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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A busy schedule combined with the post-spawn funk to make for a lackluster couple of weeks. That all changed earlier this week with the recent rainfall that bumped up the CFS across Central Ohio's rivers and streams. Got out on a couple of occasions last week both during the day and after dark. Water temperatures were between 60 and 66 depending on day or night. Color was stained with approximately 1 foot visibility. Swift to moderate current, but able to be waded if you were familiar with the area and had knowledge of the tricky spots. Conditions were too dangerous to explore new territory. And the bite? It was on!

First outing rendezvoused with Athens Smallmouth. I was looking for smallies but that's not what we found. Over a period of not much more than an hour there were 3 fish ohio saugeye landed between us, the largest being 25" (a new personal best). A fourth (20.75") would have qualified with a tail pinch (good on you brother for remaining honest; I would've rounded up). A smattering of other species were landed including needle nose gar and white bass.

Later in the week a solo outing yielded what I was looking for - a handful of bronzebacks. The largest, a nearly-17" specimen weighing in at 2.2lbs. Incidental bonus fish worth noting include a 5 lb.+ drum that took me for a ride once it got downstream (and down current) of me and a 20"+ channel cat.

All fish were taken on Joshy swims, red eye shad, or an x-rap. Hearing that rain pounding on the skylight this evening should bode well for river and stream fishing in a few days. Hopefully that tropical storm stays south of here and doesn't cause rivers to blow out.
 

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Better luck than I have had. I took my kayak up to the head of a pool and targeted some runs and eddies yesterday...caught two small bass (one smallmouth and one largemouth, oddly enough). Saw a gar, but was getting nothing but a ton of cotton for the most part. I just checked my local gauge and it will be a few days before I can hit it again.
 

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Nice running into you out there mike! That sure was a great night of fishing I won’t soon forget. Sometimes everything just aligns perfectly, right flow levels, right seasonal timing combined with the right presentations and bam it’s on! The saugeyes were locked on to those small jerkbaits coupled with a hard twitch-twitch retrieve. They were inhaling lures.
 

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Great job guys. Thanks for the report. If all goes well I hope to get out Tuesday and try a new stretch of creek.
 

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A busy schedule combined with the post-spawn funk to make for a lackluster couple of weeks. That all changed earlier this week with the recent rainfall that bumped up the CFS across Central Ohio's rivers and streams. Got out on a couple of occasions last week both during the day and after dark. Water temperatures were between 60 and 66 depending on day or night. Color was stained with approximately 1 foot visibility. Swift to moderate current, but able to be waded if you were familiar with the area and had knowledge of the tricky spots. Conditions were too dangerous to explore new territory. And the bite? It was on!

First outing rendezvoused with Athens Smallmouth. I was looking for smallies but that's not what we found. Over a period of not much more than an hour there were 3 fish ohio saugeye landed between us, the largest being 25" (a new personal best). A fourth (20.75") would have qualified with a tail pinch (good on you brother for remaining honest; I would've rounded up). A smattering of other species were landed including needle nose gar and white bass.

Later in the week a solo outing yielded what I was looking for - a handful of bronzebacks. The largest, a nearly-17" specimen weighing in at 2.2lbs. Incidental bonus fish worth noting include a 5 lb.+ drum that took me for a ride once it got downstream (and down current) of me and a 20"+ channel cat.

All fish were taken on Joshy swims, red eye shad, or an x-rap. Hearing that rain pounding on the skylight this evening should bode well for river and stream fishing in a few days. Hopefully that tropical storm stays south of here and doesn't cause rivers to blow out.
Bronze backs are heating up around my area too. Mostly using joshy’s and rebel craws.
 

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Nice update. Sounds like the flows are heating up for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
4-3-2-1.

Tonight’s is a story of four different species caught, three lures lost, two separate outings, and the search for one all-purpose fishing line with superior knot strength.

Let’s start with the first outing. I often carry a rod and reel in my vehicle along with a sling that has the essentials – a box of spinners, a few x-rap hard baits, and some Joshy swims. Today was such a day. With the unbelievably mild weather I made a stop on the way home from work at a convenient pull off that I pass by on my daily commute. The spot is decent, not great, but decent. I’ve not been out on moving water for a number of weeks. When I got to the spot I noticed the water level was way down from the last time I frequented this area. It was so low I was able to tip toe out on some rocks and get a better angle to cast upstream to the riffle-run that is known to produce best. Apart from being nearly Father’s Day, I often look forward to mid-June because it seems that is about when the top water bite turns on consistently. Sure, I may occasionally hook one on a popper or walking bait retrieved slow in May or even late-April, but those instances have always proved fleeting and unpredictable. However by about the third week in June the smallmouth are reliably caught on top water presentations. Thus, in addition to the essentials noted above I also had a handful of top water lures in the pack. Being my favorite way to fish I couldn’t resist tying on a popper to see if they would comply. I should add, while I pack an alternate pair of shoes for just such an occasion, I hit the water’s edge wearing the same casual office attire I wore to work – in the summer months that’s often chinos and a polo shirt. And so it was today. Put another way, I was in no position to go bushwhacking or over extend myself on the rocks. Too bad I didn't obey my own wisdom.

