"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope." John Buchan

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Provo Harbor South 7/7

So I got an email Friday from my cousin Jeff that he was heading to Provo Harbor (South Side) with his son, father and a couple neighbors and wanted Jason and I to know we were welcome to come.  Well Alex and I took Jeff up on the offer and we headed down to meet them Saturday Morning.

We got there as Jeff and his crew was already part way setup and they finished and were on the water before we were.  Alex was using a different set of fins today, my force fins, to see how they would compare to the fins he got with his tube for performance, kicking power, comfort as well as how they did or did not stay on his feet better.  The biggest benefit is not having to lace up the fins and he should be able to put these on himself after a seeing how they work.

Once Alex and I launched we headed out across the river flow and around the edge of the weed line where the others were at.  I'm not sure what they all already had at this point as we had some mix up on what channel to be on with the radios.  It didn't take us long to get into a few crappie to get things started.

Most everyone was getting a crappie or two here and there with a stray white mixed in most of the morning.  The action was not overly fast but still pretty constant overall.  You just had to work the weed line faces and the water near there to find the crappie.  If you didn't get any action after a few casts move a bit and try again.

I had my second line under a bobber and it vanished and ended up with a mud cat on the hook.  That's the only cat I know of for the day.  I did run a piece of carp meat for a while with no apparent interest.  The rest of the time I had a bobber with tandem jigs about 3' down and then the main line was casting either tandem jigs or spinners.

As things slowed down Alex and I moved out to the open water near the SW point of the harbor where the river water and lake water mix.  We had seen a few boats holding place out there suggesting maybe they were in the whites.  As we made our way out Alex had a few friends decide to caravan with us for a couple minutes.

However as we got near the other boats whatever affinity they had had for following us vanished as they took off toward one of the aluminum boats.  I'm not sure what they were hoping for or how long they stayed with the boats but I found it interesting. :)

Well our effort of kicking out there didn't pan out well.  All but one but had moved off shortly after we got out there.  The one last boat was doing great for whites.  We didn't get close enough to see exactly what he was fishing but he would cast out a large looking rig on his line a short distance from his boat on one pole.  Then pick up the other pole which had already been cast out.  He would give it a couple small tugs and reel a bit, tug tug, reel, then by that time he was near his boat and he would start to jig and usually pull a white up.  Then cast out again and swap to the other pole.  I'm not sure how many he boated but for the time I watched I'd say he pulled in a dozen or more.  I did mange a couple whites out there on a spinner.

At somewhere near 11am or just after Jeff's group decided to call it a day and head in.  Alex and I figured we should head in at least to the weed line and give that area a bit more time before we called it a day.  Turned out a pretty good choice as we manged to put a few more fish in the baskets to round out the day.  That included a nice blue gill and getting me to the 4 species day.

Well a few more fish and an hour or so more and we called it a day and started to head in.  Alex was pretty happy with how the force fins compared to the previous ones we had been having him use.  Well here are a few more pics to finish out the report with.

As far as a fish count went I'm not sure exactly how many Alex and I ended up with.  Maybe something like 1 bluegill, 5 or so white bass, and 18 crappie (I didn't keep the mud cat today).  Jeff reported that his group came out with 40 crappie, 7 white bass, and 1 perch.

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 5th @ Starvation (Alex's first Perch Jerking session)

So as an initial disclaimer, I failed to take any pictures again on this trip.  I had full intentions but both with the concerns of weather (wind and rain) and also working with Alex on his first trip to Starvation I never even got the camera out to take a pic.

Well we had planned to meet at my place at 4am so that we could be on our way and to Starvation by sun up.  However the night before we saw enough from the weather forecasts that we knew we needed to make a last minute judgement call in the morning as to where or even if we would end up going.  We ended up risking it and heading to Starvation knowing an afternoon shower was in the day's plans as well as a 9am wind spike.  Well everything happened as the forecasts said it would however it still left enough window in there to have a great day fishing.

