The Banana Superstition

no-bananas-on-boardThe saying goes that the more a fan you are of something, the more superstitious you will be regarding it. For examples;

A football fan will have to wear the same clothing, stand or sit in the same spot, hold their hands in the same way, knock on wood 7 times and flick the light 3 times then turn counterclockwise 2 times while hopping on one foot. If not done properly, they have doomed their team to lose.

Gambling fans have to shake the dice only in their left hand while blowing on them 3 times while at the same time rubbing their tummy with their right hand and if they don’t do it, then they are doomed to lose their money.

Race fans know that if they sit in a different seat or wear their hats differently or if they don’t blink their eyes 50 time in one minute then their favorite driver is gonna crash.

Well, for fishermen and women, the superstition is bananas. Granted, there are reasons that anglers believe in this superstition. There are stories dating back as early as the 1700s in the Caribbean sea of misfortune created by bananas. Bananas were gathered and loaded onto large wooden ships for transport to other countries. These ships had to travel fast in order to get the cargo to their destinations without spoiling. As you can imagine a fast moving ship is not conducive to fishing so crew members that were trying to fish caught little to nothing. Blame the banana instead of the speed of the ship for a bad day of fishing.

Often times when another ship came upon a deadly shipwreck the only visible signs that there was any trouble were the floating cases of bananas bobbing in the water. Don’t blame a catastrophic failure by the Captain or crew, don’t blame a storm, don’t blame a pirate attack… no those floating cases of bananas prove that the banana was the culprit for the lives that were lost.

You know what likes to hide in bunches of bananas? Venomous spiders. Spiders found that bananas provided wonderful shelter and once the bananas were loaded onto cargo ships the spiders could venture out and expand their territory into the crew’s living and dining quarters. Back in the 1700’s spider bites were not easily treated at sea and many bites became fatal. Again, easier to blame the bananas.

bad-luck-bananasEven now, bananas are still forbidden on most recreational fishing vessels. Offshore captains often forbid the bringing of bananas on their ships. The superstition of bananas goes so far that even things remotely related to bananas often are banned from fishing charters. Things such as Banana Boat sunscreen and Banana Republic clothing. All thing banana are not welcome aboard.

I for one can’t say whether the superstition is real or not. I can tell you I haven’t noticed any difference. One reason the banana superstition hasn’t bothered me is because of my brother Lorren. When I was about 15 years old, my brother Lorren took me fishing to Pawtuckaway Lake in Nottingham, NH. We drove from Manchester down Old Route 101 into Raymond where there was a farm stand just before having to turn left to get to the lake. The farm stand had a sign outside indicating a sale on bananas at 10 cents a pound. We stopped and discovered that the farm stands supplier double shipped bananas, hence the sale. My brother Lorren, being the jokester that he was, whipped out $2 and bought 20 lbs. of the yellow tasty fruit.

My brother Lorren made the day fun for me as he taught me new techniques to fish while stuffing his face full of bananas. He made me laugh because even though his mouth was full of bananas he would still try to instruct me on landing fish when I hooked into them and it was hilarious to see him trying to talk and swallow the banana at the same time.  During our day long fishing trip we caught dozens of fish. The sun stayed bright in the sky all day. We had no mechanical failures of the boat. We didn’t break anything and though our gills may have turned a little less fresh after eating all those bananas, we had a fantastic day.

no-bananasLorren was a great fishing companion. Nothing made him happier than to have the person he was fishing with catching fish, even when he himself wasn’t catching anything. He took great pride and pleasure if he could impart fishing knowledge that lead to his companions having a great day of catching fish.

So, if you find that your day of fishing is slow of bites, try looking for anything banana related that you might have with you and get rid of it. Who knows, your luck might just increase… if you believe in superstitions.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

 

DEVASTATING DAY

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His Biggest Bass

Today I write through tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart as I try deal with the sudden passing of my friend, my fishing buddy, my brother. Yesterday without warning my brother suddenly stopped breathing. I received a call that he was was rushed to the hospital with respiratory problems and though I rushed to get to the hospital,  he was gone before I could get there.

Most people who knew my brother knew he was a gentle giant. Though at times he could be brusque and sometimes a blowhard, he was the kind of man that was generous and caring. He would go out of his way to help you if he could but he could also be a bear if you crossed him. He loved the outdoors and especially fishing with his sons and myself.

Lorren was only 60 years old and in my opinion was called home by god way too soon. I will miss him terribly and I will think of him with every cast I make in the future.

I love you Lorren. May the lakes and ponds in heaven be filled with big fish.

Brothers

 

An unexpected day of casting practice

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October 15, 2016

The cool water of the Merrimack River in Allenstown NH is crystal clear this morning as we launch our 14’ Jon boat loaded with all the fishing gear we need to stalk our quarry. The lack of any recent rain has made sure that there is no sediment flowing in the water to cloud the visibility of the varying currents. I love water where you can clearly see into its depths and know what’s down there. You can see the natural structure of the river… the curves, the humps, the holes, the large boulders left behind the river’s glacial beginning, and if you let your mind go, you can almost imagine the birth of the river.  I drift within my thoughts, imagining the infinite weight of a thousand year old glacier digging the trench that will one day become this beautiful stretch of river. The clarity of the water makes me want to go swimming but even though the steam rising softly from the surface is a telltale sign that the water is warmer than the air, it is not enough to entice me into a swimming suit.

The fishing is hopeful as the weather is supposed to produce a wonderful day with clear skies and warm sunshine being dropped all around us. We begin by going upstream to the Dam building where you can usually find a fish or two. We found nothing.dam-2

Then we cast into the rapids below the dam where you can always catch fish. We didn’t though.falls   dam

Next, as we drifted downstream we came across a couple of foam patches. Foam creates a great hiding place for fish, but for us there were no fish hiding there.

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We tried at the lee of the boulders sticking out of the water where current curves around them, bringing food to the fish. But it seems the fish weren’t hungry.

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The only wildlife we were going to see today was the group of Cormorants (affectionately known in the area as Shitpokes) that were watching us and giggling with amusement at our empty casts.

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At least we got to experience the beauty of the area.

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Before we knew it and without even thinking about it, our casting changed from trying to catch fish to seeing if we could get our casts into the spots we were aiming. We would call out our casts as we sent our lines under overhanging branches and between limbs of fallen trees sticking out of the water. We may not have had any luck with the fish, but it was still a heck of a day to be out on the water with my brother practicing our casting.

remember: good company + good fishing = great memories.

tight lines, the Amateur Angler

october 1st

I slowly open my eyes after a chilling cold night and begin moving, stretching and forcing myself awake even before the sun has realized that morning is here. I feel excited about fishing today as the weather report last night said clear skies with sunshine and temps reaching 60°. I felt a promise of things to come because conditions were ripe to have a great day. Now if only the fish are as convinced as I, that they should help us out to turn today into a fantastic day of fishing.

I step outside where the cool crisp air bites at any exposed skin and from my vantage point of the camp door, look towards the lake knowing before I do what I won’t see. I cannot tell if the lake is even there anymore as it is blanketed with thick early morning fog. I cannot see more that twenty feet through the dense vapor, and the lake is definitely more the twenty feet away.

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I can hear my fishing companions begin to stir in the background and I smile knowing that today will be a good day of fishing even if the fish don’t want to cooperate. My wife and I purchased a camp earlier this year and this is the first time my brother has visited. He has brought my nephews with him and so we are able to make this a guys only weekend.

We had our morning wake up juice while awaiting the misty curtain to be pulled aside at least partially to reveal parts of the lake. We waited not a moment longer when we felt confident about launching our boats safely. When the first cast was tossed, you could not even see where it landed, but within thirty minutes the clarity of day began taking over and more and more of the pristine water was exposed. The sun began rising over the trees and though we started the day in the shadows, it was soon warming us up in its gleaming rays.

It was slow going at first with no bites for almost two hours but then I caught this beauty right next to a boat dock.

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My nephews also caught a couple of small Sunfish and Perch, but my brother was having no luck at all. Not a single nibble, no pulls, no strikes, it seemed as if even the weeds wanted nothing to do with his offering. He did hook himself a nice 40 footer, but trees don’t count in fishing. I think he was bored so much that he seemed quite happy when I had an accident with my bait caster and created a nest so big that I just put it down and was done with the pole for the day. He eagerly accepted the challenge of getting it out and he succeeded. It took him near thirty minutes, but his patience was astounding.

It was soon after that that I was telling him about a five pound bass I had caught earlier this year near a stump surrounded by a large weed field. It didn’t really appear he believed me when I told him that I had cast a worm between this small twig that was sticking out of the water and the stump and within seconds it was “fish on”. I then cast my Strike King Green Pumpkin worm to the same area and within moments it was “fish on” again. He was a believer that there were some big fish in the water when he netted this 5 pound bass for me.

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Then, I pointed to another spot and told him that I caught a couple of big Pickerel over there. He didn’t even hesitate before he cast towards the spot I told him and he was soon holding this nice 2 pound Pickerel in his hands.

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After that, whenever I told him I caught a fish here or there he was immediately casting in that direction.

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I loved that not only was I telling him where I caught fish, but I was also telling him what kind of fish we would catch in each area. It wasn’t until today I realized that I knew this water.

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My nephews too seemed to be having fun and John was able to land this large Pickerel

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As it was getting late we decided to call it a day, but before we did I told my brother I wanted him to catch one more fish in a different location. So I directed him to a spot across the lake and told him there was a log in the water where he could catch one more fish. We motored over there and on his second cast, which turned out to be the last cast of the day, caught this nice bass.

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What a great day of fishing.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

The War on Milfoil and How it Affects Fish

By now almost every boater, swimmer, water-skier, angler and just about anyone who uses New Hampshire water bodies knows what Milfoil is but just in case this is news to you I will try to explain what Milfoil is, how New Hampshire is trying to eradicate it and how it affects fish (and by extension, fishing).

What is Milfoil?

Milfoil, aka Eurasian Watermilfoil was first introduced to the eastern USA in the 1940’s as a plant to be used in home aquariums. It is a beautiful plant with feather-like leaves encircling a vine. When there is current, the feathers gently ebb and flow. Think about how beautiful the colorful fall leaves of a tree look when a subtle breeze is blowing them. Poems have been written about such beauty.