Once positioned out on the rocky outcropping I began fan casting from one bank to the other. I’m bombing the popper into the riffle, bringing it with the current into the run. After a number of casts with nothing more than a single swipe from what I presume was a rock bass, I try throwing down stream and bringing it against the current. Running short on time until I need to be home I swapped out for the whopper plopper to see if they are in the mood to chase. I tied on the 90 size and cast to the “V” where the riffle dumps into the head of the pool. Nothing. A second cast. Again, nothing. I tried mid-stream when it dawned on me I’m in perfect position to bring the lure over top of submerged structure discovered years ago while wading. It’s some rocky, snaggy stuff that will steal all but the most snag-less presentations. However, it can be covered from above. Just as I am bringing the 90 over top I finally see it and hear it all at once, that signature smack of the water’s surface as a ~13” smallmouth takes the bait under and makes a beeline downstream right toward me. Thinking I’ve cracked the code I make another cast to virtually the same spot and brought the lure over the submerged structure when almost in the exact location “Smack!”, and this one feels better… A Lot Better. As she’s bulldogging for the deep pool below the riffle I’m thinking to myself I am fortunate to be downstream of her or I would have been outmatched. She keeps digging but the current is working in my favor. After a brief tug of war I have her next to my perch on the rocks and I hoist her up. A beautiful smally. And big. The first thing I notice is the gaping mouth on this thing. It looks like it could have consumed the 13-incher I just tossed back. My admiration is cut short when I realize I’m in a precarious position. My perch is narrow and I have a feisty beast of a smallmouth on the end of the line tight as a banjo string that has my rod doubled over. Before I could lip her she thrashed. Not wanting to lose her I gently lower her onto the rock steps beneath where I'm standing. I slip and my foot goes into the drink. She thrashes again. I lunge to essentially jump on the fish and briefly grab her tail with my left hand. No sooner than I reach for the lure to try and unhook her she thrashes a third time, the knot breaks, and the fish jets off in a shallow eddy surrounded by rock on three sides presumably still with the $12 lure stuck in her mouth. I can see her wake in the twelve inch deep water as she searches for an escape. I ran back to shore trying to intercept her, slipping and dunking the other foot this time, but to no avail. She evaded capture. I have never landed a confirmed 20” smallmouth so I don’t want to oversell the size of this fish. However, based on the 18s I’ve caught this bruiser had to be 19+. Line snapped, ego bruised, and with shoes and socks thoroughly soaked I headed up the embankment to my car and drove home.

The early evening is the usual dinner with the wife and kids. I find time to mow the lawn that desperately needed taming after all this rain and afterward help put the kids to bed. All the while I can't rid my thoughts of the big one that got away so as soon as the kids are down for bed I headed back out for top water action after dark.

However I was soon disappointed. At a different spot I employed what I had learned from earlier; they wanted a faster moving lure. I started with a buzz bait. Zilch. I switched to another 90 series plopper. Nada. OK, let’s try sub-surface. I tied on an X-rap and get to work. Fewer than a dozen casts in and the line goes heavy. Then it started tugging. It feels strong. Maybe too strong as I’m positioned upstream and the current is not going to aid me this time. I tried to keep the line taut while attempting to walk downstream and at least position perpendicular when the fish makes one solid run, jerking the rod tip down parallel with the ground and “pop” I’m out my second lure of the day. I never did get a look at it. It did not feel like the unrelenting diesel pull of a shovelhead. It was more fits and spurts. But when it surged there was definite power behind it.

Out of an X-rap I searched for something similar and tried again. This time with a chartreuse square bill. And rather than allow the fish to get downstream I waded to a position that allowed me to attack the hole from downstream. Skirting the lure across the bottom and careening it off of rocks when it suddenly stops. For a brief moment I think the lure might be snagged under a rock. That is until it started moving. Standing in mid-stream with moderate current coming toward me I’m well positioned to land this one. All I needed to do is keep her up in the water column to avoid getting cut off in the rock below. As I lifted the rod tip high and flicked on my headlamp I see the glowing eyes and leopard pattern of a saugeye. As I walk closer to her and reel her closer to me at the same time I realize it’s a very good sized saug fish. With her mouth lifted out of the water I reached for the lip grips and officially had my prize – a 21.5” Fish Ohio qualifier, and the third FO saug this year (odd for someone who does not target the damn things). After a few pictures she was nursed back to health and left to end up on someone else’s stringer.

