Sunday, August 17, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


           Long time no post. Lots of school, work, taking care of an eight month old, and not a lot of fishing, I got tagged by Ed of FSA Custom rods and figured I would join in. I can't wait to see their videos, and I will post them. Funny thing is when I tagged Brookfield Angler I called him Nick Droumel instead of Doumel. Sorry Nick. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Dan

Donate here: http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kayak Fishing Off Montana De Oro.

         It was a busy week, but I got the paper due Sunday night on Friday and from reading the surf report I knew it was going to be an awesome day. My buddy Willy informed me he was going to fish from Spooner's Cove in Montan De Oro State Park with his father. Just to be there at 0600 I had to pack the truck the night before and head out at 0345. Along the way I ran into another member from www.Centralcoastkayakfishing.com and pulling up the the parking lot we could see the surf was mellow and it was going to be calm seas for us. I got on the water before Willy and his dad so I turned on the fishfinder and set up my rig. In about twenty feet of water I saw a fer rocks and a mark so I dropped down and caught a short lingcod. I let it go and shorty after Willy and his dad made it my way. As we were working our way out to the deeper reefs my fish finder died, so I sm not sure what structure, or depth I was fishing, but most of the botom felt rocky and the fish were biting.

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I was using a jigging iron with a soft plastic bait as a teaser, this little gopher could not resist the iron.

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This China rock fish was beautifully mottled 

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This kelp rock fish liked my poliminner

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Even with half its tail missing 

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I got my first double involving a lingcod 

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Caught a twenty inch cabezon 

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The vermilion seem to like the Poliminner as well 

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I ended up with a nice stringer 

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Willy making his landing

  RIMG0087_EWilly's stringer 

 RIMG0088_E His dad's stringer

RIMG0090_E My stringer

      It was nice getting out of the sweltering valley and feeling the cool coastal breeze. I wound up catching four ling cod, three cabezon, one red vermilion, one kelp rock fish, one treefish, seven gophers rockfish, and one China rock fish. I can't ask for much more. The other nice thing is I only lost one jig and used three soft plastic baits total. That is not a bad rate if you ask me. 

Thanks for reading,

Dan

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Great-Grandfather's Flies: Part II

          One of the few things I have of my great-grandfather's is his metal tackle box. There was the assortment of spoons you'd expect in a mid-western tackle box of the time, but my great-grandfather also fly fished. There were a few other strange flies, but I am not sure if they are flies or ice fishing lures.  What do you think?

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This could be a weighted fly or an ice fishing jig/spoon.

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Still shiny after all these years.

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Looks like a good Cheetos imitation to me.

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Whether they are flies or ice fishing lures I bet they were for pan fish. Shell-crackers love Cheetos.

Thanks for reading,

Dan

Read Part I Here: http://www.theimpracticalfishermen.com/2014/07/my-great-grandfathers-flies-part-1.html

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Quarter of a Million!

P8030561          When I started this Blog on the 1st of November 2011 I was growing sick of the drama on fishing forums and wanted somewhere I could share my love of fishing while not getting over shadowed by the high school poitics that always seems to infest fishing forums.  I wanted to call the blog the Practical Fisherman, but then I saw that was a book, webpage, and the title of a few videos, I so tried again. I figured I am not so practical and liked in honor of the InFishermen brand dubbed my new blog the Unpractical Fishermen...After I published it I got a funny feeling and looked it up and saw unpractical is not really a word. So I started the Impractable Fishermen...And realized I spelled it wrong , so I became The Impractical Fishermen. One thing this adventure has done for me is improve my writing and typing skills, but most of all it has allowed me to meet some excelent people who share the same love I do for the outdoors. I want to tank my blogging buddys (too many to list, and you know who you are), my family, and most of all my loving wife.

Thanks for reading,

Dan

Monday, July 14, 2014

We Got Some Water

A week ago Sunday the Kings finally got some rain. I just wish we got some before the bed dried up. There may be a few bass in there still...I hope. looks to be about two feet deep in the deep holes. Hopefully the fishing recovers soon.

