Sunday, February 20, 2011


low water on the Blackwater River

My first attempt at black crappie and yellow perch fishing may be my last.I just simply can't stay still and just watch a bobber.The day was still a grand day on the water.I caught absolutely nothing.I did see plenty of ducks and geese.As for the usual,after the season ended the birds show up and mock me until i cry like a schoolboy that got picked last for dodgeball.I really did try,I wanted it to work.I wanted to catch a boatload of perch,eat them and be hooked on a different kind of fishing.It went the other direction.

Pair of geese,spooked up off the water

Please understand that anyone that does fish for perch,in February is pretty hardcore and I salute you for getting outdoors to enjoy nature,it's just not my idea of fun.It just falls under the same concept of fishing from a dock,I hate it.I like,scratch that,love my trolling motor.silently creeping around turns,fishing every downed tree and cypress knee.By the end of the day my tackle box is all out of sorts because I have thrown every type of lure,trying to entice that bass from under every log.I didn't discover the magic of a trolling motor until a few years ago.Being able to creep around turns and spook up wood ducks,geese,deer,turkey has given me some of the most breathtaking scenery i have ever witnessed outdoors.I very rarely even think about getting a picture because I'm amazed at what I'm seeing,it's the last thing on my mind.Until I see the deer perk up,the wood ducks screech,the geese honk.Right when I tell myself, "Don't ever forget this", that's when I think about taking a picture.By then,we all know,it's to late.Try as I might,I'm not the greatest with words.Inside my tiny skull,tucked away,is a growing file of wilderness wonders.

On a complete side note,i have to go back work and make money to pay bills,I don't understand the concept either.That being said the blog posts may slow down for a week or so until I settle into a groove on the boat and can make time.Everybody get outdoors and make some memories!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Retirement Fishing

Blackwater River, Virginia

Trying to make the most out of my time off is difficult this time of year.Like most outdoorsmen this time of year can be a challenge.Giving every second of free time to duck and goose hunting over the last few months can really wear a person down.I can only imagine if I had a family at home.So I'm still at home but I am shipping out for work early next week.The temperatures have steadily risen over the last week to a high of 76 forecast for today.As some of you know I have recently moved to my neck of the woods and have yet to find all of the free or close to free outdoor activities available.I do know of the beautiful Blackwater River only ten minutes from my house and a few days ago i ventured out to see if any fish were in need of a plastic grub.They most certainly were not.Talking with the old timers at the dock is one of my joys of the area.It seems to be that every morning they meet at the local diner for coffee then migrate down to the picnic tables at the park when the weather cooperates.They seem to enjoy "The guy with the weird grass boat".I think this is mostly because I have no idea what I'm doing on that river and they have plenty of time to tell me what I'm doing wrong.So taking some of there advice,with time to kill,I will venture out onto the river once again today.Here is the game plan.

picture borrowed from underage RVers blog

The river is lower than normal,however the southerly wind should be pushing more water up stream.This means the general flow of the river should be almost non existent.Perfect conditions for what I have planned.I call it retirement fishing.It involves such complex materials as a spinning rod,some split shot,a bobber and a minnow.I know,I know there is some technical jargon in there some of you may not understand.Seriously though,this is what the yellow perch and crappie are biting on.They seem to care less about lures this time of year and just want the real thing.Fair enough,I can waste away the afternoon with a good book,some bobber fishing and 76 degree temperatures.Stay tuned to see if this turns into just another boat ride.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trout Fishing with Pops

My Dad fishing the creek

It's just everything that's right with the world.Take a little bit of of the outdoors,a little bit of outdoors and a challenge.Setting off from my parents house in southwest Va for some fishing I had no idea what was in store.We arrived at the creek with,guess this, nobody else.I understand it's February but these are trophy trout waters.Walking down to the creek we began to understand why we were alone in this endeavor,everything was frozen over.No problem little stick and stone can't help.I busted my dad a hole and scouted up the creek for some open water,it was non-existent.I returned back to see my dad gone!Alarmed I yelled his name,and a few other choice words.He was down the creek in a hole he created.We fished,talked,fished and then moved on.So I caught a rainbow trout in February.This is on my list of awesome things I have done,it's not why I'm writing this though.I'm writing this for my dad.