Going back to work in much the same manner the action never really resumed. I decided it’s time to move on to another location. Still using the same square bill I found another promising rocky bottom section nearby. Working the lure perpendicular to the current a fat 16” bucket mouth took the bait. After a few jumps I grabbed her by the lip. A quick picture and measure revealed it was a plump 2.3 lbs. A few more casts from a different angle finally returned what I was after all along, a smallmouth. And he was an aerial acrobat jumping three times before I could secure him on shore. Another quick picture and measure suggested a 14-15” specimen. It’s getting late at this point and after a number of last casts I find a crappie of all things was fooled by the profile of hard plastic. My final cast was a lazy lob to a visible seam. I wasn’t expecting much when something swiped at it in less than a foot of water, six feet from where I was standing . At first thinking I hooked a branch a small bass or something tail walked left to right and just then the lure popped free. Problem is that wasn’t the only thing to pop. So did the knot and the lucky square bill went flying over my shoulder down current for someone else to find another day.

While it was a fun couple of outings characterized by multiple species it is getting expensive replacing all of the hard baits. My daily driver is spooled with 10 lb P-Line Flouroclear and I secure my lures with a palomar knot. After tonight I’m ready to try something else that doesn’t break as easily. Can anyone recommend an all-purpose line with better knot strength. Seeing that it is top water season it seems traditional (sinking) fluorocarbon might not be the best approach. And while I’m comfortable with a baitcaster I fish at night and therefore am not immune to the occasional backlash so I’m reluctant to go with braid. I guess that leaves mono. What’s the best mono for knot strength?
 

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Nice work and persistence! I like P-line as well and haven't had too many experiences of break-offs. That being said I carry one rod rigged with braid and the other my mono rig.
 

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4-3-2-1.


While it was a fun couple of outings characterized by multiple species it is getting expensive replacing all of the hard baits. My daily driver is spooled with 10 lb P-Line Flouroclear and I secure my lures with a palomar knot. After tonight I’m ready to try something else that doesn’t break as easily. Can anyone recommend an all-purpose line with better knot strength. Seeing that it is top water season it seems traditional (sinking) fluorocarbon might not be the best approach. And while I’m comfortable with a baitcaster I fish at night and therefore am not immune to the occasional backlash so I’m reluctant to go with braid. I guess that leaves mono. What’s the best mono for knot strength?
Rip, I had 8 lb P-Line on one of mine and got so frustrated with the constant breaks that I took it all off. I have one entire spool that I have yet to use and probably will not. On Monday at Kiser, I had a Lunkerhunt frog, a KVD 2.5 squarebill, and a Rattle-Trap all come off on the cast--the frog landed somewhere on the ground behind us and I could not find it; my son said he saw the KVD floating (as did I), but something crashed at it and it did not come back up. Add to this later that day at a local pond I had a largemouth all the way to my feet--one I'd estimate in the 20" range--and snap (the lure resurfaced about 5 minutes later, I retrieved it, tied it on...and had it happen again, albeit with a smaller fish, next cast...happened 3 times). I've done palomar, clinch, double clinch...no luck with this line.

I have not been able to fish the creek for some time. It's been very muddy and as of yesterday in a spot that is normally around 2.5 feet, it was nearly 8. I've also caught more saugeye this year than smallmouth (one spot seems to hold them), no FO ones, but one really close at 20". Heck, at Kiser fishing for largemouth produced a couple of yellow perch on bass minnows (including one that was 12.5").
 

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Very nice catches Mike. Not kewl on your loses on the lures, but sounds like plenty of action.

I stop using FlouroCarbon as primary line couple years ago (stopped using mono as primary several years back). I primarily stick to braid but use FlouroCarbon as needed (as deemed necessary); when i tie a hook to the FlouroCarbon (FC Sniper) i use an "improved clinch knot". This has worked years for me (i use it for line types) - only time i encountered an issue was when I tried using it for NanoFil (too slick and kept losing lures).
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
The late afternoon rain interrupted my plans to mow the lawn after work and the kids were exceptionally ornery today so we put them to bed early. Once the last shower rolled through and finished by 8 I was staring outside with nothing to do and 90 minutes of daylight remaining. Naturally I decided my time was best spent wetting a line. I hit a local flow around 8:30 and tried a spot where a large smallmouth had come unbuttoned not more than a week ago. Upon arrival I discovered the water was up at least a foot, maybe two and the color of coffee with cream. I threw the noisiest top water I could find and no luck. Questioning if subsurface was what they wanted I tied on a 3/8 oz white Colorado blade spinner with a 4" paddle tail trailer - indeed a large profile with plenty of thump. After fifteen minutes of fan casting and nothing to show for it I headed back to the truck to try another location. Upon arrival the water was similarly elevated but somewhat clearer. Searching ensued with the same Colorado spinner and apart from a few temporary snags on underlying rocks that momentarily fooled me there was nothing so much as a bump. With the sun setting and yielding to a waxing gibbous moon and fog rising off the water's surface it was a surreal setting. It also seemed as good a time as any other to switch lures. If they weren't going to strike out of hunger I thought maybe they could be enticed into a reaction strike and opted for a square bill. Wading up stream and working rocky areas I was plagued by snags that forced me to wade out and free the lures surely scaring whatever may have been in the holes. The march upstream wasn't entirely fruitless. Along the way I had three fish come unbuttoned before finally achieving a modicum of success. Though it wasn't what I was after I was happy to land anything after two hours of work. The (estimated) 19" saugeye below hit on an erratic retrieve of fast, pause, slow. Unfortunately I didn't realize I left my grips on the boat from a weekend outing so pardon the hand in the pic. The only way I could think to unhook the fish was by lifting it by the gill plate. Subsequent casts yielded a small drum and not much else. Hoping that the faster current predictably concentrates them behind cover but need to wait until water visibility improves.

