"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

Monday, May 19, 2014

Another round of jig making... SWM jigs

So Jason gave me some hooks for my bday last month and I've now gotten started on turning them into something to take out on the water.  Nothing really new this time other then some of the color combos and that these are larger then I'd cast before with this mold and the intended hooks made for the mold.  I had cast some on wire before though of these sizes and made spinners out of them.  So here's the initial picture of them.  Note I've not yet painted the eyes on them or put the top coat over the eyes.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 15th Trip to Willard in the Tubes

So as our opening trip of the year on the tubes Jason and I picked Willard Bay to see if we could get in on some of the action others had been reporting.  We got up there and setup and on the water just before 7am at the south marina.  We had been planning on the north marina but a bit of intel suggested south might offer some good activity.  I still consider myself a novice when it comes to Willard so any guidance I can get is more then welcome.

Weather was looking great and the water was calm and glassy.  So we kicked out and started to pitch plastics as we worked out into the channel before heading out to the main lake.  We didn't get any response to the plastics nor to the cat rigs we were dragging as well while we moved out.  Water is lower then my previous trips and temps were in the mid 50's at launch.  Once on the main lake we got a surprise look at the number of boats that were out there.  For a Thursday there sure were a lot of people that SHOULD have been at work...  Nobody really every bothered us, nor did they really get near us (though maybe they knew something we didn't).  We moved down the shoreline toward the feed lots.  We had to stay pretty far out from the shore line to get into a depth greater then about 8'.

I was a bit further down the shoreline on the way to the feed lot when I managed the first fish of the day for use, a nice cat.  Never measured it but it looked close to 20" long.

Not that much later Jason landed the first wiper.  I was a bit off so the picture leaves a lot to be desired.

We had a breeze come up just enough to put a light ripple on the water but things stayed pretty darn mellow for the day.

Some time just before noon we started to head back toward the marina.  Jason had 2 wipers in his basket at this time and I still just had the 1 cat.  While approaching the marina Jason brought in his 3rd wiper to fill his limit.  He then tried to focus on adding a cat to his basket.  I was able to add my first wiper to my basket a bit later.

We ended up drifting down past the marina seeing if we would get anything more as we approached 2pm and when nothing much more happened we headed back in.  While cleaning up a fellow fisherman stopped over to see how our day had gone and reported that he had dome quite well trolling over on the west side and south side of the lake.  He noted that the crappie were out along the south end too.  Some food for thought for a future trip but it also fit with where we saw all the boats too.  Where we went didn't seem to attract many people and maybe for good reasons.  This also got me thinking about a map I saw posted that gives some details of the bay: Willard Bay Map

Well that's it for now.  Was a very nice day to be out for sure.  BTW Water temps got up to the low 60's before we got off the water.

Ice Fishing Strawberry April 12th 2014 (Mud Creek)

(Again a month late...)

So having been watching the forums on BFT it was clear that the ice on strawberry was still solid enough for a last ice trip of the year.  From the details other reports had shared it seemed that the easy to access spots had had enough pressure that people suggested looking elsewhere.  So I got it in my mind that the mouth of the mud creek arm might be enough out of the way to not be where the masses had been.  What I didn't know is if walking from the gate for mud creek (gate is as close a vehicle could get) or the marina would be the better pick to start from.  I choose poorly....

It was a beautiful day weather was wonderful, maybe a bit too wonderful.  As we walked down from the mud creek gate we noted that the snow on the dirt road was solid enough and then the ice seemed also more then solid.  Reports said ice was about 30" deep and that matched what we say.  The ice had a set of interesting layers to it through such that the top 6" or so was a mix of hard and less hard layers before you hit the solid base that was solid till you broke through.  Well (being that it's been a month since we went) I'll spare a play by play as I couldn't retell it well enough now to do things right and simply say that Jason out fished my skunk of a day but we both came home with a limit and then some of UV rays and more then our fair share of physical activity.  Before I explain that I'll throw in the token pictures:

So here is the short of the story...  Fishing was slow and we moved around some trying to find the fish.  We marked some and had a few missed bites but Jason landed all that we caught.  I should point out that we drilled at least a couple dozen holes with the hand auger and I was very impressed at how well it did with the depth of the ice and how easy it was to cut.  As the day went on the wonderful weather started to soften the top of the ice.  This resulted in the edges near where we were softening up to the point you would, much to Jason's pleasure and joy, break through as you tried to get on dry land...  So we packed up and started back.  Now is where the poor choice for the day started to reveal itself...  Those top 6" of ice layers I spoke of were now soft.  They were now only firm enough to tease you with every step that they MIGHT just hold you this step before you would punch through to the hard base below them.  This was like walking on a stepping machine the whole way across the ice.  Well we made it to the mud creek boat launch where we would walk the snow covered road back up from there.  At least here we didn't break through the ice near the shore.

Now if the stepper machine walk across the ice wasn't bade enough we now learned very clearly that the dirt road did not just have 6-10" of snow on it as I had wondered on the walk down...  No, it was knee to hip deep the whole way and now the snow followed the example of the ice and taunted us the whole way to the vehicle...  And it was a long way that took way to long to get back.  Lets just say that lots of create ideas were thought up, tested and marked as failure as we attempted to make our way to the vehicle.  There were no easy tricks or ways around it...  It stunk worse then the smell I had coming off the ice without a fish to show for the day.

Well we made it...  Eventually.  We did drive over afterwards to the main marina and looked at where we could have parked there and walked to the same spot and thought very clearly that that would have been a better pick.  Next time, which will be next year at the earliest... :)

Maribou 4-8-2014

(yes this is over a month overdue...)

So since starting to cast my own jigs (even before then) I've been a bit interested in Maribou jigs for their movement characteristics while in water, specifically for a vertical jig presentation.  TubeDude (Pat) has shown me (and sold some to me for my Dad) some of his offerings that use Maribou along with Flashibou accents.  They have just stuck in my mind as something really nice (though that qualifies for most of what TubeDude has shown me... ;))

Anyway I kind of got moving on this at Christmas time where I put a Fly Tying kit that was on sale from Cablelas on a wish list and then later found it under the tree.  This got me the base tools but I did not yet step down the path of materials as I had some questions.  To start with I got a good case of pre-buyers remorse worrying that Maribou was maybe not the material to pick but a synthetic might be better.  I got hung up on wondering about costs, durability of color, durability of material, ease of use, etc...  Anyway I sent a few notes off to TubeDude and Barlows asking opinions and got some solid responses back, including an open invite to head over to Pat's for a sit down session.  I never did get a chance to take him up on that during the winter break though...  It was clear though that Maribou was still the right pick for the application I was after.

Then heading toward April I again got into the mode to pursue this more and got materials on my birthday wishlist: thread and maribou in a variety of colors, pearl, silver and gold flashibou for accent, and some hard as nails clear polish to coat the thread wrap.  I also again tried to get my schedule such that I could take Pat up on the offer of his time he had made...  I struck out on that again due to family and work schedules....  YouTube ended up being my backup plan as I could fit in some time watching videos on the train rides to and from work.  So with all that said, and realizing I had no in person training I got started and have tied up a few dozen jigs now.  Seems to be easy enough to tie.  I'm not sure how durable my work is yet, but I've liked how things have gone.  Here are a few pictures form the initial batch.