Local Lake Outing 27MAR2022…

We had planned to go fishing today as the weather forecast called for sunshine and about 70F for the high. We waited for the temps to hit 55F before we headed to the lake.

I was using my Apia Grandage Lite 61 with the Abu Garcia MGX Theta 1000s and she opted for her Daiwa Iprimi 62UL and her Daiwa Presso LTD 1025.

I REALLY like this rod!

When we arrived there was one other car there, a guy who was taking pictures of the lake. As we were gearing up, another car pulled in and they bailed out to claim “their spot” while their dogs ran leash-less all over the place. We find that weird since there are plenty of good places to fish along the shore. To each their own.

Little bass with voracious appetites.
Water is still pretty cold…but the bass are definitely moving up.
Zip is coming along nicely…
Eventually he went for a swim.
Our total for today was 7 bass in the hour we were there.
He was torn between myself and my wife.

After the wind started picking up and more people started to arrive (it’s a really small parking area) we decided to call it a day. We picked up trash on our way back to the car and visited with a few fishermen along the way. It was great to get out, the fishing is beginning to pick up and the sunshine felt great.

We have had some decent rainfall recently and as you can see in the picture, the lake level has come up about 2 ft. Outings like this are enough to whet the appetite, but we are still waiting for things to stabilize.

On a sidenote, we went to the MLF (Major League Fishing) Expo yesterday that was in Tulsa. We walked around and saw a lot of interesting products. Even though we don’t do that type of bass fishing, some of the items were really neat. I got to talk to the Abu Garcia rep and play around with the new Zenon Baitcast reels (VERY NICE) and the Zenon spinning reels. The Abu rep was very sympathetic in regards to the JDM tackle they make but don’t import into the US. He didn’t understand the reasoning behind it…and like us, orders it from Digitaka and other places.

We also visited the Daiwa booths and asked about their range of JDM gear and got several silly excuses in response. They blamed shipping and other such nonsense. Their US catalog is completely void of the gear we like and use, which is to be expected. But we knew before going that it would be highly unlikely that we would find anything for our needs at this expo. In fact, just inquiring about ultralight rods raised eyebrows in every booth we visited. They were politely dismissive but it was still kind of funny. The tech-centric approach and the sheer cost of gear was astounding. And it blows my mind that there are boat motors that cost as much as my car! If I was still fishing bass tournaments, I’m sure I would’ve seen things differently…it’s just not my thing anymore.

Until next time…

Elk River Recon 19MAR2022…

We finally managed to carve out some time to make a reconnaissance run up to Missouri to check out the Elk River.

We drove 306.5 miles and were out for 6hrs 47mins.

Again, this idea started with a blue line on a map and subsequent research showed that it had potential. We like to visually check out an area before committing to an extended trip.

Our first stop.
Extremely shallow. River channel is on the opposite side.

Access is limited to this river from what we could observe along our routes. There are canoe livery’s everywhere and renting a canoe seems to be the best option if we decide to commit to fishing this river.

And of course Zip went with us.
He was quite content to sit and watch us fish.

We proceeded to head on over to Pineville since my wife found an access point to the river on a map. I think it was called the City Of Pineville Elk River Public Access.

One acre of land next to a bridge. It does have a “boat ramp” if you can call it that. Lots of rebar and metal pipes in the river around the bridge.

In all honesty, we weren’t super impressed with what we saw and it looks like this will be a madhouse during the summer. The sheer number of canoe rental companies was astounding and hints to our trepidation. In all likelihood we will fish this river at least once. If we could find a long section to fish without staring into peoples windows things might be different. Who knows, maybe our first impression was wrong. I hope so anyway. It was still fun to get out and explore new waters. Hopefully the weather will begin to stabilize some and we don’t get too much rain in a short period of time. But the fishing season is definitely right around the corner and we’re ready for it.

LED Lightbar Fail…

This Nilight 26 inch LED lightbar ended up being a fail on my vehicle. I noticed when I opened the box that the mounting system was completely different than the one that is on my wifes vehicle. Perhaps this LED lightbar has a different application, one that I am unaware of. While installing the LED lightbar I noticed that I could never seem to get the bolts tight enough. I wasn’t trying to crank them down super tight, rather, it was more like just a bit past snug.

Questionable mounting system.
Nut almost pulled completely out of the channel. The aluminum is too soft.

As you can see from the picture above, the nut that is designed to ride inside the channel for adjustment purposes, has almost completely pulled out. All 4 of those nuts were in a similar condition. Again, I didn’t put a lot of torque on these nuts but it sure looks like it. Eventually I decided to just remove the lightbar and figure out another lighting solution. I started looking for a more robust mounting system and decided to give a pair of round LED lights a try.

Two 7 inch Round 51 watt LED lights.

