Showing posts with label Bluegill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bluegill. Show all posts

February 24, 2019

Florida: Where The Winter Weather Doesn't Suck, But The Neighborhood Fishing Can Sometimes Be Questionable

Hit one of the neighborhood ponds yesterday morning. Broke out the Fenwick 5-weight and Pflueger Medalist reel and hopped on the bike hoping to get into a nice bass or two.

The weather was pretty glorious in the AM, apologies to rest of the country that is still dealing with the winter blues.

Now, I haven't really done any fishing yet this year. I went out briefly on New Year's, but didn't catch anything. So while I normally wouldn't take a photo of a dinky bream, this little one was actually my first fish of 2019. Man, it makes that small BoogleBug popper look huge.

I'll have to double check and see if February 23rd is the latest I've gone into the year before catching my first fish.

From there, the fishing was pretty slow. Unfortunately, I didn't get my first bass of the year. Instead, I caught a few more bluegill, and a mess of little crappie.

Those are crappie, albeit tiny ones, right? In the almost six years I've lived down here, I've never pulled one of these suckers from any of the neighborhood ponds. Caught a half dozen today. So that was a first, I guess...

I happened to like this photo of a different fish, because I unintentionally aligned the fountain feature in the pond with the top of its head, kind of makes it look like a whale spouting water. LOL.

Anyway, that was my Saturday morning. Messing around with panfish on a 5-weight, which honestly hardly bent under their extreme pulling power. 

Whatever... I was wearing shorts & a t-shirt in February. Still beats being stuck in the cold.

August 5, 2018

Glass (& Reels) Are Definitely Not Dead

"Pedal, pedal, pedal...
Man, this is taking much longer than it should... 
Are we there yet?"

There is this pond where I live that I drive by quite often. It's on my way to and from work each day, as well whenever I run errands that require I hop on I-95. It's a non-descript retention pond, "RP-79" I suppose is its android-like identity, and I've always wondered what sort of fish, be it species or quantity, lived there.

Passing it yet again on Friday after work, I finally made the resolution I'd go fish it this weekend. Decided to sneak the activity into my usual Saturday morning bike ride... about six miles to the pond and six miles back. No sweat. Until I started pedaling.

Sure, I go for rides more than double the distance regularly, however, they rarely have the anticipation of reaching uncharted (to me) water. Those six miles felt like twenty.

Finally reaching 79 at around 9:30 AM I found some shade, parked my bike, and strung up the trusty Cabela's CGR fiberglass 4-weight. It's on the short side for ponds at only six-and-a-half feet (I bought it for little trout streams), but it's one of my favorite rods to fish... especially when paired with a tiny Albright click & pawl reel that has also seen a lot of time on the water. I just couldn't leave the pair at home, they've both been with me since at least 2011.

See, I write about tenkara a lot on this blog, but I'm still a sucker for a medium to slow action fly rod and the sweet squeal of a stressed clicker reel. Glass & reels are definitely not dead to this fixed line angler.

Tying on my favorite "prospecting" fly, a tungsten bead black leech pattern, it took no more than a handful of casts to get into a nice Florida largemouth bass. It would prove to be the kind you should hold with two hands, as not to stress the jaw. If only I had planned the hands-free photo a little bit better. I should take some tips from Justin Carf... or perhaps not...

Working around the perimeter of the pond in a counter-clockwise fashion yielded quite a few more bass of the smaller variety, as well as a few bluegills & sunfish. It had been raining quite a bit the past week, so the grass around the pond was very high, and the ground was extra swampy. Cast... squish, squish, squish, squish... cast... squish, squish, squish, squish...

The far side of the pond was really quite messy, lots of weeds, algae, and other muck, so I decided to switch to a topwater "Booglebug" to try to sidestep the underwater hazards. A couple small bass fell victim to the fluorescent yellow popper.

While they say "slow and steady wins the race," it might not catch the fish. By 11:00 AM, with the sun high in the sky, the bite turned off pretty much for good. There was nothing I could do to coax any action at that point, which was a bit of a bummer, but could do nothing to take away from all of the earlier fun.

So with that, I disassembled the rod, stowed the reel and flies, swapped my trucker hat for a cycling helmet, and hopped back on my bike for the six-mile return that was ahead.

Satisfaction now replacing anticipation, the pedal home went by in a flash.


Fishing Fitness Footnotes:
  • Date: 8/4/2018
  • Current weight: 197 lbs ( -19 since start)
  • Today: Aforementioned 12-mile bike ride
  • Misc: Weight yo-yoed a bit during my recent vacation. Weighed 197 before I left, but 202 when I returned due to ample cruise-ship buffet & dessert lines. Took this week to get back to pre-vacation weight.

