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!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Raritan River Stripers

Hit the Raritan this afternoon in search of some lifers and big fish. After an hour of delays and attempts to reach the spot, we arrive at around 4:30. Right away I see a quillback carpsucker lazily but actively feeding in the shallows. After a couple minutes of attempts with a worm and tiny hook, the fish spooked. Man, these fish are tough. I can now understand the frustration of other rough fish anglers when it comes to carpsuckers. Over the next 2 hours, the fish would return to the spot multiple times, each time ignoring my bait. I could place my bait perfectly and the carpsucker would ignore it, this happened hundreds of times.
I decided to pursue other fish, like walleyes and smallmouth bass. I tied on a small chartreuse tube and began fishing. Remembering a smallmouth bass fishing video I watched, I decided to cast onto the foam under the dam. Reeling in, I was just about to lift up my tube for a recast when a fished literally smashed it on the surface. The fish wasn't big, but it sure was aggressive! I was thinking smallmouth until the fish flashed. STRIPER! I lifted it out of the water and it was mine. My first Striped Bass! I thought they only came in the spring on the Raritan. I have to admit, it was minuscule, but hey it's a striper! I was happy, since 20 years ago the Raritan was a nasty, polluted cesspool devoid of stripers.


A half hour later my mom and sister joined me for a riverbank picnic. I declined in favor of continuing fishing. Under the same foam mat, I hooked another striper, this time a bit larger but still tiny.

Another guy came to fish and snagged a huge hybrid pushing 15 pounds, released to live another day.
 With this big guy and stories of muskie, walleye, and quillbacks, I can't wait to return!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

White Suckers!

Went for a morning outing at sunrise with a can of worms to chase the elusive white sucker, a fish so wary and picky in NJ it has avoided me for years. This time I was determined to catch one in a place that I knew had them. Dropping a stationary bottom rig, I was plagued by redbreast sunfish and the occasional bluegill. I didn't get a glimpse of a sucker until an hour later when a sucker cautiously came out from under a bridge to feed, quickly followed by its comrades. I tried enticing them, but the wouldn't sniff at my worm. When I dropped the sinker into the water, they would always scatter, only to regroup later.

 I decided to change my tactics. I used a chartreuse jig head with a piece of worm to sight fish the suckers. After a half hour of fruitless efforts, I located a smaller, lone sucker. This required so much stealth and precision. If I placed the bait to the side, the sucker wouldn't notice it. If I plopped the bait to hard onto the water, the sucker would flee. And the question of whether he would take the bait or not was up to luck. Somehow, I managed to present the jig perfectly, just millimeter from his nose. Ever so slowly, he glided to the jig, hovering over it. Then he twitched his fins and I set the hook. A battle ensued, ending with me being victorious. I finally was able to cradle a sucker in my hands.

The fish is oddly cute, in a way. But this was definitely not the biggest one in the creek. I saw one pushing four pounds. I will definitely be back...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Little Fishing in the Northwest

School has started, and I just returned from the Pacific Northwest! It was a family vacation, so while I may not have gotten as much fishing in as I would have liked to, I still found some time to dip a line. I was so excited, because every fish I caught would be a new species!

The first day, after getting off the plane in Tacoma, we met up with some friends from my parent's college. They fished a little, so I headed to Gig Harbor for some fish. I tried vertical jigging, but I kept getting short strikes, and the smaller jig didn't sink fast enough in 70+ feet of water. So I decided to do what the locals (the friends) did: I would grab a handful of tube worms from underneath the dock, cut the tubes open, and bottom fish with a piece of tube worm. With this method, I was pulling up pacific staghorn sculpin within minutes.

They're actually quite pretty, with an orange glow.
I also pulled up a tiny Dungeness crab and a little rock sole.

Then I hooked into a fish with a bit more weight to it, and brought in my new PB staghorn sculpin.

The second day we headed to Olympic National Park, hiked a few miles, and headed over to Crescent  Lake, a breathtaking lake with breathtaking fish.