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Thanks for reading (and all your kind thoughts),

Dan

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Great Grandfather's Flies: Part 1

        A few years ago I acquired my father's Grandfather's tackle box.  He also had a bamboo fly rod and old automatic fly reel my dad still has somewhere in storage. What is interesting is the flies he had. There was a lot of soft plastic flies in there. I had the idea in my head flies are feathers tied to hooks. There are plenty of guys out there who would agree with this and shun other material let alone--gasp--live bait. But I know from reading Hemingway live grasshoppers and crickets were common fly fishing baits so the idea of plastic flies make a little more sense to me now. If you have more information on what they are or where they might be from please let me know in the comments.

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These hoppers look pretty close to the real thing. 

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I can see a crappie or blue gill sucking this guy up. 

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Black Winged Ant

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White Winged ant With Red Head

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With the size of the hook, I'd say this guy was for bass. 

          I don't have many of these treasures in my possession. I never got to meet my great grandfather so this is all I have of him. These lures give me a greater appreciation for fly fishing and make me want to learn more about it. There are purists out there younger than these lures who claim they are not flies and using them is not fly fishing. I say if it is on a fly rod it is fly fishing. If it makes you mad hearing that I suggest you get off the internet, grab your gear, go fishing, and come back when you are calmed down. 

Thanks for reading,

Dan 
Read Part II Here: http://www.theimpracticalfishermen.com/2014/07/my-great-grandfathers-flies-part-ii.html

Read about the other stuff in the tackle box here:  http://www.theimpracticalfishermen.com/2012/11/my-great-grandfathers-tackle-box.html

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Free Fishing Days in California

If you have not bought a fishing licence or can not afford one you can still fish in California for free. Please follow regulations, have fun, clean up after yourselves, take a kid, and consider buying a licence in the future.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Kings Puddle is Drying up in Lemoore

Stopped by after work and there is even less water than I thought there would be. It seems like it is really starting to pick up.

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 I wonder when the main puddle under the Jackson Ave. bridge will finally dry up.

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Thanks for reading,

 Dan

Monday, June 16, 2014

Got a New Camera

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My old TG-310 Tough and my new WG-20 Ricoh
         My Olympus has been a great camera. It has survived many things you wouldn't want to try with normal cameras and lived up to its Tough name, but it was getting old. Last trip I made to the upper kings I tried to take a picture of a trout by holding the camera underwater. Sadly the fish swam away and I didn't get the shot. When I got home I tried to take one more picture and it would not focus. The lens was clouded with condensation, and that is a bad sign seeing as the lens is sealed. It won't be too long before water gets in and the camera fails. Its days are numbered.

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Caleb launching into Muddy Pond off the San Joaquin river
            I first saw it at Target and thought it looked pretty good. The reviews were good and even Kayak Kevin Whitley posted on Facebook he was looking at it. My wife noticed me drooling over it and took note. Being the lucky man with a good wife that I am I got this new camera to celebrate my very first Father's day. (I love my wife) She even made sure I got it in time to go fishing with my buddy on the San Joaquin out of Sycamore Island in Madera, Ca.

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Cattails on Muddy Pond
        The camera seems to take decent pictures. I did edit these a bit and crop them but I did not have to do much to make them pop. We only had a few hits all morning. I was set on fishing a mud-hole of a lake so after a few hours on the river and in the quarry ponds connected to it we moved into a shallow muddy pond and continued to get skunked.

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Cephalanthus occidentalis var. californicus – California Button-willow.
Saw some cool flowers I have never seen before. The camera seems to take good Macro shots. This shot turned out better than I expected seeing the kayak was moving as I was taking it.

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           I wish I took this shot before zooming and after. The digital zoom doesn't appear to suck too bad on this camera at all. I think this camera might just be a winner. Took bad the fish were tight lipped. It was a bad day for fishing but with the breeze great day to get out and enjoy the river.

