Saturday, December 31, 2005

She Mocks Me

I thought I was going to get skunked.

Yes - I found an excuse to go back to the lake to see if "The Legend" would finally give in to the worm. Somebody had to get rid of the Christmas tree and what better use for it than as fish cover in Lake Evans?

Someone once told me that you had to be smarter than the fish in order to catch it. This is one smart fish!

I've also recently heard that some native american tribes used to judge their worth by the veracity of their adversaries. The Legend is becoming a formitable challenge but one day she will slip up and I plan to be there to take advantage.

Someday - but not today!

I decided to leave the boat on the roof rack and just cast a few times from shore. The evening sun was getting low and the wind was dying out but I couldn't seem to find a fish in the whole lake. There were some bugs coming off the water and the sunfish were starting to hit the surface. Of course, I had left the fly rod behind and just had the UL and a green worm.

I worked out in the deep spot near the brush pile where yesterday I caught 6 fish and only got a couple of taps. I think these must have been panfish or turtles since nothing was able to get the big green worm all the way in their mouth.

I heard a couple of loud splashes near the shore and saw schools of baitfish moving along the surface. Eventually I turned back towards the car and decided to try "the cove" with a final cast. As often happens when I decide to leave, I hooked up on a small but feisty bass.

Ok maybe just one more cast - Bingo another nice bass. This one headed for the weeds and I was fortunate to get her ashore.

What time did I promise to cook supper?
Maybe just a couple more casts - its not that late...

Yeah Yeah I know. You said you were leaving right?

But Honey - doesn't this make a nice picture against the setting sun?

Even the small ones look pretty in the twilight...

And then there she was! A huge splash along the far shoreline. This was no ordinary fish... it had to be her. I headed around the shore thinking I could get one or two casts in and then I would leave (yeah right). She hit the surface again as I was getting close and really made the water boil. I think she was after the schooling baitfish I had seen earlier. I got into position and made a cast - a little too far off to the right. I hope I didn't spook her. I tried another cast and hooked up on this little one.

Could I have been wrong? Surely this little squirt couldn't have made that much water move. As I was reeling up to go I heard another huge splash directly across from where I was fishing - and incidently right where I had been standing!

I walked around to get closer and before I got to the spot, I got a good look at a big white mouth as she gave chase to the surface school. Wow - that was definitely bigger than anything I've caught yet.

I tried a couple of casts but she had changed position again.

Another day my friend, another day.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Legend Lives On

I went back to Lake Evans this afternoon to test drive my tricked out Toon.

The wind had switched to the West and was blowing at a steady 15mph. The elevated seat was a tad too high but the swivel more than made up for it. I really liked the ability to turn at right angles and change the position of my feet.

I hooked up on a couple of small bass then hit pay dirt. This nice 14" fish took the big green worm and put up a good fight on the ultralight.

On the very next cast (after the photo shoot) I picked up this nice 16 incher.
As you can see, I was almost beached when I found the fish.

Then came the big one..Could it be The Legend? This fish was taking me for a ride. It was stripping out line through a tight drag and moving from right to left at will. I hung on and eventually guided her to the net...

Nice Bass!

I don't think this was The Legend - no sign of lip jewelry.

It was a nice bass by any standard.

These were all nice heavy fish and full of fight. I caught 6 fish in all and lost three or four. I had a couple on the fly rod but wasn't able to boat either one.

I'm still after The Legend.

Some say she is still down there - some say she always will be.

Toon Mods

I've made a few modifications to the Pontoon Boat.

I found these Oar Rights in the Gorge Fly Shop in Hood River OR. They have a "key" which fits into the oar lock to keep the blade of the oar positioned in the water.

A basic rod holder was included as an accessory when I purchased the boat.

I also installed the Scotty fly rod holder Paul gave me.

The anchor setup included with the boat left something to be desired so I installed some pulleys to provide a way to raise & lower a small anchor from the normal front facing position.

I recently received a gift certificate to Academy Sports & Outdoors and decided to try a little modification to the seat.

The existing seat is mounted directly to the frame which provides greater stability and a lower center of gravity for use in moving water. Since I will be using the boat mostly on calm water, I wanted to try to raise the seat up a little and to add a swivel.

Initially, I installed the swivel on the bottom under the 7-1/2" pedestal. This seemed to be the easiest as far as installation but proved to be a poor choice since the stress caused by rocking and tilting affected the swivel.

I ultimately installed the swivel directly to the seat and then attached the pedestal between the seat/swivel and the frame.

I'm eager to give it a try!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Legend Didn't Fall

After almost a whole week off the time finally arrived to go fishing. The weather has been warm (in the 70's) and the wind has not been too bad for the last couple of days. Paul and I made a plan to launch the pontoons in Lake Evans near mid-day to allow the water to warm up as much as possible. The day was mostly sunny and the few clouds that were about were thin and not much of a factor.

I have been talking about the "big one" for some time and I'm now going to refer to her as "The Legend". I have vowed to catch the Legend on a fly rod or an ultralight spinning rig. So far I have hooked her four times and have not yet been able to get her on film.

We found some nice bass like this one. The net worked great! Thanks Grant!

Paul hooked up but all I got was this long-range shot:

I got a nice surprise when this big white crappie nailed a green soft plastic salamander.

The bass were hitting olive green worms.

I tried the Double Bunny Zonker but no takers.

Paul got creative and since he couldn't catch a catfish, how about a dog-fish?

All in all it was a great trip and the Legend will fall another day.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Performance Reviews

This time of year is full of activity - Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, birthdays, end-of-year meetings, and performance reviews. I participated in a business meeting on the Columbia River near Hood River Oregon held at the Skamania Lodge.

Two of my employees were also in attendance and we took advantage of the time together to visit about their annual performance. Rather than just sitting in the lodge near the fireplace, we took a short trip up the Columbia to the Deshutes river and tried not to freeze our fingers off. I'm a strong believer in team-building and look for opportunities to share my love of fishing with others.

The Deschutes is familiar to me from its reference in the fly-fishing classic, The Major, The Poacher, and the Wonderful One-Trout River by Dayton O. Hyde.

If you have never read this book I highly recommend it.

The river was big and beautiful and was said to contain trout and steelhead but other than a couple of fingerlings our short visit produced more working than playing.

THere are some who would say that a bad day of fishing beats a good day at work but in this case both were accomplished!