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May 7, 2011 / flogginwater

Another short outing

Last Thursday Kay gave me another day off from Daddy Duty, so I took my nephew Tyler out to Hagg Lake, and we set about breaking in my new Scanoe. The day started off on a bad footing – from the time I woke up.

You may remember from earlier postings – I’ve been sick. I’m still sick. Thursday was no exception – in fact it added a new twist. I woke up coughing so badly that I popped a blood vessel in my throat – adding blood to the list of fluids I was expelling. Since then my throat has been raw and scratchier than ever, giving me almost no voice. My lungs feel worse – more congested – not good. But I had set my mind to fish anyway. I mean, if I wind up dying from whatever this horrible infection that has taken over my body is, I should get in as much fishing as possible, right?

So I woke up at 9am, figuring on picking up Tyler at 9:30 (he only lives 10 minutes away). I got dressed quickly, it was *supposed* to be sunny and in the high 60’s to low 70’s Thursday, but I threw in a heavy fleece coat anyway. Threw the gear in the back of the jeep and loaded the canoe. Boy oh boy did I learn how much of a pain that thing is to load by myself. It’s not that the canoe if heavy – it’s awkward, and my roof rack is about 2 inches narrower than it really needs to be to properly keep the canoe in place where it should be. Guess I should’ve checked that out earlier in the week (I brought the thing home on the flatbed, not the jeep).

I got it loaded (3rd try WAS the charm) after only having it slip off the roof twice. I still have to perfect my tie down points – I had one tie down come loose a mile from the house – and I wound up driving over a flapping tie down strap. Did I mention this day got off to a bad start? I pulled over and fixed everything, and we made it to the lake without further incident.

At the lake, I discovered that even if you don’t have a trailer boat – they still charge you to bring a boat in. The lady claimed it entitled me to park in trailer parking areas, despite not having a trailer – but the window placard she gave me didn’t distinguish between auto and trailer parking, so I think they just suckered an extra dollar from me. Ohwell, it’s just a buck, right?

We get the canoe offloaded and readied, but the lake is very high, and there wasn’t much for bank access where we were going to launch. No problem, I got in the boat and Tyler pushed me down what bank there was and I spun the boat around so he could get in. After nearly dumping us getting in (Tyler doesn’t have a lot of canoe experience. Something I should’ve asked about!) – we got under way. Loaded down with me (all 295 lbs of me), Tyler (about 170 lbs), 7 rods, two tackle bags, and a spare paddle, we set off. The Scanoe really scoots along, even with my fat behind on the back seat. The one thing we forgot though – was an anchor. Really could’ve used two of those because of the wind out there.

We explored a bit – I forgot to break out the camera to get some pictures. We found some nifty back waters thanks to the water level being so high. And that high water was crystal clear – we could see bottom in 10-12 feet easily. The thing we noticed was a severe lack of fish in the shallow water. We paddled around one point along the shore, working the flooded brush and timber with nary a nibble. We finally decided to move all the way into the head of the cove, to explore back there – and finally, FINALLY found some fish in the old flooded creek channel. Then in the high, flooded grass, we found some BIG bass – but alas, nothing we tried enticed these fish to bite. The bass spooked at the slightest movement. The panfish just sulked and slowly sank to the bottom. Disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe how we were feeling.

On this trip, I had 4 rods with me – two old friends (my 8′ 4 weight Grigg, and my 7′ Okuma Celilo ultra light spin rod) and two new friends (my 7′ 5/6 Eagle Claw glass fly rod, and my 6’6″ Okuma Reflexions casting rod). I spent most of the fishing time giving the new Reflexions casting rod a work out, to see how she handles. Remember a few weeks back when I said short rods don’t have much of a place in my quiver? Yeah, I’m eating a bit of crow over that one.

Why did I get this rod? I needed a good casting rod for fishing heavier jigs, and fishing top waters, like those scum frogs I inherited from my brother in law. Spinning gear just wasn’t cut out for that type of work – given the heavy cover those are normally fished in. So for this day, I tied on a 1/4 oz football head jig that I’d tied up as a large twin-tailed rabbit strip leech in black. Putting my trusty Abu Garcia Revo S-L on her, which was recently spooled up with 50lb Tuff Line braid, I was ready to give it a work out.

The rod casts like a dream – at least with the heavy jig on it (I really haven’t tried anything lighter yet, because most of the lures I’m going to fish with this one, aside from the scum frogs, are close enough to or are heavier than 1/4 oz). I could make good, accurate casts out to about 50-60 feet, which for me is great with a bait casting outfit. Didn’t have a single back lash either, which also pleased me. At one point, fishing some heavy, flooded timber, I hooked what I can only assume was a log or a root wad on the bottom with the jig. I was afraid I would either 1.) sink the boat trying to retrieve the jig (or break the line) or 2.) break my nice new rod because of the heavy braided line being heavier than the rod was rated for. Neither happened, and I finally got my jig back unscathed.

A bit later we worked our way back out of the creek channel, into some flooded grass and spooked a few more bass. I switched from the casting rod to my ultra light spin rod, which was rigged with a single Trout Magnet 1/64th oz jig – no bueno. Switched to the Eagle Claw to which I’d tied on a #6 deer hair popper I tied the night before. That Eagle Claw turned over that popper with ease, but the bass weren’t having any of it. Switched from the popper to a #8 Bunny Bugger, and still nothing. Very disheartening.

After about 4 hours of frustration and fishlesness, we bagged it and headed back for the ramp. The wind was picking up, the weather never did clear up, and all the effort was getting to me (not to mention I needed medicine!). We came home early, disappointed, rejected, and worn out, but somehow still happy. It still was a good day out there. I checked my email later that evening, and got a note from my friend Jason. Jason is a crappie hound first and foremost – and he’s spent seasons trying to pin down the crappie in that lake, with and without my help. He’s still trying to figure them out – but he did manage to find 2 good 12″ fish at his one honey hole (the only place on the lake he has found to reliably hold any crappie) – he sent me a pic proving said catches. Those fish would make a Brownlee buff smile.

Sometime int he next couple weeks I hope to be back out there, in warmer weather, feeling better – and actually catch some fish.

I also wanted to share with ya’ll some pictures of a very old friend – the Quantum Micro light outfit I mentioned in my last essay for Owl Jones. Years back I gave that rod to my biological mom, as she enjoyed fishing it. I borrowed that rod for an Owl Jones video project, and wound up not using it. I haven’t returned the rod to her yet, and since I still have it, I snapped some pictures of it, along with my wife’s Quantum Teton Trout rod for a sense of scale. The modern Teton really does seem to share a bit of the design heritage, although the foam grip with sliding band reel seat has been replaced with a nicely shaped cork and graphite weave reel seat, the rods are the same length, the Teton is made on a bit of a thicker blank, but the reels are simliar in size. The Teton Trout reel is markedly better quality than the old graphite reel that I landed my carp with! So enjoy the pix!

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2 Comments

  1. Mel / May 7 2011 17:53

    That is one tough day for sure! Hope you get to feeling better real soon. Sure enjoyed all pictures of your rod and reel combo's that you used on this day.

  2. Cofisher / May 7 2011 18:48

    I don't know, but sounds like a pretty good day to me…take care and get better.

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