Archive for the ‘Fishing Bait’ Category

What?! The Crappie landed me! (A hot August night on Eloika Lake, Spokane County, Washington)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Nice Eloika Lake Crappie20 Acres for sale!

20 Acres for sale!
Getting darker, Mt. Spokane I think.
Getting darker, Mt. Spokane I think.
calm before the storm.
calm before the storm.

All ya’all know I really like Eloika Lake which is one of the many small lakes through which the Little Spokane River flows as it wends its weary way to The Spokane River. Recently, I listed 20 acres on the southwestern shore and desperately needed to get some good photos of the shoreline from the lake’s point of view.  With that in mind, I called up Jerry and Lori at Jerry’s landing on the other side of the lake and asked if they had any canoes for that Saturday afternoon.  I was in luck! Or, was I?

At 6 pm, I started paddling towards my objective.  But of course, IF you are going out on the lake,  why wouldn’t you take advantage of this opportunity to do a bit of fishing while you were at it?  Having been armed with some nice plastic worms which anglers have used all summer to bring in up to six pound bass and some nice little yellow jigs to try for those crappie which make this lake famous, I had to stop along the way every 100 paddle strokes or so and do a little fishin’.  Not much happening that night.  I watched a few little crappie chase the jig which you suspend about 18 inches below a bobber, throw out and reel slowly in.  I think they were too small to even get their mouths around the tiny hook.

I gradually worked my way across and followed the weed beds along the west shore line down to my photographic target.  I enjoyed looking at the nice big houses and fancy white docks jutting out into the lake.  Finally, I reached my friend’s land and took several photos.  This time, I headed straight out across the lake and planned to go north along the east side of the lake, fishing as I went.  The lake was like glass.  Looked like a big parking lot where you could get out and walk home.  The sunlight  filtering through the trees along the west side of the lake as dusk arrived dappled the water creating all sorts of interesting shadows.  The natural drift of the current and very slight wind pushed my canoe gently out to the middle of the lake and slightly northward so I was able to crappie fish without much paddling.  I removed my sinker so just had the bobber weight but was still able to throw it out about 30 feet on each cast.

Finally!  I entered an area where I had hits on virtually every cast!  OOH BOY!  Was this fun!  I hooked a big one, but it got off after about a minute of play.  Several hits later and I had another on the line, As it got closer to the boat I thought it must be about two feet long!  This one was not gonna get away.  I reeled him in towards the boat.  Finally, he was just feet away.  I jerked him quickly out of the water.  I did not realize you do this gently.  No hard yanks.  No big excitement.  So, out of the water he flew, across the canoe and out the other side.  I did not know Crappie were flying fish!  I also did not know the release of tension on the left side of the boat coupled with the addition of a shooting fish ten feet beyond the right side of the boat, added to 240 pounds of weight high on a seat in a canoe equals a fine swim in the middle of Eloika Lake about 15 minutes before dark on a hot August night.

Well, the cool water got my head thinking.  First, put my pole in the still upright canoe.  Second, YES! the dang crappie is still on the line and he IS going to pay for dumping me in the water so get him into the boat.  Next, where are my flip flops?  They cost 20 bucks!  Well, I found one so the one legged guy gleaning stuff along the shore is going to be either happy or sad depending on which leg is missing.

Being in the water was not a part of the plans for the evening so I set about getting back into the canoe while swimming in 30 feet of water.  After several minutes of trying it from the side, I came to realization that was just not going to happen.  I asked myself, how do I find enough weight to counterbalance me as I get in?  Climb in on the end so the whole canoe works against your weight I thought.  Like a lot of theory, the practice just is not there.  NOOOO! Maybe when I was a hot young 150 pound stud full of whim, whigor and wytality.  But now at 240 lbs, tired and old, I just could not get myself in any position to be able to climb the 2 foot mountain of the end of the boat.

Now, what were my options? The closest shore was about a half mile away.  There was also a pretty good weed and mud bank around most of the lake so actually getting to a place where you could walk out of the lake was a real problem.  I had to find a dock which might also mean a clearer, less weed filled path to travel.  So, back toward my friends corner of the lake I went.  In the gathering gloom, the white beacon of the trex decking  covered boat launcher shone like the sun.  Grabbing the boat by the middle, lying on my back and floating with the help of my life preserver and the canoe, I began kicking and gradually we moved towards the dock.  About 30 minutes later, we hit the weeds.  We hit the mud.  As of yet, I had never experienced any fear or significant worry.  Just another exercise.  Just another problem to solve.  Just more grist for the story mill.