May 26, 2018

Quick Pond Hop To Start A Long Weekend

With this Memorial Day weekend's weather forecast not looking too good, figured last night was as good as any to try and steal an hour or two at dusk and go fishing at one of the neighborhood ponds...

The fishing was a little on the slow side, but passable. Caught a few bass like this...

And a few bluegill like this...

Those chunky "copperhead" bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus mystacalis) are damn good fighters on light tackle.

In any event, thought this picture summed up the evening rather accurately...

I made the mistake of not shooting my ankles, arms, and neck with bug spray... and damn if those yellow flies and mosquitoes weren't out tonight. I will say, if that ever happens to you, that Itch Eraser in the photo above works well, and the relief comes quickly. I got it in a Cairn box once upon a time, and this is the first time I've used it.

I dusted off the Tenkara USA Ayu II too... or should I say "as well"... I haven't fished that rod in forever, but it's a sleeper in my tenkara rod collection. Since I'm in the process of streamlining some of my fishing tackle, I might sell it, or I might hold on to it due to some sort of warped sentimental value because it's not produced or sold anymore. Whatever...

Oh, and you might have noticed those little metal tabs on my rod. I finally got around to attaching the line holders that Jean Santos skillfully engraved for me around the New Year. He lives in France and is a true artisan. Knowing I live in Florida, he even etched a largemouth bass chasing a kebari on the one holder. They're gorgeous in person, these zoom shots below don't do them justice... (and I really need to attach them properly, not with gross o-rings).

If you want to see more of Jean Santos' work, you can check out Isaac Tait's article in Tenkara Angler, Adam Trahan's article on Tenkara-Fisher, or Jean Santos' YouTube. This embedded video is a great start:


Fishing Fitness Footnotes:
  • Date: 5/26/2018
  • Current weight: 208 lbs ( -8 since start)
  • Current waist size: 38, but pants not quite as tight
  • Today: Plan to ride bike in AM, walk Gourd Island trails after dinner.
  • Yesterday: Walked after lunch... oh and fished for an hour!

March 5, 2018

Better Late Than Never...

Sunday... was a pretty good day.

I finally got out fishing for the first time in 2018. Wow, that took a long time.

This was the first fish of the year, a pretty undersized and gnarly bass. Not certain if you can see but it's got some sort of wound on its back (underneath all the muck).

Regardless, the weather was really nice (a bit windy, but I'm not complaining), and I brought about a half dozen cookie-cutter bass to hand, with the random bluegill or two thrown in for good measure.

More importantly, Sunday was also Lilly's 12th birthday. And I only bury this at the bottom of the post because I don't think she likes Dad writing about her on the blog much anymore, but man I love this kid so much...

Happy Birthday Lilly!

May 30, 2017

Trout On The Brain, Bass On The Line

Hadn't fished the neighborhood ponds in a while, so went out last night to wet a line once the sun started getting low(er) in the sky. It had to be in the mid-90s yesterday, so I was hiding indoors most of the day.

Really wanted to catch a few fish, as I probably won't be able to do any fishing (or consistent blogging) for the next two weeks. It's all good though, the bass and bluegill cooperated to the tune of a baker's dozen, so it was a fun evening by the water.

I couldn't help notice how the small bass brought to hand reminded me a bit of catching rainbow trout. They're about the same size as the small stream rainbows I chase, both species like to jump and take flight, and as you're stripping that fly around underwater structure and see that "flash," you know it's game on. I think I just have trout on the brain...

Since this might be the last post for a bit, sure don't mind leaving these photos up for a while. Warmwater fish can be damn pretty too.

April 3, 2017

Georgia (Trout) On My Mind...

Haven't been trout fishing yet this year. A little birdie chirped in my ear that this weekend was regional"Opening Day" back in my old stomping ground of Southeastern Pennsylvania, so that definitely got me obsessing thinking about trout again. (Any of my SE PA readers get out this weekend?)

Anyway, looking at my upcoming schedule, the first chance I'm going to have to escape Florida in search of trout appears like it will be April 21-23, so that's the plan... and praying to the weather gods to keep things calm that weekend.

It should be a good opportunity to really stretch the legs on the new Confluence rod from Three Rivers Tenkara I picked up the other week. It's a two-length zoom rod that I'd like to do a solid review of here at some point. (If you can't wait for that, Tom Davis did a "dry" review recently as well).

I've already taken it out retention pond fishing in the neighborhood a little bit and liked what I've seen so far. While fishing for bass and bluegill with a tenkara rod will not really show how it will perform in a true high-gradient tenkara envornment, I'm looking forward to testing my/it's casting mettle on some more technical pocket water and whatnot.




July 23, 2016

Fishing Forecast: Hot, Humid, & A Chance of Bass...