Jason was first on the water and first to catch and basket a fish (Perch).  Perch were out in the shallower areas today (10-18' is about the depth range we found them in).  Jason, Scott, Alex and I all caught plenty of perch though most were sub 8" in size.  All of us still managed to put some in our baskets.  Alex was able to catch his first small mouth bass that was just under a foot.  Scott managed a bigger small mouth and a junior walleye in his basket.  Jason had a pair of jumbo perch in his basket as well.  They looked to me to be in the 12"+ range and very healthy looking.  I did catch a small small mouth bass that got sent back and had one short fight with what I would guess to be a good sized trout so my basket just had the basic perch offering at the end of the day.

Wind was pretty constant with only a few breaks.  Alex did pretty well, when he tried, to maintain his position even with the wind working on us.  We got a bit wet as the light showers started up and stopped a couple times before we got off the water between noon and 1pm.  Good timing as the rain faucet turned on full tilt and didn't stop for most of the ride home.

Funny that at the end of a day that you worked constantly to hold position against the wind along with a bit of rain to get everything wet and still smile that it was such a nice day to be out fishing and have no regret for making the trip in such questionable conditions.  Though I'm not delusional enough to expect them all to turn out so well. :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June 30th @ Utah Lake

Well Jason got us going last week on planning a trip for Saturday.  Utah Lake, more specifically Provo Harbor, became the target of our ambitions and plans were made accordingly.  So aside from an alarm slept through we got ourselves down to the harbor and on the water by about 7:30am.

We saw a few boats out working just off the SW point of the harbor where the river water and lake water mix up.  We also had one bank tangler ask us about a fish cleaning station to clean a good catch of whites.  So we had high hopes and headed out near the boats.  Not sure if the bite had already run it's course or not but as we got out there none of us had had anything to note yet on our lines and watching the boats as well as current bank tanglers we didn't see much action being had by anyone else.  After some time out with the boats and nearly nothing in the basket, I had managed one white bass in my basket, the three of us decided we should head SE a bit toward the weed line and look for whites, crappies and anything else willing to play.

Heading to the weed line didn't produce much better right away.  We did have a "first for us" round of moments where as we brought in our lure and just lift it from the water a crappie would have been following and would make a last ditch effort to get our lures and miss.  This surface "lung" was somewhat funny and frustration as our baskets were still mostly empty and like always the casts we thought to let the lure linger at the surface there was nothing chasing it and the times we didn't there was.....  After a bit of time we started to get our techniques back in tune for crappie fishing and slowed things down and "gently" applied preasure are we reeled in a few for the basket.

Jason and I were both running our second lines under a bobber as we moved around the weed clumps.  Mine went under and the line started tracking hard to the side of my tube.  I manged, after a longer then expected fight, to bring in a channel cat on my ultra light rig.  Put a smile on my face... :)

Whites never really came out to play for us.  We each did manage at least one to take home and a few small enough to get send back to get bigger...

Didn't do much in the way of summary pics at the end of the trip.  I did get this "from afar" pic of Alex holding up one of his fish he brought in for his basket.

So not the fastest of action, but the weather and wind were very pleasent to be out in.  Fun to share another trip with my son in his tube and to have him report back that he had a blast and can't wait till the next one.  Oh I guess Jason makes for some good company too if you don't set your expectations too high... (or put a fish in your mouth or have a drink explode on you for no action of your own)... ;)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Couple fishing trips during our week in Park City

So this year for our week we take up in Park City as a family vacation I managed to get out twice for some fishing on the tube.  We had the added goal to see if we could get Alex, my oldest, out on his new float tube he has had since January for his first tube adventure yet.

Utah Lake:

So last Tuesday weather cooperated well enough for Jason, Alex and I to head down to Provo Harbor.  We didn't really push things to be there at or before sun rise and ended up launching near 7:30am or so.  We launched into the river flow on the south side of the harbor.  I had explained to Alex that the river would be cold but that once we were through the river flow we would find the lake water a bit warmer.  Well even though he said he understood the shock of the cold water about canceled the trip before it got started.  Water in the river flow was in the mid 50s at launch.   Alex gave it another try and did well as we kicked south across the river flow into the weed line to start our fishing.  I came prepared with two ropes to keep Alex tethered to me as much as was needed.  One was a short one to make it easy to lock us together at arms length and the other to use to pull him behind me if that proved to be better.  I ended up only using the shorter one to get us across the river as we launched and then again as we returned.  The rest of the time I cut him free and kept him in range of myself or Jason.  Water temps once we got across the river held near 58 degrees and warmed up to about 63 before we got off the water at about 1:30pm.