How does Milfoil affect water?

milfoil-3Once Milfoil found its way into native waters  it became an invasive species of plant that can radically change the ecology of the lake or pond in which it is found. It can grow at an inch a day if conditions are ripe, it forms very dense mats of vegetation on the surface of the water and it spreads so fast that a small body of water can be choked with it in a single season or two. The thick Milfoil mats interfere with most recreational activities including boating, swimming, water skiing and fishing. The sheer number of plants can cause currents to slow or even allow the water to become stagnant which in turn can create very good habitats for mosquitoes and with the world now aware of the ZIKA virus, this is not good for New Hampshire.

milfoil-4Besides giving mosquitoes a home, Milfoil mats are so substantial that they can prevent the oxygenation of the water by preventing of the wind from mixing the oxygenated surface waters to deeper water. Because Milfoil starts growing earlier in the spring it is a detriment to the native species of beneficial aquatic plants. The Milfoil will shade out the native plants making it harder for native plants to find conditions conducive to growing.

How does Milfoil spread?

milfoil-on-motorWhen boaters, skiers or other disturbances break the Milfoil, the fragments created will allow new plants to grow. In late summer and on towards the fall, Milfoil will become weak and naturally break apart. The fragments created naturally or by disturbances will float to other areas of the pond or lake where they will sink and start new plants. New plants can start from even a small fragment of the broken plant. This is why it is so important to check your boats and trailers for any evidence of the plant before launching into a body of water and after coming ashore from the body of water. Milfoil is easily transported from lake to pond to pond to lake on boat trailers and/or on fishing gear and once delivered to its new home, natural water currents will carry the fragments and the Milfoil will start new colonies. This is how Milfoil is able to reproduce and how it is able to travel from one body of water to another.

What is New Hampshire doing about Milfoil?

It is difficult if not impossible to remove Milfoil once it becomes established in a water body, so what is New Hampshire doing to combat this invasive plant? New Hampshire has instituted a program known as Weed Watchers. Weed Watchers are volunteers that have been trained to identify Milfoil and to report it to the proper officials. These are people who, when out on New Hampshire water bodies can spot and record outbreaks of Millfoil but cannot try to hand harvest the Milfoil themselves.  The Weed Watcher program has helped in keeping the problem of Milfoil in check.

weed-watcherNew Hampshire has also developed the “Lake Host Program” to combat Milfoil. Boat launches are monitored by Lake Associations, concerned property owners and others to try and prevent Milfoil from traveling. The common method of transportation for Milfoil is by boats brought from one body of water to another. I myself have come in contact with one of the hosts when my brother and I were fishing at Pawtuckaway Lake earlier this year. The host was quite congenial and openly asked every boater if they minded if he looked over their boat and trailer to make sure that there was no Milfoil openly visible on the vehicles. milfoil-signEven the slightest piece of Milfoil entangled in a boat propeller is enough to create a new infestation.

New Hampshire urges boat owners to inspect their equipment before placing it in a body of water. Signs at launches alert them of their responsibilities in keeping the lakes clean and Milfoil-free.

 

New Hampshire also treats certain water bodies with a chemical herbicide known as 2-4d, a chemical component known to not just defoliate but spread to the roots of the plant.  This chemical (2-4 d) is taken up through the root system of the plant very quickly and kills it, especially the crowns. You yourself may have been on a body of water where there seemed to be no vegetation. In these instances you can look down into the water and if it is clear you may even see dead plants on the bottom. Dead plants are a sure sign that the state may have chemically treated the body of water.

How does Milfoil and the spraying of herbicides affect fishing?

bass-milfoilAnglers and Bass both seem to love the advantages that Milfoil offers. It gives Bass a place to hide, giving them a sense of security from predators and it later provides shelter to the Bass Frye. Though fishing in Milfoil can be a challenge, it does allow anglers the ability to find and catch larger fish. It can be quite frustrating for anyone using a motor to navigate, but anglers using smaller boats and manual power have a much easier time getting into the thick of it.

Now when the State sprays to get rid of the Milfoil, the Bass can sense the changes created by the chemical. The bite will be off as Bass will begin searching for alternative living spaces. While you will still be able to catch some fish, the larger fish will usually be that much harder to locate and catch. After all, if someone was taking your home away from you, wouldn’t you be worried about finding a new home? I have fished a few bodies of water where the state had recently sprayed and though I caught a few fish, there was a noticeable decrease in the action.

If you can add any information, update or even disagree with anything I have said here, please leave a comment. By sharing information we can all become better anglers.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

Click on the flyer below to see the NH DES fact sheet regarding herbicide and Milfoil.

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Almost a record – A Most spectacular catch

Hello my fellow amateurs. I am going to relate a couple of fishing techniques that I started trying out this weekend and though I cannot say that these were the reason for my fishing experience, I can say, for me, these techniques worked for me on this day in this body of water. I was out on my canoe on Saturday and not doing very well. I sat there thinking that maybe today was not the day for fishing. I was actually using three different set ups as I had three poles with me. I had a spinning rod/reel loaded with 30# Power Pro Braid hi-vis yellow and a 3” Perch swimbait on one rod, a baitcaster with 12# mono hooked up with a terminator frog on another rod and a second spinning rod/reel loaded with 30# Power Pro Braid hi-vis yellow and a green pumpkin plastic worm. None of it was working and then I got to thinking about a video I once saw. I wish I could remember the name of the video so I could put the link. Anyway I remembered something about taking a marker and coloring the last few feet of braided line to make it harder to see. I figured, what the heck. I had a marker on me and it couldn’t hurt so I used my black sharpie and colored the line on my green pumpkin worm rod up to two feet above my bait.

In the water, I could not see the colored line so I figured maybe the fish wouldn’t be able to see it either. I immediately caught a pickerel…

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And then another.

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Ok, so maybe this works.

My second epiphany came on Monday shortly before 5 p.m. I was fishing my green pumpkin rod and casting toward shore from 20 yards out when this occurred to me. It’s going to sound silly to some while others might say that make sense. I started thinking… If I were a worm and I fell out of a tree into the water, or a bird dropped me into the water then what would I want to do? I figured if I were a worm then I would probable want to get back to dry land and that means heading towards shore, not away from it like I was fishing. So, I moved my canoe up against the shoreline so that I was just a couple of feet off and I was fishing so that my worm came parallel to the shore.

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On the second cast, I felt a weight on my retrieve so I set the hook and the fight was on. Sometimes the fish was swimming away from me and then he would turn and swim directly at me so that I had to crank my reel in order to keep up. When he went directly under the canoe, my bionic blade rod almost bent in half and I was sure that it was about to snap but I was able to turn the rod enough that it slipped past the end of the canoe. This fish never came up and I never caught a glimpse of him as I fought to keep him on the line. After a short time though he seemed to tire and I was able to get him closer to the boat. When I saw him swim by the canoe I almost had a heart attack. I scrambled to get my net while holding my rod in one hand and the fish seemed to sense a chance as he went shooting away as fast as possible. Thank god I had my drag set properly as all he did was pull line out and not snap it. Once I had the net ready I was able to concentrate on getting him closer again and after a few minutes, I was able to get him in the net.

I could not believe I had this fish. He turned out to be the biggest bass I have ever caught. A 23”, 8.1# largemouth lunker. The NH state record is 25.8” 10.8#. It was never even a choice I had to make, as once I took the picture I held him softly in the water moving him back and forth until he was able to get his bearings and swim away leaving me with a fantastic memory.

This photo really doesn’t do this fish justice on just how big it is.

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Friends, I hope each and every one of you can experience a catch like this just once in your life.

tight lines, the Amateur Angler

It’s not all about the fish

Hello my fellow amateurs. I would like you all to take a moment and think about the things associated with fishing that make you happy. What are the things in fishing that make you smile? I know many of you enjoy being alone while taking in the quiet of fly fishing on a stream where there is nothing else but you, the stream, and the fish. Others like to take a buddy along for the power boat experience of racing to your favorite spots within the large lakes, and some anglers enjoy going out on the bigger ships to do some ocean fishing along with dozens of strangers. But today I’d like you to consider what it is that actually allows you to have a great day of fishing. Is it really the fish that makes for a great time? Granted, catching fish is fun, but what if you weren’t catching fish, would you still have an enjoyable day with just the hunt? For me, I can have a great day fishing even if I wasn’t catching fish because of who I choose to go fishing with. I usually go fishing with my brother and spending time with him is always fun regardless if fish are involved. We are always joking around and making each other laugh. Catching fish is a bonus (especially if I catch the biggest).

Recently my brother took me to a body of water that neither of us has been to before. We decided to go to Otter Lake in Greenfield NH. The boat launch is located right next to the entrance to the state park. The lake itself was pristine when we arrived at 7 am. A little late for us I know, but we weren’t really sure about its location, so we took our time getting there.

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The only other visitors at the time we arrived were a group of ducks playing together in a small area that was reserved for swimmers. We thought that was funny that they all were in the area cordoned off just for swimmers for the park. It was like they knew no one would bother them if they stayed inside the buoys.

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We noticed immediately the lack of vegetation both emergent and submerged and my brother remarked that it seemed as though perhaps the water had been treated to kill the Milfoil. Of course this was not good news for us as we have never had much luck fishing when the water has been treated.  Now, we could have just left and gone somewhere else, but both of us know that with or without fish, we will still have a great time. We did catch a few perch and a couple of small bass throughout the day, but nothing big and certainly nothing to brag about, but guess what? My brother and I had a fantastic day.

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The photos below are in black and white because neither of us geniuses checked the camera setting. lol. Don’t worry, he didn’t really eat it and the fish was released to go home.

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Below, these were the size of fish we caught intermittently all day. Not often, not big, but still fun.

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My perch was bigger than his perch.

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I hope you all can enjoy fishing even in those times when the bite is off and if you have someone you can make memories with so much the better. Always remember to bring the camera.

Good company + good fishing = great memories,

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler.

