Fishing Baker Creek for the First Time…

We noticed on our map that there was a Creek that flowed into the Cossatot River about 5 miles down from our camp. Early one morning we decided to give it a go. Upon arrival we noticed it was covered in weeds along the creek bank and we were a little hesitant to venture in. I’m not a fan of snakes and this sure looked liked a good place to encounter one.

Just downstream from the Baker Creek Bridge

I ended up going in first while keeping my eyes peeled for Copperheads or Water Moccasins. I didn’t want Zip running wild through the weeds since he’s never seen a snake and I’m not sure how he’d react and we didn’t want him to get bitten.

We fished the Creek for about an hour and a half until it narrowed to a trickle. Our fears were unfounded as we never encountered any snakes. We caught several Longeared Sunfish and lots of Smallmouth. Several of each were decent sized considering how narrow this creek was.

The humidity was really high that morning and we were both drenched in sweat when we returned to the vehicle. We explored the area a little more before returning to camp. We ended up swimming in the river for about an hour to cool off.

Cossatot River Trip…What Worked.

My Subaru Forester Sport worked great on the trip and we encountered zero issues with it while driving all over the forest via logging roads. The Thule Cargo Box was a last minute addition and worked as expected. It held our Gazelle tent, folding chairs and our rod tubes.

Dometic 11L water jug
Pumping water straight into the jug
Taking turns.

The Dometic 11L/3gal water jug ended up being ideal for our camping setup. It was easy to carry down to the river and refilling with our Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter. The quick connect fitting was a nice feature and eliminated any hassles. A 3 gallon jug is a lot easier for us to manage.

The SetPower RV45S refrigerator was a nice addition. It was easily powered by the vehicle in transit as well as by the battery while in camp. The battery can power this fridge for about 2.5 days but anytime we had sun in the afternoon, we charged it up. You never know when cloudy weather will set in for a few days. And it was great to have a cold beer at the end of the day!

Cossatot River-Ed Banks Site #2…Banner Day!

We left camp at 0600 and drove the 5 miles over to the Ed Banks Access point. After a quick scout around we noticed that the far end of the river crossing had been repaired and that we could continue up-river to the Ed Banks Site #2.

Ed Banks Crossing

We had never been to this campsite and it was nice to be able to fish a new area. It is the most remote campsite in the park with only a picnic table and tent pad available. Few people camp here.

At that time of the morning we had the river to ourselves and the temperature was in the low-70’sF.

She caught the biggest smallmouth of the trip!

We each managed to catch our Personal Best Smallmouth on the Cossatot River at this access point. Both fish fought hard and were worthy of respect. They were released back to where they belong.

The first full day of our trip turned out to be the best as far as fishing went.

Return to the Cossatot River…

This year we opted to fish the Cossatot River again. This was our first longer trip with Zip and we weren’t sure what to expect. It seemed easier to pick a place we were familiar with until we knew how the dog would get on with week long camping.

After a four and a half hour drive, we turned onto the forest road and stopped to air down the tires.

Our gear in the back of the Subaru

This was also our first time out with a 12 volt refrigerator. I did a previous post on the LiFePO4 battery build that I did to power the fridge.

SetPower RV45S Single Zone Fridge
Two 50 watt panels charged the battery during the day

We got up early every morning to fish and returned to camp around noon and deployed the solar panels to keep the battery charged up. It worked out well since it allowed us to escape the worst of the heat and we could relax in camp a bit. We could also use that time to dry out our gear and re-rig if necessary.

Upon arrival, we noticed that the river was up quite a bit due to all of the recent rainfall. We were worried about wading certain sections but that proved to be irrelevant since it was dropping fast.

We also timed our arrival for Sunday afternoon hoping that the weekend campers would be gone. It wasn’t to be as there were other like-minded campers spending the week in the camping area. The first day was also the hottest as the temperature hit 96F and it was difficult to stay cool. We ended up putting a fan on Zip to help him cope with the heat.

We made several trips down to the river to get Zip wet and he thoroughly enjoyed that. Coupled with the fan, he was good to go.

It was definitely good to be back on the Cossatot River and we had high hopes that the fishing would be good.

