Sunday, July 24, 2011

RTOD-Road Trip of Death part 2

Shavers Fork River, WV

You can't plan for everything and the harder you try the more you seem to forget.So Wednesday morning we followed the plan,the same one destined to fail,woke up early and hit the road.This would be the first time I have ever traveled any distance into West Virginia.It ended up taking us about 5 hours to travel north through the Appalachians and into the Allegheny mountains.We found our self in our predetermined town of Elkins,West Virginia.A really nice town and although not large definitely the biggest one around.So we checked into the hotel and went scouting with what little light was left in the day.Now let me remind everyone that the only info I have on the area is what I printed up and fail.The maps were correct,road locations,mileage etc.The information on size of streams and access points was oh so very wrong.I had about 4 "decent" spots "scouted" all of them were a bust except one.The only one that was accessible and had more than 2 inches of water was at the local recreation area,which means it's over fished.Not to be discouraged we headed back to the hotel for a few cold ones and to decide what to do in the morning.

Smallie caught in Shavers Fork River,WV

Morning brought relief from the heat in 58 degree temperatures.Getting an early start and a lovely hotel breakfast,haha,we hit the road.Having little experience in the area and really just wanting to get a line wet we headed for the Shavers Fork recreation area in the Monongahela National Forest.At the very least I hoped to run into a local fisherman who could give me some information on local hot spots for fishing and access.Trying to stay away from the stocked catch and release area we found ourselves at the other side of the park away from what would soon be the crowds at the swimming hole.Shavers Fork River,I love you,I really do.I didn't expect much from you but you gave a a great day.We entered the river just north of the catch and release area and using the same tactics we employed in Southwest Virginia,spinners,working upstream,etc I managed to hook into a very nice smallmouth bass.We slowly worked our way up the river and it widened and deepened as the flow slowed to a crawl.This was prime smallmouth territory and we nailed them!My brother and I easily caught a dozen smallies in the matter of an hour.Working the next set of rapids I managed to bring a nice 12 inch rainbow trout in.We worked up to the bridge and decided it was indeed time to head back and find some areas to work the next day.Sitting on the bed of the truck I realized we had not seen a single person all morning.With a little leg work we managed to go where nobody else wanted to be and it worked out for us.So to that I say thanks for being beautiful Shavers Fork!

Taking a short drive back to town was the best idea we could come up with.I wasn't feeling the gravel roads of impending doom anymore.We spent a good chunk of the afternoon traveling up and down the mountain forest roads in a thunderstorm the day before and it was indeed a waster of time.Beautiful scenery but it didn't lead us to any fishing holes.So the National Park ranger office in town was our best bet.I was put into contact with a ranger at DNR on the phone.We purchased a 10 dollar map,very detailed,and the ranger was nice enough to throw me a few bones.He gave us a few leads and we were excited about what out final day of fishing would bring.That night as we sat and stared at the 10 pounds of food we ordered I took a second to reflect.We all make a ton of sacrifices in life to do be able to do what we want.So when people tell me to calm down there is always tomorrow,I try not to get on them.The fact is tomorrow may never come and if you don't make the best of today,you may not even live to regret it.Trying to find time for this post has been difficult.I will try and wrap the road trip posts up with one more post with in the next few days.Thanks for reading and get outside!

Monday, July 18, 2011

RTOD-Road Trip of Death part 1

Rocking out at the Blue Ridge Music Center stage

Waders?No thanks,swim trunks and a pair of sneakers do just fine

It was all planned out,the truck was loaded with fishing gear,the cooler full of ice cold beer,my brother the nutty professor even showed up on time.All Summer I have been trying to plan a decent out of state outdoors adventure and the time had come to put my plan in action.The first part of our trip found us heading west on US-58 to southwest Virginia.My parents purchased a piece of property in the mountains,have built a house and are in the process of moving in full time.We have both visited before and this was our first stop before we were to head northwest to West Virginia.We arrived on time to the log cabin and were greeted by my mom and her beagle.I wasted little time,simply dropping off my gear,said a quick hello and I was off to the creek.I have had decent luck using black spinners in the rapids just above the pools.The creek was running at average depths for mid Summer.My brother and I put on our waders and dove in to try for some rainbow trout.