An All Bass Day

P1020489The morning sunrise breaking slowly over the fully green trees was casting a generous shadow on perfectly still water as we launched the 14’ Jon boat onto Moore Reservoir in Littleton, NH. We are early enough that there is no one else to blight the serene beauty and calmness of our little fishing sanctuary. We know we are lucky to have this moment, enjoying an unspoiled scenic view and a silence that breaks your heart to destroy. These are the moments you hope to share with friends and family. This is the kind of tranquility that requires an appreciation for the serene, when nature’s vast beauty reaches into you’re core and pulls a smile from deep within and plants it squarely on your face.

Today, the only other ripples on the flat water are caused by Bass breaking the surface tension while trying to shake the lures they were tricked into hitting. Each fish, large and small putting up a fight full of excitement. It seems today that the only competition for the Smallmouths were the abundant Rock Bass that were hitting our lures harder than their stature would imply. For small fish, they con’d us with their fight making us believe they were the big one only to laugh in our faces when we released their diminutive selves back into the water.

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P1020508The Rock bass were so active that when we stopped for lunch, my nephew tried fishing from a perch on a fallen tree. He was standing at least 8′ above the water, casting to the two stumps you can see in the photo which was only about  18″ of water.

 

 

 

 

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It didn’t matter, he still caught fish.

 

 

 

 

tight lines, the Amateur Angler

good company + good fishing = great memories

 

Silver Trout

Recently one of the readers of this blog asked me about a species of trout that was only native to a couple of water bodies in New Hampshire, and after doing some research on this fish, thought it would make a nice post. I guess I figured that if I had never heard of this fish then it’s quite possible that not many of you have either. As you have probably already guessed, the fish is the “Silver Trout”.

I had never heard of this trout and before responding to my reader, had to do some research. What is this trout? How come I haven’t seen it? I could find some blurbs on the internet, but how could I verify the information?

I reached out, and Scott Decker of the NH Fish & Game Department was kind enough to respond to my query. Scott is a Certified Fisheries Professional and Program Supervisor of the Inland Fisheries Division and what he told me is that “the silver trout was likely a species of char that were present in Dublin Lake and Christine Lake.

The silver trout of Dublin Lake was actually named and recognized as a distinct species from either brook trout or the Sunapee trout and (the silver trout of Dublin Lake was) given the name Salvelinus agassizzi. However, the native trout of Christine Lake was never recognized as being a separate species from brook trout.

Here is a blurb about the silver trout taken from an article written by Scott for The Wildlife Journal in May/June 2015.

Silver Trout

In the article, Scott also talks about the Sunapee Golden Trout. I found his article to be quite interesting and I was happy to learn about two species of fish that until now I had never heard of. If you would like to read Scott’s full article, click the link, http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/pubs/documents/samples/sunapee-gold-may-june-2015.pdf

I would like to say thank you to Joe E. for asking me about the Silver Trout because without his question, I most assuredly would still be ignorant that the Silver Trout ever existed, and a big thank you to Scott Decker for taking time to answer questions about the fish.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

Fun/no fun

Hello my fellow amateur anglers. I am going to ask you a question, but first let me relate today’s fishing trip.

It’s Saturday May 21, 2016. My alarm goes off at the “arrgh” hour of 2 a.m. letting me know it’s time to begin my fishing day. I have a 2.5 hour drive ahead of me if I want to be on the water early. You see, today I am going to southern NH to meet up with my brother. We are headed to today’s fishing spot, Powder Mill Pond in Bennington, NH to do some Largemouth Bass fishing.

NitroWhen we arrived, there were two other fisherman launching a beautiful 17 ft. Nitro X-5 bass boat with 115 HP motor and all the tech you’d expect on such a fishing machine. With such a boat, all of the pond was open to them and they were on the water and off  to fish in mere minutes.

jon boatWe on the other hand were launching our 14 ft. jon boat with a 5 hp outboard and a trolling motor. First, taking the boat off the rack of the truck, and then setting it up with the motors and all our fishing gear. This was not accomplished in mere minutes. Unfortunately for us, the day began on the downside when we could not get the outboard to fire up. Though we tried everything we could think of, it just wouldn’t start. So back to the truck to drop it off. After all that, it was a good half hour after the Nitro left before we got under way.

PMP MapNow, armed with only a trolling motor, we knew our range of travel was going to be limited. We were only able to fish that section of pond inside the red boundary.

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We caught a few Perch..

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…and a couple kibbies…

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…a couple Rock Bass…

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…and a couple of stunning Crappie…

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PL3PA1but we did not catch what we came after, the Largemouth Bass. Though we originally came to hunt Largemouth, we discovered early that it was the Pickerel that were active, and after the first couple of Pickerel, we forgot all about the Bass. We were casting top water baits and the excitement of watching the blow ups as the Pickerel attacked left us in awe. In one section, the water was so shallow that the jon boat was grounded, but even water only 8 inches deep didn’t stop the voracious attacks of the aggressive Pickerel.PL1PA3

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Let me tell you, we had a fantastic day catching fish. We had so much fun catching some big Pickerel. We joked as the Lunkerhunt frog I was using first lost one leg, then a couple casts later lost his other leg, to be followed by the loss of the whole lure when a large fish pull with enough power to straighten out my coast lock leader. We continued to bring up my poor frog all afternoon and laughed again. It was a day that had both factors for great memories, good company + good fishing.

We finally called it a day and shortly after we got back to the launch, the Nitro pulled in. When I asked how they did, there was a lot of grumbling from both men. When I remarked that the Pickerel sure were active, one of the men said “don’t talk to me about the effing Pickerel” while the other said “I’m sick of the GD pickerel”. Everything about their deportment screamed bad mood. Despite the beautiful day, the great surroundings, and being out fishing, it was absolutely obvious that these two fellows felt like they wasted a day.

Now for the question I told you I was going to ask at the beginning of this post. Four men go Bass fishing. Two in a dedicated Bass boat loaded with technology, and two in a row boat. They catch the same fish in the same amount of time, but only the two in the row boat have a great time. Why? What is the difference between fun and no fun?

Attitude, plain and simple. They weren’t catching the fish they wanted to be catching and their “fun” was dependent on that, whereas, we weren’t catching the fish we started out after, but we were catching fish and we were loving it. My fellow amateurs, check your expectations at the boat launch and just enjoy a day of catching fish. At the end of the day who would you rather be? The guys who had a great time, or the guys who wasted a day?

tight lines, the Amateur Angler

 

Reliving a memory

One of my fondest memories is of fishing with my daughter when she was a little girl. We were fishing off the bank of the Androscoggin River when she hooked into a large Trout. The resulting squeals of delight and the smile on her face indelibly imprinted this memory in me. My daughter and I often went fishing together back then, but life has a way of getting in the way. My life, her life. Things happen and our fishing excursions became less important.

This year, my daughter has decided to renew that fishing relationship. She bought her fishing license and with my help, picked out a fishing rod and some line. Yesterday after work we decided to go on a short fishing trip at a nearby pond. It was raining at the time but we decided to go anyway. Before we could go out though, I had to show her how to put her line on her reel and then showed her how to hook up a Texas rig plastic worm. We launched my canoe onto the rain spattered pond and she started fishing. I explained to her how to use the fishing setup she had on and what to look for when choosing a spot to cast to. It was a great experience being able to share fishing knowledge with her and it was a reminder of all those times we went fishing when she was younger.

She learns quick as you can tell from this photo.

K1When she hooked into this 3 lb. Largemouth Bass I relived that day on the Andro so many years ago. The squeals and the smile had returned and my heart soared. At that point there was no rain, no cold… nothing but the fantastic catch shared by father and daughter. Log another memory.

Great catch K. I’m happy I could share it with you.

tight lines, the Amateur Angler

“good company + good fishing = great memories”

Akers of Trout

When the morning broke, the sky was not very promising as dark clouds abounded. The water temperature was 53° and the air temperature, though promising to warm into the sixties, was a temperate 58°. There was a slight breeze but we were quite comfortable in the boat when we launched at 6 a.m. in our hunt for fish.

Akers Pond

 

 

Today we went to Akers Pond in Errol, NH. Akers is a 276 acre body of water with lots of areas with stumps, logs, large rocks, flats, vegetation and overhanging trees. Hiding within the depths of the water you will find Smallmouth Bass, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Pickerel and Perch. Our task today was to find and catch trout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A task I might add that we did quite well. We each had our Ultralight fishing rods with 4 lb. test and I also had a fly fishing rod that I wanted to play with. It has been a very long time since I have tried to fly fish and I wanted to see if this type of fishing is something I might want to get back into.

The rainbows were feisty and felt larger that life on the light equipment we were using. At one time, we even had two in the net at the same time. Rainbows may be spectacular when they appear in the sky, but I think I prefer mine in the water, which is where every trout we caught today remains for someone else to catch another day.

It seemed as though the fish knew we meant them no harm today as once we laid hands on them, they calmed down. My brother even appeared to be the fish whisperer when he had a brief conversation with this fish. Fish: ok dude, you caught me, now put me back.

Whatcha Doin

Always bring a camera and remember, good company + good fishing = great memories

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

 

Hot time at hot hole

Finally, I got to go fishing again and it was a fantastic day. Opening day for trout was last Saturday, April 23 and I cannot remember an opening day when it wasn’t cold and rainy, but oh my gosh, this day was absolutely beautiful. The sun was out so the temperature was in the high fifties which compared to normal was practically a heat wave. The three of us went to Hot Hole Pond in Louden NH and had a great day of catching fish. The Brookies were active and a whole lot of fun to catch. We launched our boat, but unlike everyone else who seemed to think trolling was the way to go, we stayed in this one small area of about two hundred feet, drifting back and fourth, and catching trout after trout.

The fish were a little camera shy I think as they were hard to hold onto long enough to get a good picture. My brother snapped this photo just after I got slapped in the face with a wet tail.

It was all good though because not only did it give us all a good laugh, but it makes for a great memory. Years from now I’ll hear “remember that time the Brookie slapped you in the face?” and we’ll have another good laugh I’m sure.

At the end of our day, we discovered that people had been watching us have a great time catching fish in our one little area because no sooner had we vacated the area when all these boats moved into our vacated spot.