Got out for a little fishing the other night. It's been so hot and humid, I haven't been eager to sneak out to do much angling lately. It'd be one thing if I were in a trout stream, where when you reach down to handle your quarry, you're greeted by cool, refreshing, moving water. Instead, warm, stagnant ponds don't do much to re-energize after standing in the sun, ugh...

No worries though, with the proper amount of action, warmwater can be a lot of fun too, especially when fishing a light tenkara rod...

This was the first bass of about a half dozen...

The bluegill bycatch was in effect too...
Guess the mini-hopper was just too tempting...

Nice bend in the Dragontail Hellbender tenkara rod...

Brought this one out to cast a shadowy silhouette in the setting sun...
Tried a little video, excuse the excessive grunting, not sure what's up with that...

With a still of the same fish.  Big head, skinny body...but who's judging?

Will probably do a little more fishing this weekend, we'll see. Have actually been trying to get in a little better shape recently, so I'm taking to riding my bike and playing pickup basketball again. See, when I lived up North, it wasn't uncommon to put on a few extra pounds of "winter weight" when it was too cold to want to do anything outside. Here in Florida, it's the opposite, and the jeans are starting to feel a little tight.

More time on the court means less time on the ponds, but willing to make that trade if it helps drop a few pounds.

June 14, 2016

Rambling Recap of a Roasting Weekend

Hey, it's not Tenkara Tuesday...but Tuesday nonetheless.

Don't know what the weather was like over the weekend where you're at, but in Jacksonville, Florida it was in the mid-90s and just humid gross. The kind of weather where you walk outside to do anything for more than a few minutes and you get drenched in sweat and all nasty down there. Pass the Gold Bond

As such, fishing was kept to a minimum. Doesn't mean I didn't wet a line, just means I didn't spend a whole lot of time doing so. Not even at dusk, well, because mosquitoes ain't dumb, they know when the sun goes down too...

Geese and ducks took over the little neighborhood pond I frequent. Not a particularly big deal because they kind of keep their distance, but they also crap everywhere, so you need to pay attention to more than the water when walking up and down the bank. 

With the lone exception of the Mourning doves that eat all of the birdseed in my backyard feeders with gluttonous abandon, geese are kind of the worst form of bird there is. They possess a silent yet standoffish disposition where you know they're telling you to "F-off" like a cold, avian version of a house cat. Shouldn't they be in Canada or something this time of year? Birds fly South for the winter, right?

Anyway, as I was saying, I did fish, and even caught a few despite the fact the pond was near a pasta-worthy rolling boil. Some bass and bluegill, nothing exotic or unexpected. I also took the Tenkara USA Ebisu off the shelf for the first time in a while. It's a discontinued model that I'm really fond of, but don't fish that often in light of my recent three rod rotation of the Sato (trout), Hellbender (bass), and TenkaraBum 36 (just feeling frisky). 

For those of you not familiar, the Ebisu is a 5:5 rod that's on the slow and limber side and casts a beautiful line. Because it's a bit soft in the tip, getting a solid hookset on a fish like a bass can be a little challenging, and I think I lost 3 or 4 due to a weak set. Regardless, the rod is a ton of fun to fish and the positives far exceed any shortcomings. I plan on fishing it a lot more this year to really figure out the sweet spot.

On to other news, last Friday was the deadline for submissions for Tenkara Angler magazine, the e-mag that I play the role of Editor. Spent a lot of time avoiding the heat by staying indoors and laying out pages on Saturday and Sunday. Got a lot accomplished, in fact pretty much all of it. Only have a few more articles that I gave extensions to come in, so it looks like I'll be able to hit the "publish" button for next Monday, 6/20. We'll see...

Finally, in light of the heat, proper hydration was also essential. While I didn't empty the beer fridge in my garage, I did do some light lifting after cutting the grass on Sunday morning. I'm really digging local brew Jon Boat by Intuition Ale Works. It's one of those lighter beers that just goes down smooth on a blazing Summer day. Not sure how far outside of Jacksonville one can acquire it, but I'd recommend it if you're into that kinda thing.  Bonus points for the fish on the can.

October 9, 2015

Ten-cow-ra & Other Crap (Literally)

Nothing much to see here...

Oh Blimey!

And then there's this...#2 begins at about 4:00...

Nobody said bluegill had good taste. Gold star for resourcefulness.

Happy Friday.

September 23, 2015

Tenkara Tuesday - Ultralight Floating Tenkara Line

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday (on Wednesday)...

Ever since I moved to Florida, I've been seeking ways to fine tune my tenkara tackle to the abundant still-water opportunities that present themselves seemingly everywhere. While many of the same tenkara rods, lines, and flies can be used with great success, I've found that adding a good floating tenkara fly line to the arsenal has been an excellent enhancement to my gear cache. Heck, I even wrote a Tenkara Tuesday post about it back in May.

