The Journey To Serenity
The alarm clock rings at five in the morning, the sweet sound of music tickles the ears and then you are up and at it. For a trout fisherman who is eager to make the river, five o’clock is no big deal. The knowledge of that first fish gets you motivated like no other type I know of. The river is like a good old friend who welcomes you inside every time you step on its doorstep. That warm feeling of being home overwhelms you. Being away from home too long leaves you unsettled, but once you come home to the river, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you belong here! The fish are but just a bonus, like having a grand desert after a good meal.
Your heart begins to beat quicker and your fingers tingle with anticipation. The river has a way of bringing you that particular feeling. After a few moments your heart settles and you begin to breathe deeper inhaling that sweet fragrance of pine and cotton wood which overhang the banks of the river. The water is glowing with the first light of the sun touching the dancing pyramids that flow along the far bank. As you glance to your right a deer spooks and bounces through the foliage away from you into the rising sun. Vapor rises from the river as you unzip your back pack and fetch your first lure. Before you tie up you recess and take in the scenery, the city sure does not look this beautiful! Then you recommence your knot, synching it up tight to the split ring making sure to wet it before it closes firm. You check it and make sure you are good to go.
Once the lure is hurled, you loosen up and hone in on the line. You watch that line like a hawk and feel the lure pulsating in your hands. The lure then hits the bottom and quickly grabs your full attention. Just the bottom you think but wait that might be a fish. You stop the lure a few seconds and resume your retrieve, hoping to unite with that first fish but nothing happens. A few more casts in that location and no action. A short walk up the river bank to another location where you view a seam that cannot be passed up. The lure runs down the river bouncing over the shallow shelf and then into the deep water beside it. Sha-bang that first fish can’t resist; a brown trout surfaces before diving back down to the river bed to shake the lure out from its toothy jaws. Not this time as the fish is scooped up in the soft rubber net and carefully admired.
You have now found that sweet spot in the river as another fish has taken that bait. One after another you find victory. Finally after six fish have been landed the fish discontinue their feeding frenzy. It is wise to move along to another piece of real estate and investigate again. The hunter is on the prowl to find his prey. Knowing how to dissect a river is an important piece of the puzzle and an art form in itself. Once you know how to read water you will be rewarded with some colossal fish and your journey will be productive.
It does not really matter if you catch one fish or one hundred, you are home and home is where the heart is. You never want to leave and make sure you are never away for long. The fish seem to call you back. In all seasons and in all temperatures, no one can keep you away. The journey for serenity at last ends when you come home!
Interview with fishing funny man Dave Mercer at Calgary, Alberta’s Bass Pro Shop March 26 2011. Dave was kind enough to give his time to me and sit and chat about fishing and his television show. Watch as we share a few laughs and talk about sport fishing.
A Rainbow In The Sky
The old angler says to the young angler as they looked down watching the trout gather to feed above the riffle, “what do ya say we just mosey on down and catch all of them fish in that river”. The young angler is game and accepts the offer. They simultaneously cast out and reel in hoping to strike. The fish are fussy at first but eventually can’t resist the allure of that minnow. Pretty soon the young angler has a high flying rainbow trout. The fish is launching out toward the bright sun. The young angler fights as the old angler stands beside and observes the tussle. Soon the fish is under control as the young angler exerts every ounce of energy to land the fish. What did the young angler do to keep the launching rainbow trout on his barbless hook?
Many times when we hook a rainbow trout the fish goes airborne and gets off leaving us with that empty feeling. It’s especially frustrating when it’s the first fish of the day or the biggest one we have laid eyes on. How then do you keep that rainbow trout from getting off and getting the best of you?
Keeping constant pressure on that fish is part of the recipe for success. If your line goes slack for even a second that fish is gonzo. Examining your line closely will give you the advantage you need and keep your reaction time quick. When that fish goes airborne it is critical that you are able to reel fast and keep the fish on. Keeping the rod tip high in the air will keep a tight line and prevent escape. What you might also need to do is prevent that fish from flying out again after its initial breach. You will turn your rod tip to the side to keep the fish submerged in the water, further preventing the trout from making a second leap for freedom.