Open Day Boats

It truly was a great day to make memories. I hope you all have someone you can share these times with.

tight lines, the Amateur Angler

Fishing and Firearms

RFT

Greetings my fellow amateur anglers.

Today I am taking a break from the normal fishing blog story. You may have noticed a link on my page that is not about fishing. The link is for Raven Firearms Training. I know that this is not technically a fishing link, but the reason I have decided to put it on here is because, if like me, you go out fishing alone, or if you traipse through the woods to get to the fishing spots you fish, then there’s no telling what kind of wildlife you might meet and having a firearm just might come in handy. Likewise, in today’s world, having a firearm for self defense may be a consideration for you.

Now the reason I have the link is because I recently had the honor of attending a class with Crystal and Jake at Raven Firearms Training and I came away with a respect for their professionalism and knowledge as well as a huge smile after learning the basics of safely handling and shooting a firearm. Crystal and Jake are retired US Marines with over 45 years of combined experience in tactical shooting and firearms safety and hold numerous past certifications with the National Rifle Association, Sig Sauer Academy, and other institutions. I took their “Know your Gun” course and I could not have been more interested in the information they imparted to me.

Crystal was remarkable in the classroom and my wife found her to be a fantastic instructor on the range. I too was on the range, learning from Jake. Jake’s approach to helping the student learn made the range time both fun and informative. He did not “show off” his shooting prowess but did allow his expertise to be seen allowing me to understand shooting basics and I could not have asked for someone better to learn from. I fully intend to take another class when I have the time.

In today’s society, every man and woman needs to be able to defend themselves, their families, their friends and their 2nd amendment right. If you are able to legally purchase a gun, then I encourage you to do so, but learn to use that firearm properly and safely by taking a course with a certified instructor, and if you live anywhere near northern NH then you would make a great choice of instructors by going to Crystal and Jake at Raven Firearms Training.

tight lines, the Amateur Angler

RFT

The Cure for cabin fever

Cabin FeverWell, this winter has not been the greatest for ice fishing. With the unseasonably warm temperatures lasting for extended periods of time, I have felt unsafe about going out on the ice. Others have felt fine about it and I have seen people out on the ice fishing, but I can only do what I feel is safe for me and I don’t gamble with my life. There has  been a few stories in the news this year about people, cars and snowmobiles going through the ice and there has even been a couple of deaths.

All of this has led me to suspend my fishing activities for the winter. Let me tell you, cabin fever has set in and everyday I watch the ice hoping to see open water. I WANT TO GO FISHING! I have found a few ways to deal with my fever though. Here is what I do to help with the wait as I countdown the days until I can get out on the water.

  1. I watch a lot, and I mean a lot, of fishing videos on Youtube. If you love the excitement of seeing top-water strikes I suggest going to the Youtube channel for BamaBass. They have a lot of videos with compilations of Bass attacking frogs and other top-water baits. You want to learn a new technique or about the different equipment? Then check out BassResource and FlukeMaster. Interested in gear? Go to Bass Pro Shops, Tackle warehouse and Tackle Direct. Want to keep up on the pros? Then check out the channels for BassMaster and Major League Fishing. There are so many fishing videos available and on every different subject of fishing on Youtube that I have been able to live vicariously  through them.
  2. I read a lot online about fishing. I have a lot of blogs that I read as you can tell from the “Blogs I Read” section of my site. I also do a lot or research about gear and tackle I might be interested in. Here’s a hint about reviews though. I always search for reviews that are not linked to the sites selling the equipment. I find that the reviews on most sites that are selling the equipment are always slanted in the positive and that tends to make me question the validity. Go check out the reviews on independent sites for the gear you want and you are more likely to get unbiased reviews.
  3. I go to fishing stores and look at the gear and talk with other anglers. Many amateur anglers are unaware of the fact that a lot of information can be found at the smaller tackle shops. Many tackle shops are happy to give you information about bodies of water around them. They can tell you what is biting and what is working for almost any species you are looking for in the nearby waters. For most amateurs, going to Wal-mart or K-mart or Target or any other chain store is their fishing destination for gear. Unfortunately, while you can get some good prices on gear, you won’t get knowledgeable employees who can give you accurate information about the fishing gear they sell.
  4. After I have bought some new gear, I spend hours fiddling with it and dreaming about how many fish I am going to catch with it.  In my mind I can see how I am going to cast a lure, the technique I am going to use, I can see the strike of the fish, the fight and the landing. Of course, it’s usually when I get to the point of playing with all of my gear and getting everything ready for the time when ice is out that I am hit with cabin fever again and the cycle begins all over.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

NH anglers have a place to share

NH FishfinderThere is a site where NH anglers can go to share information about catches and places to fish. Although the site has been around for awhile, I only recently discovered it. It’s not a very busy site as a lot of the posts are older, but if more and more NH anglers go there to shares their fishing trips, then it will prove to be a source of valuable information to us all.

I encourage you to go there and share a fishing trip with us all. Tell us where and when you went on a fishing trip in NH. Let us know what you caught and on what. Share advice on tackle and techniques. Offer tips that work for you.

We NH anglers need to help each other enjoy fishing to its fullest and sharing an enjoyable fishing trip may get someone else into fishing.

The site is NH Fishfinder. You can find the link to the right in my fishing links.

The Amateur Angler

NH Fish and Game Launches New Smartphone App

Hello all NH outdoor enthusiasts. In case you haven’t heard, the NH Fish & Game dept. has launched a new and totally free Iphone and Android app. It is call Pocket Ranger and it is for all skill levels of outdoorsmen and women with information on fishing, hunting, boating and wildlife watching in this great state of New Hampshire.

The app provides:NH Fish App

  • News, advisories, and weather alerts
  • Social networking and photo sharing
  • Cacheable map tiles for offline use
  • Advanced GPS mapping features
  • Friend Finder
  • Built-in compass

You can also use the app to record trail distance and time elapsed; mark and photograph waypoints to keep track of wildlife sightings; and recall, post or share saved data.

Powered by Pocket Ranger® technology, this official app serves as an interactive outdoor guide and delivers immediate access to species profiles, rules and regulations, and important permit and licensing details.

The official New Hampshire Fish & Wildlife Pocket Ranger® Smartphone App is available on the App Store and Google Play.  To download the app, visit www.wildnh.com/about/app.html

Braking the Confusion on Baitcaster Brakes

I apologize in advance if you find this post a little boring.

Exo BaitcastHere is a post to prove to you how much of an amateur fisherman I am. I have had a Baitcasting reel and rod for some time and I have used them with quite a bit of success, but only recently have I discovered that Baitcasting reels have a braking system. I never knew it, and because I was catching fish, I never really felt a need to do any research on the subject. I first found out about the braking system because I was watching a video on YouTube by Gene Jensen of the “Flukemaster” YouTube channel. If you get the chance, check him out at Flukemaster.

Gene does a lot of excellent fishing instructional videos and it was his video “How to set up a Baitcasting reel” that brought my ignorance of Baitcasting brakes out into the open. When I discover something about fishing that I don’t know, my curiosity usually gets the better of me and I will research until I am satisfied that I have at least a working understanding of what I wanted to know.  I knew I needed to increase my knowledge once I realized I was ignorant of Baitcasting brakes. I read many articles, and watched countless videos on YouTube regarding the Braking systems on Baitcasting reels.

Almost all of the videos tell you what you should be using for your brakes and how to adjust them (i.e. “turn the brakes off and adjust your spool tension so that the lure falls to the floor slowly, then turn a couple of the centrifugal brakes on and the magnetic brakes about 1/2 way and start casting.”). That’s just not enough for me. It’s not enough to give me instructions on how to do something. I like to know WHY  I need to do something the way I am instructed.

SpoolingAs a simple example… I am told to load a Baitcasting reel with the line coming off the top of the spool of line as opposed to coming up from the bottom of the spool.  If I don’t understand the reasoning for it, it is harder for me to accept the information. Of course, in this example it is because the line has a memory and loading it to the reel from the top of the spool will allow reel and line to work together in harmony. Loading it from the bottom of the spool will go against the memory of the line, and then reel and line will be at odds, making backlashes more prevalent.

BacklashThe purpose of any braking system on Baitcasting reels is to avoid the dreaded backlash. A backlash is a real pain in the backside as it is a tangled mess inside your reel that usually takes an amount of time to get out, sometimes a long and mostly aggravating time. And let me tell you, if you do it again and again, you will end up throwing your rod in complete frustration.

Well what I learned online and in the videos is that there are usually four different areas that come into play when fishing with a Baitcasting reel. These four areas are; (1) the centrifugal brakes, (2) the magnetic brakes, (3) the spool tension adjustment and (4) thumb. Now, almost every video I watched told me how to adjust each of these parts, but the one thing I didn’t find, was an explanation of what each part actually affects on your Baitcasting reel.

CentrifugalCentrifugal Brakes: Centrifugal brakes work only during the first part of the cast. Think about what happens when you make a cast. You use your rod to slingshot an amount of weight (lure and line) towards a target. Your spool instantly begins turning at a high rate of speed as your cast sends your bait out into the distance. If your spool is spinning at a greater rate than the lure is traveling, then your line will get loose within the reel and you will end up with a backlash. Think about it like a cooked piece of spaghetti on a plate. Push the spaghetti from one end and what happens? It just bunches up in your plate. But, if the other end of the spaghetti is being pulled by something (the lure weight) at the same rate that you are pushing (the cast) and it will remain straight.

The centrifugal brake is the control that allows the line to feed off of the spool at the same rate of speed as the cast. As the spool is spinning, gravity will make the centrifugal brakes extend from the center of the spool to run along a shelf inside the side panel of the reel. Kind of like the way brake pads work on a drum brake in cars. Most reels will have six such brake pads that you can turn on or off, usually by sliding a small lever for each brake. By locking each individual brake, you are telling the reel how many brake pads to let out to run along the drum. Less brakes equals longer spool turning whereas more brakes will slow down the spool faster. The drawback to the centrifugal brakes is that you MUST remove the side panel of the reel in order to adjust them.