Thanks for reading,
Dan

Thursday, June 5, 2014

This is Getting Depressing...Fish Kill on the Kings River

           The drought has really been cramping my style. When I first got out to California the Kings river in Lemoore was a honey hole. Tons of bass, the water was enough to cool your feet off in, and by just going around the bend I felt like I was a million miles away. The water stopped flowing and the river started dropping sometime last year and the fishing started sucking. They have let water down from time to time, but it is mostly a chain of puddles around Lemoore, California. The only thing I could see swimming around, and the water was no deeper than a foot anywhere, was carp so I figured I'd take out the 6wt and try my hand at fly fishing freshwater bonefish (as they are called).

          On the drive home today I stopped by my spot and was horrified...

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Nothing but stale water and dead fish
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Last spring John boats couldn't get under that bridge
There were a few fish circling but for the most part it does not look, or smell, good. There were tons of flies and the swallows were swarming them. Sadly it was not worth cleaning the gear to catch an over sized goldfish in this nasty water. I shot some footage to show just how bad it is. 



          So I guess that means no carp on the fly for me. Rumor is they are letting water down July twentieth, but I don't know what good that is going to do. I guess I will just have to figure out something new.

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One fish, two fish, dead fish, ew fish.
Thanks for reading,

Dan

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Simple and Quick Crawdad Modification


          When I first saw the Stankx Bait Co. NXT LvL Craw I thought it was missing something. The little guy looked more like Zoidberg from Futurama than a crayfish.  It shares the same problem many crayfish, crawdad, crawbug, yabbie, mudbug, or what ever you want to call them baits have. There is no antennae. The antennae are impotent organ to the crawfish. So to get a more realistic crayfish you just need to add your own.


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I used Peacock Herl, a needle, super glue, and a pair of scissors to modify my baits. Just thread the needle with the herl and stick it where the antennae go.

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Pull the herl until it is the length you want, then pull it a little shorter, cut, add a dab of glue and pull it back to the length you wanted it.

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It looks good on about any soft plastic crayfish body you can think of.

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I couldn't find a bait I didn't like it on.

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It makes the NXT LvL Craw look less like an alien and more like something that lives in a pond or stream.


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But it looks even better in the water.


On the craw-chunk the herl adds a subtle movement when the jig is at rest on the bottom.

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The hurl, while not being very durable, looks awesome in the water.




Once I showed Travis, owner/master bait pourer, he decided to add a little extra to all of his NXT LvL Craws.


          I know some of you may be thinking "Who is this guy saying he came up with this?" I am aware many people have done this in the past. About every crayfish fly you see has feelers on it. This is just one way to do it. There are many ways to modify baits and it is hard to come across something someone else hasn't already done, but it is not a common practice in bass fishing. I believe I even read the tip in a Bass Master article sometime in the past year about using monofiliment line to supplement antenna.

         I just hope this inspires a few people to do more than thread a bait on a hook, and hopefully it will mean another bass or two for them. I like how the peacock herl reflects light and sits weightless under water, but feel free to try other materials. Living rubber from the skirt of a old rusty jig would work, as would some braid fishing line. The options are only limited to what you have at your disposal.

Thanks for reading,

Dan

Get a NXT Lvl Craw here: http://www.stankxbaitco.com/product/lyv-craw/

Or check out more about Stankx on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/7569503109
https://www.facebook.com/groups/756950310984365/

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Leffingwell Fishing and my New Personal Best Rockfish

