Monday, March 28, 2011

A sneak peek into my 2011 Tackle Box... Part II :)

Welp, unfortunately I don't have any steelhead to share with you this week. Last week's trip ended up being rained out, so we decided to stay home and fish our local rivers (which turned out to be quite productive thankfully)... We ARE planning a trip for this coming week however, so if everything goes right I will hopefully have some steelie pics to share with you soon.

For now, I promised I would give you guys a second sneak peek into my 2011 tackle box... so I guess I should follow through with that.

This entry will be a little bit different than the last. It will be mostly pics. I've picked out a few cool new baits to try this year. These are not necessarily baits that are brand new to the market, rather they are new to me. An example would be the first lure I would like to share with you. It is the Booyah Boogie Bait:

The Boogie Bait is a type of chatterbait. These baits have been around for quite a while now... and are one of the those lure types that I have just kind of skipped over for some reason. Well, I'm going to fix that in 2011. In fact I started fishing them a couple weeks ago... and I caught a nice 19" smallmouth on one last week (pictured at the top). I love the vibration that these chatterbaits produce, they are sure to get a lot of time in 2011.

Next, are some hard bodied swimbaits... All three of these baits are BBZ models from SPRO--one is a 6 inch trout and the others are the 4 inch shads. If you've ever fished with me, you probably know that I am a swimbait fan... But until now I haven't spent much time fishing hard swimbaits. Most of my time and success has been with soft models. Hopefully 2011 will change that as I put these baits through their paces. I can tell you one thing.... They all look amazing in the water.Your last and final "sneak peak" for 2011 is going to be at a nice little musky glide bait that I picked up recently. It is the 4 inch Phantom Softtail...
And here it is next to its older (6 inch) brother... I have fished the 6 inch model in the past and really liked its action, so when I had a chance to pick up a couple 4 inch phantoms I did. Pictured is the "sucker" pattern bait, but I also picked up a "white-belly perch" model. These guys look real nice and their action is great in the water... Exactly like the larger sizes, just in a smaller profile. I know of a few muskies and some large bass that will get a look at these lures this coming season. I can't wait to try them out!

Btw, it is only the hard body of this bait that is 4 inches long... When measured from the nose to the end of the soft tail, the bait measures almost 5 1/2 inches in total length.

Well...I guess that concludes your sneak peek into this year's tackle box. And hey, just so you know--there is a lot more that I haven't shown you... HA HA HA!!! :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Great Lakes Steelhead... Gettin' Jiggy with It! :o)

In light of a nice little "road trip" that my Dad and I are planning for early next week... I thought I'd do a short post regarding steelhead.

Often times, when drift-fishing for steelhead, we use small jigs (usually tipped w/ bait) and run them underneath floats. If you have never experienced this type of fishing, you should know that it can become a very exciting (almost addicting) experience watching your float drift downstream through a good run of fish--knowing that at any moment a big girl could slip up and take your jig... Unfortunately, I haven't done much steelhead fishing the past couple of years, but believe me when I tell you this is one of my favorite types of fishing.

In this entry I'd like to share with you a very simple, yet effective method of tying steelhead jigs. This is a pattern that I have been tying for quite a few years now and have found it effective on both the Erie and Ontario tribs.

First, you'll need some tying supplies and a few small jigs (with no collar)... These are 1/32 oz, but you can use smaller or larger for the conditions you fish.Next, place your jig in a vice, and wrap your thread onto the hook--bringing it back to a position that is slightly past the hook point.
Then tie in your tail... For this jig I used some black rabbit fur and a few strands of pink Chrystal Flash, but you can use any material you want (marabou is another I use quite often).Last, you will dub in your body color/s (you'll see I used a combination of black and purple on this jig)... And then tie it off.This pattern can be made in any combination of colors. My favorites have been black and purple or pink and white, but any color combo can be effective depending on conditions and the mood of the fish.

Man I am ready to go! The forecast doesn't look to good for Monday and Tuesday, which are the days we are planning to fish... But Dad and I were already rained out twice on potential trips this season, so we might just go ahead in spite of the forecast and hope for the best.
Now that I'm officially rigged up...here is to hoping my next entry has some pretty steelhead in it! Lol... :) Until then, thanks for reading and best of luck on the water.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Flood of March 2011...

Well guys and gals... We waited all winter for these warming temps and free flowing rivers--and boy do we have them now!

The rivers have gone from being totally unfishable due to ice, to being totally unfishable due to high waters...lol! Oh well, such is the life and times of a river angler I guess.