MagneticMagnetic Brakes: On one side of the reel there may be a small dial. Turning the dial one way will decrease the distance of the magnets to the spool and turning the other way will increase the distance between magnets and spool. These are the magnetic brakes. The Magnetic brakes work on the principal that the closer the brakes are to the spool, the faster the spool will slow down within the cast and by default, the further the magnets are from the spool the freer the spool is to spin. The magnetic brakes also only work with the first part of the cast and in principal work the same way as the centrifugal brakes. The difference is that you can easily adjust the magnetic brakes by turning the dial and without having to remove the side plate.

Spool TensionSpool Tension Adjustment: On the same side of the reel as the handle, there will be a small knob that can be turned. This is the spool tension adjustment. This adjustment should never be used as an alternative to the brakes described above. In fact, you can actually damage your reel by using too much spool tension. Whereas the centrifugal and magnetic brakes work with the first part of your cast, the spool tension works with the end of the cast, when the lure stops and the spool keeps turning. The tension adjustment is used to stop the spool shaft at the same time that the lure stops when it hits the water. 

 

ThumbThumb: All of the above are meant to keep the use of your thumb to a minimum. That doesn’t meant that you won’t use your thumb. On occasion, your cast may get away from you or you may experience a sudden gust of wind that blows your lure back at you. On these occasions when your reel is not set to stop your spool before your lure stops you will need to press your thumb against the spool to stop it and prevent a backlash.

To begin using the brakes; 

1 – Adjust the spool tension knob so that it is snug. Hold your rod at a 45° angle. Slowly release the tension of the knob until the lure very slowly begins to drop when you jiggle the rod up and down. This adjustment is actually slightly tighter than you want it to be and this tension will not allow for long casts, but when you first start with a Baitcasting reel it is more important to sacrifice distance in favor of no backlash.

2 – Remove the side plate of the reel and turn four of the six tiny sliding blocks to the OUT position (away from the center) to turn them ON.

3 – If your reel uses magnetic brakes: Turn the adjustment dial on about half way.

4 – Put your thumb on the spool and press the thumb bar to unlock it. Make a cast but be aware at all times in case you need to press your thumb against the spool to prevent backlash. The thumb is actually used only at the very end of the cast, just when the lure is about to hit the water.

Once you get used to casting with no backlash you can readjust the spool tension knob. Again, hold your rod at a 45° angle. Slowly release the tension of the knob until the lure very slowly begins to drop on its own (no jiggling of the rod). When the lure touches the ground, the spool should stop instantly. If it doesn’t, repeat the steps until it does. After you’ve practiced to get a good feel of things, you will gradually be able to reduce the number of brakes you use as well as how much magnetic force is applied. Eventually you will be able to relieve the spool tension until it’s almost completely off.

I hope I have at least helped you understand a little what the brakes on a Baitcasting reel does.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

The Beginning of an Amateur

SpincastIf you have read any of my blog then you understand that I am an amateur angler and that any information that I impart has been from the point of view of one amateur and meant to be for my fellow amateurs. That is to say that the tips and techniques I impart, work for me in my amateur status and as such may work for you as well. Yes, that is my disclaimer, just so that you know for sure that I do not claim to be a professional angler.

Today I want to begin with a question. Why do you think live worm fishing is so popular with new anglers? The answer is, because it’s simple. There is not a lot of technical information that one needs to remember in order to begin fishing. You place a worm on a hook, add a sinker and a bobber, cast out and let it sit there until the bobber tells you that you have a fish. Let’s be real, almost every amateur angler began fishing with a Spincast rod and reel combo already loaded with line. Why? Because it’s simple. It’s because when you first begin a journey into fishing, you don’t want to think about all the technical information that goes along with it. I honestly believe that too much information when you first come into fishing is harmful to a new angler.

If you are trying to get someone interested in fishing, you don’t start them with a Baitcasting reel and start talking about pitching and flipping. You don’t tell them that in one situation you want to use a Strike King Rodent in Summer Craw color on a 3/4 ounce 5/0 jig head using a 6.3:1 ratio on a 6’6” medium/heavy rod with moderate action and 20 lb Maxima fluorocarbon line, but in the next situation you want to use a bobber stop, 5/16 ounce tungsten worm weight and 4/o straight shank hook with a Zoom Brush Hog in Bull Frog color on a 7.1:1 ratio on a 7’11” heavy rod with fast action and 30 lb. hi-vis yellow braid line. If you are like me, someone telling me that when I first began fishing would have been enough to scare me away from it.

It’s only when you gain some experience that you start to get into artificial lures and techniques. It’s only as you gain experience that thoughts of line strengths and types, rod lengths and actions, type of reels and gear ratios, and lure weights, colors, and presentations should be considered. Too fast, is too bad. Go too fast and the new angler could be lost and decide that they would rather be doing anything other than fishing.

You want fishing to be a fun experience for the new angler and the fun to a new angler is in the catching of fish, not in the confusion of technical information. Start them slow and as they are enjoying how much fun fishing can be, then you can slowly work them into other areas. Remember, we didn’t start out as experts ourselves. Every angler has the beginning of an amateur.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

When All is Said and Done

Three Amigos

Today I was looking through all of the photos I have taken on my fishing adventures over the last three years and as I was silently reliving those memories and making myself smile to all the fish I have caught, I had an epiphany.  I have hundreds of photos of myself holding nice fish that I have caught, and if you have read any of my blog then you have seen quite a few of them. I also have many photos of my fishing companions, namely my brother and nephew, and I really enjoyed reviewing them as well, but the epiphany came when I was looking at photos that had no fish in them.

The only focus of the camera was people. I found when looking at these photos I smiled the longest and it was a smile that I could feel in my heart. I realized that catching fish is a fantastic way to relax and have a good time, but when the fish is gone and faded from memory, it is the people that I shared these moments with that will remain etched in my memories. I may not always remember that I caught a 10 lb. largemouth on such and such a day, but I will always remember the day my brother and I shared the moment he caught his biggest bass ever. I will always remember the day that my brother, nephew and I shared a lunch in the woods while taking a break from fishing. These are the moments that are more important to me than the actual fish.

You can go fishing by yourself and catch a monster 20 lb Bass but with no one to share in your joy it would just be another fish story. You can tell the story to other people, but they weren’t there. They will never be as excited about your catch as you were. With someone else there, you share in a bond of fishing. You share in the camaraderie of the battle and of the catch. You share in a connection to another that will last for years and even decades.  These are the important memories. The one that sustain a person’s soul.

You may not feel the same way as I do, and that is perfectly alright. There is no one here who will condemn you for feeling differently. But if you find yourself thinking about loved ones and of the good memories you have built with them and you are smiling because of my few humble words, then you definitely relate to what I have said.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

BrothersOn a Break

Hooked Up On Hooks

So, you’re going fishing and need to buy some hooks. You step into any tackle shop, walk up to the hooks section, and there, in front of you, is the embodiment of confusion. Your brain begins to hurt as you look at all of the different hooks that are available. There are Worm Hooks, Octopus Hooks and Aberdeen Hooks. There are Bait holding Hooks, Circle Hooks, Siwash Hooks and Treble Hooks. There are Weedless Hooks, Double Hooks, Saltwater Hooks and Kahle® Hooks. Each comes with various points such as Needle, Spear, Rolled-In, Hollow and Knife Edge. They come in a bewildering range of sizes from the smallest 32 to the largest 20/0. They come in different finishes and painted hooks are now very popular because they can serve as a visual attractant, as in the case of red hooks which simulate a wounded baitfish.

OMG! How are you ever supposed to choose a hook? There are a few factors to consider when choosing hooks.

Parts of a HookHook Sizes

The numbers that define hook sizes can be confusing, but all you really need to remember is that hook sizes with a number followed by a zero get larger in size as the number goes up. For instance a 4/0, (“four aught”) hook is one size larger than a 3/0, which is one size larger than a 2/0, etc. Hook sizes that are not followed by a zero get smaller in size as the number increases. For example a size 3 hook is smaller than a size 2 hook, which in turn is smaller than a size 1 hook.

So what size hook do you need? Well, we can eliminate a plethora of choices simply by figuring out what type of fish you are after because knowing what fish you want to catch will determine the types of baits you will use and in turn, it is the baits you use that will determine the size of the hook. For example, if you are fishing for trout in the 7” to 21” (1-3 lb.) range, then you will not use a 12” power worm on a 6/0 hook. As a general rule, if you are using a whole Mackerel when deep sea fishing, you will use a 10/0 to 12/0 hook, but when using 2” Minnows in fresh water, a 1/0 to 5/0 size hook is the norm. Similarly, if you are using a Salmon Egg while after trout then a hook size of 8 to 14 will be the choice. Just remember this easy way of choosing hooks. The smaller the bait you are using, the smaller the hook you will use and the larger the bait, the larger the hook.

Extra Strength Hooks

Some hooks will be marked as ‘2x strong’ or ‘2x’. These hooks are designed to provide as much strength as a hook one or two sizes up, but where a smaller hook is required. For example a ‘2x 4/0’ hook has the thickness and strength of a 5/0 hook, and a ‘3x 4/0’ hook has the thickness and strength of a 6/0 hook. The purpose of these hooks is to avoid having too much hook visible to the fish when live-baiting.

Wide Gape/Gap Hooks
A wide gape/Gap hook is one where the Gape/Gap, (the gap between the hook point and hook shaft) is wider than the standard hook.

Barbs?

The prime advantage of barbless hooks is that they are easy to remove from a fish. The disadvantage is that if the hook is easier for you to remove, then it’s also easier for the fish to shake it. It’s entirely up to you, but if you regularly ‘catch and release’ fish, you should use barbless hooks. You can make hooks barbless by filing off the barb, but sometimes the heat generated by filing weakens the hook. You can also use a pair of pliers to crush down the barb. This does the job without damaging the hook. There is one other advantage to barbless hooks and that is that if you unluckily get the hook into part of your body it will be much easier to remove than having to go through the drama of having a barbed hook removed.

Below are just a few of the types of hook that I actually use.
Bait Holder hooks

Bait Holding HooksThis hook is good for keeping slippery, wiggling live bait such a worms or minnows on the hook. Generally, bait holder hooks have long shafts, and there are often one or two barbs on the shaft to assist in keeping bait securely hooked. These hooks are also available as snells. A snell is a hook that is pre-tied to line that is looped at the end and ready to be attached with a knot, swivel or snap. I use this hook when fishing for Trout.