There are only two types of fish here, both found nowhere else in the world: the Beardslee rainbow trout and the Crescenti cutthroat trout. The fishing was challenging but rewarding, with me hooking 4 and landing two Beardslee trout. The ranger at the station said I was very lucky, because these fish
are usually picky.

Me fishing at Crescent Lake

This photo was taken mid-flop!

The only photo that does any justice to the colors of these fish

I was really hoping for a cutthroat, but I'm guessing they're not as plentiful. There were three other guys fishing, and they didn't catch a thing. All of my fish were caught with a kastmaster in 6-10 feet of water.

The third day of the trip, there was the Sol Duc River behind the B&B. I went at 6 in the morning to see what I could catch. There was plenty of baby salmonids, but I have yet to acquire micro hooks, so attempts at those were fruitless. However, I discovered plenty of riffle sculpins under every rock with a crevice. These were easily enticed with a piece of worm.

After a hearty breakfast, we headed to the Hoh Rainforest and the Hoh River. Unfortunately, I got skunked at the river. To make it even more devastating, I had hooked a cutthroat, 2 bull trout, and a salmon. And I didn't land a single one. I, to say the least, was pretty pissed. 
Getting skunked at the Hoh River

Then my family and I headed over to Rialto Beach, where we viewed tide pools and big cliffs. I spent  an hour trying to catch a goby in the tide pools. I even hooked the same silly goby three times. But, it also fell off the hook promptly after exiting the water three times, sooo... That kinda was a bummer. 

The next day started off  with me catching more sculpin in the morning. It's really fun to see sculpin pop out of their holes and completely smash (in micro fish terms) your bait. This time, however, I landed a different species, the torrent sculpin.

We traveled to another beach, this time without many tide pools. It was extremely foggy, and I saw a guy catching surfperch, but I didn't have the right tackle. Then we stopped by the Lower Queets River, where I would fish and my family would eat lunch. The river was shallow but gorgeous. Using a kastmaster, I hooked and landed 3 silvery rainbow trout. 

At the end my sister and I took a swim in Quinalt Lake, which has rainbow trout, but requires an Indian reservation fishing license to fish. Overall it was a relaxing day without too much driving.  

The fifth day we started out hiking on the north side of Quinalt Lake. Then we went to the Nisqually River Watershed. I tried fishing, but all I got was a bite from a sculpin. I was really hoping for a shiner perch, but it wasn't my day. After that, we went the the watershed's wildlife refuge, where we took a four mile boardwalk and saw a harbor seal, which was pretty cool since I've never seen a seal in the wild! 

On the sixth day of our vacation I didn't get to fish, but we visited Mt. Rainier National Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks I've ever been in. We took a long steep hike up alpine meadows, waterfalls, glaciers, and wildlife from butterflies to marmots to deer.

Me with my beloved (and mildly annoying) little sister

The seventh day was spent in downtown Seattle. We went to the Space Needle, visited museums, and ate good food. Other than that, there isn't much.

The eighth day we spent at North Cascades Natn'l Park. It was cool, but less impressive than some of the other parks. I fished in Diablo Lake without as much as a sniff. 

The ninth day was in Vancouver, and the tenth we took a ferry to Victoria Island. I love Victoria Island. The scenery was beautiful, the people were nice, and there was a lot of harbors where I could fish! I checked out 2 while my family went to view shops and attractions. The first one I stopped at almost instantly gave me a tiny 
Dungeness crab.

 I kept getting my worm stolen, so I used a tiny hook. Even then it was hard to catch the bait napper, who happened to be my lifer Shiner Perch!
 I moved to shallow water and caught another under the fish cleaning station.

These fish are skilled at cleaning hooks. There was this much perch and I caught two in an hour.

At another harbor, I hooked a very large red rock crab and also caught my lifer snake prickleback, which I only caught one of. 

This fish was surprisingly colorful

The next day, we took a ferry back to America, went to deception pass, and drove back to Tacoma.

It was a great trip, one that I won't forget for a lifetime. But, I must return...