Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Maybe the Best Turkey Hunt Ever


  His parents are some of my closest friends and there was a connection with this boy that I had that was different...I saw a bit of myself when I was that age. He was obsessed with the outdoors and I can relate with anyone on that level regardless of age. I told his dad I'd take him and they met me at my hunting club's gate, much like other people would drop their kid off at baseball practice.

  At sunrise we set up on an oak flat after locating 3 gobblers on the roost. They were a couple hundred yards away and gobbling at my calls. We heard em fly down off of the roost then they were quiet. Assuming they were coming to us we got ready...an hour later we heard hens and I knew our plan was ruined(for anyone that doesn't turkey hunt, the Hunter imitates a hen and the Tom comes to find a girlfriend. Mix in a real hen calling and its hard to compete...I'm not that good to compete with a live hen) I told chase we'll ease up on that ridge and set up. My idea was a Jake(young male turkey) may've be left out of the fun and we could trick him. We crept up through a thicket and were on the spine of the ridge. To our left was an extremely steep 75yd drop to some backwaters of the Coosa river, to our right was the edge of a thicket and the spine we were on and left side had large hardwoods growing.

   Me and Chase were talking about our new plan when I noticed movement down the spine about 100yds, it was 2 turkeys, we sat down next to the nearest tree. Chase was a couple yards in front of me and I started a yelping sequence on my slate call. I honestly didn't know if they were hens or toms until they turned towards us. We watched them strut and jocky for the lead all the way down that spine . One had a 5-6" beard and the other was "the man". At 14yds the big one strutted and when he dropped out of his strut....Boom!!! Chase's little 20gauge turned that turkey over on his back. He jumped back up and started running to our left (towards the steep hill and water) and took flight. 2 more shots from Chase's gun and the turkey disappeared over the edge. I remember Chase yelling "He's getting away!!!" I thought, "Not if I can help it", as I started over the edge of that hill at a full sprint. The big Tom was rolling down the hill a ways in front of me and ended up landing in the water. I didn't slow down and lept into the backwaters to grab his bird. Standing there in knee deep water admiring this creature, completely overwhelmed with adrenaline I hear,(pardon the profanity) HOLY SHIT!!!! To my left about 50 yards away is a bass boat. The fisherman said he wished he had that on video...I can only imagine all that happened from his point of view. I told the fisherman an 11 year old boy up on the ridge had killed it and hurried back up to Chase. I watched a boy truly appreciative of his trophy. 11 3/4" beard 1 1/4 spurs and big. What a hunt! What a hunt! WHAT A HUNT! ...Also, somehow I broke a finger on my trip down that hill. I can't imagine a more eventful hunt by myself but being able to share the day with a young'un made it remarkable.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fisherman First Aid

When I arrived at the ramp today my buddy Jesse was waiting on me. He had caught a nice bass and when he tried to lip the fish it went wild and hooked Jesse in the thrashing episode... buried a #4 gama treble up to the bend. He successfully released the fish, cut the O ring and had been unsuccessfully working on the hook for the better part of an hour with his pliers. He asked if I could help.

I was a boy scout from age 7 until 17 and I had read the handbook cover to cover numerous times. The line yank hook removal technique had always interested me. It looks like it’d be pretty dang painful. This technique requires only one tool…a length of fishing line. Odds are if you’re thinking about removing a hook from you or your buddy, some line is within arms reach from you.  I like to get a piece of braid about three feet long and double it up. Place the double line behind the hook and run the two tag ends through the loop on the other end and have the victim press down on the eye of the hook as hard as they can stand. Slide the loose slip knot down the hook as close to the skin as possible and tighten up on it. I like to wrap the line around my hand…make sure that the victim is pressing on the hook eye, this is very important. Next I tell them I’m going to count to three but before I finish saying the word “one” I yank that string like I own it, as quick and hard as I can. This will only work on rigid body parts…fingers, hand, feet, leg, scalp etc. If the hook is in the nose, ear lobe, lip etc. It’s best to push the hook all the way through and cut the hook point with barb off with your pliers then remove the hook the way it went in, If it’s in the eye…take a picture, post it on Facebook and take the unlucky soul to the hospital.