Worm hooks & Wide Gap Worm Hooks

Wide Gap Worm HooksThese particular hooks are generally used for plastic baits like worms when fishing for larger warm water fish such a Bass. Since Bass are heavy fighters, worm hooks are built sturdy for deep penetration and durability.

 

 

Skip Gap Hooks

Skip Gap HookThe Skip Gap Worm Hook was designed to allow anglers to skip and pitch their Texas-rigged baits without having the bait slide down the hook’s offset. This is a common problem when skipping tubes and worms under docks, and the Skip Gap Hook promises to help ease that annoyance and let you spend more time skipping your baits worry-free.

 

 

Double hooks

Double HookDouble hook are great for use in a trailer-hook setup or for thick-bodied soft plastic baits like floating frogs. Many floating lures have this type of hook already embedded in them.

 

 

 

Treble hooks

Treble HookMultiple hook points provide superior hooking and holding power and are most often used on lures such as Crankbaits, Spoons or Bucktail jigs. Crankbaits for Bass or Walleye usually employ treble hooks sized 1 to 2/0, but sizes vary with the size of the lure. You can find these hook on a wide range of lures, from the small Trout lures to the larger Bass lures

 

 

Aberdeen hooks

Aberdeen HookAberdeen hooks are made of light wire with a slightly squared round bend. This style of hook is extra wide between the point and shank, which makes it ideal for baiting with Minnows, and the light wire eliminates excessive damage when puncturing the bait. Their specially tempered wire will flex before breaking, making them ideal for fishing brushy areas that hold Panfish or Crappie. I use this hook mostly when Ice fishing.

 

Weedless hooks

Weedless HookWhen fishing heavy cover such as tree limbs, logs, stumps, weeds and rocks, a weedless hook can save you a lot of time, money and frustration. You’ll find several different approaches to making a hook weedless and they all work fairly well, but remember – they’re weed-less, not 100% weed proof. You’ll still have to work your bait or lure carefully.

 

 

Jig hooks

Jig Head HooksJigs are simply hooks that have been molded with lead or other heavy metals.  Jigs are used for both live bait such as Minnows or Crawlers, or for soft plastics. When using plastic baits such as twister tails, crawdads or worms, select a jig with a molded collar just behind the jig head. This collar is provided to hold plastic baits more securely, so make sure you force the bait onto the collar.

Quick hook storage tip:

Never store used hooks with unused hooks. In fact, try to keep new, unused hooks in their packets and only take out what you think you need for the trip. Any amount of water, especially seawater, can start the hooks rust and corrosion. Save those little packets of desiccant drying powder that come with pills and many electrical products. They are great to put in hook containers, tackle and lure boxes.

Tight Lines, the Amateur Angler

What Makes an Everlasting Memory?

Today I’d like to give you an opinion on what it takes to make an everlasting memory.

What do you think would turn a great day of fishing into something more?, something spectacular, something… that when the long years of life have passed, you will look back upon them and see them as vividly as if it happened just days ago? Maybe the day will stand out in your memory because you caught more fish than that of your fishing partners. Perhaps you got bragging rights because you caught the biggest fish. Maybe it’s just the serenity of fishing in a mountain stream with nothing else around but nature. Possibly your fishing memory revolves around something good that happened, like winning a boat in a fishing tournament, or something bad, like that boat you won in a tournament once, sank. Many things can contribute to a good fishing memory, and I want to tell you about the memory that I just made with the help of my brother.

At 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 29, my brother and I launched our 14’ jon boat at the boat launch at the Pontook Reservoir in Dummer, NH (1). For those of you unfamiliar with the area, the Pontook Reservoir is a 379-acre impoundment on the Androscoggin River created with the installation of the Pontook Dam. In the waters below the dam you will find some really good trout fishing, but on this day we were out fishing for pickerel, bass and perch. This day, we were not going to be disappointed.

Pontook Map

As can be seen on the map above, we actually bypassed the reservoir area and fished the mile long stretch of the Androscoggin River between the dam and the cartop access point (5). As you can also see there are three other numbers on the map and each one has significant contribution to making a great day of fishing.

We caught a few pickerel and perch and even a couple of small bass while using our ultralight rods rigged with old faithful. If you have read any of my blog then you will know that old faithful is the 1.5” white twirl tail grub on a 1/8 oz. jig head. We have caught more fish on this one lure than any other, hence the nickname. On our casting rods we had loaded topwater baits and it was so exhilarating watching the water boil beneath the lure as a fish attacked. On my casting rod I had a Lunkerhunt Lunker Frog Green Tea. Cast this frog into the weeds and wiggle it across as you retrieve and it can be a very exciting lure to watch.

Lunkerhunt Frog

At number 2 on the map, I was doing just that when the weeds exploded and my poor little frog disappeared from the surface. I set the hook and the fight was on. I was able to clear the fish from the weeds when it broke the surface and tail danced across the water. Seeing the fish made our pulses speed as we could tell it was a large one. My brother got the net and within a few moments I was holding a very nice 5 pound Largemouth Bass.

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SK Sweet TaterOnce the sun began to burn off the morning fog, I switched to my spinning rod and I was using a 6” Strike King Sweet Tater Worm,

 

 

Hook 1on a Gamakatsu 2/0 Offset Shank EWG Worm Hook,

 

 

 

Texas Rigand Texas Rigged weightless (this rig can also be fished with a bullet sinker at the tip). To fish this rig I made my cast, let the worm sink a bit while my rod tip was at the 9 o’clock position. I then slowly raised the tip to 11 and then reeled in the excess line as I lowered the tip back to nine. When you feel the lure stop, like you got it stuck on weeds or rocks or something, set the hook. Yes, a lot of times you’ll actually have a snag, but then often the reason your lure stopped is because a fish picked it up and is holding it in its mouth. Trust me, if you fish this rig, set the hook. At worst you will lose a hook and worm. At best, you’ll pull in a lunker just like this 7 lb Largemouth I caught as position #3 on the map.

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That was it right? That had to be the thing that make this a memory for the ages. I thought so too, but I soon found out that there is something, when added to my two large fish that makes a memory that will be indelible in my mind for all time.

Hook 2My brother too, was using this plastic worm setup and he was copying my technique for the retrieve, but while he was getting strikes, he wasn’t able to get a good hook set. This went on for a little while until I asked to look at his set up. I noticed that the only difference in his set up was that he was using a 1/0 Offfset Worm Hook…

Hook 1…and not the on a Gamakatsu 2/0 Offset Shank EWG Worm Hook that I had on. As you can see there is an obvious difference between the two hooks. When a fish bites on the Gamakatsu, it actually pushes up on the hook making the tip protrude and allowing for a premium hook set. With the Offset Worm Hook, this pushing up on the hook doesn’t happen, meaning that good hook sets don’t happen as much.

With my back turned to my brother, I stealthily replaced his hook with the same one I was using and told him to try again.

At position #4 on the map we were near a Boom Pier in the center of the river. He placed a cast to the lee of the Boom Pier within a foot of it and let the worm sink. As he raised the tip of his rod he discovered that the lure was stuck. Could have been the logs of the pier. Could have been the rocks. He set the hook anyways and the fight was on. The fish exploded out of the water and tail danced while we both held our breath hoping that the fish wouldn’t shake the lure loose. At one point during the fight, the fish shot under the boat and my brothers rod bent. He realized his drag was not set properly and quickly loosened it so that the rampaging fish didn’t snap his line. When the fight was over, he was holding the biggest bass that he had ever caught in his life. A beautiful 6 lb, Largemouth,

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And that was it. That was the moment I realized that an everlasting memory had been made. I learned, for me at least, that what takes a great day of fishing and turns it into an extraordinary day and makes a memory to last the ages is not just because you catch a big fish or two, but it’s when your actions result in your fishing partner catching the big one. I am not saying that my brother owes that fish to me, after all he is the one who chose where he cast. He is the one who set the hook. He is the one who was smart enough to realize his reel drag was not set properly and he was the one who had enough thought to adjust his drag on the fly while battling the biggest bass he has ever caught. I was just the guy who recognized a difference in hook and if you ask my brother, he believes that the hook change made a difference.

I am so happy for you bro. Glad you landed that one.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler

Trying Something New

Last Saturday, June 6,  I spent a day of fishing with my brother and my nephew. As always we had no particular species that we were after as we were really only trying to catch a good day. One in which we could make some great memories.

Today’s blog is about trying something new. For a lot of people, trying something new is no problem, but when  you have a lure in your tackle box that you KNOW will produce fish and your goal is to catch fish, then passing that up in favor of something untested gets harder.

CoveAnyone who has read my blog with some regularity will have noticed a few consistencies in the types of rods I use, the lines I use, the baits I use and even the bodies of water I fish as was the case today when we went to the upper section of the Androscoggin River. Whenever I go fishing, I usually have with me 4 different rod/reel combinations which allow me to cover a wide range of fish species and sizes of fish. The same holds true for my two co-fisherman.

My equipment consists of a 5′ microlight rod/reel loaded with 2# test, a 5.5′ ultralight rod/reel with 4# test, a 7′ medium heavy spinning rod/reel with 6# test, and a 7.5′ heavy action bait cast rod/reel loaded with 10# spider wire. With these 4 rods I can cast any lure I have in my box, from the smallest 1/16th ounce spoon to the heaviest 1.5 ounce jig.

Through the years though there has always been one lure that has worked for us no matter the weather conditions, no matter the time of day, no matter the temperature and no matter the type of fish we want. This lure works so well for us that we refer to it as old faithful. Quite simply put, the three of us could go fishing with only this lure available and we would still have a great day of catching fish.

GrubSo what is it already? You might well be asking. It is the 1.5″ to 3″ white twirl tail grub on a 1/8 to 1/4 ounce jig head (as seen here). Quite literally if we are having a skunk day, we just switch to a light rod and this lure and we WILL catch fish.