When I was approached to test out a new floating tenkara line offering from Three Rivers Tenkara, I figured the product would be very similar to some of the other lines I was using...but upon further examination, I couldn't be more wrong.

R.I.P. Llanolope popper

It became very clear while attaching the line to my rod was that it was truly "ultralight" and that wasn't just a buzzword used to sell lines. Since floating lines are made from some sort of plastic, they tend to have a little bit of bulk to them, and the models I've used in the past purposed toward tenkara rods are no different. The thing that jumped out at me was that this line feels and handles more like a light furled line, and simply does not overpower the slender tip section of the tenkara rod.

The line attaches to the rod's lillian similar to other floating or furled lines with a girth hitch. Easy on, easy off, without needing to know how to tie knots. The tippet then attaches to a tippet ring at located at the end of a short length of high vis mono. (This change was made later, my sample did not include a tippet ring and utilized a figure 8 knot stopper in the mono to serve as a tippet anchor).

Girth hitch

Wanting to really give this line a solid test drive, I hooked it up to 6 different tenkara rods that I own from several different manufacturers and did a little lawn casting to a paper plate about 25ish feet away. Tossing out about 30 or 40 casts from each rod, softer rods seemed to lay out the line a bit better than stiffer rods. Believe it or not, I found the rod that it paired with the best was the Tenkara USA Ebisu.

Taking it to the water, dry flies and kebari cast very well, a simple flick of the wrist was all that was needed to place the fly wherever I wanted, almost on demand. Small foam poppers and hoppers (my favorite flies for Florida bass & bluegill) proved to fish great on this line too, their relative bulk didn't overpower the line at all, and the line consistently floated up top, cast after cast.

I did try sizing up to a size 8 bead head woolly bugger and that was probably pushing this line's upper limits. The cast was more of a lob (the rod plays a part in that too), and some of the heavier floating tenkara lines I've used in the past have turned over weighted flies a bit better that this line.

In the end, this is really a superior product, one that I'd easily recommend to the dry fly tenkara fisherman. Pair it with a rod with a soft tip and some foam poppers or elk hair caddis, and you're going to have a ridiculously easy to cast setup that makes catching any rising fish, be it trout, bluegill, or bass an absolute joy!


The Ultralight Floating Tenkara Line featured in this product review was provided to me at no cost, but carries a suggested retail price of $20-26. Although I consider Anthony Naples a friend, I currently hold no official association with Three Rivers Tenkara and did not solicit them for the product to review. It was simply offered to test for feedback during the development process.

As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous! I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll comment on the experience, but rather than write an uncomplimentary post, inform the manufacturer my opinion of their offering directly outside of this blog. (For real, you should see some of the stuff I haven't written about...) This policy pertains to items both purchased and provided at no (or reduced) cost.

July 6, 2015

The 4th of July Weekend Photo Bin

The "Photo Bin"

Consider it a homage paid to the regular feature on Mike's Gone Fishin'...Again that I enjoy so much, as well as a way to piece together a blog post when there isn't really one.

And with that, here is some of the weekend's randomness...

Checked out a "new to me" pond on the Southside of Jacksonville on Saturday. Not a lot of room for fly casting so I bailed pretty quickly. Did see two guys drop in a jon boat as I was leaving, so there must be fish in there, maybe I'll go back with a spincaster...

Headed to another, smaller pond closer to home. Caught a few fish, but nothing memorable.
Without much shade or cover around this pond (the car was parked under one of the few cool spots), the bite shut down pretty good by 10AM. 

Braved the local outlet mall on Friday morning. It was total chaos, but KC & Lilly wanted stuff from the GAP. I went to Under Armour and Nike and picked up a few t-shirts. Exciting, I know. The better score came in the mail, this kebari necklace from a gentleman who handmade a batch and was selling them on Facebook.
Lots of tenkara mojo.

We also went out to lunch at one of our favorite fish markets on the St. John's River. I had a blackened shimp Po' Boy. It was great. This was the view from our table for about 15 minutes. Then the afternoon thunderstorm rolled through and changed things up a bit.

Lilly wanted to try her hand a fishing too, and with the downtime between dinner and fireworks we hit a neighborhood pond. She fished with foam grasshoppers for the first time and was having fun watching the bluegills come up and hit the fly on the top. After a bit of trial and error...

...she figured out the timing to set the hook on a rising fish.
Quite a few to be exact. She did great!

We actually went to the "BIG" fireworks on the 3rd, so on the 4th we stayed home and watched the neighbors shoot off all sorts of stuff from our driveway. They were great seats to observe the craziness at the cul de sac a bit down the way.

No fireworks for us though.
We did sparklers instead, and drank a few adult beverages.
Well except for Lilly, who was more concerned with holding her ears.  :)

And with that, and a lazy Sunday which produced no photo ops, the long weekend was over. Back to the grind...only 5 more days until next weekend, right?