The hook came out of Jesse’s finger in text book fashion, he put some Neosporin on the wound and fish the rest of the day.

I’ve done this three times in my lifetime…two of them this year and none of the victims said they actually felt any pain. Familiarize yourself with this technique because it can save a trip to the hospital and get you back on the water quickly.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Introduction..."The Creek Chubb Chronicles"


  What I enjoy most about kayak fishing is the adventure that goes along with targeting a particular type of fish, making a plan and then pursuing it. In the coming months I invite you to join me as I seek out my personal best in several species of fish. I'll be limiting myself to kayak fishing totally public water and no use of a guide. Public in my book is defined as state or federally owned or managed water with a minimal parking fee…normally $5. All of these trips will be in a days drive from my home.

  A rough rundown of my search would be:

Largemouth Bass – my largest to date is 24” long caught from Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area.

Smallmouth Bass – my pb is 19” from lake Blueridge. This is one of the few fish that I’ll have to travel for. Pickwick Lake will be my first choice to try.

Spotted Bass – my pb is 21” from the Coosa River. I have a world class lake within 2 hours drive that’s rumored to hold spots to 10lbs…Lake Burton. I’m also going to double up on this one by going after a PB river spot in the Coosa River Basin.

Shoal bass – my current pb is a dismal 17” and The Ocmulgee river will be where focus my efforts.

Striped bass – my pb is 28” and the Etowah River will be the place.

I'd also like a rematch with a tarpon of any size. 

  I think this will first and foremost be fun, secondly I hope it to be educational for me as well as with the reader. I’ve got a year to do it and I’ll write about it shortly after I complete one. 

The name of this series will be “The Creek Chubb Chronicles”. This name is significant because as a kid I religiously chased these little undesirable trash fish in several creeks around my hometown. With a cheap Zebco 202 on a solid fiberglass rod and a couple pieces of bread as bait I was happy catching these little fish but I dreamed of one day chasing the biggest fish around. Tuesday I start the trek. I hope you’ll follow along. Peace

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Thank God for Little Plastic Boats

  One year ago today a buddy and I were standing by his truck after the inaugural 2016 Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship, he had come in second and I had placed fifty third out of two hundred and fifty six kayaks. He asked, “When do you want to start preparing for next year?”…tomorrow was a mutual agreement.

Its now next year, 13 days before the 2017 Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship. We’ve practiced with monastic obsession, this competition has been on my mind every day. I’ve studied maps, talked to locals, practiced on my weaknesses and strengthened my strong points. I’ve made the four and a half hour drive up there to look around and I feel good about my abilities…it's up to the fish now.

Here’s the God’s honest truth…I don’t like to dance but I can’t wait for this dance. I feel like I’m one of those old coon dogs chained up behind the house, it’s almost dark, I know we’re going hunting tonight. My chain is tight, I can hardly breathe, I’m on my toes with slobber coming out of my mouth…keeping the chain tight because I’m ready to be “turnt' loose” it’s not because I’m certain of victory, not that at all…it's passion and because I get to play the game that I love.

                                         Thank God for Little Plastic Boats!

Friday, January 13, 2017

KBF Grind: S2 ep1

My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them. Jack Kerouac

Thank God I have a wife that understands what makes me tick. She may not understand the big deal with kayak fishing but she knows that it is my passion and it plays a huge part in my life. I’d like to thank her from the bottom of my heart for her support. She knows me on a level that no one does and although she has shown the patience of Job towards me…I know that deep down she expects something greater to happen and with that I grind.

“Where would you rather be than right here, right now?” Marv Levy

If you didn’t know there is a national championship coming up…the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship. I was there last year and there was no other place in the world that I’d would've rather been…none. I didn’t win it and although after finishing day one 18th out of 256, when day 2 was over I was not even close…I think I was 56th. Was I upset? No, There were some great fishermen there and if anyone thought it’d be easy they were sadly mistaken. The conditions were brutal and it affected everyone equally. Was I prepared…physically? Yes. Mentally? To an extent I was…but I know what I need to work on and that is adjustments. When to adjust and why. In saying that, it still doesn’t mean that I’ll win it this year.