working his way througth,my Dad

My dad,even though he is in his early 60's,is well getting old.I love my dad,more now than I did when I was a kid.Watching him break ice with an oak limb from the woods this weekend made me appreciate the experience even that much more.he never complained,even though his waders were leaking in 30 degree water.He kept pushing me to move on to the next corner to see what was next.Watching him waist deep in 30 degree water busting ice is something I hope my other brothers get to witness.Talking with him about everything under the moon from finances to the actual moons effect on fishing was priceless.watching a bluegrass concert,drinking cheap American beer,lending my dad a lure.these are things that should be on my bucket list!I stink at putting this stuff in words,I'm much better at telling the stories,but I want my dad to know that I appreciate and look forward to these kind of unexpected times.Thanks pops!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Calling an Audible

A healthy Rainbow trout I caught last Summer
That's right me,the guy who never changes,does things by the book and still gets them wrong is calling an audible.With the late resident Canada goose season winding down locally I was ready to go back to work.The good thing here is I don't make those decisions,office people do.They decided I could use some extra time off.This would be great if I had asked for it,but rolling with the punches is what I plan to do.Being unable to track down any geese on public land I will venture West!Not very far mind you but to the Western part of Virginia on the trail of trout.I have had some luck fishing for trout in the last few years,it's a bit new to me.This "luck" was in late Spring/early Summer and I'm guessing the feeding patterns are quite a bit different this time of year.No worries I plan on taking very little with me and planning absolutely nothing.It seriously hurts me thinking about it.I only hope the water isn't to high and the fish are hungry.This is a big change for me and either it will be an epic experience or a complete disaster.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Closer

My first ever Canvasback

It was another great waterfowl season that had to end at some point.The last few days of the season had me traveling to Maryland to hunt with the one who started it all,Swamp Thing.He had an invite to hunt an offshore blind in southern Maryland for divers.I haven't been on a diver hunt in years and took him up on the offer.The day before the trip my truck decided it was a good time to break down.Twelve year old truck sometimes do this I suppose.No worries,I'm insane,rent a car and fix the truck when I get back.So off I went and I'm glad I did.The fellow who had the blind,John,knew what he was doing.He grew up on the South River,hunted and fished it when he was younger and still does today.He put on a heck of a hunt and I managed in a team effort to get my first ever Canvasback.My brother covers this hunt well so here is the link to his blog where you can read all about it.

After we left the offshore blind we inhaled a ridiculous amount of food or what I like to call sleepy medicine.I had a three hour drive down the Eastern Shore to my next adventure and I wouldn't say i was exactly attentive during the entire drive.Waterfowling makes you go crazy,it's true.Arriving at the Hotel in Pocomoke,Maryland I phoned my friend who invited me for an old time Eastern Shore waterfowl hunt.He came and picked me up in an over sized mud truck that had no business being on the road.I had no idea that at the local Tractor Supply Store there would be dozens of these trucks and what looked like long last relatives of my friend.All joking aside,every one of those guys were great people that would do anything to help anyone out.They just have a different way of life than I'm used to.We went over the game plan for the next day and I went to the Hotel early to get some much needed rest.the wake up call came early but I was ready for the last day of the season and so were the shore boys.

Arriving at the designated field we "placed" a dozen decoys in no specific order and threw a half dozen more into the pond.Then we "hid" or a sand berm covered in briers.This is how they do it,minimal effort,no high priced decoys,no specific placement or concealment.The funny thing is,it worked like a charm.First light had a pair of mallards flying over head,with some great calling they committed and were quickly dispatched by my host and I.This was already better than I expected.A few minutes later a pair of geese made the death turn for the pond and were also dispatched.This routine went on for several hours with pairs and small groups of geese working over head while thousands of Canadian and snow geese traveled south sky high.We ended up with ten geese and three mallards between six guys.By far one of the best low effort hunts I have ever been on.We grabbed a quick bite to eat at a sketchy Chinese buffet and grabbed a boat and headed to the water for the last hunt of the season.