The 2022 Shimano Soare XR 500SPG Spinning Reel…

It finally arrived! The wife has been wanting one of these for over 6 months. Last Thursday when I got to work, there was an email that popped up on my phone from Digitaka stating that the Soare XR 500’s were in stock. This was at 0504. By 0505 I was on their site ready to purchase two reels but it already stated that it was THE LAST ONE. I bought it instantly and by 0506 I had confirmation of the order. These reels went fast!!!

Rear View of 2022 Shimano Soare XR 500SPG
2022 Shimano Soare XR 500SPG Handle
L: 2022 spool and R: 2017 spool
L: 2022 Soare XR 500SPG and R: 2017 Soare CI4+ 500S
2017 Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S
Rear View of 2017 Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S
2017 Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S Handle

Before I list the specs, I will say that the 2022 Soare XR is smoother than the 2017 Soare CI4+. I definitely like the color scheme on the 2022 better but that is just my preference. The handle fits better and has a bit more accents. The handle knob was changed and I’m not sure if it’s for the better or not. Gear ratio was decreased. Line capacity was increased a little bit as well. Maybe she’ll let me try it out.

2022 Shimano Soare XR 500SPG

-WEIGHT: 135 grams

-GEAR RATIO: 4.7:1

-DRAG: 3 kg MAX

-RETRIEVE: 58 cm

BEARINGS: 8/1

-CAPACITY: MONO 2#-115m, 2.5#-100m and FLUOROCARBON 3#-70m

2017 Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S

-WEIGHT: 140 grams

-GEAR RATIO: 5.6:1

-DRAG: 3 kg MAX

-RETRIEVE: 69 cm

-BEARINGS: 8/1

-CAPACITY: MONO 2#-90 m, 2.5#-80m and FLUOROCARBON 3#-70m

For Perch and small streams, these will be perfect and we can’t wait to test hers out. Stay tuned for that.

Practice With Centerpin Rod and Reel…

I ordered a Blood Run Skein Cane Centerpin Rod which was 13 feet long and has 4-sections and is rated for 6-10 pound line. It definitely casts a lot better than the Crappie rod I was using last time. Coupled with a Kingpin Imperial 475 Centerpin reel, it made casting a dream.

I practiced casting for about 45 minutes until I felt that I had the hang of it. In the end, the Cross-body Wallis Cast seemed to be the best for me. In time I will practice a couple of other casts just to have options.

I ended up catching 3 Largemouth bass while the wife caught 7 Crappie and 2 Largemouth bass.

I had been waiting several days for the weather and my work schedule to cooperate so I could get out and practice. I did get a few “bird’s nests” while casting which were not fun to untangle, but I think that after a couple of more casting sessions, things should smooth out a bit.

I still feel that this is a viable option for some of the rivers we fish and will test that theory out soon. Stay tuned for that. See you on the next one.

Our JDM Rods…

I have debated on whether to post this or not. I’m sure I will catch flack for the number of rods we have, but we use them all and they all serve a purpose. This has nothing to do with bragging because I am not that kind of person. Nor am I suggesting that you buy any of these.

I have mentioned on previous blog posts as to why we bought JDM(Japanese Domestic Market) rods. And I still stand behind that after 4 years. For us, it took our angling to the next level for the type of fish that we go after.

First up is our pack rods.

The one on the left is my heavier rod for White Bass, Hybrids or Stripers. I drive a Subaru so I needed a multi-piece rod. The others, we use for when we have to walk in quite a ways to reach a river so we don’t have to deal with full length rods when moving through brush. They fit inside our Yeti Panga backpacks.

Next up is our general purpose rods.

There are several duplicate rods as some are hers and some are mine. They cover the spectrum from Medium-Light to Ultralight and we select them for target species, size of rivers, current flows etc. Some are baitcast rods as well.

There really isn’t a bad rod in the bunch. As long as you stay within the rods specifications and intended use, you shouldn’t have any issues. And yet again, I will warn against lifting a fish or high-sticking, ask me how I know!

I have done blog posts on each of these rods in the past, but this is the first time we have taken a group photo. Most of these rods are designed for either Area Fishing or Stream Fishing on Japanese waters but they work extremely well for chasing Velox (Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass.) Adapt and improvise!

Thanks for reading.

Centerpin Reel Practice…

We managed to get all of our morning chores done by 0630 and decided that after coffee, we would run down to one of the local lakes so she could fish while I practiced casting the centerpin reel.