Another 'test' for this trip was taking the fins that we got with Alex's tube and modifying them to lace up and work with an older pair of shoes he has.  Alex reported no issues with the laced up fins nor any issues with the fins wearing any patches of skin on his feet or ankles so that's about as good as I could have hoped for.

Well with Alex and I over in the weed line south and Jason west of us near the corner of the harbor where the water mixes with the lake we all started to rig up and fish.  Alex got the first fish of the day on his 4th cast, a nice sized white bass.  I was really happy that both we had a fish right off the start as well that Alex was the one to bring it in.  He handled the fish with care for his tube and got it into the basket just fine.  Was great to see him handling fishing form the tube well.

Well that first fish was looking like it might be the first and last after another hour or so of nothing.  Jason had come into the weed line with us looking for fish that he had not found out in the open water.  We were not even seeing carp school up on the surface.  We did hear and see a few jump and splash here and there...  Eventually I did find a couple carp schools and managed to hook into one that didn't give up much of a fight at all.  Jason reported shortly after that he had caught a crappie and then later a white bass.  As we worked our way back toward the river I managed to pull in 3 white bass and we called it a day with 6 fish between the 3 of us.

Alex reported that he really enjoyed the trip and using his float tube.  That alone was the success I was hoping for.


So the second trip was on Friday and this one involved Jason, Scott, TubeDude, TubeBabe, and myself.  We had seen a post on BFT that TD was looking to go to starvation and we asked if we could meet up with him for the trip.  TD graciously welcomed us to join up for the trip.  So we made it to the water at about 6:30am and were on the water near 7am.  Water temps were in the lower 50s and the slight winds work not too warm so waders were in use.

TubeBabe was the first to report a fish, small dink perch, and that began a common theme for the day for most of us.  Many smaller perch to play with and few and far between finding anything with size to keep.  The wind died down as usual mid morning before kicking back up near noon, though not so much that we had to leave the water due to wind.  I didn't manage any pictures, lazy me, for this trip, but I did get over a dozen, eater or near enough to eater size perch (wanted to have enough to have a fish dinner with Jason's, Scott's and my family that evening), 1 16" walleye and a ~22" rainbow that sure gave my 5' UL pole a workout!  Jason had a few less perch and a very nice walleye that was 18 or 19" long with a lot of girth to it.  TubeBabe landed a walleye near the size of mine, but didn't end up keeping any of the perch she caught due to size.  TubeDude didn't keep anything today.  He had in his report a few bigger fish that he fought but didn't land that he reported to be either trout or walleye based on fight, but the grundle of perch he caught all got sent back to grow up and be caught again.  Scott had a eater sized perch in his basket and in hind sight, and after some talking on the ride home, we figure we need to get him to partner up with one of us with a fish finder to make it easier to zone in on the perch .

All in all it was a great day on Starvation and I hope it's a good start for a number of more trips there this year!

Friday, April 13, 2012

April's Creations

So with the weather still preventing another fishing trip or work keeping us busy when the weather has a relapse I've found myself aspiring to make more new fishing trinkets that all still have yet to be well tried out.  Really this all started when Cabelas discontinued their wobble head jig mold...  Had that not happened I think a lot of what we have stressed over in choosing the next best mold and how to best use it would not have happened.  Well, to be fair, it probably would have happened still just maybe at a later date... ;)

So where am I going with all of this?  Well, when Jason found the Spinner Body mold he got for Christmas I had also found another mold called the SWM mold.  It was less versital then the one Jason found but offered a closer to finished product in terms of how it molds the lead.  After using Jason's mold a number of times (Thanks Jason!) and hand hammering the bodies into flat shapes and adding a curve to give wobble in the water I learned a few negatives with Jason's mold.  One is that due to us using powder paint, which requires an 350 degree 20 minute oven bake, the heat of the paint bake relaxes the lead enough that the natural spring of the stainless wire unbends some of the curve you put into it after you hammer it flat.  You can over exaggerate the bend to start with to offset this but it's less precise.  Also we learn that powder paint doesn't like to be bent much.  If you bend it after you bake it it does not fall off but you get crack lines in the paint and that a detail that eats at me... :\  However after our first trip this year it was clear that the amount of bend needed for good action in the water isn't too much so I'm probably making too much of a deal about this.