PS: went with a Berkley Trilene knot and no break offs this time out.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Got out before the rain hit and found this dink. Hit on about the fiftieth cast of the prop bait. Water was still quite stained, not exactly chocolate milk but close. My question for the group is whether you've had much success with top water when water clarity is low? Under poor clarity conditions is top water more or less successful or about the same as under normal conditions in your experience?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Was able to make it out for a couple daytime excursions on area flows. The first outing resulted in a bevy of big mouth bass. I can't recall the last time so many green bass were caught from flowing water. Must've lipped seven or so in three hours. Two best are shown below. They seemed to hit just about everything. Soft plastics, swims, and hard baits. Found them in the usual places - seams and up against rock structure. Also landed a crappie and foul hooked a sucker and a dink smallmouth (fry size).

Another outing yielded more smallmouth and no largemouth. Largest was just 16 inches (2.4lbs) but was hands down the feistiest bronzeback of the year. Immediately upon setting the hook it went airborne. In the subsequent thirty feet of battling to bring it back to me it took flight four more times. Thankfully it was the mother of all hooksets right in the corner of the mouth. I actually broke the hook shank trying to remove it and ultimately removed the hook in two pieces. Anything less than a superb hookset and this warrior likely would have shaken off. Fun fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Started the holiday off the right way. Promptly following an early dismissal I traded work clothes for waders and hit a local flow from 2:30-5:00. Hotter than hell but so was the fishing. Waded a familiar one mile stretch. Worked a stick bait going upstream and top water on the way down. Caught eight altogether. Nine if you include the foul hooked drum. Most were dinks and only one smallmouth out of the bunch (not sure what's up with the uptick in numbers of green bass lately). Bigger fish came on the stick bait. Smaller ones on the top water. Almost all were found in the shade, in seams or calm pools. Three best are shown below.
 

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Not trying to start anything here but I dearly love my stream bass, any fish for that matter. Let’s take extra precautions to make sure they survive after the battle. Laying fish on the ground just so we can get a pic to brag isn’t very ethical in my opinion. See it happen on here all the time. If returning a fish to the water take a pic holding it in the air then immediately release it back. Studies have shown a good percentage of these fish die from improper handling. Very nice bass my friend but think of getting them directly back into the water and not just your ego.
 

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Started the holiday off the right way. Promptly following an early dismissal I traded work clothes for waders and hit a local flow from 2:30-5:00. Hotter than hell but so was the fishing. Waded a familiar one mile stretch. Worked a stick bait going upstream and top water on the way down. Caught eight altogether. Nine if you include the foul hooked drum. Most were dinks and only one smallmouth out of the bunch (not sure what's up with the uptick in numbers of green bass lately). Bigger fish came on the stick bait. Smaller ones on the top water. Almost all were found in the shade, in seams or calm pools. Three best are shown below.
I was going to go, but my first spot was occupied and when I went to the second spot...it was so muddy that I had no confidence. I've realized that I'm not as versatile as I'd like to think. Of course, I should have tried, but instead, I went to the store, will be sorting baseball cards, reading, and studying for this dadgum Property and Casualty Insurance state exam. Perhaps later, though. I'm just not confident on what to throw in this dirty water.
 

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Dirty water.....a few evenings ago I was tossing ZMan hula stickz, Neko style. I know, you'll always hear it's for clear water, sunny days. I guess the bass below can't read or didn't get the memo.

Heavyweight.JPG
 

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Oh, I know they CAN be caught in these conditions. I just haven't figured them out yet, but mostly, I have some serious obligations (until July 14th, hopefully!). I need to try more, but when the creek is up and muddy, I head to a pond.
 
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