 Do I think I can win it…I wouldn’t show up if I didn’t. This year, my track record with other tournaments gives zero credible evidence to back up my confidence. 12 tournaments with zero wins…if I were a major league pitcher I’d be sat down to the minors (or fired) so that’s essentially what I’ve done. I’ve gone back and looked at every tournament I entered and picked out my drawbacks. I did some very irresponsible things considering the level of competition that is in Northwest Ga. I ditched what I knew for second hand info and other times I stuck with a strategy that clearly wasn’t working out of stubbornness.

It’s a new year and I’m already grinding. I have the equipment to succeed and I am overly excited to get this season started. This year I will do the “cliché”, stick with my strengths while recognizing my weaknesses. I will say this too…a Championship is not the time to be messing around with new unproven techniques. Been there, done that.

Here’s my “not so detailed”  grind strategy.

• fish every chance I get... regardless of weather or how tired I am. The weather in the south is so  unpredictable that although the national championship is later in March  this year, it doesn’t mean that it’ll be warmer. I’ve seen it snow in April…so, I’ll take what the weather deals me and be ready to fish in cold, rainy, or icy conditions on March 31.

• work on my strengths…crank baits, swimbaits, jigs etc. I know my weaknesses within my strengths and that is a positive.

• organization- every thing from how I load my boat to how much tackle I take. Much work needed there.

• it may not be cold…it may be warm and the fish already on bed, so where can I go to fish for prespawn/spawning fish RIGHT NOW? Florida…going for a week real soon. I know it’s a far cry from Kentucky Lake but I can fish shallow water and work on some tactics that are worthless around here this time of year, plus, It’ll be warm.

• I’ll make a trip to Kentucky Lake in early March just to look around.

• in between all of that…I will fish, I know I said that already but feeling a fish bite, testing your setups i.e. line type, line weight and rods to hooksets and reading water/maps. It all helps in keeping you ready.

Again, this year…since no one has a standardized training regimen for kayak fishing tournaments…the spirit of my training will be “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” Check back for the next blog entry about my Road to the Championship. Peace

Note:This blog series is a most helpful tool for me. I'll share my thoughts , failures, successes and ideas...Just not too detailed. I then can go back and look it over and maybe one day my future grand kid may read it and think...I had one crazy ass paw paw.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Visit

A few years back I had the weirdest thing happen… this is a true story.
I woke up on a Saturday morning and went into the living room where my wife was. As I laid on the couch watching a fishing show on TV I recollected a dream I had the night before.

 I walked into a restaurant reminiscent of a Denny’s with the large open ended vinyl covered booths, I sat down in the booth and there was a large one layer birthday cake on the table. I wasn’t sure of who’s birthday it was and I remember being really confused because I couldn't think of anyone that I knew that was celebrating a birthday. My aunt (Annette) came and sat beside me with a huge smile and gave me a hug, “Hey baby, how are you”  , she said. I was still wondering whose birthday it was and I don’t think I answered. Then I felt someone grab my shoulders and start squeezing them, like I’ve had a lot of older people do when I was younger. You know, like when someone is really glad to see you. I turned and saw that it was my deceased grandfather. I immediately thought, what the crap man, you’re dead. I couldn’t respond to his greeting of, son, how the heck have you been? The dream was over. What struck me that morning was, why in the world did I dream about my grandfather?
   I then relayed the same story to my wife and she asked if I had been on Facebook. I  hadn’t had time to look but she told me that my cousin Lee had posted earlier that morning a happy birthday to Carl Lemming, our grandfather. (I couldn’t have told you what year, month or day that he was born if you’d waterboarded me before that moment) the coincidences chilled me to the bone and to this day I have no explanation…  paranormal or hidden knowledge released in my sleep. They say it was his birthday party that I was at.