Well April brought birthday 39 for me and I had my set of wish lists already populated on my favorite fishing supply shop.  So I sat the wife down one day and surprised her with my organized greed.  I think she was just pleased that I had a list of things for her this time around.  So part of my list contents was a SWM mold and a set of eagle claw hooks to go with it (they are a custom hook for this mold if you use it as it was designed).  My plans for the mold was to modify it so that I could run stainless wire through it instead of a hook and use it to make tail spinners with it.  The pack of 100 hooks was to also try it out for what it was designed for.

If you look close at the above picture you can see a vertical line that goes off the "eye" socket for the hook.  Then just to the right inline with the flow of the lure body chamber is another line leaving the "eye" socket that I filed in.  This lets me run stainless wire through the hole mold, cast the lead and then form the loops and add beads, blades and a hook to make spinners.

I've got 3 new paint colors shown in this picture too.  New Penny, Aliwive, and Pink Perl.  All were also run through silver holographic glitter for a top coat to add more luster.

I also had a thought as I was writing up this blog entry that I might want to try turning the lure body around as it is in the spinner.  Meaning have the tie off loop at the wider heavier end and then let the narrow slender part be where the spinner blade, bead and hook stem from.  Might be worth a demo build or two just to try out for a future trip...

Anyway here are some of the setups I did with the 100 hooks I got for this mold that make the lure as intended.

Well that's about all for this post.  I'm eager to give this a try and continue trying out the previous batches of creations too.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

First Tube Trip of the year, March 10th @ Lincoln Beach, Utah Lake

Well Scott, Jason and I have been itching to get out and do some fishing.  I think the wait has even been harder on Scott who got a new tube for Christmas but has yet to have been able to take it on a first run.  This was a big upgrade over his older style round tube that his wife was nice enough to talk Santa into hiding under his tree.  Anyway between work, school (for some), weather and household chores we didn't get a chance to get out until yesterday.  We had the plans in the work earlier into the week watching weather reports and making sure we had the green lights to go from the home fronts.  Everything came into place well enough and we gathered at my place at 6am so that we could reach Lincoln Beach by near sunrise.

Only two other vehicles were at the launch spot when we got there and they were already out on the water and out of sight.  As we setup or tubes 2 more boats launched as well.  We planned, hoped, that our plan to work south of the launch channel would keep us away from most of the other boats.  That plan worked out well.

Scott was also sporting his brand new waders so it took a bit longer to get setup both with his waders and tube being on their first runs.  I think I came to understand where the "Force" comes from in the name Force Fins as Scott borrowed my pair to wear over the wader boots he was using this run.  The sheer amount of force requires to adjust those straps alone justifies the name... ;)  They are fine fins, but I still hand my head a bit and have a moment of silence when I think of the $ I sunk into them.  I managed to be pretty good today on taking pics so I've got a few of the setup.

So Jason lead the train of the 3 of us down the channel and out into the main lake.  Very few blips on the sonar until we got to the mouth of the channel.  Though with all the aggressive rocks just under the water our lures never made it near the fish...  Few snags later we moved  out further and started to work the 7-9' water and headed south.

Instead of dragging a minnow on the second pole and casting plastics on the main pole I put a pair of jigs under a bobber and let them drag 3' under the water on the second pole.  That proved to be a good choice.  A while later as I was alternating between plastics and spinners on the main pole my second pole did a fair dip and I noticed the bobber was down out of sight.  First fish of the day came in on an orange/green grub that I had tipped with worm.