We are so sick of this wind and there is nothing we can do about it. Day after day of 20+ mph winds gets really old. And it didn’t help with me trying to learn the Wallis cast and the BC Swing cast. I’ll have to wait for a calm day or drive 2 hours to the river to practice.

My original plan was to just cast lead weight to get a feel for this centerpin reel but I opted to rig up a float, some weight and a hook baited with earthworms and go fishing.

First cast and I hooked into a very healthy Bluegill that put up a great fight. The only rod I had that was close to a float rod was a 10ft Crappie jigging rod which didn’t work out too well, but I managed to catch 11 fish on it.

Mrs. Velox Seeker caught 8 Crappie and 1 Largemouth bass on her spinning setup. We were both constantly battling the wind as well as weeds. I managed to catch 6 Largemouth bass and 5 Perch, all of which were fun on the rod and centerpin reel. After the wind picked up with gusts over 30 mph, I switched to a spinning setup but couldn’t catch a cold. Zilch, zero.

All in all, I was impressed with the potential of the centerpin reel and the ability to make long, controlled drifts. With a legit centerpin rod I think this will be a highly effective method to fish a river for Smallmouth bass.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend…

It has been a hectic week for us and we were looking forward to the weekend holiday. We had 3 full days of rain earlier in the week which killed any chance of us getting out to fish.

We celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary as well as my 25th anniversary at work. We also had family in town for a few days. The calendar was full.

Saturday looked promising but we awoke to thunder, some rain showers as well as high winds.

The video doesn’t do it justice because this went on all day long.

On a side note, I got a wild hair and decided to get a centerpin reel for float fishing the rivers. I fondly remember beginning this fishing journey by using a bobber on a small pond with my father and catching crappie, perch and eels.

From all that I have read, centerpin reels provide the absolute best drift possible while using a float. As is typical, I will have to configure this method for catching smallmouth even though the gear available in the US is predominantly designed for salmon and steelhead.

Raven Matrix centerpin reel.

I like learning and as such, this should be fun and will add “another tool to the toolbox” in regards to fishing skills. I guess anything that has to do with fishing has my attention. But there are far worse addictions other than angling!

Take care and thanks for reading.

2nd Lt. Miller…

Yesterday we had the privelege of attending the commissioning ceremony for one of our Eagle Scouts and a family friend.

This young man recently graduated college and received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

We have watched this young man grow through the years into what he has become today.

The picture below doesn’t tell the story of a trip with young Scouts to the Boundary Waters. Some of them were too young in fact, and the older Scouts had to carry the majority of the load. And they did it without complaining or making judgements. They just did what needed to be done to make the trip a success. It is that attitude that helps make a person successful in life.

I was fortunate enough to welcome this young man into the Eagle Scout community, and now being able to welcome him into the US Military community.

Pinning the gold bars on
Thanking everyone who helped him on his journey

I wish this young officer all the best on his career path and a bright future. I am positive that he will be an asset to the Marine Corps and will serve his country well.

Semper Fi Marine and Godspeed.

Congratulations to Hardy on their 150th Anniversary…

I would be remiss if I didn’t say “Congratulations” on a monumental milestone such as this.

Hardy has been at the forefront of innovation for decades and decades, and is a household name worldwide. Their name is synonymous with quality.

As with any company, they have endured the ups and downs of this industry and have made tough decisions, but they still exist.

And here’s to hoping that 150 more years are in their future. Cheers!

Loop Opti K2 9ft 4wt rod and a Loop Opti Creek reel…

I have wanted a 4wt fly rod to fill a gap in my fly rod collection. Sometimes a 3wt rod isn’t enough to cast certain flies and a 5wt is too much. I firmly believe in having the right tool for the job.

I found this rod and reel on sale over at the Loop US website and decided to get them. I like the fact that the Loop Opti Creek is a silent reel. There are times when I don’t want to hear a reel clicking away all day and that’s why I chose this one.

I have been impressed with Loop Tackle from a function and aesthetic standpoint. To date, I have only been able to wave this rod around in the yard and I really like it. As I’ve stated before, a Medium Fast action such as this rod has, suits my casting style well. Once the weather clears I will definitely take it to a local pond or lake to test it out fully.

Excellent balance as you would expect.

I plan on using this rod to fish the Cossatot River soon and can hardly wait. We are in the process of finalizing our itinerary and accomodations and the excitement is running high. Stay tuned for more and have a great weekend.