A Picture of a Crappie I Caught Today…

I rarely take pictures of the fish I catch and what’s worse is that I’m woefully unprepared when I do feel like taking a picture. My phone was safely tucked away in a waterproof bag so I had to grab my GoPro to take a quick snapshot. If you’ve ever fished from a kayak then you understand that rummaging around looking for something is never easy or convenient.

I caught several Crappie this morning and a few small bass but released them all. I was trying out my Major Craft Finetail Banshee FBA-602L spinning rod coupled with my Daiwa Presso LTD 1025 reel. I think these two will stay paired up from here on out. What a great combo!

Testing Out a Major Craft Finetail Banshee FBA-602L

I’ve never been one to care about matching rods to reels when it comes to colors, but when I saw the Finetail Banshee…I couldn’t resist! When I ran across the rod on Digitaka’s website I thought WOW, “that rod would pair up perfectly with my Daiwa Presso LTD 1025 spinning reel.” So I pulled the trigger.

I have been wanting to try a rod with Fuji Titanium Guides and Torzite inserts. CHECK

I wanted to try a Fuji TVS reel seat. CHECK

So I took the rod out this morning and was pleased with its action and power rating. With a flick of the wrist I can cast a 2.2 gram jig a LONG ways. And as you can see…they pair up nicely with each other!

03April2021-Kayak Fishing

The wife and I took the kayaks down to one of our local lakes this morning. The weather was typical for Oklahoma…WINDY! The sun was out and the temps were in the low-to-mid 60’s F so it was nice.

My ride is a Wilderness Systems Thresher 140 and hers is the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120. It was fun being able to finally get out and paddle. According to the Garmin locator…water temp was between 55.9F and 56.2F. Hopefully the water will hit 57F and things will fully turn on.

I managed to catch several small bass and a few nice crappie. I was testing out 2 new rods and reels and will do a follow-on post shortly.

We Managed to Get Out This Morning…

We went to a nearby lake to test cast a couple of rods and reels. The lake was about 7 feet high and still in the Low-50’s if not upper 40’s temperature wise. We threw a cast net for shad but they hadn’t moved up close to shore yet which is understandable.

My rod choice was the Major Craft Seabass Allaround Game CRX-904ML coupled with a Shimano Stradic FL 4000XG running Power Pro 20# braid. As the name implies, this rod is aimed at fishing for Seabass, but I think it will work just fine for our local Stripers, White Bass, Hybrids and Catfish. Its a 9-footer but it breaks down into 4 pieces which makes it convenient for small cars and it would be possible to travel by air with it as well.

The reel worked flawlessly as you’d expect with a Shimano. I think Shimano has finally got its head in the game on mid-priced reels. This Stradic is really, really good.

I tested various lure weights from 1/4 ounce up to 1 ounce and the rod handled them easily. Its rated for 10-30 grams. I still haven’t found a rod from Major Craft that I haven’t liked.

The weather was amazing…sunny and 74F!

Caught 4 Little Bass This Morning…

The wife and I went to a local lake to fish for about an hour this morning. We ended up catching 4 between us so that means the skunk is off her hands!

It is good to see them starting to move into the shallows finally. The temperature was 55F and sunny with winds out of the South-Southwest around 10mph. The water temperature was still around 50F but it is warming.

I was using the Major Craft Finetail Stream Switch Style rod and she was using her TenRyu Super Yamame rod. Although it was a short outing, we both had a lot of fun.

If the weather trend continues…we’ll be fishing a lot more often.

Got Out With the Major Craft Finetail Stream Switch Rod Today…

I paired this rod with the 2020 Shimano Vanford 1000F reel and it worked well. I am liking this rod due to the portability and action…it’s really sensitive and casts light lures well.

It was a joy to cast and I am looking forward to trying it on a specific stream in Arkansas that I have in mind. It’s quite a hike to get to the water and I think this rod will be perfect.

Stay tuned for that trip…

Leave No Trace…

This is a picture that we took when we made it back to the car. Although we didn’t catch any fish, we were still productive.

We both carry plastic grocery bags in our packs just to pick up garbage on our way out. We each filled one up. Surprisingly, we ran across another person out there who was picking up trash as well so that was great!