A productive morning of the Eastern Shore of Maryland

We arrived at E A Vaughn WMA with a total of four hunters in a small boat with choppy conditions.I personally checked the seaworthiness of the boat and went in it anyway.I say again,waterfowling makes you CRAZY!With no rhyme or reason to it we headed in a westerly direction,found a random creek and threw out a few decoys.The amount of effort these guys put into this is something to be admired.I have to try harder to see less birds where I hunt.We saw thousands of snow geese heading south.We were targeting black ducks and had a few give us a look just out of range.Later in the afternoon a small group of Canadian Geese came over head.All four of us let into them with calling and they turned around on a dime,heading right for us.The problem is,we had zero goose decoys out.The geese had no idea where to go and after circling out of range decided to move on.No shots were fired that afternoon but I spotted more waterfowl of different species than I have ever seen in one place.That night we spent a few hours cleaning the mornings birds talking about the days events and hoping we could all get together next season to do it again.So that's it,the season is over and I go back to work next week.I have made a pledge to keep up with the blog better this year.Thanks for tuning in everybody,time to get the fishing tackle ready now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Almost Over

Another one bites the dust,that's all she wrote,the fat lady has sung.Many phrases come to mind now the duck season is officially over.The goose season goes for another few weeks locally and I may try and get out one more time.It was another year of learning with very little headache beyond the normal.I got the chance to go hunting with some great people I have been out with before and I made some clutch connections that should help me broaden my hunting area in the next few seasons.So I will simply review the last week of the season and more or less put up a bunch of pictures.

I got off the boat with a little over a week to go in the duck season in Virginia and Maryland.Naturally I wanted to get out everyday however the lack of birds in my normal honey holes had me change up game plans,meaning I slept in a few days.The first day I was home my brother the nutty professor,my friend Kevin and I went out to what is normally one of our afternoon spots.Kevin and I had some luck with pass shooting ducks a month before and we were literally covered in geese.The season was closed on geese a month ago so they received a free pass.This time however the season was open.Heading into the creek we spooked a few dozen roosting geese hoping we didn't just blow our chance.The geese flew well that morning,well above our heads that is.We ended up calling a single in and with a team effort that can only be described as three seconds of hell,the goose didn't make it past the wall of steel we threw into the air.Heading back to the dock is when the day took a serious turn south.

Coming into the creek by the park to the boat ramp we heard yelling on the shoreline.It was impossible to understand the man yelling as he was visibly upset.I eased the duck boat toward the shoreline and two more men joined in yelling in our direction.It became clear they were pointing to something in the water.It wasn't until it was alongside the boat we all noticed it was a person.I couldn't tell you what was going through my head,I don't remember.All we knew was this was real and it was happening now.My friend Kevin,seated in the bow,grabbed the mans jacket.My brother,seated in the middle,grabbed the decoy retrieval pole and hooked his waist.I eased the boat over to the shore.Unfortunately the brush was heavy on the shoreline and we couldn't quite get close enough.I opened the motor up and rammed through some heavy brush to get us as close as possible.The police were now showing up but nobody was prepared to get in the water.My brother jumped out of the boat and between him and Kevin got him to shore.We were all worked up with adrenaline and I took the boat to the ramp.Waiting on the ramp while the armada of police and EMT personel worked on the man.He was loaded into an ambulance and carried to the hospital.We were told he had a slight pulse.This is where the story takes an even stranger turn.

The details came out soon after the man was hauled away.The original man on the shoreline stated the following.The victim pulled up in his truck,parked,got out,walked down the dock and jumped into the creek.We couldn't believe it and I still can't to this day.He turned out to be a 79 year old man.The worst part about this entire situation,the man was declared deceased upon arriving at the hospital.I guess nobody will ever know the reason why he jumped in.I contemplated for quite some time whether or not to tell this story here.I have told my close family and a few friends but it's one of those times you just keep thinking if you could of done anything else to help.Maybe if he did survive he would be pissed off we saved him.I will carry on with the story of my last few days of the season in a few days.