These two lights had a better mounting system that rely on metal brackets to secure it to the SSD lightbar mount. The lights themselves are much more robust and better made. These are surprisingly heavy compared to the LED lightbar. We’ll see how long they last and I’ll report back at a later date.

I may have broken my mantra of “Buy once, cry once” but time will tell.

Daiwa Iprimi 62UL…

My wife has been looking for an ultralight rod that isn’t too stiff. She ordered the Graphite Leader Bellezza RV which turned out to be a better stream rod than a perch/crappie rod. Upon researching the Daiwa Iprimi series, she decided to give one of those a shot. As mentioned previously, she liked my Major Craft ultralight rod but I couldn’t find one for her.

Upon receiving the Iprimi, she compared it to my rod and was happy with the action. It is whippy yet has a moderately stiff butt section. A more pronounced parabolic bend if you will. This should be perfect for targeting perch and smaller fish.

Simple, zippered nylon sleeve.
No internal divider.
Simple handle. The rod has 8 guides.
Daiwa Iprimi 62UL.
The X-wrap extends to the first guide.
Specs.

This rod should be a good setup when coupled with a 500 or 1000 size reel. We are still waiting on the Shimano Soare XR 500 to become available as that’s the reel that we plan on putting on this rod.

Once the weather is consistently warm and stable, we have a few small creeks we want to fish. This rod should be pretty good in that usage.

Thanks for reading and have a great day…

Testing the Shimano Vanford 1000 after bearing install…

I had a couple of hours between doctors appointments today so I decided to test out the Shimano Vanford 1000 after upgrading with bearings. It is better for sure. I cast for over an hour and reeling at various speeds to give it a good workout. It is definitely smoother now and will probably get better over time.

The first JDM rod I ever purchased.

Conditions weren’t great today because the wind was blowing a steady 20-22mph out of the WSW with gusts over 30mph.

Wave action

And as usual, I managed to pick up 4 more bags of trash. It seems like a never-ending process, but I’ll reach my goal eventually.

Until next time…

Graphite Leader Bellezza RV GLBRS-642UL TW spinning rod…

My wife was looking for an ultralight spinning rod for panfish and opted to try this rod since the price was really good. This was a pre-order rod and arrived in 2 weeks. Neither one of us are familiar with Graphite Leader rods and decided to try it.

I should’ve paid attention to the lure and line rating and noticed it wasn’t what we were looking for.
Very well-made rod.
Pairs nicely with a C2000S reel.
Balanced with the Shimano Twin Power C2000S perfectly. NOT what we’d use for small panfish.

Fit and finish was superb. It is listed as an Area Trout rod but to me seems more like an Ultralight Saltwater rod as it is pretty stiff. In fact, it is stiffer than what she was looking for. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it fishing in a stream or small river, but for small perch and such, I’d use something else.

She likes my Major Craft Ultralight rod, the FTA-582UL, but I can’t find one for her. I guess they quit making it. We might look at the Daiwa Iprimi line of rods for an ultralight rod for summer panfish. Lesson learned. Stay tuned to see what she decides…

Almost Done…

Trash haul.

Most of you know that I am always trying to leave things cleaner than when I found them. And this applies especially to the water I fish. I encourage everyone to do the same.

To date, I am 3/4ths of the way done on cleaning the shoreline of one of my local lakes. With the lake level being down almost 5 ft, I can access more shoreline than normal. Yesterday was a tough day for sure. I cannot count how many glass bottles and beer cans I picked up. I started out with 10 Walmart bags and 2 big trash bags. The end result was I used them all.

I don’t do this for recognition or anything, it just needs to be done. Afterall, this is a retention pond for our local drinking water supply. If I wait for someone else to do it…I’ll be waiting a long, long time.

68F while picking up trash, but there’s still some snow around.

And of course, if I’m at the lake, I’ll being fishing. I took the Major Craft FAX-B642UL rod and the Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS reel with me. Some of you may remember that I really started to try and learn using a baitcast reel last year for the first time. It was nice to know that I hadn’t lost anything over the past few months, I cast without any backlashes or any issues at all.

Great combo!

Obviously I did more trash picking up than casting…but it is always good to get out.

Good company!

Aquapac 25L Waterproof Backpack-Wet & Dry…

This is another backpack I use from time to time when fishing a river or stream. It is waterproof and has a roll-top closure, but what is unique about this pack is that it has a secure closure toggle system. This keeps it from unrolling.

Securing Tabs.
Toggles and bungees attached to the roll-top buckles.

Another nice feature that I use is the water bottle pockets on the sides. They are almost full length and easily hold one liter bottles.

One liter bottle stowed.
Pockets on both sides.

The harness system is minimalist. There isn’t any padding on the back, other than the sit pad. Just pack carefully.

Simple harness.
Reinforced shoulder strap anchor points.

Also, on the back is a pocket for a removable sit pad.

Sit pad fully removed.

