Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We caught Kerry

    We got a late start.  It was 9:30 when the Nitro Z8 slipped off of the boat trailer and into the 65* waters of Kerr Lake (Buggs Island).  The sky was clear; only wispy cirrus clouds polluted the light blue sky.  With high hopes for the first major outing of the year, my dad and I skimmed off deeper into Bluestone Creek.
    The first fish, a stocky white perch, came to me from a clay bank on a spinnerbait while Da was trying to correct some technical problems with the Lowrance.
    We battled with the trolling motor all afternoon.  The first sign of malfunction came while we fished a small bay just off of the main creek.  No fish presented themselves, but bait abounded.
    An island in Bluestone attracted our attention.  A steep clay point extended into 17 feet of water with submerged brush.  Walking my spinnerbait down slowly, I hooked another fish--a solid 15 inch largemouth.  Several other fish came from the same island:  a striper and several white bass.
    Opting to stick to the pattern we had discovered, we left the island in search of more main-creek clay points, but with minimal results.  On a hunch, we stored all gear and moved to Grassy Creek.
    Grassy Creek offered some very enticing water.  Tons of submerged bushes and timber created plenty of cover for many different kinds of fish.  We fished through acres of wood for two hours, and landed several more white bass, largemouth, and crappie (including a 14-inch fish).
    Moving through a brushy channel, Da relinquished the trolling motor to my control.  Shortly after taking over, a hard hit stripped several feet of line from my reel, and sliced my six pound line cleanly.  My initial thought was that of a hefty striper; but I quickly realized that teeth had to have been involved to slice mono-filament as cleanly as it was.  After tying on another Rippleshad, I pointed the boat towards the opposite shore.  I hoped the shade would hold more fish than the sun-beaten water we were fishing.  Halfway across the channel, the inevitable happened--the trolling motor died.
    To give the motor time to cool down, we stowed the gear once again, and moved down Grassy Creek, towards the mouth.  We fished more brushy shoreline for twenty minutes, before setting an ultimatum on the point towards which we were advancing.  We both agreed that the island we fished earlier in the day was worth a second shot before sundown.
    As these thoughts rolled through our heads, my spinnerbait hit something solid.  Whatever it was, quickly flanked the boat, and pulled drag for several seconds.  In my mind, this was my 10-pound striper.  I felt head-shaking, and my heart raced.  As my opponent slowly relaxed, I prepared to see a silvery head on the surface.  When the fish did come to the surface, it wasn't a head that I saw, but a large, spotted tail.  Gar.
    Coming to the surface gave my quarry an adrenaline rush, which quickly translated into negative line on my reel.  After twenty minutes and several almost landings, we finally managed to lift the prehistoric fish from Buggs' mysterious waters.  Da took several pictures; and, after a quick measurement, I released the 44-inch fish in perfect condition (the hook puncture in its tail aside).
    After much excited conversation and Kerr Lake lake monster jokes, we stowed the gear once more and made a straight shot to "Goose Island" as we now call it.
    Arriving at the island, we started fishing the shaded, brushy side first.  We missed a few fish, but we soon connected.  This time, Da's lure struck a snag.  Ironically enough, this snag too sliced the water with 8-pound mono-filament, and refused to show itself.  A shorter fight than the last ensued, and we were soon laughing over a huge coincidence.  This time, when the gar surfaced, we noticed it was of much smaller size.  Yielding both camera and net, I managed to capture several good photographs and one nice fish.  I took pictures, and the fish was released in good condition.  The thought to measure this one never emerged but, looking back, probably would have stretched about 33 inches.

    Several more less bizarre fish were caught as we circumnavigated Goose Island.  I caught another largemouth and a small channel cat, and another white bass finalized our list of taco ingredients.  We finally stowed all the gear, simultaneously insincerely mourning a pitiable goose who was banished from his colony of Goose Island, and made the short run to the ramp with just a few minutes of daylight left.
    Overall, we had a good trip.  Several memories were made; for its not every day that you connect with two longnose gar.  Although we didn't put together a terribly heavy string of bass, hopefully we are on our way to success in many tournaments this year.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hands Free Video

It wasn't supposed to be windy today.  The cold front came early.  Regardless, I did manage to catch a few fish from the kayak; but the bite was slow and inconsistent, and I lost several trying to get them on film.  Of course, not a bad day, but the footage could have been much better.