Hooks are a big part to keeping your fish on the line. There are different styles of hooks on the market that you can make barbless which give you a way better chance of keeping those high flying rainbows hooked up and locked on. The Triple Grip hook by Mustad features a unique bend that forces fish to hook elbow, making it virtually impossible to throw the hook, and an in-line hook eye point for 100% power with each hookset. Even though you are barbless, the bend in this hook will significantly increase your chances of keeping that feisty rainbow from throwing that hook. It is important to match the hook size with what was on the lure from factory. Many tackle companies tank test lures to make sure they run true and give the perfect wobble right out of the box. If you use a hook that is smaller or larger than that of the factory hook, it may throw off the balance of the lure making the lure work incorrectly.
In many cases there are just days where despite everything you use and try to keep your fish from escaping, they soar out and get off. That’s fishing friends and part of the sport! It is important to observe all rules while out fishing. Some rivers or lakes have a single barbless rule in place which means a single hook is to be used, no trebles and that single hook is to be barbless. Please read and obey all local fishing regulations. Obtain a copy of your local fishing regulations and study that guide. Make sure you comply with the rules.
Everything In Its Place
Back when I first started out fishing I carried around a tackle box which held all my fishing gear. The standard goodies were in this unwieldy chunk of plastic, you know the red and white bobbers, the old packages of snelled hooks that have never been opened, and don’t forget those old jigs that have seven years of dust and rust on them. When I opened this apparatus the foul stench of old maggot jars would burn every nose hair in my nostrils. The odd living fly would make its getaway and buzz by my face scaring me half to death. The hinges would groan barely opening and duct tape would fill the holes where there was once plastic. If I walked and fished the banks of a river, I would have to put the tackle box down every time I made a cast. Usually these tackle boxes were passed down from father to son, or from grandfather to grandson in my case. My grandfather’s tackle box became my tackle box after several years of cob webs while sitting idle in the garage.
I hit the water and opened the rusty handle of the box scrambling to get the mess of metal untangled and into the water. The decaying metal hooks would always find a way into my bulky fingers and foul words would exit my lips. I finally get to my favorite fishing hole and I’ve wasted my first hour of sunlight attempting to make use of what was once an organized smorgasbord of shiny new fish snacks waiting to be catapulted in front of the biggest Brown Trout I have yet to lay eyes on. I would lug this baby around on every fishing voyage with pride and made great use of it for many years, but one day it just blew up and fell apart right there on the water’s edge. I was upset after the blow out and a Brown Trout in the river saw me shed a few tears. Faintly I heard that trout whisper to me, “Just go get another box and quit your whining”. So off I went to the tackle shop to acquire a new box. I arrived and browsed the shelves like a kid does when he enters the candy store. My eyes wandered from side to side scanning the shelving like a hawk, look at that box and wow that’s cool too. I went up and down those two isles for at least thirty minutes before picking my new back pack and not a box. Welcome to the new world of tackle organization.
The fishing pro said he used a back pack and not one of those old boxes gramps handed me down. “But why a back pack” I asked the guy bewildered. He explained to me that I could hold numerous more pieces of tackle and keep it appropriately organized. Not only that, I could fish as I walked up the river not having to stop and drop the old box of plastic every time I made a cast. This would maximize my time on the water and increase my hook up rate he stated concisely. “It is perfect for all tackle sizes and shapes but you will need to buy some plastic tackle organizers to accompany the back pack”. Oh yes I need to spend more money now but pondering the thought of just putting the hooks directly into the back pack I opted to take his suggestion. I bought three plastic Plano tackle organizers which would suit the size of my fishing lures, paid for them and went home to get my tackle in order.
So let’s break it down! Today many tackle systems have removable dividers or removable utility trays for easy access and convenient storage to make locating your favorite lure quick and efficient. I will write on my trays as to what they hold. For example on each tray I write down what it contains to save time and get to my tackle fast and proficiently. A black permanent marker does this perfectly. I organize my lures as per the manufacturer of the lure. Rapala Countdowns go into one selected tray that holds six lures. Berkley’s into another tray. I organize by color patterns for less digging around and more fishing. Rapala Rainbow Trout patterns all go into one tray, Brown Trout Rapala’s go into another and so on. I go one step further and set out my tackle according to where I will be fishing the next day, what the weather is like or what season of the year it is. The more together you are the more hooks ups you will encounter. Lastly I make sure all my hooks are checked and the split rings are firmly planted onto the body of the lure. It’s always fun until someone loses a fish!
Everything has a place and everything in its place! Getting organized is cheep and affordable which makes fishing that much more productive and comfortable. Thanks to the World Wide Web you can shop before you buy to get the best deal possible.