Yet another nice feature is a removable Wet OR Dry bag. It has a built in roll-top pocket with a clear face for your phone or passport or whatever.

Dry bag to separate gear…or you could stow wet items inside as well to keep other items in the pack dry.

I like this pack since it is simple and relatively low-profile. Quality is great and I haven’t found any flaws or issues with it. Prices are all over the map but if you search online, you should be able to find them for around $80 US.

Just thought I’d share another option I use when fishing…

Woke Up To This…

I measured 4 inches of snow this morning and we are expected to get 2-3 inches more throughtout the day. Temps are right around 12F right now with wind chills making it feel like 0F.

I got up early to start shoveling the walkways and cleaning off the vehicles and get them de-iced and warmed up. I don’t need to go anywhere today so that is a plus.

The fire is going and the wood is stacked and ready to feed it when necessary. Zip was a little speed freak when I let him out this morning. The name fits for sure: he was “zipping” around all over the place.

I managed to get fresh water out to the birds and swept off a patch under a tree out front. Spread quite a bit of bird seed around to help them get out of the wind. We easily have 50-60 birds of all varieties taking advantage of the seed buffet.

We did manage to install a radiant heater in the chicken coop and apparently it’s working since we haven’t seen a single chicken this morning. They are quite content to stay indoors just like me.

Looks like it will be a day to relax…

Mail Call…

Received a package from Digitaka yesterday. In talking with my wife, I asked why she didn’t use her trout spoons more. Her response was that she was afraid to lose them because she only had a few. So I ordered some more spoons. Problem solved.

I also ordered a couple of packages of plastic lures to try out. It’s nice to have various options in case a maker goes belly up or they are sold out.

2 inch ringed paddle tails.
2 inch ringed curly tails.

I’m not even going to attempt to explain or understand the names. Catch you on the next one…

The Rumors Weren’t True…

I had read various posts on the forums about Shimano discontinuing the Soare 500 size reel. I was over on http://www.jpfishingtacklenews.com and noticed that Shimano WILL release this reel in March 2022. UPDATE: The reel has been delayed until May.

I own the CI4+ version of this reel and it is a little beast. The new 2022 Shimano Soare XR 500SPG reel should be even better.

We spend time each year chasing perch for the fun of it and this size reel is perfect.

I just might have to order one of these when they become available. I know that the wife needs one!

First Rainbow Trout of 2022…

We have a winter storm approaching but the weather was going to be decent for the first half of the day, so I drove an hour and a half over to the Illinois River to try my hand at catching some trout.

We had scoped out the Simp and Helen Watts fishing area last year and I wanted to return so that’s where I went. Cloudy skies, 59F, windy and high humidity greeted me when I arrived. There was only one other car in the parking area so I was excited. I was flying solo since the wife had to work so I packed light.

I donned my waders and laced up my wading boots. My rod of choice for the day was the Apia Grandage Lite 61 with the 2021 Daiwa Presso LT 1000S-P reel. I wanted to use a fly rod but chickened out due to the wind. With this major front approaching, the wind was steadily building.

I started with a jighead and a B-vibe and didn’t get so much as a bump. I then switched to a trout spoon and received the same treatment. Next up was some inline spinners. No takers either. I dug out my swimbait box from the Yeti Panga and selected a Lucky Craft Humpback Minnow 45SP-Suspending and attached it to my swivel. First cast and I hooked up. I gave the trout too much slack and he slipped the hook.

The hero of the day!

Second cast and I hooked into another trout, only to lose it at the riverbank trying to get a picture. Third cast and I’m onto another one. I put the boots to this one, never letting up until it was in the net. That’s the little trout in the first picture. That’s when I realized how hard it is to get photos when you are fishing by yourself. From that point on I didn’t even try.

Next thing you know I have two guys up on me. Literally one standing almost next to me and one in the water wading and casting right in front of me. We exchanged words and I held my ground ready to square off. I can’t stand when fisherman do that! They moved off shortly after and I continued to fish. Damn near a mile of riverbank to fish and you have to try and wade and cast right in front of me. That’s a JACKASS move if there ever was one.

Anyway, I ended up losing 4 and catching 5 before the bite turned off. One of them went 16 inches. I released them all, not even taking them out of the water. I decided to call it a day and head home before anything happened or got out of hand.

I took my time getting out of my wading gear as there were several Bald Eagles flying over the river hoping for an easy meal. They tend to over-winter in this part of the state and it is always good to see them.

The Apia Grandage Lite 61 rod allowed me to cast to the other bank.
Relatively peaceful.

For the record…I’m not really into “Hero Shots” when the trout are stockers. Seems kind of lame in my mind, but that’s just me.

I took the scenic route home so I could relax and enjoy the outing. I did miss fishing with my wife and felt guilty about going, but she assured me she was fine with it since she had a pile of work to do and couldn’t get away. Believe me, I tried talking her into going!

Until next time…