gotta get up and ride tomorrow.

Also, tomorrow (fuck me…it is after midnight it seems…so…today, I guess) is Grace’s preschool graduation. As slow as this last year has been for me, trapped in a vortex of 60+ hour work weeks, Grace’s first year of “school” seems to have ended as quickly as it started. Even though it is only preschool and she only had 6 or 7 classmates, I am trilled and proud and excited and so happy to see her grow up like she is doing, even if I feel like I am missing most of it.

Posted in Fishing, Life Happens, Movies & Television, WANNA RIDE BIKES?!?! | 1 Comment

D.I.Y. Pannier Redux

A while back, I blogged about my D.I.Y. pannier project. I discovered today that, under a full load and rough terrain, it was insufficient. I was able to patch it on the road to get me to work, but then set upon the warehouse to find a way to reinforce it, seeing as how I had no actual work today.

With the help of my coworker Ricardo and some wood and screws we had laying around, I think we succeeded in strengthening this “design.”

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Awakening

It is happening.

The pond.

The bugs.

The frogs.

The birds.

The bugs.

THE BITE.

The bass are back, they are becoming aggressive, and I am excited. I decided to stop at the pond between jobs tonight, and, while I went 0/2 when it comes to landing bass, the fact of the matter is…if the time has not arrived, it is near.

Not sure what the exact temperature was, but I strode to the water clad in t-shirt and shorts, which appeared to be the uniform the the 8-10 other people I saw coming and going with rods in their hands. Met a nice angler named Stan, chatted for a while about the pond, all the while keeping an eye on the water, where I saw bass not only doing laps around the shore, but plenty of activity at the surface. Most of if were the small ripples of small fish, but occasionally – and I made a point of noting location when this occurred – there were the big splashes and flops of bass breaching.

I set up camp in the southwestern corner of the pond and immediately noticed a lot of nicely sized bluegill feeding along the shoreline. After a few minutes, a largemouth joined them. I spent a minute or two trying to goad it into taking a wacky rigged worm, but after how much time I wasted attempting this Monday, I decided to focus my attention on the big disturbances I keep seeing along the shore directly across from me.

This shoreline is not exactly the most accessible once the bulrushes grow in, but now the only thing stopping anglers like myself is the willingness to get a little muddy. I debated going back to the car for my boots, but decided I’d rather not lose the spot to another angler and would just be careful in my work shoes.

Casting in this area was a bit difficult, as the shore is too marshy to allow access to the water’s edge, and casting and retrieving over/through shoreline vegetation is unavoidable. Since this is where the fish appeared to be, though, I decided it was worth the trouble and risk. After the treble hooks on the Jitterbug proved to be too snaggy, I switched over to my middle sized frog. It is bright green in color with separated tassels. I figured it would present the best silhouette and color in the setting sun, big enough that I could fan my casts out to cover plenty of water, but not too big for the frogs actually living at the pond this time of year.

After fanning my casts out to all the water I could reach, I started honing in on the two areas where I was seeing the water boiled by dorsal fins the most. Both were midway into the pond, but around noticeable weedbeds that were only barely breaking the surface. Topwater frogs are one of my favorite baits to fish, although I’ve only actually caught one bass on a frog, I am confident to cast it into the heaviest cover, there are a million ways to work it and when a fish strikes at it, it is much more enjoyable and exciting than dragging a jig across the bottom.

I had two such strikes tonight, both in the same spot, both withing 5 minutes of each other. Of course, being me, I pulled the trailer tassels out of the fish’s mouth both times. It is a difficult thing to get accustomed to, with frogs. Waiting that one full second after the strike to set the hook. The first one surprised me so much (you’d think that, since the whole point of fishing is to catch the fish that I would expect to get a bite and be prepared for it on every cast, but, in reality the inverse is what actually happens) that I almost brought the lure back to shore when it came firing out of the water with no fish attached. The second one I was ready for, but either fell victim to short stike and/or and overzealous angler.

Missing these two bass was bittersweet. Bitter in that, well, I missed two bass. But, in the long run, I know I am going to catch those bass in this pond on that lure. It may happen in the coming days, weeks or months. It may even happen in the next 7 hours, if the weather allows me to stop there in the morning before work. Just seeing the fish, knowing that they are there and knowing that they are starting to feed…that is as sweet as it gets.

When it dawned on me that I still had to get my ass to work, I began making my way back around the pond. Stopping to cast one or two here and there, I ended up at my original starting position. The bluegill were still there, and I recalled having a few pieces of corn still stowed in my bag from when I took Grace fishing Monday night. One improved clinch knot later, I had this beautiful, big bluegill on my line, thus giving the middle finger to the skunk for the night.