Fishing Tips For The River In The Winter Months
Ice has formed on the River and when ice forms it adds new challenges into the fishing equation. Finding the right location to fish becomes ever more challenging. Ice has an affect on oxygen content in the river, sources of food, shelter for the fish and the tactics you use to fish. So where do you find the fish when the river is full of ice? Ice dams form in the river creating cover and shelter for the trout. On one side of the dam or the other, water is still able to flow past the dam. These areas of faster flow channel food particles that drift downriver and into a tight flow of water. Large browns and rainbows can often be found lurking just outside the flowing water eating the food particles as they pass by. When you spot these channels, it is often productive to fish the slack water below the ice dam. The open water below the dams are usually fairly close to the bottom of the river, so fish a lure that is going to stay fairly close to the riverbed and fish it slow with long pauses. Take note, when ice dams become too large fish will move away as the water flow becomes to fast which makes it hard for them to intercept their food or hold their position in the water.
Another good area to fish seems kind of unlikely but you will hook fish. Ice bergs or better described; large floating chunks of ice present catching opportunities to fishermen. The flow of large ice chunks dislodge invertebrates hiding in the river bed and offer the trout a higher than normal food source. Trout that gather around bases of floating icebergs are perfect targets for the winter fisherman. After the ice berg has passed your location, cast your spinner or crank bait out and drive it down close to the bottom. You can even let your spinner hit the bottom a few times and peel it off the river bed while slowly retrieving. The bottom is clean of weeds and debris so you should not snag up using this technique in the winter months. This tactic usually works well if the ice berg is drifting slowly down the river. If the ice is moving quickly or is accompanied by other pieces of broken ice around the berg, the trout will take cover and therefore this tactic should be changed.
Ice shelves are also a good place to find winter trout in the River. Ice shelves protect the trout from over head danger like predatory birds. When snow accumulates on the ice shelve, it acts as an insulator keeping the water below slightly warmer. As stated previously in this post, ice provides a habitat for invertebrates and a perfect food source for fish that seek shelter there. In the Bow River I have seen larva in abundance along these ice shelves. As the water levels rise and fall these larva are washed into the river. Look for trout near the edge of these shelves feeding on this larva. Cast your offering upriver close to the ledge, and keep your lure as close to the ledge as possible. Trout that are seeking cover under the ice will often come out and hammer your lure. When I fish close to the ledge, I keep my lure in the middle of the water column or near the top while fishing in these areas. It is also wise to carry a long handled net when fishing these areas so you do not have to venture out to the ledge and perhaps fall in. Nobody wants to get wet when it’s freezing cold out. Don’t let the ice and cooler temperatures deter you from fishing the River in the winter months, this is where you will see HUGE fish that are hungry for your lures. Be safe while fishing on or near ice and always fish with a friend or tell someone where you are going before hand.
Happy New Year To Everyone At Bounty Fishing!
I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I also hope Santa brought you all that you asked for. I am anxiously waiting for my gifts to arrive that I ordered myself from E-Bay. I have added a few new tools to my arsenal, a new fishing rod I bought for myself a few weeks back, The E-21 Carrot Stix I picked up off of E-Bay and a new reel to complement the rod. I choose the Shimano Stradic 5000. That’s dynamite in a package right there. There is a bait ban in my local river and no dynamite is allowed, so I have the next best thing. A Rapala, a Carrot Stix rod and a new Shimano reel. Bang, Bang I’m going to shoot out the lights this fishing season. Watch out for the guy with the orange rod folks! And let the trout’s beware, I’m coming to gettcha.
This past fishing season was a blast for me, numerous more clients as a result of hard work and the new water craft. I am humbled by the amount of visitors and great people I have met in my blogging journey at Bounty Fishing. I believe I can never discover enough about life and fishing as well. I look forward to 2011 which I know will be a great year for fishing!
I want to thank all the individuals who have commented on the Blog. I also want to show appreciation for the people who are loyal readers of the site. Thanks so much for allowing my articles to grace your computer screens on a regular basis. For that I am humbled and grateful. I would also like to thank my fellow bloggers out there who run some awesome fishing websites, I know first hand how much time and effort goes into writing and editing Blog posts, so my hat is off to you guys and gals. That to me is what makes the internet so cool, if you want to find something fishing related you can do so reasonably easily.
