You Might Want to Keep This Meme Handy…

This meme stays on my phone at all times. Invariably when I send a picture of a fish that I’ve caught, my friends always ask that ONE QUESTION: “Where’d you catch it?”

The picture is usually followed by another text that includes this meme. At that point, it’s probably a good idea to just turn your phone off, because you know what their response is going to be.

Just Sayin!

Keeping an Eye on the Weather…

Here in Oklahoma, the weather can be unpredictable. All of our fishing plans begin with a weather check because it can change so fast. As of today (March 13th) we have had a total of 4.05 inches of rain for the year. 2019 caused a lot of problems for fishermen due to lake and river levels being high for months.

As you can see from the chart…in 2019 we had 59.55 inches of rain. And 61.79 inches of rainfall in 2015. Both years resulted in massive flooding. I’m hoping 2021 won’t end up being the same.

I remember canoeing and fishing on a local river where it started out as a beautiful sunny morning yet by noon, the skies opened and thunder and lightning drove us off the river. We even had a tornado come through in close proximity.

That level of unpredictability forces you to be alert and prepared. We generally have to carry more gear than we like. I’d rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

So Spring is almost here, and with it comes crazy weather…we’ll do the best we can and capitalize on every opportunity to fish. Stay safe!

EDIT: and for some humor…I’ll throw in some earthquake info. We’ve had 346 earthquakes in the last 30 days and 1,948 earthquakes in the last 365 days. Fracking needs to be banned!!!

Major Craft Finetail Stream Switch Style#FTX-46/505UL*Spin 5 pc rod…

I have wanted a decent “pack rod” for a long time and finally found one that’s really good.

So let’s get the specs out of the way first:

-Rod length is 4ft 6in up to 5ft when adding the “switch section”

-Lure rating is: 1-8 grams

-Line rating is: 2-6 lbs or 0.3-0.8 #PE

-Weight is: complete package – 12 oz/340 grams

– rod and sleeve- 3.6 oz/102 grams

– rod only- 2.4 oz/68 grams

-Length is: full case- 16 5/8ths inches

-butt section- 14 3/4 inches

It has a wood reel seat, double up-locking rings, wood spacers, cork grips, Fuji K-frames with SiC inserts and an EVA foam butt cap. As far as power goes…its rated as an UL or ultralight, but since its a “stream” rod, it feels more like an LL or Light-Light rod to me. It’s definitely stiffer than an “area” ultralight rod. Fit and finish is as expected from a Major Craft rod.

I can confirm that this rod (in it’s complete package) fits inside a Patagonia Stormfront/Stormsurge as well as a Yeti Panga 28 pack. More than likely I will just carry the rod and sleeve to save weight.

I am extremely excited to try this rod out. I have a couple of rivers in mind where this rod will be perfect.

My Wading Belt…

I usually wear this belt when I’m actually wearing a set of waders, but occasionally I wear it when I’m bank fishing for catfish because I tend to walk the sandy shoreline.

It consists of a nylon webbing belt with a “cobra buckle.” On it I carry a carabiner, a pair of aluminum pliers, my homemade belt pouch prototype as well a Leatherman Wave multi-tool.

I try to stick with utilitarian items that I use frequently and prefer to have them readily accessible. The last thing I want is unnecessary weight or to look like Batman!

My Wet Wading Footwear…

This is my wet wading footwear setup for stream fishing. I have tried everything from sandals to water shoes before settling on this system.

At the core, it consists of a pair of 2019 Simms Flats Sneakers. 2021 will be their third season and so far, after approximately 200 miles on them, they have held up well.

Coupled with the boots are a pair of Simms 2.5mm Neoprene socks and a set of gravel guards that velcro around the sock/boot. The guards really help by keeping the micro gravel out of my boot.

The Flats Sneakers are very comfortable, especially after walking over rocks, boulders and gravel all day. Not having any metal components helps alleviate any worries about rusting hardware.

The wife opted for the same boot but she went with the Simms Guide Guard sock (3.5mm Neoprene) because of the built-in gravel guards.

To date: this is the best footwear system for us. All day comfort and support! Before, we would stop about every half hour to empty painful debris from our water shoes.

My Package From Digitaka Arrived!

A week ago I placed an order with Digitaka because I wanted to try some different styles of jig heads as well as a couple of spoons.

Left to Right:

-Decoy JIG HEAD SV-52 ROUND MAGIC 2.5 grams- #6 hook

-Owner Cultiva JIG HEAD JH-83 MEBARU DAMA 2.0 grams- #6 hook

-Owner Cultiva JIG HEAD JH-84 AJI DAMA 2.3 grams- #5 hook

-Owner Cultiva JIG HEAD JH-85 NAGARE DAMA 2.2 grams- #7 hook

-ODZ JIG HEAD RUSH HEAD 2.0 grams- L#2 hook

Also, I picked up 2 spoons and a few packages of #00 Quick Snaps.

Left to Right:

-Timon Trout Spoon T-GROVEL in 3.4 grams Color# 138 KGP MATSUBA

-Timon Trout Spoon APEED 3.3 grams Colo# 145 KAMI SILVER

-Owner Cultiva SILENT Quick Snaps Size# 00/8.9kg P-15

I am especially interested in trying the Cultiva JH-85 as well as the JH-84 and ODZ Rush Heads. Nothing ventured…nothing gained!

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…

Holistic Fishing?

I was tasked with “riding shotgun” over our chickens today to make sure they were safe while free-ranging, and while sitting there on the porch, I began thinking about what my style of fishing might be called. The only concept that I kept coming back to was Holistic Fishing.

Definition…”Holistic”-adjective-Emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts.

Makes sense to me. Fishing is such a multi-faceted sport that I don’t believe you truly stop learning during the entire lifetime of your endeavors.

I drew upon the Celtic Knot for the simple reason that it personifies the uniqueness of “perpetual endings and beginnings.”

There are an infinite number of parts that make up the Whole… some we are aware of and others we are not. I factor in the Mind, Body and Soul aspect when I go fishing. Again, it’s about the Whole. The weather, stream flow, season, water depth and clarity, who I’m fishing with and why I’m fishing on a particular day. How is my physical strength, am I stressed or relaxed, do I feel pressured by time or other people? And more specifically, how do these all inter-connect to produce a desired result? Do I actually need a result?

Everyone has heard the reference to “Being in the Zone,” and that is something I strive for whenever I fish. That to me, is the culmination of a good day. When I take in all of the sights, sounds and smells and my situational awareness is pegged. When the fish cooperate and I truly feel that I am in my element.

Being “One with the Fish” is such a cliché, but it is a valid sentiment. But it is bigger than that. Much bigger! Sometimes I feel as if my vocabulary isn’t polished enough to come up with the proper words to convey the message so other people might understand.

I need to do some more “thinking” on this topic and as such, I will consider this subject a Work in Progress…