After about five minutes of fighting the weeds and the ever thicker, higher mud level I realized I had a big problem.  You literally could not move through this goo.  If you got vertical, you had no bottom to stand on, there was just a light 20 weight viscosity to what you were swimming in,  but you could not move through it.  Now, I had moved beyond just another fun problem to getting a bit scared.  As in all these types of situations, panic is not the answer.  So I began screaming hysterically for help…not.  Even if I had wanted to, there was no one around to hear.  So, I had a little conversation with My Creator and asked for help and calmness.  It came to me, if you can not walk or swim through it, maybe you can slide over it.  So that is what the canoe and I did.  Staying as horizontal as possible, I grabbed and pulled on the weeds in conjunction with me kicking (swimming.)  Gradually, it took another 30 minutes, I finally got to the edge of the dock.  Again, no ladders and that 18 to 20 inches defied any ability to pull myself up.  So, I went around the side and found the mooring line.  I was able to use that to climb onto the dock.

Safety at last!  I laid there like a great grey beached whale for a few minutes gathering what was left of my energy and dignity and then got up.  I looked in the boat to see if my camera and phone were still there and if the ziplock bag had done its job of protecting them.  Yes and yes!  I called Jerry’s Landing and Lori answered.  “I have good news, bad news and good news, Lori.  I landed a huge crappie!  The crappie landed me!  But I made it to a dock here on the SW corner of the lake. ”  I went on to ask her recommendations as I was too exhausted to take another shot at the lake, especially after dark, to paddle the 25 minutes back to the resort.  She told me to stand fast and they would mount a rescue.

Twenty minutes later, my knights in a shining bass boat arrived.  Soon, we were back “home.”  I do not think I have been as filthy as I was since I was a kid swimming in the water buffalo wallows back in Mindanao, Philippines (http://www.mycompactfishing.com/blog/swimming-water-buffalo-wallow-or-clean-crystal-clear-spring/).  Later, I just threw away my undershirt and pants and wallet because they were not salvageable.   Jerry pointed out the canoe had a great livewell as the bottom six inches were filled with water and that miserable crappie was still alive!  While I had intended to eat it to get even with it, in the end, I felt it had taught me a great many lessons and it deserved another day or two in the water, so I cut the hook which it had swallowed and released it. (You can check out the crappie blog (www.crappielife.com//narrowescapesatEloikaLake//) for his version of the night’s events.)

Safe and sound, a lot more adventure than I had planned for but happy and content and grateful to God for the peace we can have in tough times to help us get through our ordeals.

ADDENDUM:  Lessons learned:  Fat, old boys should probably think twice about fishing from platforms as unstable as a canoe.   Always wear your life jacket!  You go from fine to the thick of it in less than a second.  Don’t panic!  Stabilize the situation, calm down and think through it to figure out a course of action.  You will have to repeat this more than once in many circumstances.  I had three of these times in this spot:  When I fell into the lake, when I hit the weeds and mud, and finally trying to figure out how to get onto the dock.  Make sure someone knows where you are and when you should be back.  Keep your electronics in a waterproof container which floats.   Finally and perhaps most important, seek God’s help and comfort.

Jerry’s Landing has one more month before they close for the winter.  Check them out!  They are great and will tell you what to use for bait and where to fish.  To visit Jerry’s Landing Resort, North on Hwy 2 (Newport Highway) past Riverside High School and Miller’s One Stop to Oregon Road. West (left from Spokane) to Regal Road. Left to Jerry’s Landing.

Their phone number is 509 292 2337, their email is jerryslanding@earthlink.net and their address is N 41114 Lake Shore Rd, El WA 99009.

Hot August Night on Loon Lake, Stevens County Washington fishing for Silvers

Monday, August 15th, 2011
Nice wake and sunset as we head sto silvers territory

Nice wake and sunset as we head to silvers territory

Anticipation builds.  Fishing should be great!

Anticipation builds. Fishing should be great!

Loon Lake is always beautiful this time of night.  The terrain silhouettes like an old shadow box picture but is somehow alive.  Our target for the evening is Silvers for Jim and his son Andrew.  For me and Andrew’s young friend, it is probably anything that bites.   That probably means bluegills and sunfish for us.

Jim decided to fish the southeast side of the lake.  Not all the way to the end of the lake but in such a place as the garish, but somehow beautiful electronic palm tree seemed like you could actually climb it and perhaps find a coconut or something to eat with the fish you were going to catch.

We arrived at our desired location about 8:20 or so and Jim set about doing the hundred little things that make the fishing possible or better–at least in his and a lot of fishermen minds.  He has been working on a set of lights which make it possible to see what you are doing and another set of lights that float around on the water.  All this is designed to bring fish close to the boat.  In about ten minutes we were all there with lines in the water.  I opted for a regular small hook with a leader and a tad of marshmallow run up the leader to act as a float to lift the hook up off the bottom.  I topped the hook off with a good old fashioned night crawler.  Old habits die hard.   Being an impatient soul, I could not just through the line in, let it sink to the bottom, reel it up three turns of the handle and wait for a fish to bite.  This is the way to catch Silvers, I am told.  NOOOOO!  I have to throw it in, let it go to the bottom and gradually reel it in.  By my second cast, I had a nice, fat little blue gill flopping on the floor!

