Monday, December 8, 2014

More Paintings

I've finished some larger scale paintings this past couple of weeks. One is an acrylic painting of a shad I caught on the Raritan River, my header pic, and another more contemporary oil painting of mackerel at a fish market. 
I actually started the shad painting in early July, but never got around to finishing it until recently. 
You can see in this painting the gold rooster tail I caught it on, as well as the sunset and the dam I caught it under.

Not as related to fishing, but I thought I'd post it up because it was fish.

The pictures don't really match

I hope to finish by this spring a sucker painting and a new pickerel painting ( I already have one from a year or so back). I'm heading for Vermont for winter break, so maybe I'll get some ice fishing in? Until then, happy holidays!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Rainbow Trout Art

Happy Thanksgiving! I've recently been drawing a lot, mostly because of all the cold weather, rain and snow we have been getting in Central NJ. I decided to share a set of rainbow trout paintings I just finished. I thought they were pretty cool.

As you may recall, I caught this fish by Abrams Falls in Tennessee.

This one was from the Queets River in Washington 

This Beardslee was from Crescent Lake, Washington.

All of them next to each other.

One thing I realized about rainbow trout, the variation between the strains can be amazing. All these fish are oncorhynchus mykiss, yet are so different. I just thought that a matching trio might be quite beautiful and interesting to the eye.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains

School was cancelled for two days last week, so my family planned a four day weekend trip to Great Smokey Mountains National Park. The fishing (you knew this was coming) was spectacular, for both game fish and new species. 

The first day was beautiful, but was unable to accommodate any fishing. However, the amazing scenery and foliage covered that aspect. 

The second day, It was to my delight that our hotel in Gatlinburg was right over and provided access to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. So I got up in the morning and fished! I tried fishing for trout, but with the lack of action, I took my cane pole and tiny hook to fish for micros. Surprisingly, the very first spot I tried yielded a new species- the mottled sculpin!

This specific mottled sculpin wasn't very mottled

The view from the hotel

I was very happy with this new catch, but another hour of attempts turned out to be fruitless.

After morning was over, we went driving to different places, hiking, viewing historical landmarks, and enjoying the atmosphere. For lunch, we stopped by a picnic area adjacent to the Little River. While my family munched on lunch, I took the rod out to fish. I happened to have a chartreuse panfish tube on, so I thought, what the heck? I might as well try it. To my surprise and delight, I got a strike on my very first cast! However, the fish popped off. The second cast delivered the same result but further casts didn't result. Thinking that the fish were spooked by the tube, I quickly tied on a black and gold Rooster Tail inline spinner. On my first cast, I got a strike and quickly brought to hand a small, but wild and beautiful, rainbow trout.

That was it fishing wise for the second day. However, much more was to be enjoyed. 

The third day was the highlight of my trip. We began with a seven mile hike to Abram's Falls on Abram's creek, a known rainbow trout producer. I brought my spinning rod along, to see what I could catch. As I arrived at the falls, I immediately began fishing, to not waste any time (I'm kinda obsessed). The water under the falls was very deep, probably around 30 feet at its deepest. On one of my first casts to to shallower part, I felt resistance and set the hook. The fish fought doggedly and splashed with much vigor, but I was able to coax the fish to shore and bring up what was a much larger, and much more deeply colored, rainbow trout!

absolutely beautiful

For another half hour while my family ate lunch, I explored the area. Just as we were about to leave, I got another hit, again on the shallow end of the pool. I speedily hoisted up another trout, this time smaller but equally beautiful.

Me fishing at the falls

2 trout in half an hour seemed like a great time for me, so I packed up my rod and journeyed back to the lot. Along the way, I gave a couple more casts, but nothing took. 

We happened to be driving on a scenic loop we had taken already, and I remembered a small creek full of logjams and deep pools right by the visitor center. So I decided to stop by while everyone else looked at historical landmarks and got info from the center. At the first nice pool, there was a huge log that went across the water. I thought it might be interesting to climb on this log and fish. So I climbed on the quite slippery log and fired a cast under the log, allowing my spinner to drift under the log. I felt a bite not long after I learned the technique, but almost fell in the water fighting the fish. Luckily, I avoided such a fate and was able to land the fish as well! It was another rainbow trout, and it had the deepest colors I have ever seen on one.


After that fish, I decided to move to another pool downstream. On the second cast, my spinner got slammed. I could immediately tell this was a good fish. The arc of my rod swayed as the fish peeled my moderately loose drag (remember, this is ultralight and 4 lb test, and I take all cautions). Suddenly, the fish was right there, thrashing violently in the shallows. Somehow, my line had become entangled in the bank-side long grass, so now I had to untangle the line and land the fish, still enraged at being tricked. Somehow, someway, I did it and landed what is my largest trout to date, a 12 inch rainbow. (keep in mind that this fish is a beast by Smoky Mountain standards) 

I have no idea how the spinner made this into a motion shot

just before release

At that point, the sun was setting and it was time to go back. The grin on my face couldn't have been wider as we headed back to the hotel.