           I finally got the chance to head to the coast on Monday. The central coast rockfish opener was May 1st but there were still plenty of good fish to be had. My buddy Caleb got to my house at four AM and I wasn't ready. I couldn't find my camera anywhere, but after ten or fifteen minutes of searching I gave up. We hit the road and got to the launch at 0630, and by 0700 we were on the water. Just as we got into the water My buddy Will and his father showed up. I fished my hand tied dropper rig with a 4-oz holographic jigging iron as the weight and a watermelon green redflake colored Polli-minner with a 6/0 octopus hook. I fished a few bumps I saw on the fishfinder with no luck. We got into the kelp and Caleb hooked into the first fish, a gopher rockfish. A cast later I hooked into the largest rockfish I have caught to date.  
PB Rockfish
My personal best rockfish
It measured twenty inches and weighed in at almost six pounds. The best part was it hit on the polli-minner. Next fish was a twenty-three inch ling and a seventeen inch cabazon came after that. I ended up getting five ling cod (I kept one), five cabazon (I kept two), and three rockfish. The swell was about four feet at six or seven seconds, which felt almost like an amusement park ride at times, but the wind was calm enough to bare it.  

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The haul
It was great to get out and I had a great time. Will caught a few fish, Caleb caught a few fish, and Will's dad went home with a ling and a cabazon. So all around we had a great day. We were off the water by eleven. I caught a few of my fish while wearing Caleb's GoPro so hopefully I will cut the footage and get that up soon.

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Will's dad with his catch
I have caught more fish but the quality of fish I caught Monday was higher than I have caught in a while. I really needed a day like that on the water. Plus I got to bring home a lot of tasty fish to my family. 

Thanks for reading, 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fly Fishing Below Pine Flat

DSC_0011_E        Fly fishing has been daunting for me. I just couldn't seem to get the hang of it. I also had problems meeting up with other fly fishermen. I have read a ton about fly fishing in books, magazines, and most of all the blogs in my blog roll, but it still didn't feel right. I caught my first fish on the fly in Illinois right after I got the pole and only took it out once since. It has been over two years since I tried to fish at Putah creek and got the skunk. Then Mark Kautz (Northern California Trout) emailed me and told me to bring my fly rod.

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Can you spot him? 
Mark gave me some coaching and really helped me stop over thinking what I was doing. In the end it is just a hook with some fibers, tied to a long string that you manipulate with a stick. We drove down to the spot and it looked good. There was no one there, but by the time we got our gear out two trucks pulled up. Seems like we happened on someone's secret spot.

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Mark about stepped on a poor trout in no more than six inches of water. There were a few rainbows cruising the boulders and at least one good sized brook trout. Word from one of the guys who came in after us was they just stocked. We tried dry flies, but the trout did not seem interested. After a while I realized if I was missing the spot to the left or the right I needed to turn my body.

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At least the scenery was good. The wind started to pick up so we ditched the fly gear and went to spinning reels. That didn't work so we Power baited up and hit the dam. People seemed to be packing up as we got there. It wasn't long before we were alone. Around eleven we called it a day.


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We may not have caught anything but I felt more confident in my skills and am thinking about wetting a fly line way more than I was before. Mark is a great guy, patient, and full of stories. He even waited for me while I took artsy shots of wild flowers, a true gentlemen.

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We made it back to the campsite and talked while we put the gear away, said our good byes and parted ways. It was getting hot and I wanted to go home, but there was something nagging me. A spot I found a while ago. A steep bank leading from the road to the river where there always seemed to be rising trout I could never seem to catch. I went down in my tennis shoes with nothing but my 4wt and a green woolly bugger.

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I found at least a sixth of a motor cycle down there. I am not sure if it was ditched on to get rid of stolen parts they did not need or just to get rid of it, but it was way too heavy for one guy to lug back up that steep, sorry excuse of a trail.

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The spot was even more beautiful than the last time I had been to it. The water was low and the fish were just swimming about the shallows and appeared to be feeding between the rocks. I tried to go for at least four of them but my little woolly bugger just wouldn't get down there. I tried to get a picture of the fish form out of the water, but between their green back camouflage and the glare of the water it was not happening. I scrambled back up the hill and went home to start on the "Honey-do" list.

Thanks for reading,

Dan.

Check out Mark's blog at http://www.northerncaliforniatrout.com/