So here is to a happy and strong new year to you all. I hope you all will carry on reading the Blog, as it continues to grow and prosper.
Happy New Year!!!!
Todd and I decided we were going fishing. I hit the tackle store for a few of my favorite lures and was all set to fish the next day. I awoke to a chilly cloudy morning that was not looking favorable to fish the Bow River. After hitting the coffee shop and returning home for my gear, snow was starting to fall before I reached my doorstep. I sent Todd a quick text message saying, “Still wanna go fishin”. He replied “will see, meet me for breakfast”. As we were munching on eggs and toast, the snow was getting heaver and more fell. We finished up and headed down to Policeman’s Flats to take a look at the river. “Let’s do it” Todd says to me. I’m thinking “what are you nuts” and also thinking “this could be an awesome day for fishing”. We bundled up, and I mean bundled up and launched the boat into the ice cold water. We hit the gas and down the river we went.
My hands we cold and wet as the snow fell harder with every passing minute. It felt like it was minus ten but the thermometer said only zero. The wind made it seem colder as we were flying down the river eager to get to the first trout producing hole. Todd cut the gas and we were fishing finally. What the heck am I doing? My hands were cold but I was warm, so I fired my lure into the back and ripped the Rapala back toward the boat. Nothing! Then as we were drifting I fired that Rapala back into the bank. It did not take long and I was scrapping a twenty inch Bow River Rainbow Trout. Yes sir that was the first of many fish to come. It seemed like every hole we fished, we caught.
After twelve noon the weather broke off and the sun came out. It was as if the fishing Gods were smiling down upon us. We were just coming into one of my favorite holes and then the river came alive. We hammered two trout simultaneously and the first double header was underway. My fish slipped away but Todd was able to land his, a nice Rainbow Trout. Again and again we hooked and landed rainbows. Just goes to show you that you never know what to expect in a days fishing!
A snowy cold morning turned into one of the best fishing days I have had this season. It was as though the rainbows came alive as the water temperature dropped a few degrees. We could have burned back up the hill and left Policeman’s Flats to return to the warmth of our houses, wondering if we would have caught fish. Well I’m glad we decided to fish instead of wonder! Watch the video here and see the snow falling and the trout we landed!
The Smell Of Summer Is In The Air
The sun comes up over the horizon; the birds are a sweet sound to the ears early in the morning. The worms are squiggling out of the soggy cool soil after a clean spring rain. No need to dig for worms, they are all covering the lawn. The coffee pot clicks on and the shower fills the bathroom with moisture. The coffee is made and the first few sips go down so smooth. The fishing gear is ready and waiting at the front door and the mental check is complete. Rods, yep, hooks, yep, good to go. Then the mad dash for the river bank, there is no traffic at six am so the drive is a quick one. Then the heart starts pumping rapidly, adrenalin rushes though your veins as you walk to the fish. You know where they are and you’re prepped to get some reel screaming action. The hook is tied and you double check its strength in case a monster hits hard. Finally the first cast is launched and you’re in heaven.
Yes the sure delight of fishing, many do not fully comprehend. What’s so cool about a slippery fish, well until you catch the bug you will never entirely understand! For those of you who know, there is no need to clarify. The lure is probing, high and low, bottom to middle to top. The wait is excruciating until finally a hit, a glimpse of hope that you will catch and land one. Tap, tap and then BANG, a solid hook set and the battle ensues. From side to side fights the trout, tugging the rod as it pumps up and down, then the trout takes flight and you see it in all its glory, the silver bullet splashes down and then you pick up the slack taking back the line he stripped just moments ago. Wow you say as you try and catch your breath, then the moment arrives you have been waiting for; you get to touch him and gently remove the hook from his chops. Then you let him go back to where he came from, watching him with wonder.
Fishing is enjoyed by all, young and old. It is cheep to get into and it’s gratifying far beyond words. Many campfire stories are told about the big one landed, or the one that got away. Memories that will never be forgotten are made on the water all over the world. New world records are being broken month after month and angling just keeps getting more and more popular every year. For me, I think about catching fish almost every day. It’s that passion for the sport that keeps me on the river bank year after year. What keeps you coming back for more? I’d like to read your comments, feel free to add your comment here.
Just What The Doctor Prescribed
After working diligently to get all my work done this week, I packed my fishing tackle and my rod into the back of my car and headed off to finish the work week. Friday morning was looking really great to leave work early and sneak away to fish the Bow River. Just as a doctor would prescribe ointment for a rash, fishing scratches and heals all my itches. I left work early at ten thirty and drove thirty minutes to meet up with some trout.
