The Flying Kayak

Hunting, Fishing, Rambling, and Complete Outdoor Hilarity

Month: June 2012

Topwater Explosions

Worms wouldn’t work. Neither would spinner baits or practically anything else in the tackle box. A storm from was rolling in. The wind died and the water slicked off.

Late in the evening, as a last ditch effort to catch a fish, an old reliable topwater lure was thrown around some stumps…

“Now I’d just love to see one of those big 8 pounders come up and annihilate this lure”

Ask and you shall receive…on the very next cast.

Biggest bass yet and the topwater explosion was enough to make your heart skip a beat. More soon to come from this lake! 

Hog Hunting with the Recurve Bow

Now that our darting season is over for my job, we’re stuck monitoring does for possible births. This is done twice a day and only takes about an hour and a half to complete. This means that I have the rest of the day to burn.

I recently brought an old Redwing Hunter recurve bow with me out to one of the plantations with the hopes of taking a hog with it. I practiced often until I was comfortable at a range of 15-20 yards. Then I set out to stick a pig. There are two other technicians that work with me on this deer study and we each take a week long turn at this particular quail plantation. The way I saw it, I had at least 6 solid days of pig hunting ahead of me.

The first day I set out to walk along the Ochlocknee river bottom. It seemed that walk hunting would be the best method due to the hot weather. The pigs were unlikely to be moving during the day and taking a shot with a bow out of a tree at night seemed next to impossible. So I parked the Jeep as close as I could to the river bottom, and began walking.

Even though temperatures were jumping up into the 90’s, it was quite cool along the edge of the river. With an added breeze, it was downright comfortable to walk in. I’ve walk hunted before with my compound bow and though it’s light, it isn’t nearly as light as my recurve. I almost forgot I was carrying a bow several times during the hunt.

After walking for about 45 minutes, I came to a large bluff and behind it, the Ochlocknee.

I took a seat and just relaxed for a while. It was bizarrely peaceful along the edge of the river and for a while, I was perfectly content to just sit there on its bank.

But I then remembered I was out to kill a pig and proceeded to go about doing so again. I found surprisingly little hog sign along the river’s edge. One wallow and some rooting was about the extent of it.

I walked for another hour or so and finally gave up. There was little sign to be seen and it was getting to be time to head back anyways. I turned and proceeded to walk out of the river bottom and up to the quail woods on the plantation. When I emerged into the quail woods I quickly realized I was horribly lost temporarily misplaced. By some miracle, I happened to find a road and followed it (even though I knew at that time it went in the complete wrong direction). It eventually circled around, met up with another road, and finally led to the road where the Jeep was parked. The entire loop was over 5 miles long and my feet were quite angry with me. Since it’s now summer, the snakes are out in full force. Rather than get snake bit miles from help, I opted to wear the snake boots that haven’t quite been broken in yet.

Luckily for me, the walk back wasn’t -too- terrible. The blackberries are beginning to ripen in this area and I filled a large portion of my time picking and eating blackberries along the way.

That night we had a doe give birth and we were out past 2 am looking for the little guy. Being completely exhausted and having a few nice blisters on my feet, I decided to skip pig hunting the next day. I did, after all, have another 4 days to kill one…right?

The next day I set out to walk some of the creek bottoms where we often see pigs at night. These areas looked much more promising as I soon found a lot of pig sign such as wallows and caked mud on trees.

Though I was nearly silent walking along the creeks, I never got close to a pig. I could have (on multiple occasions) killed a  doe with the recurve, but never any pigs. I chose different creek bottoms to walk along for the next three days and had the same result.

On the fifth day, with only one more full day of hunting ahead of me, I found myself walking along yet another creek bottom in search of pigs. I took a short leap to cross a small creek and proceeded to nearly hyper-extend my knee. I suffered a full ACL and meniscus tears back in highschool years ago. I then did it all over again a year after that. It was this bum knee that decided to get a little tweaked this particular day. Not wishing to blow it out yet again, or risk any further pain, I hiked back to the Jeep and called it a day.

Later that night, it poured rain and completely flooded many of the nearby creeks. My week of hog hunting was done anyway. I’m still puzzled as to exactly where the pigs go during the day. We haven’t been having much trouble finding them with the FLIR at night, but daytime is a completely different story. I intend to solve this riddle before the summer is over though.

Stalk hunting for pigs with the recurve bow is something I’ll definitely be trying again soon. It was surprisingly comfortable to walk along the creek bottoms and beat the hell out of sitting and waiting in a tree. Hopefully next time I can at least -see- some pigs and maybe even get close enough to loose an arrow. Only time will tell.

Note: I’m having trouble commenting back to people in my own comments section. I can see (and enjoy) everyone’s comments, but I’m having trouble saying anything back. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.

An Afternoon of Catching

“That’s why they call it fishing and not catching”

Boy. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that one, I’d be staring at an early retirement. Any chance to go out and fish is great…Don’t get me wrong…But sometimes I don’t want to go fishing. I want to go catching.

So I did just that.

On the plantations I work on, I’ve been given permission to fish under one constraint: I have to keep everything I catch. So when the urge to have a fish fry simply became too great, I drove down to one of the ponds and took advantage of the bedding bream.

Prior to this, I’d seen plently of bream beds scattered along the edges of lakes and ponds. But this was a first for me. The beds were practically stacked on top of one another and in them, were keeper Bluegill.

With the 3Wt and a bead head nymph in hand, I proceeded to go catching. Over the course of several minutes, I took approximately 40 casts and landed 20 keeper Bluegill.

The picture shows 19 fish, and that’s because I never keep the first Bluegill I catch. It’s simply bad luck to do so. But I won’t get into that with this post. That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms…Or bead head nymphs in this case.

For all 40 casts, I stood in one spot and never moved. Afterall, why change up spots when this one is working so well? At one point, I handed off the fly rod to a friend who prior to this outing, had never cast a fly rod before. He made five or six uneasy casts (after my God awful expert instructing), and proceeded to land his first three fish on the fly rod.

After the 20th fish was secure in the cooler, I took a step back and decided what to do. At this point, I was almost feeling bad about what I was doing. Fishing has never been this easy…much less fly fishing. But then again, I rememberd that hardly anyone ever fishes these ponds and those who do bass fish almost exclusively. It’s good for the pond to have a few big bream go missing. Had I wanted to, there’s no doubt in my mind that I could have sat there and reached my limit in under 2 hours.

But I’m -so- glad I quit when I did. When I made it back to the house, I was reminded why I practice catch and release so often. Cleaning fish is always my least favorite part of the fishing trip, and it doesn’t help that Bluegill have a nasty habit of reproducing once they’re thrown on ice. But the eternity taken to clean each fish is always worth it when it’s time for the fish fry.

I’ll certainly be going back to these ponds soon. The next time will probably be more of a fishing trip…But a catching trip was a nice change of pace.

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