Friday, June 8, 2012

99 Fishing Trips

I go fishing a lot. Every trip used to be a huge adventure; setting foot into the outdoors was a major production because of my unfamiliarity of it. Going to Busse and exploring the Amazon had a lot more in common to me than improvising over the chord changes to Cherokee at 300 beats per minute. That I could do. Since then, I've spent a great deal of my time outside. Many weeks I'll go fishing every day, sometimes more than once per day. A lot of these trips are quick and to the point, without much adventure or story to relate... But I do want to record some of the highlights of the past week or two- the parts I haven't yet posted. Here goes...

Claire and I went fishing on Lake Pleasant in Michigan (near Hillsdale); I caught a bunch of little bass, and hooked into one on her "last cast" real close to shore, but it threw the hook.

Walter and me on the way to Lake Pleasant
My father in law let me tag along with him to his golf club- while he golfed, I caught 10 awesome largemouth bass out of some golf course ponds. My first time fishing a golf course (with permission or otherwise)! 9 of the bass came on a Heddon Torpedo I found floating at Busse a while back. It was amazing; a landscaper driving by on a riding lawnmower gave me a tip to use something that floats and makes a lot of noise to land fish there, he'd been fishing there for many years. I tied on the Torpedo, cast it out, and the bass took swipes at it. I didn't even have to move it much, once it landed on the water usually three or four bass would come investigate, eventually smashing into the lure like a ton of bricks.

This one apparently swallowed a little animal...
Mouse? Muscrat? I'd never seen that before!
Probably the biggest of the day.. I don't usually put fish
on the ground, but this one fell. It was probably
a safer way to remove the treble hooks too
I've been looking for new ponds to fish; my go-to retention pond is almost entirely filled with weeds and a thick floating scum. The fish are still there, and they're still biting, but sometimes I want to use a crankbait! I "discovered" a new, tiny pond next to an office building. Surprisingly, it doesn't say "No Fishing." I pulled some fairly big green sunfish out of there on my trusty jig and twister.

Big ol' green sunfish- hit like a bass!
I went night fishing the other day, hoping to catch another one of the retention pond catfish. Something possessed me to use hotdogs as bait. The internet says you can do that, so I did. After tremendous difficulty casting without tossed the hotdogs off the hook and into the water, I finally managed to get a line in the water with a hotdog on it. While that stewed I tossed out some topwaters for bass, which got hits every so often. Nobody connected though; it wasn't all bad, as I got to watch the almost-full moon rise and try out my new headlamp with a red LED. Pretty sweet. When I was packing up, around 12:15am, when I went to reel in my hotdog line there was something connected- something big! After a pretty awesome but short fight, I saw exactly what I hoped to see. A big old (channel?) cat.

23" (channel) cat caught on hotdog!
I recently started a new job; it's fast-paced and exciting, I'm really enjoying it, and because I'm working from home my commute is substantially shorter. For the most part, when I close up shop in the "office" I head out for some fishing. Much of it has been local, especially in the morning and at lunch. When I'm not fishing, I've been making lures. I think I'm getting the hang of it now; I've probably made 15-20 wooden lures now. Some of them work great, some are complete failures.. but I learn from each one and use that experience on the next.

My copycat of a Heddon Torpedo, made out of cedar
This one got a lot of hits at night at the pond
Glow-in-the-dark firetiger crank made of balsa
That firetiger crankbait, which glows in the dark because I mixed green, yellow, and glow paint together, might be my most successful crank yet. I made a little video (and the music) of the lure in action.

And then yesterday morning, I caught a fish on it!

I carved it, painted it, fished it, and caught this fish with it
This one dives medium deep and has a nice wobble. So far
one fish has taken a swipe at it
Oh yeah, and I got a fish finder! It's a Hummingbird Piranhamax 160. So far I've taken it out twice, and I love it. It's great to find out what's beneath me. I took it on the yak to Busse, found some fish in some deep holes, but couldn't get them to connect. I also took it to a big local retention pond (not the retention pond) and discovered the whole pond is about 2-3 feet deep with a thick mud bottom.

Yesterday I hit the local pond with my new fly rod for about 10 minutes and saw tons of little bluegill hanging out in very shallow water. I caught about 5 or 6 of them in rapid succession; one I didn't even know I hooked and ended up back-casting it 20 feet away from the pond! It seemed fine when it swam away.

Last night I kayaked the big retention pond; didn't catch any fish but I did catch two bullfrogs mostly by accident. It seems they'll take anything! I considered keeping it after reading Dan the Impractical Fisherman's post about bullfrog legs, but read the season for them doesn't open until June 15. When the season opens, might I keep a frog or two and try some wild-caught frog legs? When the zombie apocalypse happens I might need to...

Whew, that was a lot of fishing trips. Last night marked my 99th fishing trip of the year. I've caught 111 fish of 13 different species in two different states while kayaking, wading, shore fishing, still fishing, and fly fishing, at pretty much all times of day, on live bait, grocery store items, and lures both store-bought and homemade.

I caught my first walleye a couple weeks ago. I even almost caught a fish with my bare hands! I think I've had a great fishing year so far; I've learned a whole lot, spent a bunch of time outside, and generally had a great time doing it.

Although I've learned a huge amount about fishing, the primary thing I've discovered out of all these trips is how much I like the outdoors. I like catching fish, but if I had to be inside to do it, I doubt I would have gone fishing 99 times this year.


  1. Great post! It is always a lot more rewarding catching a fish on tackle you made. Congrats! On those golf course ponds or any pond flooded with weeds try throwing a weedless frog across the top of the grass. Bass will come out of nowhere and chow down. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Brian! It's definitely rewarding, and I learn a lot doing it. Yeah- I would have thrown a scum frog or something, but for some reason I left all my topwaters at home except the heddon. Thanks for commenting!


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