Monday, April 28, 2014

Easter Bass and Bluegill

It's been a busy week, so it's taken me a while to get around to posting this.

As I type this, Kelly and I are watching the local news weather coverage. Tonight is a tornado night in "Dixie Alley." We've already seen a tornado reported from Jasper, Alabama where our friend Bill lives. I hope we all survive this night unscathed.

My thoughts are with Bill as I post photos of fish caught from his home water on Smith Lake. I hope you are okay, my friend.

We went kayak fishing on Smith Lake last weekend- Easter Sunday.

I had a difficult day... lots of tangles and challenges to deal with. The icing on the cake being when my 9' 7 wt G. Loomis GL3 fly rod with L.L. Bean Orion reel fell out of my kayak... and as it was disappearing into the depths of Alabama's deepest and clearest lake... I did what any reasonable fly fisher who can swim would do. I frantically jumped out of my little boat and went in after it. I was able to get it... so no loss... except for my dryness... I was wet for the rest of the afternoon.

Shortly after I took my swim, Kelly caught what may be the biggest Bluegill she has ever landed.

Smith Lake Bluegill, almost 9"

If Kelly's hand doesn't make it look big... here it is on her kayak paddle.

Big "Bull" Bluegill- easily big enough to make Bill's cut

Then she caught a 20" Alabama Bass.

The girl wins again

Kelly also caught this interesting little Bluegill that obviously had a close call with something dangerous... maybe an Osprey talon.


I only managed a few small bass- 2 on the baitcaster with Rapala X-Rap Shad and 1 on the fly rod. None were really photo worthy. As final insult to injury, I missed what may have been a very nice fish thanks to a very untimely decision to sit my rod down in favor of my paddle... all to make some minor and unnecessary adjustment to my kayak's position. The fish, which I estimated to be in the 5 lb size class, inhaled my fly and spit it before I could pick the rod back up and set the hook. Damn it.

I may have been outfished by a girl again, but at least I can say I tied the flies responsible for her success.

Blue Stealth Bomber, size 4 (See top Bluegill photo above too.)

You gotta claim your victories wherever you find them.

24 comments:

  1. Well you sure know how to make things interesting Jay. Sorry about the almost lost rod & reel, the unexpected bath and losing a chance at beating Kelly for a change.

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    1. Thanks for the support, Howard. At this moment... I'm just really hoping all of my luck has been saved for tonight and the current severe weather situation. It's really ugly in Alabama right now.

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  2. I actually came over here to see if you had posted any updates about the weather, as in how you guys are faring. We're thinking about you out here in Colorado!

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    1. I think we are now outta the woods... for tonight. The worst has passed us. Lots of damage in other areas around us and one fatality reported thus far from Tuscaloosa.

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  3. Great post.
    I agree that bluegill would make anyone's trophy board.

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    1. Thanks, Alan. I admit I was a bit jealous... considering how the day was going for me.

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing, that is an awesome gill' your girl caught and I have never seen a fish like the one with the section missing. From looking at the picture it looks like the spinal column would be gone.

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    1. I've seen a few fish with injuries kinda like this, but not quite so severe. If it was any other vertebrate other than a fish, the spinal column/cord probably would have been damaged... but in fish it runs right through the middle of the animal... and maybe this fish shows why... a little more protection from predators and injuries like this.

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  5. That's one huge bluegill , and a very nice bass as well! Kelly is on fire so far this year , it seems you've got some catching up to do.
    Good luck with the weather , we managed to dodge the bad stuff the last couple days around here , hope you can do the same.

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    1. We're supposed to have some more bad weather this afternoon, but not as severe as last night. So far, we have fared very well... and for that I am very grateful. Glad to hear you've dodged the bad stuff too.

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  6. I love those panfish photos. I've got a place in mind for may and june to catch some fat bluegills. She use a fly on that bass?

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    1. Josh, that last pic is THE fly, a blue Stealth Bomber, in the fish's mouth. Not only was it a fly, it was a foam fly... your favorite kind.

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  7. I'm starting to think she's the real fisher in the family! haha just playing, brotha! That 20" Bass is impressive!

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    1. Thanks, Juan.
      I'll be sure and tell "the real fisher" you are impressed by her bass.

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  8. Nice fish. That gill is a bruiser.

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    1. Thanks, Kevin.
      I'll be sure Kelly gets your complimentary comment.

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  9. Jay
    I am glad you saved your fly rod combo, unlike our trip on Bear Creek where I lost my Orvis combo when my canoe turned upside down in the rapids.
    That is one super size bull bluegill that Kelly landed, was the fish taken in a nook? I know this time of the year the bigger bluegills start moving into the nooks to spawn where some fantastic popper action can occur. Congrats to Kelly on landing the nice spot on the blue popper you tied for her. I hope you bring an extra one when you guys come up to fish with me in May.
    My wife and I missed the weather, because we were in Tennessee baby sitting grandkids, we were lucky, a neighborhood near us got hid with a lot of damaged roofs and down trees. I hope to get back on the water this week; my last trip was the bluegill outing a week ago. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill, really glad to see you finally chime in. I was hopeful you had fared well. I hadn't seen any significant damage in your area, but the weather guys were certainly making a big fuss during storm coverage that there most likely a tornado hitting your area when the storm rolled in. We were very, very fortunate. We hardly even had any strong winds at our house.

      I'll be sure and bring you a handful of Blue Stealth Bombers. I may try to get together with you on a weekday sometime soon, so maybe I can leave Kelly at work and actually not get outfished.

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    2. I forgot to answer your question... yes, the bluegill was in a cove... a bit bigger than a nook... and the bass was in the next cove after that. They were bigger than what I would call nooks.

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  10. Jay
    Give me about a weeks notice, because since my wife retired we are usually gone most weekends to our daughters in Springhill.

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  11. Don't think you were going to get away with getting this post past me, Jay. Just been busy and getting to my blog reading this evening. Great to hear that both Bill and yourself and Kelly fared ok with all of Mother Natures doings over the last few days. My thoughts have been with all my friends who live in the South.

    Yes, that is a magnificent Bluegill and a great Bass, too. Sounds like lots of fun for her and a rather rugged day for you. One of these days it will be your turn and you will school her. Well, maybe......................................

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    1. I'm always hopeful, Mel. Thanks for your comment.

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  12. Holly Crap that's a Big Bluegill! Nice catch Kelly! Jay at least your not a rod and reel short after this one. That would suck to lose one to the lake. Sounds like you still had fun.

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    1. All in all it was a good day... better for Kelly than me, but at least I didn't lose any valuable equipment.
      We actually went back to the same spot today. I caught one 11" bass, and that was it between the two of us.

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