It is the one lure that the three of us have come to depend on more than any other lure, in fact, I feel that this lure has acted like a crutch to us. It has been a reason to NOT try anything new for years. I mean why try something new when you KNOW you can catch fish using this lure?

fishChoosing to fish with something you have never tried before over the lure you KNOW will catch you fish is a difficult thing, but today I planned for it by leaving my microlight and ultralight rods at home. I took old faithful off the menu so that I had no choice but to try something else, and I am glad I did because this was the result.

The lure I used was a balsa 3″ long, 6 hinged body yellow perch swimbait quite similar to the one below. I cast it into deep water and reeled it into the shallows when this 5# small mouth came from the depths and hit it hard.

Perch LureThis fish was the memory the three of us were hoping to catch when we began the day. I thanked the fish for the memory and gently held it in the water. It didn’t bolt away or even rush off. It’s as if it knew we meant it no harm. It seemed carefree as it swam beside the boat letting us admire it for a few moments longer before silently sinking out of sight.

My friends this is a lesson worth trying. Maybe you have an old faithful in your tackle box that stops you from trying something new. Take a chance, step out of your comfort zone, and just maybe a bit of fishing magic will happen for you.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler.

Laws & Liars

Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Today is opening day for fishing for trout on all of the trout ponds in NH and today we decided to go to Hot Hole Pond in Louden, NH. This  27 acre trout pond has a maximum depth of 40 ft. It has a boat ramp, a restroom and access for handicap fishing. It also has a nice parking area that usually is quite swamped on opening day. Hot Hole I was totally excited about today because I had a new addition to my crew of normal fishing buddies. Anyone who has read any of my blog knows by now that when I fish, I usual do so in the company of my brother and his son, my nephew. Today though, his youngest son decided to join us and I have to say that seeing a father and his two sons sharing a day of fishing brought back a lot of pleasant memories for me. I relived through them the days of old when my pop would take us boys out for opening day. Regardless of weather or temperature, we would always pack up early and hit the water.

Pop would get us out on the water before light, but no matter how much we wanted to drop our lines, pop would always have us wait until day broke. Sometimes we were treated to the breathtaking view of the radiant sun as it arose over the mountains. Let me tell you there is no more serene feeling then sitting in a boat on a glass top pond where the only sound you hear are the quiet whispers of other fisherman/women as they prepare for the first day of trout season.  I remember those days with great fondness and a heartfelt thanks to my father who instilled in us boys the love for fishing and for the integrity that true fisherman have when it comes to the fishing laws of NH.

This leads me to today’s topic. My pop always said that what makes a truly good person as well as a good fisherman/woman, is not the rules you follow when others are watching, it’s the rules you follow when no one else is around.

Pop gave us the integrity to treat the fishing laws of NH as gospel. It saddens me to say that not everyone feels the same way when it come to fishing. As usual on opening day the shoreline between the two red bars (in the photo above) was lined with fishermen/women and that is one of the main reasons why we use a boat. I mean who wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with other people fighting for a narrow strip of water to fish right? If any of these people read this blog then they know who they are. It saddens me to say that I witnessed at least 3 of them breaking NH fishing laws regarding the amount of fish they can have. NH Guide

According to the NH Freshwater Fishing Digest, on page 12, under Trout Ponds, there is a rule  (# 3) applying to designated trout ponds, of which Hot Hole Pond is one. The rule is as follows; The daily combined limit for trout is 5 fish or 5 pounds, whichever limit is reached first.Rule

This means, that if you catch 5 fish before you reach 5 pounds of fish, you are done fishing for the day. likewise, if you reach 5 pounds of fish before you catch 5 fish you are done for the day. One of the important things here is that this doesn’t mean that you catch 5 fish or 5 pounds, you take them home (or put them in your car) and then continue fishing. The rule means you are done for the day.

At one point, we watched a shoreline angler catch a nice trout. When he lifted his stringer to attach the fish I was able to count 7 trout on the stringer already there. Seeing this my brother asked if anyone knew the rule on limits? Almost everyone on shore shouted out the correct rule. So then why was this guy still fishing. When I pulled out my phone to check my messages, the guy must have thought I was calling a game warden because when he saw my phone, he packed up real quick and started to leave, but not before promising the guy he was fishing with that he would be back soon. I assume he meant once he had his fish stored away at home where a game warden wouldn’t see them.

A short time later another fish was caught by someone else on shore and we were paying attention when we saw the stringer. We were quite obvious in our attention to him and he well knew we were counting. He then turned to a fellow shoreline fisherman and asked him if he wanted four of his fish. Even after giving four fish away, he was still over the limit of fish allowed. As we were coming ashore he and his wife packed up real quick. We counted her stringer as she lifted it to go. Each of these people were over the allowable limit. I turned to my brother and asked a rhetorical question, if he was just going to give the fish away and not keep them then why didn’t he just quit when he reached his limit? The answer is quite simple. They were POACHING!

The legal definition of poaching is; The illegal shooting, trapping, or taking of game or fish from private or public property. 

State game and fish laws now require persons to purchase licenses to hunt and fish. The terms of these licenses limit the kind and number of animals or fish that may be taken and restrict hunting and fishing to designated times of the year, popularly referred to as hunting and fishing seasons. Therefore, persons who fail to purchase a license, as well as those who violate the terms of their licenses, commit acts of poaching.

When we spoke up about the illegal act that some of the people were perpetrating, one shoreline angler decided it was none of our business. He even got angry at us for pointing out this violation. What an idiot!

Obviously he didn’t see anything wrong with the poaching taking place, after all, it’s just a couple of fish. I guess he would feel the same way if someone shot two deer with one deer tag, or perhaps killed a bear with no license at all. Perhaps he would even be OK with the poaching of an American Eagle. In essence, what these people were doing was preventing other people the pleasure and opportunity to legally catch those fish. Poaching is not something we should accept or look away from. What we should do is report it. I now have the NH Fish & Game Depts. Operation Game Thief phone number in my phone and I will call immediately every time I see someone poaching. Please join me in this. Know the fishing rules and if someone is knowingly violating them, please call the

NH Fish Game

 

 

 

 

Operation Game Thief – 1-800-344-4262

You can now report violations online – click here to report a wildlife crime.

Protect New Hampshire’s natural resources – report wildlife law violators!

OPERATION GAME THIEF (OGT) is a silent witness, anti-poaching program that encourages the public to report any suspicious activity or knowledge about a poaching violation. The toll-free hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to report wildlife violations.

POACHING is the illegal take of game or fish, trespassing, littering, theft, or destroying property.

Are you aware of a poaching situation? Have you witnessed a wildlife crime? Call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-344-4262.

Report as much of the following information as possible:

  • Date
  • Vehicle Description
  • License Number
  • Road/Route
  • Time
  • Violation
  • Travel Direction
  • Description of Person(s)

Tight Lines, The Amateur Angler

Perfect Day for Pickerel

P1010967We had a plan when we started the day… to go up the river to get to the western side of Umbagog Lake so that we could do some Bass fishing. Unfortunately the plan never happened. Instead, we found a small cove not one hundred yards away from where we launched and that cove is where we stayed all day. How could we leave when the Pickerel were hitting tons? We were catching good quality fish all day.

Cove

We launched our boat at 7 a.m. and within minutes we discovered the cove. We only went in to see what it looked like, but one cast and one fish later and we knew that the plan was out the window. We caught so many pickerel that we lost count, but the thing that amazed us was the number of large pickerel in the cove.

At Noon we  stopped to have lunch at an abandoned camp site that we found in the woods. We took half an hour to eat and then it was back to the water. P1010976In the first half of the day we found that the Pickerel were in the shallow to 3′ depth of water, hiding in the weeds. A slow jerky retrieve produced the hits that convinced us that fishing the cove was a good idea. After lunch though we discovered that the larger Pickerel had moved into the deeper channel in the middle where the weeds were sparse. We changed to a faster and smoother retrieve which really seem to excite the Pickerel into attacking and we were able to land half a dozen good size fish each. Let me tell you, these Pickerel really put up one heck of a fight. What made this day even more special was that we were able to just have a fun time with no one worrying about how many fish they caught or how big they were. Even though we caught plenty of big fish.

I was using my general purpose fishing rod with six pound test and I switched my bait between the Sweet tater pie and the watermelon Shim-e-stik. SK Sweet TaterShim-e-stik 2My brother and nephew were using the ever popular white twirl tail grub in various lengths up to 3″ and as you can tell from the photos, they were all working really well.

If you have the opportunity to try this cove I would highly recommend it.

Tight lines, The Amateur Angler

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4th of July fishing fireworks

Ok, so this fourth was a wet rainy day that required us to don our rain gear on numerous occasions. At times the rain came down so hard that we had to bail out the boat. Click the photos to see them full size and you will see how hard the rain was coming down while we were fishing.

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Does pouring rain sound like a bad time to go fishing? Let me tell you that my brother, nephew and I thought the day was fantastic.

This time we went to Stumpfield Marsh in Henniker, NH. It started out fine, with no rain, even though it was cloudy. We got on the water and were catching fish immediately. We caught a few Pickerel, Bass, Crappie and of course the ever present Kibbie. There were a few other boats on the water, but when the downpours started, every one of them disappeared, leaving us three alone on the lake. Luckily the rain was not cold and the temperature of the day was in the eighties so we didn’t let a “little” rain spoil a great day of fishing.

During the morning, the rain was off an on, so we kept putting our rain gear on and taking it off, but rain or no, we continually caught fish.

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P1010847Here is why I entitled this post with this title. Everyone knows that on the fourth of July there is fireworks with explosions. Well, we had explosions while fishing this day. The explosions of fish bursting through the surface of the water. I’ll explain. All around the shore of Stumpfield marsh is a weed line. An area ranging from just a few feet to as much as twenty feet from shore that is covered with weed and lily pads. Seeing the weeds, my brother decided to use a lure called a Moss Mouse.

Moss MouseA Moss Mouse is a surface bait that is specially designed to go where normal lures cant. It is a weedless bait that just loves weeds and lily pads. My brother would cast the mouse right up against shore and then begin a very slow retrieve. He would lift his rod tip just a few inches to make the mouse crawl across the weeds and then he would wiggle the rod tip back and fourth to make the mouse vibrate. The resulting explosion of a fish breaking through the weeds to try and get the mouse was a most exhilarating and pulse increasing sight you could hope for. Imagine watching the mouse crawling towards you when without warning there is a great splash as weeds are pushed aside.