*This was the weirdest thing I've ever witnessed...I did call my aunt to make sure she hadn't had the same dream, thank God she said she didn't.*

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Big Water Trout

In the last couple of years I’ve seen my fishing go from a finesse style with light freshwater tackle to a much heavier aggressive style. I think that the Kayak Bass tournaments that I fish have been the major reason for that. In those tournaments you have all day to catch three bass and the three largest wins. Granted, there are tournaments where I wished I would have been fishing an 1/8oz Shakey Head with a finesse worm on 6lb test but overall the heavier stuff has yielded heavier fish. This philosophy has filtered over into my trout fishing too. Instead of my old 5 ½ or 6’ ultralight set up I now use a bit heavier gear because the rivers I fish I know there are some double digit fish and I’m talking pounds not inches.

The tackle I use is a  medium action rod with a 3000 series spinning reel spooled with 15# braid. I’ll run a rod and a half's length of 8-10# fluorocarbon. This is also the same setup I use for sea trout and redfish except I will opt for a 20# fluoro leader. The rod length is very important in this setup because I’m in a kayak. A  7’ or longer rod allows me to fight a fish with a bent rod from my right to my left without the bow of my Jackson Big Rig interfering with the line. The idea when fighting a fish from a kayak is to keep the battle directly in front of you. There are several reasons for this but safety is the key reason. When a fish gets away from the bow and you end up fighting on the port or starboard side you risk capsizing due to the fish pulling you over or your boat striking submerged objects. I also have more control over the fish when it’s off of my bow because I have more options with rod angles thus putting more torque against the fish if it decides to head off to one side or the other, allowing me to turn the boat with  “fish power” .
    The reel I use is a quality spinning reel that’s light weight and won’t wear me out from casting all day. Every major reel company offers a 3000 size reel like this. My line choice is based on the amount of line I can load into the spool, in this case, I can load almost 300 yds of 15# braid onto a Shimano Stradic 3000 reel. The braid also casts much further and is a lot more sensitive. My leader length is based on water clarity and I rarely use less than a 7’ leader but in ultra clear water I may use 15’ of fluoro just to be safe.

Thursday, I’m going down one of my favorite tailrace rivers fishing for trout. My lure choices for trout have also changed in the past few years, when I was a kid I remember seeing a guy in Cherokee NC carrying a stringer of  18-20” trout and when I asked him what they had bit, he showed me a #7 Rapala countdown. That piece of information was eye opening and made perfect sense. The rivers I fish have two main forages, blueback herring and crawfish. My lure of choice is a Lucky Craft pointer 65sp in a blueback pattern. I’d throw a bigger one but they run a bit too deep for that particular river causing a lot of hangups. Throwing the bigger lures generally won’t catch numbers of fish like an inline spinner or a chunk of power bait but a couple of years ago my buddy and I had a 21 fish day using this same plug and every fish measured 18” to 22”.

Fishing this river with a kayak requires some decent paddling skills and the ability to read fishy water and determine the easiest most efficient way to fish it. Trout are finicky so you have to be stealthy. I spend a lot of my time hugging the banks in water just deep enough to float my kayak and making long casts to deeper water. I mentioned that this is a tailrace river that I am fishing which means that I’m normally racing against the dam generation schedule. (Whatever tailrace river you’re fishing the generation schedule is usually posted on line and it is imperative that you know this information.) Don’t get roped into picking apart every single fishy looking spot, you’ll be on the water longer than you had planned and risk getting to ride the generation flow back to your take out...I like to hit the high spots, casting while drifting and fish the pools hard. In most tailrace trout fisheries you can wade a 1 mile section of river paying attention to every detail and catch the amount of fish that I do on a 7 mile float but the float usually gives an angler access to a lot more big fish water and it’s definitely a lot more fun.

Here are a few things outside of tackle that I always have on a tailrace river…
• Always wear your pfd. Always!
• You’ll need a net. Trust me, if Jesus had been a trout fisherman...he would've had a landing net.
• Use a paddle leash.
• Carry a change of clothes, water and food.
• Dress for the season… layers, waterproof clothing etc.
• fire starting kit.

Now it’s time go catch a trout that will drop everybody’s jaw. Use your common sense, check your generation schedule and know your state laws. Most of all, have fun! Peace