As we worked south we started to head to slightly different spots.  I started to turn west to head over to the little bay south of the beach to see if the springs were flowing enough to warm that area and maybe bring in a fish or two.  Jason headed toward the Benjamin Slough and Scott kind of took the middle point between us along the shallow weed line.  Well if the springs were flowing they were flowing cold as the temps dropped a degree as I neared my target.  Both Jason and Scott were in pretty shallow water and dealing with some snags.  So we all started to head back together kind of in the deeper water just out from the slough near Jason.  Along the way I managed my second fish.  This one came on on a red chartreuse grub again with a bit of worm.

After getting everyone back out in deeper water we started a slow crawl north staying in 7-9' of water mostly along the way.  I was trying out some other setups I've not used much.  I tied up a drop shot like setup with the goal of dragging the weight along the bottom to hold my lure up a bit off the floor.  Just as I was about out of patience with this setup I picked up the pole to bring it in and right them something took it. It was a bit more then the other two had been so I was overly optimistic that it might be something new... Well while it wasn't it didn't disappoint as it was the largest one for me for the day.

Then as we continued on our way back to the channel I managed my 4th and last fish of the day.  This one on a spinner, one of my no-name knockoffs I've made similar to what TubeDude has shown in a few posts.

I'm not sure what time Jason got his at, but he brought in a single white.  Scott didn't avoid the skunk today but I think he had a fun trip and enjoyed the new ride.  We all headed in about the same time, though Scott was a bit faster then us with some scheduled obligations to meet.  I think we got off the water at about 1pm. Water temps in the main lake had been about 40-41.  Though at launch the shallow water in the channel was a bit higher then that.  Wind was either non existent or only a very slight breeze (cold though).  Turned out to be a very fine day to be on the water and to finally scratch the itch.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No-Name Knockoffs

So just after the November holiday's I took a trip over to TubeDude's for a lesson in both dying soft plastics custom colors as well as making custom tail spinners out of various molds he has.  This was all driven by the desire have more choices while fishing as well as to have our curly tail plastics match well to the jig head painting that we have been doing.  See the Making Candy post from before for details on the new jig head paint jobs.

Anyway the focus of this post isn't to cover the soft plastics work, as that's still a work in progress due to both CSCoatings not having a true red or any form of purple and all stores that should stock these missing colors from Spike-It (in unscented) are out of stock.  So more will come on the dye topic later, though early results are very promising, very promising indeed!  So the topic of report for now is my first pass at making a rendition of what TubeDude has been calling his "No-Name" lures.

There were two versions of the many that he showed me that I key'ed in on.  Both use the same lure body which is flattened and then given some curve so that on a free drop a flutter effect will take place.  Also if the lure is jigged it will give some erratic/wobble motion to the lure.  For the tail blade, where the differences are, one allowing the tail blade to spin fully around behind the lure body and before the hook and the other locking the tail blade into the same loop as hook.  The first lets you cast and have the tail blade spin around as you retrieve.  The curve of the body should give some side to side wobble as the lure is retrieved as well.  Jigging with this one should still give reasonable action.  The second with the tail blade locked into the wire loop with the hook will not let the blade spin around but should help accentuate the side to side wobble of the lure as you retrieve it.  Jigging will again give nice motion and flash.

Here are a set of pictures from my first tries at making these.  There are already some lessons learned.  First is that with powder paint it is important to bend the lure body before painting.  We tried to bend it after the cure baking and that worked but on some paints that we have mixed glitter into I cracked the paint.  That's more of a cosmetic issue since the powder paint does such a good job holding onto the lead itself, but it still bugged me that it happened.  So that's worth keeping in mind.  Next lesson was more around baking them.  You need something like a length of bailing wire that you can slide the lure bodies via their wire loop eye onto as well as the blades so that you can cure bake them before you put them together.  This is less critical on the version with the blade locked into the loop with the hook, but much more important on the spinning blade version.  You don't want the paint to get onto the blade wire or beads to inhibit the motion.  Anyway here are the pics, though I've still not figured out how to do better lighting to get the colors to come through well.