First blood of the evening!

First blood of the evening!

What a nice little pan fish to get the day started!  I was using my Emmrod Packrod®, Spinning version.  Notice the eye bolt in the butt end.  This would have let me hook a lanyard should that have been desired.  Folks in float tubes, kayaks and canoes have found that to be particularly useful.  I would suggest it is also not a bad idea when you take your kids and grand kids fishing.  You hate to loose a fish just ’cause the kid can’t hold on to the pole!  I was using the seven coil spinning/universal rod here.  It is amazing how much play you get when you have even such a small fish.  Too much fun!

Jim being a purist, wanted those silvers.  He was finally rewarded with the first about 40 minutes into it.  Silvers are a landlocked salmon which live about three years.  Normally they are not that big in Loon Lake, but this year, they have caught a lot of them in the 12-14 inch range and that is a nice fish!  I thought Jim caught 5 over the evening but only got four pictures which I will post below.  It was really fun to watch Jim trying to hook these sneaky little bait thieves.  The really do not hit the bait.  They come up to it and gum it.  Probably lick it.  Suck on it softly and you can barely feel them but your hook is empty when you reel it in.  I probably had three silver hits–based on the near the bottom nibble zone vice ten feet from the top blue gill zone–and was not able to hook any.  Once they bit on his bait, Jim would jerk his pole with all his might then let out a massive groan when they did not get hooked.  Sigh!  I think we counted about seven sets of fish dentures on the boat floor by the time we were done.  You just can not jerk the pole that hard! When he did hook them, he had to reel like crazy because the Silvers tend to try to outrace the reeling process to get slack line to spit out the hook.  Do they actually calculate that?  Sure beats me.  But, they do come flying towards the top of the water and Jim managed to stay ahead of what he hooked on the bottom and get them in the boat.

Speaking of bait, Jim was using a tiny glow hook which he would light up by flashing a camera flash attachment like tool at the hook which was cupped in his hand.  He used a green color which worked better than the red color I tried later.  Below the head of the hook, he would impale two maggots so they extended crosswise from the hook vice running them on the hook like you do with a worm.  Finally he topped that off with a kernel off white canned corn.    Later, he bagged the corn as it did not seem to make that much difference and caught at least two of the Silvers without corn on the hook.

About 10:15, the wind really picked up.  The fish quit biting and about 10:30 we called it a night and headed back in.  All in all, a great night fishing and an awful lot of fun!

This Blog is supported by Atherton Enterprises, Inc.  An authorized Emmrod® Fishing pole distributor.  Anywhere you need a small fishing rod, is a place where you need Emmrod®.  Travel poles, backpacking, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, or just under the seat of your pickup.  With several models to choose from, you just can not go wrong!  The original dock shooter (Packer®), Kayak King® spinning rod and its  fancier sidekick The Rugged Flex® Spinning rod, or casting rod–which ever cranks your reel.  Do not forget the Packrod® such as I used or the Combat Rod® which is the shortest option of all. Finally, the top water rod option can be used on any of the Emmrod® fishing p0les and gives you great feel and fun.

Please check out the web site, watch the videos and help support me with your Emmrod ® purchases!

Thanks for stopping by. Dave Atherton 509 216 8589, compactfishing@Gmail.com  http://www.mycompactfishing.com/

Here are photos of two of the fish we caught.

another nice silverThis one was swimming the other direction when we caught it.




.

Philip’s question: Using 2 pound test line with Emmrd Compact Fishing Systems.

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Philip asked me if it was possible to cast a 1/8th oz crappie lure using 2 lb test line with the Emmrod System.  I have not had a chance to go out and try that yet because the weather here has been horrible.  Horrible from the point of view of going out in it to fish.  Actually, from the point of view of my garden and fields and getting drinking water next year and going skiing this winter (Not me, the effect of gravity on my rather heavy body is more than I can handle.), the rain and wind and coldness has been very good.

 

Here is what I have been able to find out by asking around.

–If you “shoot” your bait/lure out, forget anything under 10lb test line.

–If you cast, you should be fine, just don’t snap it out.  If you do, you will pop the lines, maybe even a 4 pound test line.  So, in the end, you should be able to cast with the emmrod using the lighter lures and lines, just practice and go gently in the lapping waves. I will try this when I can get out on the lake.