We didn’t catch many fish on the Moss Mouse because your instinct when you see the fish bursting through the weeds after your bait is to set the hook . The problem, as with most top water baits is that if you set the hook too soon then you will miss the fish. You actually have to wait a second or two after you see the explosion before you set the hook just to make sure the fish actually grabbed the bait. The excitement of watching the fireworks of the fish suddenly appearing and then having to wait a second to set the hook goes against your instinct but with a little practice you will soon be landing some nice fish.

If you don’t have Moss Mouse in your tackle box then I urge you to go get one and when you come across some weeds to use it. As always, bring a camera and good company and you will be sure to have a great day of fishing.

remember my motto… “good company + good fishing = great memories”.

Tight Lines, the Amateur Angler

Magic Morning

It took me a while to find the time to write a post, but here it is.

June 21,2014

P1010811Today my brother, nephew and I got up before the sun, grabbed our fishing gear and hit the road. Our plan was to once again hit the water of Umbagog Lake in Errol, NH and we couldn’t have been happier with our choice. The morning broke perfectly as we were launching our boat at 6 a.m.

Sure there was a bit of fog on the water which seems to be the norm on most cool mornings on the lake, but somehow the wispy fog and the unbroken quiet only made the morning seem that much better, more serene. It was almost a shame to disturb such a beautiful morning, but not so much as to deter us from our goal of the day which was catching fish.

At first, the bites were slow but as the fog was lifting, the bites were getting better and the fish were getting bigger.

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At noon, we pulled our boats over to one of the Umbagog Lake State Park’s remote sites and used the picnic table to cook our lunch. Half an hour later we were back to catching fish. The nice thing about Umbagog is that there are plenty of different species that you can catch. We took full advantage of this by trying to catch them all and I have to say that we had a blast.

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For those of you unfamiliar with Umbagog Lake, it is a 7,850 acre lake with the average depth being 15 feet and a maximum depth of 48 feet and it sits right on the border of NH and Maine which means you can fish the lake with a valid fishing license from either state.

Besides the fantastic fishing that can be found here, there is a NH State Park on the southern shore which has great RV and tent sites. Click these links if you want more information about camping at Umbagog Lake State Park http://www.nhstateparks.org/uploads/pdf/Umbagog-Lake_Camping-Info.pdf http://www.nhstateparks.org/uploads/pdf/Umbagog-Lake_Campground-Map.pdf.

Beside RV camping, there is something that is unique to Umbagog Lake State Park. This park has remote campsites that are only accessible from the water which are spread out over the lake. Click on the links below and you will be taken to the NH State website regarding Umbagog Lake State Park remote campsites.  http://www.nhstateparks.org/uploads/pdf/Umbagog-Lake-Remote_Camping-Info.pdf http://www.nhstateparks.org/uploads/pdf/Umbagog-Lake-Remote_Campground-Map.pdf

Is there a better way to spend a weekend, then to be at a remote site where you can fish all day and relax by the fire at night? If you want to have a great time out on the water then please go and try Umbagog Lake.

Tight Lines, the Amateur Angler.

Click on the link below to find out some interesting history of this wonderful Lake.  https://www.nhstateparks.org/uploads/pdf/Umbagog_Info-Sheet-all.pdf

 

Get on top for spring fishing

LayoutCalm water on a windless sunny day. You are looking at some submerged structure, nearby there is a culvert with overhanging shrubbery and there is a light foam film on the water. You cast your top water lure to the edge of the foam directly between the culvert and the submerged structure and slowly begin your retrieve. All of a sudden you see a wave come out of the shrubbery, coming across the water towards your lure. It gets closer and closer when suddenly there is an explosion of water around your bait as the fish bursts from the surface grabbing your lure. Your muscles tighten and your adrenaline is pumping as you try to keep yourself from yanking too early. You count 1001, 1002, and then you set the hook and the fight is on. This is the experience that my brother, nephew and I had this last Saturday as we fished Everett Lake in Weare, NH.

Everett Lake
When we arrived at the lake at 6 a.m. the surface of the water was so calm that it felt like a shame to disturb it. It was a little rainy at first and the bites were slow. We mainly caught a few small, Pickerel, Perch and Kibbies. The rain was coming down off and on and we found a nice pool created by a Beaver dam where we sat for an hour pulling in these little fish in abundance. It was tremendous fun…Kibbie1Pickerel1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…but once the sun came out and we started moving around the lake, the fishing got way better.

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Pickerel4I can’t convey well enough the excitement of seeing a fish come out of the water trying to grab your top water lure. If you want extreme fun, then I urge you to try out some top water baits. We were using the Heddon Torpedos. I had on the Bull Frog and my brother was using the Black Shiner,

Bull FrogBlack Shinerboth of which were catching some really nice fish with the largest being a 3.5 lb Bass. We used our general 7 ft. fishing rod with 6 lb. test line and on this day we would cast to sunken structure or overhanging shrub, use a short jerking retrieve and then the fun began as we could literally watch the wave as the fish came out of hiding and attacked our baits. The resulting dance of the fish once we set the hook made this trip worthwhile.

So get out there and get on top if you want the true excitement of spring fishing.

Tight Lines, the Amateur Angler.

Opening Day 2014 – Clough Pond, Louden, N.H.

Clough1April 26, 2014. Today is opening day for trout ponds here in N.H. and though at 6 a.m. it was not raining, today promised to be cold and drizzly. Trout anglers in N.H. are used to cold and drizzly when it comes to opening day though as this seems to be the norm. I don’t remember the last opening day that was warm and sunny. I’m not complaining mind you as this is the type of weather that brings back wonderful memories of opening days past, spent with my pop and brothers. Great times we had, the four of us fishing out of a ten foot jon-boat. Cramped, cold, wet, stiff from sitting for long hours, but making memories to last a lifetime. Those were good times with pop.

This opening day was like reliving those times only with a little less cramping into a boat. My brother and I were the only ones in the boat today so there was plenty of room. My nephew came too, but he has his own kayak that he likes to fish from. Today we decided to go to Clough Pond in Louden, N.H.

Clough2We arrived at the boat launch as 6 a.m. only to find that we were far from the first ones there. The parking lot was already full and there was at least 20 boats already on the water. The banks were lined with fishermen, women and children, all there for one reason only, Trout. The state routinely stocks trout into ponds and rivers throughout the season, but in Southern N.H. ponds are usually stocked for opening day.

We launched our boat and as you can see on the map we never got too far from the boat launch. We fished in the red circle which for us always seems to produce fish. There was a canoe nearby with a father and two sons fishing in the same area and though they were not with us I could not help but smile every time one of the boys hooked a fish. It warmed the heart to see the memories being built in front of me.

Out of the three of us, my nephew was the first to catch a fish, but it was not long before we each had one.

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Just to make things a little more interesting, I brought along my ice fishing rod. It’s only 26 inches long and doesn’t cast a long way, but being in a boat, I didn’t need it to. Let me tell you, that little rod was a lot of fun to catch fish with. When I hooked into a trout the rod bent way over and the fight of the fish on a small rod and light line was so much fun. All you have to do is look at the smile on my face to tell how much fun I had with this little rod.

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If you have the opportunity I would highly suggest to try your luck at Clough Pond and if you want a lot of fun, then try it with a small rod. Wal-mart is selling small rod and reel combos made by Zebco called Dock Demon and Dock Demon Deluxe. These little rods would be perfect for kids, and adults who want to add an extra component to their fishing day. The prices are very reasonable at $10 to $20 respectively. Go get one and have yourself a ball fishing.

Dock Demon Dock Demon Deluxe

Tight Lines, the Amateur Angler.

(as always, if you want to see a larger version of any picture, just click on it)

 

Ultimate Relaxation

Today is a sad day for me personally as it was just one year ago today that my pop passed away. Pop was the beginning of my love for fishing as his love for the outdoors was a lineage he left to myself and my brothers and sisters. Pop showed me that to be outdoors camping, hiking, fishing or even picnicking was the best way to relax and get away from the stresses that we face in our everyday lives. Pop was an expert when it came to relaxing in the outdoors.

When I was younger my mom and dad would pack us kids up and take us camping and there, pop displayed his ability to forget everything and relax. I remember watching him play horseshoes with complete strangers for hours on end and watching him you would swear he knew these people all his life. I can’t ever remember seeing pop stressed when he was outdoors.

One thing that is indelibly burned in my memory is the day pop took relaxing as far as he could. We were camping in Jefferson, NH and the campground was right on the Isreal River. The temperature that day started in the high seventies with the forecast calling for high nineties by mid day. Pop apparently figured this was a perfect day to relax and do some fishing. He asked me if I wanted to go and of course I jumped at the chance. You can imagine my surprise when he exited the trailer only wearing a bathing suit and carrying a towel.

I felt let down because I figured he changed his mind and decided on swimming instead, but pop grabbed his fishing gear, a small cooler and said let’s go. We got to the river where pop promptly walked out into the water with gear and cooler in hand, found a log in the water to which he tied the cooler, and then he sat down so the water was up to his chest and started fishing.

Of course I complained a little cause that’s not how you fish, to which he just said “it is if you want to relax while doing it”. I didn’t understand then the life lesson he was trying to teach me. I laughed at him and I began fishing while walking all over the place looking for good spots. Sure, I had fun, but by the end of our fishing I was tired, scratched from branches making my way around, hot and sweaty from my efforts, and I had apparently found myself a patch of poison ivy.

Pop? Pop stayed cool and comfortable all day sitting in his spot in the water. He had his cooler with snacks and drinks and was able to completely relax while staying cool on a hot day. To make things worse for me, pop had caught his limit of nice trout while I with all my physical effort only caught three.

It was only later in my life that pop’s lesson was finally understood by me. You don’t have traipse all over the place fishing if what you really need is to just sit back and relax. Sometimes the best day can be had by letting the fish come to you.

I love you pop. Pop

Tight lines, The Amateur Angler