On the last day, we checked out of our hotel, and drove back to Atlanta. Along the way, I got to fish a river we passed earlier but was unable to stop: The Oconaluftee River. At this particular water, I was able to pull off two new species with my cane pole, the river chub and the mirror shiner!

 The mirror shiner was especially frustrating. A group of these tiny, silvery fish were situated under this rock right next to shore in water that was free from current. The fish would nibble the worm, then spit it out. They attacked my split shot more than my bait. Furthermore, every time I hooked one, It would fall off the hook abruptly after leaving the water. It took we a while to finally catch my lifer mirror shiner.

Some scenery and wildlife photos:

On the plane ride back, I reflected on my trip. I had seen bears, turkeys, and elk, stunning east coast mountains, caught plenty of rainbow trout (including my new Personal Best), and caught three new species in a matter of four days. 

And thus concluded a one of my most memorable trips and one of the longest blog posts ever. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Field Trip Fishing

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I have been very busy with school. In fact, I have just returned from a three-day, two-night field trip in Northern NJ. Of course, as soon as I heard that they had a lake, I brought my rod. Some of the teachers fished too, and during the recreation time, I rigged up a weedless fluke to fish for a couple hours. 

At first, the lake looked nice. After about an hour, however, there was zero fish caught, and I was loosing hope for my goal, catching my first chain pickerel. Then, as I twitched the fluke, I felt resistance, then headshakes. I set the hook. A very short battle later, I lifted up a tiny bass. Ahhhh... so it wasn't a chain pickerel. However, there was another reason to rejoice, as it was the first fish caught by a student of my school in this lake in four years! 

The dink

The next recreation time, I worked the pads hard in search of slime darts. I even saw small pickerel bite my fluke, only to spit it out as I tried to set. By the end of the day, I had saw about 5 pickerel in 2 hours, but failed to catch them. Then my social studies teacher, as awesome as he is, offered to take me and my friend Trevor fishing on the boat dock on the other side of the lake. There I immediately saw a drop off, where the water gets deep fast. On the first cast, I felt a vicious strike, and I set the hook. At first I thought is was a smaller fish, and I prayed that it was a pickerel. Suddenly, I saw the fish, and the fish saw me. It was a pickerel! It made a run under the dock in a final attempt to get free. I hoisted the fish up, and there it was, the trashing, toothy, chain pickerel.

A beautifully patterned chain pickerel

I did it, and the grin on my face could not have been bigger as I released the little guy. The kitchen called dinner, and I could not have thought of a better last-minute fish. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Quest for Bullheads

Today I set off on a quest. A quest for bullheads, specifically the brown one. It was a species I had caught before, but not photographed. I set up my cane pole with a split shot and a tiny octopus hook. I brought some cheese, as well as some worms. Arriving at my spot at the creek, I was like a kid in a candy store. I could see bullheads lazily cruising! I immediately set up with a piece of cheese, and to my utter disappointment, sunfish swarmed it. The bullheads couldn't even glance at the bait before the sunfish and creek chubs swarmed it. I received the same attention from worms. In observing this, I decided to switch to cut bait. I quickly brought in a two inch sunfish (yes, my hook was that small) and cut it up for bait. This time, the sunfish were reluctant, but the creek chubs weren't. After weeding through dozens of pesky chubs, I finally saw a catfish approach my bait, bend down, and gobble it up. After a short but spirited battle, I hoisted the fish into the air. Yesss!!

I love this picture

I had caught my brown bullhead! Brown bullhead can be identified by their mottled coloring, slimmer profile, and black chin barbels with white or yellow bases. I promised myself I would leave as soon as I caught a bullhead, but I just couldn't leave the fish! Continuing to fish would turn out to be a great decision.
After a while, the chubs stopped bothering the bait (I assumed it was because they all already had been hooked), and I saw another whispered shape glide toward my bait and promptly suck it up.
I lifted it up, and saw the telltale white chin whiskers. Yellow Bullhead!!!
Small, but a bullhead nonetheless!

Cute, isn't it?

The white or yellow chin whiskers

This fish was special. Having caught it, I have caught every bullhead species in nj! This is not exactly a great feat, since there is only two native bullheads and one introduced, and I caught both natives today. In addition, I had no idea yellow bullheads were even in this creek, I thought only browns existed. Nonetheless, it was a great bonus fish. 
Not ten minutes later, a landed a substantially larger yellow bullhead! 

Such beautiful fish... Although many others would disagree

The tiny octopus hook performed wonderfully, hooking all the bullheads in the corner of their mouths.

I decided not to push my luck and call it a day, heading home satisfied and happy. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Just Some Bass

Just some bass from recent times. Nothing special, all caught on the regulars, sold plastics, live crayfish etc.. Well, here's the gallery.

No monsters, but I'm seeing an increase in fat, thick fish. Yay!