I parked the car and got out. Burr, it was a little chilly so I got on my snow pants. I added an extra sweater for good measure as well, after all I am not leaving the river until I catch at least one fish. I tied up a Rapala Countdown and made sure the knot was going to hold if I caught a monster Trout. The knot broke the first time I tied it up, so I made extra sure the knot was solid the second time I tied it up. I am a little rusty but the clinch knot was perfect this time. I then put my back pack over my shoulders and make the short walk to the river bank. I fished my way upriver with no bites for the first five or ten minutes. I was looking for a deeper section of river as the countdown can run fairly deep. If you use a lure that runs deeper than the river, all you will catch is rocks, branches, and weeds.
I gingerly walked out onto the ice that has gathered on the bank and made my cast. I was able to almost cast all the way across the river, the ice was quite far out into the river in some spots. The lure was running true and clean when, tap, tap I feel the bite of a trout. I seen the fish swim back into the rock he was hiding behind. Even though I thought there were fish stacked in this area, I kept moving upriver to see what else was alive down there. Just a short distance upriver I finally hooked into a twenty inch Brown Trouton a Brown Trout Rapala. This guy was hungry and engulfed my offering. Then there came another slow period. I decided that instead of leaving the original hook on, I would change it to another Rapala of a different color. I feel some fishermen make the mistake of leaving their hook on too long when they are not catching fish. Today all it took was to change the color pattern and then I started slamming trout. I was using the same hook, it was the same size but I just changed the color.
After I switched hooks I made a long cast into a seam in the middle of the river. I could see there were some large rocks and I wanted to see what was hiding behind them. My cast was made just a metre in front of the spot I wanted to work my lure through. I was careful not to spook the fish from the splash of my lure. I clicked the bail over and reeled the lure making it swim erratically and fast, then BOOM a trout was hooked on and fighting hard. I reeled him in and to my surprise it was a chunky rainbow. I love rainbows! The very next cast was put almost to the exact same place the first cast went into, this time the lure dove down and I let it sit still, BANG another trout was hooked up. Back to back trout’s. This time it was a big brown that was rolling to get the hook out of his mouth. I managed to slowly reel him in to land him and what a beautiful looking fish. I released him back into the frigid water and wiped my hands off. It was getting windy by now and it was time to walk back downriver towards my vehicle. I was fishing all the way back downstream as the wind was howling behind my back.
As the wind was blowing strong my lure was going even farther out into the River than when I first started my day. I hooked the bottom; probably a tree or a large rock in the river and my hook broke off. “Oh well” I said and reached into the back pack for another. A different colour Rapala was selected. It’s a new color out this year. As I came to a deep small pocket of water, I flicked the lure into the drop point of the hole and slowly reeled the Rapala towards the deepest part of the hole. After the third try, what I left early from work for was pulling my lure hard. A twenty five inch Brown trout was getting the best of me. I loosened the drag on my reel as I could see this was no small fry. He then peeled out several yards of line before coming to a stop; quickly I picked up the lost line and brought him close to shore where I tailed him out and removed the Rapala from his tooth jaws. “Now that’s what I’m talking about” I said out loud. I saved the best for last today that’s for sure. Hopefully next week the weather is nice and I can get away again. What are you doing this week? Perhaps some trout fishing!
Fishing Rapala’s For Big Rainbows
My family and I decided to fish this Sunday that just passed. We floated the Bow River in search of Browns and Rainbows that occupy this river. It has taken me until today to write this post so sorry for the delay. I brought the movie camera along and my girlfriend was kind enough to be my camera woman for the day. I am planning a video series on fishing rivers with various types of fishing tackle being featured. A few weeks back was the practice run for this series of videos.
I am hoping to get the first two videos of the series filmed before the snow flies here in Alberta. As we locals know the time is ticking. The video above is me chucking a Brown Trout Rapala into the banks of the Bow River. The fish were going nuts for this proven lure from Rapala. The lure is a countdown CD-9 and has a very tight wobble which looks very life like to sport fish!
Please watch the video and share it with your friends!!!! Leave some feedback on the Blog as to what you would like to see featured, lures, spinners etc.
Click “Watch In High Quality” while on YouTube for a better viewing experience.