And honestly, it wasn’t near as trashed out as we thought it would be. I still wish Oklahoma would put a 10 cent deposit on all cans and bottles…I think that would help tremendously.

We are stewards of the land, and as such, we should all do our part.

A Quick Shot of the Wife Fishing…

The wife fishes just as hard as I do! She wanted to test out her own rod, reel and line today.

She has a TenRyu Rayz RZ6102S-LML Super Yamame spinning rod which she received for Valentine’s Day. She absolutely loved it and was very happy with the handling characteristics.

The reel she used was the Daiwa Presso LTD 1025 spooled up with Daiwa Presso Type-N nylon line in 4 pound test. Both worked flawlessly for her.

She could cast bank-to-bank easily and was impressed with the sensitivity and action. Handling and balance of the rod and reel suited her very well and she liked the line, which was a big question mark for both of us. She had zero issues fishing with it.

She carried her Abu Garcia One Shoulder Bag and was pleased with all aspects of it. Think we have some winners as far as gear choices for 2021 go.

Exploratory Trip 14MAR2021

We said to heck with the weather and went to a nearby river to see if the White Bass had moved upstream on their spawning run. Of course we were checking to see if the Neosho-strain smallmouth had decided to come out as well.

The stream was in great shape with a decent flow, but it was still in the low 50F’s. Still a bit cold for things to start properly moving but that will begin to change soon.

Unfortunately, no fish were caught, although we did run across a few fingerling smallmouth bass romping around in the shallows.

Needless to say…we just needed to get out!

First Bass of 2021…

The wife and I drove down to one of our local lakes after getting new tires put on her vehicle. It was 65F and sunny when we arrived. The water is still about 3 feet high but its clear at least.

I decided to take the Major Craft Finetail Works Tune Area Spec FTA-582UL rod coupled with the Shimano Soare Ci4+ 500 spooled with Sunline Troutist Area Meister 3# mono line.

She opted to try throwing a spoon while I chose a jig.

The jig head was a Cultiva JH-85 in 2.2 gram and for a soft plastic I chose a Euro Tackle Micro Finesse B-Vibe in Green Pumpkin. And that’s what the bass hit.

It was a little bass and put a nice bend in the ultralight rod, but I never felt underpowered. I was hoping the bluegill were moving into the shallows since the water is starting to warm up but it’s still too early.

The next mission is to help her wash the “skunk” off her hands by catching a fish!

A Donkey!

This is a picture of my wife holding the largest Velox smallmouth I have ever seen. I would consider it a trophy size Smallmouth Bass for the streams that we fish.

In the background, over her left shoulder, where the water next to the bank is the deepest, is where she caught it.

I had moved past that section to make room for her and was casting when I heard her drag go off. As I turned to look I noticed her rod was bent really deep. Decent sized fish! I put my rod down and broke out the camera and started snapping pictures. It was great to see the process from almost start to finish, especially when she realized it was a BIG Velox!

We kept the fish in the water and marveled at its size, I checked lighting and background and we snapped a quick picture before releasing it back into its natural habitat.

We fished that section multiple times during 2020, but that spot was gone…dry as a bone. The main portion of the stream is much further to her right and it was a fluke that we decided to explore this little branch.

Definitely a great day and a lucky day at that.

Average Size of Velox in Our Favorite Streams…

As I’ve stated before, the Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass does not grow to the same size as the Northern-strain Smallmouth. Habitat and other environmental conditions severely limit the growth potential of the Velox (Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass.)

Our local stream conditions vary greatly during the course of a year. Floods and droughts are the biggest factors. Some years there is barely enough water to get your ankles wet and other years you are pushing the limits of safe wading. Yet the Velox perseveres!

I have spoken with biologists and have read various papers on the Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu velox) to gain insight into this magnificent little fish. How they over-winter, seasonal stressors, forage and feeding patterns etc. etc.

And that’s also why I refuse to fish a stretch of river to death…I just pick a few prime spots and move on so that I am not negatively affecting a larger proportion of fish.

Knowing what this fish endures during a one year cycle makes me respect it even more. And the fish in the picture above is estimated to be between 8 and 10 years of age! Long live the Velox…