If those three words mentioned in the same sentence don't bring a big smile to your face then you must not have endured the same long winter I just did.
With the previous holiday weekend being a washout for me as far as fishing goes , I was itching to get back out and see if my smallmouth friends had developed a better appetite with the recent warm weather. My buddy Sean must have been on the same wavelength because it didn't take long for an answer when asked if he was up for another trip.
I took off Friday morning early and headed South again to meet up with him and Raz for a couple days of hucking streamers and drinking beer. We met up at the campground we were gonna stay at Friday night and set up the tents before loading the boat and hitting the water.
The weather was practically summer-like this time around , sunny skies and temperatures pushing 80 degrees called for a day of wet wading in sandals and cold beverages at regular intervals.
[url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1070998_zpseaedfd60.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1070998_zpseaedfd60.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080019_zpsc273d5fd.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080019_zpsc273d5fd.jpg[/img][/url]
It didn't take us long to find some willing players and we soon had the first fish of the day in the boat.
It was obvious to us right away that the fishing had turned the corner since we had been on the river two weeks prior , some of the smaller fish that we hadn't seen much of yet this year were actively chasing flies bigger than they were and the bigger guys were eating with a vengeance.
[url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080001_zpsba1a49c5.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080001_zpsba1a49c5.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080008_zpsb63eaef1.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080008_zpsb63eaef1.jpg[/img][/url]
It didn't take us long to figure out a pattern and before the day was even half over we were all smiles , well on our way to what both of us decided was our best smallie trip ever. That's not saying much considering both of our lack of smallmouth fishing experiences , but needless to say it was one hell of a day of fishing.
[url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080024_zpsb98e2b61.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080024_zpsb98e2b61.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080022_zpse7990faf.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080022_zpse7990faf.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080006_zps9d9954f6.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080006_zps9d9954f6.jpg[/img][/url]
While the fish might not have been huge , we caught good numbers of 15-17 inch fish that had some shoulders on them. Let's just say that the old 7-weight had a pretty good bend in it for a good part of the day.
[url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1070986_zps6f482034.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1070986_zps6f482034.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080009_zpsa0b267da.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080009_zpsa0b267da.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080011_zps4e57a26f.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080011_zps4e57a26f.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080026_zpsede93ce4.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080026_zpsede93ce4.jpg[/img][/url]
The sun was already setting over the surrounding hillsides as we pulled the boat up on the gravel at our campsite.
By the time we made the drive back upstream to pick up the trailer and got the boat loaded it was dark-thirty , no worries though. We had a big fire going which put off enough light for digging adult beverages out of the cooler and cooking up a quick dinner , which was just about the only activity we had on our mind for the rest of the night.
Saturday I woke up to the sound of thunder and raindrops hitting the rainfly on the tent , of course the rain wasn't predicted until the following day but who listens to weathermen anyway.
We hung around camp for an hour or so , drinking coffee and eating a nutritious breakfast with our good friend Little Debbie. After a quick check of the radar we decided that we'd seen the worst of it and the skies should be clearing out so we headed back up to our put-in for the day. We had some time constraints to deal with today so we opted to cut the previous days float in half and fish the lower section of river.
We'd both already decided that the weekend was a total success regardless of how todays fishing went , it's so seldom that everything holds out and you can repeat those kinds of days. Today it seemed like the fishing gods might be looking down on us though , less than a half hour into the float the sun was breaking out from behind the wall of clouds and the first smallie had decided to show up for breakfast.
For the remainder of the morning we picked up right where we had left off the day before , the fish seemed to have altered their hideouts just a little with the mornings overcast and rain but it didn't take long to figure them out again.
[url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080054_zps1fdc60fc.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080054_zps1fdc60fc.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080051_zpsce80a9e0.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080051_zpsce80a9e0.jpg[/img][/url]
It seemed as though the fish were in varying degrees of activity on this late Spring weekend. We saw lots of beds but I would say that 90% of them were empty. The occasional bed had a fish still hanging around but they had no interest in eating and we opted to leave those fish alone and focus on locating the post-spawn fish which were more actively feeding. That decision was made much easier by the willing number of fish holding in post-spawn locations and readily munching anything that crossed their path. The previous trips issue of fish not wanting to commit was definitely not a problem this weekend , they left no question as to their intentions this time.
[url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1070993_zps76d057b9.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1070993_zps76d057b9.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080056_zps191b3587.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080056_zps191b3587.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080053_zpsa4096aeb.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080053_zpsa4096aeb.jpg[/img][/url]
Fly selection was a no-brainer for us , large double decievers and murdich minnow type patterns in baitfish colors garnered the approval of enough fish that a change never seemed necessary.
We finished out the day Saturday with pretty much the same level of success as we had on Friday , good quality smallies anxious to play waiting around every corner.
[url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1070999_zps070ac1a5.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1070999_zps070ac1a5.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1070995_zpsd56208da.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1070995_zpsd56208da.jpg[/img][/url]
It was around 2:30 when we pulled the boat back up onto the same gravel bar as the night before. Sunburned , a little tired and smiles on all of our faces like the cat that just ate the canary!
[url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080057_zps4fb0316f.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080057_zps4fb0316f.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://s829.photobucket.com/user/Troutnut69/media/2013/P1080058_zps82b77cbf.jpg.html] [img]http://i829.photobucket.com/albums/zz215/Troutnut69/2013/P1080058_zps82b77cbf.jpg[/img][/url] :cool