Rainbow trout,crooked creek swva

The weather on this day was in the mid 80's but getting cooler all the time with the sun going down.Even with all that factored in,the waders were literally cooking us.I remembered a trick my buddy showed me a few years ago while fishing the Shenandoah River.It's called,take the waders off,put on an old pair of sneakers and fish like a redneck.I can and did do this,no problem!That evening I managed to catch and release one nice rainbow trout that struck on a yellow spinner.We fished until sunset and then decided we were hungry and Mom had dinner ready,so we rolled out.After a nice dinner we relaxed outside on the porch listening to nature taking it's course on the mountainside.The evening ended with me passed out in a ball above the covers on the bed.The alarms were set and we again wasted little time getting back down to a different section of the creek we had yet to explore.My father,who had to leave the day before our arrival,was nice enough to draw us a map.Map in hand,we used the 4 wheel drive Chevy,nice purchase on my part,to get where we needed to be.

Red Eye Bass,swva Crooked Creek

We opted this day to leave the waders and go what we had now dubbed,Renegade Fishing.The temperatures were a little cool however the water felt fine.It took us quite some time to locate some nice pockets but when we did it was fish after fish.Mostly all small red eye bass,smallmouth bass and creek chubs.You simply can't beat fishing in a creek,in the mountains,in your swim trunks,on a Tuesday morning.We followed the creek upstream and I hooked into another nice rainbow trout and managed to land it after a short struggle.We decided to call it a short day at lunch.We didn't want to wear ourselves out,we had three more days of fishing to go.We returned back to the cabin and piled into the car to take a drive with our mom on the Blue Ridge Parkway.We found ourselves at the Blue Ridge Parkway outdoor music arena.A great place to hang out,listen to live mountain music and follow the roots of American Mountain Music in the small museum.We returned to the cabin and went over the many maps I had printed out for our next leg of the journey,the Monongahela National Forest.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lily Pads are the Enemy

Have fun getting your lure out of that!

The fish are in the Lily Pads along with half of my tackle box.I took a small window of opportunity to fishing on my local river,The Blackwater,and I had a great time.The fish also had a wonderful time chewing up lures and wrapping them around lily pad after lily pad until....POP!I have never fished the lily pads like I did today and I have never had so many bites in a short amount of time.I was throwing the right stuff,a non weighted watermelon colored Zero.Just taking my time dragging it from pad to pad until that explosion all bass anglers love when the bass come flying out of the water with your lure.The other great feeling is when you get the bass in the boat,I didn't get that feeling today.It became routine after a few minutes,i would rig up a zero,throw it in the pads,drag it a few feet and bam under the water.Then the drag would go off and the I would get wrapped around the lily pad stems.If you have ever had the pleasure of accidentally hooking a lily pad then you understand this if not then let me try and explain.Lily pad root systems are stronger than the fire of a thousand suns!They will not simply rip out or give way,your line will pop and the fish will laugh at you.I let this happen about a half dozen times before I gave up and went after bluegills.I caught a few but I knew the bass were mocking me and will continue to do so.So how do we solve this problem?

A panfish is better than no fish

It could take a multitude of different things to rectify the situation.I'm opting for hand grenades!That's only legal in Alabama and the southern counties of Mississippi,I kid I kid.I was instructed by old man river,he was an old guy on the river seriously,that I needed braided line.Let's put on the brakes right there,i hate,absolutely hate braided line.Reason being it doesn't stay on spinning reels,it becomes unmanageable and has ruined many a fishing trip back in my younger days.Spider line and other braided line is recommended for baitcasting reels,put on the brakes again.I hate baitcasters,the suck, bottom line.So that's the solution,get a baitcaster with braided line that won't break when wrapped around the lily pads or anything else.Will I go with this and try it,am I an outdoorsman who like a good challenge,yes.Will you all read about it in the next few months and laugh when I cry about how horrible of an experience it was,hell yeah!Now it's time to pack for the road trip to West Virginia trout country.My brother Nutty Professor and I are heading west for the hills and Monongahela National Forest.Neither of us have been there before and we have no idea what we are doing,should be a great time.Stay tuned and get outside!