Archive for the ‘kayak fishing’ 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.

Some Emmrod use Comments by Philip

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Thanks for the updates Philip.  I really appreciate the input and look forward to more as you learn the best ways to enhance your fishing and where Emmrod Compact Fishing Poles work best for you.

I have often said I do not recommend you throw away all your poles and just use The Emmrod system.  If you read my initial post on Why Buy an Emmrod fishing system, I use the “Hammer” comparision.  There are many kinds of Hammers.  Each has its own use.  Yet, you could use any hammer for pounding almost any nail, it just would not necessarily be as effective.  Without further ado, Let’s look at where Philip is benefiting from using the Emmrod Hammer!  I am going to “interview him.”

Phillip, how do you set up your rig?

“I have found with my Emmrods if I do not put the line through the spings (Coil) the drag will not engage.”

(Dave’s comments) I have not had this specific problem  but Philip puts his finger on the same conclusion towards which we have been moving.  For most applications, running your line through the coils will give you a better fishing experience.  Keep in mind—fishing is situational.  Try it both ways and see what works best for you in different circumstances.  I would be dogmatic about trolling.  Run the line through the coils!  You will get far better control

What rod type works best?

“I also prefer spinning Emmrod rods even when I use a casting reel.”

(Dave’s Comments.)  Again, play with all options and see what works best for the fishing you are doing.  There really is no “wrong answer” that applies across the board.  We all tweak and adjust every tool we use. This one IS new to me.  I have had many folks use the casting rod when fishing with the spinning reel and in fact, that has worked pretty well for me.

How accurate do you find the factory recommended weight limit recommendations for the coils?

“I use the 8 coil rod to target up to 5lb fish, the 7 coil for 15lb fish, and the 4 coil for large fish.”

(Dave’s Comments)  I agree, the weight limits we assign are pretty safe.  I always recommend to err downwards,  Think you might get an occasional 7 or 8 pound fish but mostly under 5?  Go with the 7 coil rod!  No question.  If you hook a monster, DON”T CUT THE LINE!!!!  Use your drag to play them a little longer.  The fight is what is fun!

How do you find the Emmrods work for casting?

“For long range casting I enjoy fishing the top water special rod.  I still prefer my 7′ ugly stick for open water and long range casting.

(Dave’s Comments).  Refer back to the hammer issue.  The Emmrod casts excellently but in some circumstances the longer poles will have advantages over the Emmrods.  The Emmrods are designed to pick up the slack when the long pole presents a hassle in one way or another.  We want the Emmrod to be as close to what you are using in capability as possible but save you the undesired problems of a long pole.

Any last comments Philip?

“The place the Emmrods really shine is for fishing in heavy structure. The stiffness of the pole really helps when reeling fish away from heavy structure. These things I have found from my own observation and will tell you more as I use my Emmrods more.  One other benefit resulting from the shortness of the pole is the ability to easily land fish, especially from a small boat like a Kayak.  Because both the pole and the net handle are about the same length, I can easily land fish myself without dragging my reels in the ocean or having to carry a very long handled net.”

Thanks Philip.  I appreciate your input and hope the readers will as well.  Keep the photos and tips coming.  Dave