Needless to say, I haven't really done any fishing this past week, but I did spend a little bit of time along the river bank yesterday morning. I grabbed my digital camera and made a few stops at familiar places along the Susquehanna and Juniata on my way home from work. The water was raging, and there were a few places under water I have not seen that way before.The Juniata itself did not reach flood-stage on either the Newport or the Lewistown gauges this week, but the Susquehanna did. Both the Sunbury and the Harrisburg gauges crested above flood stage (indicated by the red line in the graphs below).
Yesterday morning Front Street was closed by the Fort Hunter boat access area, as the river backed up into Fishing Creek and covered both the parking lot by the ramp and the roadway with water and debris.
"The Wall" down by the mouth of the Juniata was also completely submerged--as was the campground on the opposite side of the river. The Rt. 849 bridge was also closed, cutting off traffic from Rt. 322 heading to and from Duncannon.
This obviously wasn't the flood of the century, but it has been the largest that we've seen in the past few years. I tried to get a few pics of places that some of you might recognize... I wish my camera work would have been a little better, but it is what it is...lol.

Let's hope these waters recede quickly and we are back to chasing our favorite river fish in no time. Thanks again for reading and best of luck when you finally can get back out there!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A sneak peak into my 2011 tackle box... Part I :)

Here in central PA our fishing season never really stops. Rather, it just transitions from one phase to another. Still, with spring only a few weeks away, I can't help but feel like we are at the doorstep of something new.

After a long winter, it is undeniable that the upcoming warmer months bring with them some inherent excitement... and for me that excitement is deeply rooted in the plethora of possibilities for angling. There are so many different places to fish, so many different fish to target, and so many different techniques to employ--I'm getting excited just thinking about it!

In my last blog entry I promised that I would give you a sneak peak into my tackle box for this upcoming season. Every year I try to experiment with some new lures--some new lure types, as well as some new versions of familiar lures. This year will be no different. I'm not going to show you everything that's in my tackle box this season, but here is a glimpse at a few of the lures I am looking forward to trying out.
In this entry (Part I), we will take a look at a type of lure that I am sure is familiar to many of us here--the swimming plug. These are not just your average "run of the mill" swimming plugs that I will be testing out this season, however. As luck would have it I received a few of the new custom, wooden swimmers from Tuscarora Tackle in my Christmas stocking this year (thanks again, Honey! I mean, "Santa")... :)

Since unwrapping these plugs and inspecting the beautiful paint jobs and high quality finish, I've been dreaming of feeding them to some hungry fish.

If you have not yet heard of Tuscarora Tackle, it is a local business that is owned and operated by Jeremy Wagner of East Waterford, PA. Jeremy specializes in building unique, custom fishing rods and hand-carved wooden lures. If you are interested in checking out some more of Jeremy's work, click on this link to go to the Tuscarora Tackle website.

Jeremy builds shallow and deep diving plugs as well as some larger-lipped lures designed for trolling, but the plugs I own I would classify as primarily shallow-diving swimmers or twitch baits.

I have only been able to swim these plugs a few times so far--just enough to inspect their action really. Still, what I have observed thus far has been very promising.

From what I have seen in my short testing sessions, these lures perform just as they are designed... They will swim nicely as a wake bait--just under the surface--and can be pulled or twitched down to about a foot in depth. They have a nice wiggle and a very hard roll. In fact, the roll on these plugs is so hard that they almost turn 180 degrees from side to side... You have to see it to believe it really, and they look great. The plugs I own are floating models, but they are not extremely buoyant--when stopped under water they rise slowly to the surface.

As far as aesthetics go, the paint jobs on these plugs are beautiful... And the hard epoxy finish is excellent--giving the impression they will be quite durable as well. One paint pattern that I am particularly fond of is Jeremy's perch pattern. While it looks great to the eye when out of water, it is truly impressive when seen swimming underwater--the dark bands really stand out, and the colors seem to blend perfectly to match that of a live perch. One thing I can tell you for sure, is that I know a few largemouth bass and tiger muskies in a particular lake that will be given the chance to pounce on my perch-colored, Tuscarora Tackle twitch bait this upcoming season.
Before I close, I should also mention that in addition to his custom painted lures Jeremy also builds some extremely-unique, large musky plugs that are wrapped with actual snakeskin, adorned with taxidermy quality snake eyes, and are finished with 6 coats of hard epoxy. I have seen these plugs in person and have been able to photograph a few of them. Upon inspection it is painfully obvious that you really need to see them in person to fully appreciate their aesthetics. It's my hope that as the season progresses and some of our local muskellunge get to see these lures, there will be some nice tooth marks in that smooth epoxy finish as well... :)

Well, that concludes Part I of your sneak peak into my tackle box this season... Hopefully I will see you back here soon for Part II. Until then, I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some time on the water this month. Thanks again for reading, and best of luck on the water.