I shall call him Gilbert.

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Staring Contest

I came home late tonight*, drained, wet, tired, and considering going straight to bed. After changing out of my damp jeans (more on this in a later post), I decided, instead, upon pouring myself a Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye and catching up on the internetting I missed today. Funny thing happened, I read Chris Beckstrom’s most recent post on sight fishing some bass, and knew, immediately, it was time I sit my ass down and type up my not entirely dissimilar (read: EXACTLY THE FUCKING SAME) experience that occurred on Monday at my local pond.

The time was about 12:45 pm Monday afternoon. Some lunchbreak fishing. The weather was cloudy, slightly windy and cool. About 55 degrees or so, if memory serves (it probably doesn’t). This pond is the second closest fishable water from my work, and the water I had the most success on last year. The bite this year, however, has been nonexistent, but I know in spite of the odd weather, the water temps are slowly rising and the bluegill and green sunfish are probably spawning or close to it. I know that means the bass won’t be too terribly far behind. I decided to work the east side of the pond this time and, upon arrival, I notice through gin clear water that there is a very, very nice looking bass (probably in the 14″ range, but with my eyesight looking through water, who knows) slowly, deliberately patrolling the rocky shelf above the dropoff about 3 feet from shore. This excites me. I haven’t had any luck with largemouth this season, and I rarely get to sight fish.

As it so happens, my Pop-R is tied on to my line, so I decide to see if this big boy feels like rising. I cast well out past him, hoping not to spook him. Bring the retrieve right over him a few times. Nothing. Didn’t even give it a glance.

So I go the exact opposite route. Weightless Texas rig. Drag it right up on the shelf he is patrolling. He stares at it. And swims by. This happens with every soft plastic worm color and presentation I use. Slow off the bottom. Slow descent in front of his face. Twitchy retrieve mid-water. Weedless. Wacky. Brown. Green. No interest.

Try a similar tactic with a jig & pig, matching different color schemes. Still nothing.

I tie on a 1/16th oz feathered jig, thinking maybe something with a slow descent and more natural look might do the trick. An aggressive bluegill takes it as soon as it hits the water. I reel in the fighting gill directly past the bass’ face, which he, unsurprisingly, is completely indifferent to.

At this point, I need to get back to work, as my lunchbreak is almost over. Happy to at least seen a nice fish swimming about, but frustrated I was unable to entice it, I leave, vowing to return.

Fast forward to Monday night after work. My lovely wife had a fantastic dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes ready as soon as I walked in. I inhaled it, as I tend to do with all of my meals, and surprise my daughter with “let’s go fishing,” to which she excitedly agrees. Now, this was not just a ruse to get myself on the water. I legitimately thought I could get Grace a bluegill or two, given how aggressive they were biting in the afternoon.

So I get her set up with a baitholder and a bobber and a piece of corn. I help her cast it out there (although, she doesn’t really need my help with that anymore :D) and proceed to throw the whole tacklebox at Mr. Bass who is still lazily doing laps at the drop off.

Spinnerbait spooked it. Red eye shad was ignored. Showed some interest in the jig & pig, but it was fleeting. Scum frog went unnoticed. Crawdad crawdadded on by. Eventually, I reached a point where I thought I maybe just could make it angry, so I tied on a buzzbait and just tried to annoy the piss out of him. Knocked his tail a few times. He certainly wasn’t pleased, but only enough to swim away and then back again…not displeased enough to strike.

After an hour or two, Grace and I went home skunked. Luckily my attitude of “being out fishing and catching no fish is better than not being out fishing” seems to be rubbing off on her, as she not only claims to have had a great time, but, also did not want to stop casting. I even tied on that feathered jig and let her try out an artificial lure a few times.

In the end, I learned that, not only is sight fishing difficult, but that when you have eyes on both your fish and your lure, it puts into stark relief how absurd some of the standard bass baits are. Spinnerbaits, which resemble nothing in nature, looked particularly hilarious swimming by this preoccupied, educated fish. Although all my smallies on the Fox this year have come on just such a dadaist looking device, I see why all of my bass at this pond came plastic worms, which can, at least in the right conditions, be made to almost kinda sorta look like real worms.

Except with a big metal hook in them.

*I started this post on Monday night, finished it Wednesday afternoon, because, you know, life.

Posted in Fishing | 69 Comments

Backlog

I’ve got a lot of topics to write about…unfortunately I have very little time (and frankly when I do, the motivation) to write.

I’ll try harder.

For now, though, I must head off to work. 1 year anniversary there today. Also, 11 years ago today is when my wife and I first started dating, so, yep.

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