Bass on the Fly

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I’ve had the topwater on the fly rod ‘bug’ lately, and got out on the river yesterday for several hours.

Every year I get out the fly rod around May and start chucking bugs at the bank. But this year has been different. The action, at least with the bream, has been non-stop. It’s fun having constant engagement with these fish when they are crushing bugs on top of the water. At times every cast is met with a greeting; even if not a full take…

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But yesterday there were tons of takes, and the bass came to play as well; especially as the final hours of light cast their long shadows and the sun neared bed for the day.

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I started out catching bream by the dozens, literally cast after cast. They were all stripped in, none big enough for a long enough run to get on the reel, but a ton of fun nonetheless.

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After an hour or so, the first bass took a popper…

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Then it was back to bream heaven…

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I decided around 6pm to paddle up to a set of rapids and boulders a good ways from the launch and rested a while. But it wasn’t long before I saw the clock hit 7pm and decided to start plugging the foamy areas in search of the largemouth bass. And I found them…finally a fish got on the reel…after a crushing take, I strip-set the bass and the fight was on…

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Such a fun day on the river…I think I’ll go again now!

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Jordan Lake Report

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Striped bass and white bass were chewing good on Jordan Lake this past weekend.

I didn’t have the highest of hopes for the fishing before this weekend arrived. Weather reports were clear blue-bird skies, with very little predicted cloud cover and HOT. Luckily, Saturday there were storms forming south and east of the lake throughout the day, so the pressure was moving… The large, multi-cloud-form goliaths hovered all day and loomed large late, but never drenched us. Lightning started coming from the thunderheads as we trailered the boat though.

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Captain Stu and I got on the lake around 3pm Saturday and started catching fish right off. We found a very big white bass, close to 16”, after finding good sonar marks in an area with light boat traffic. The fish hit so hard we thought it was a striper, but when we saw the tall profile as it came boatside, I yelled, “I’m having fish tacos for dinner!”

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We ran though the area a few more times, but it was still early, so without another taker we moved on. And we found fish again and again, literally everywhere we trolled the rest of the afternoon. Bait balls are already on the main lake….

We followed the fish from deeper water to shallower water as the evening wore on and though we caught a ton of nice white bass, a few perch and a really nice crappie, we only found one striped bass just short of a keeper. But it was still a nice fish and fight; Stu got the honor…

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We fished til near dark, and continued catching, it was an afternoon of chinese fire-drills for sure; multiple double and triple hookups resulting in the two of us working our tails off… Then finally, exhausted, we hit the ramp. I cleaned the fish once home and had fried fish by 10:30pm lol; long day; then I woke at 4:15am to go again with my friend and his girlfriend.

Well, we did have plans….good ones!

Dawn was beautiful…

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We had our kayaks in motion before dawn and started pulling hardware before the sun was up. And we started catching fish right off. Stripers, white bass, crappie, catfish and perch attacked our lures the entire time we fished, and like the day prior, literally everywhere we fished.

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All the stripers were short, though we landed maybe 20 between the three of us. Then there were the white bass, which we caught a ton of. And although we all caught near citation specimens, Erin caught the biggest. This fish had to be 2 pounds and close to 16 or 17”. She fought it a good while, so it gave me time to cruise over to her and snap a few shots. (Below & feature photo)

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Her man was busy racking up numbers as well; he landed at least 3 in the 15” range. Perhaps the new regs on the white bass are working, I’ve noted bigger fish per catch the last 2 years, and this was the first time in a while I’ve had a couple days catching the numbers we did.

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After fishing the majority of the morning in fairly shallow water, we followed the fish to deeper water and caught them in a variety of ways; mostly trolling though. We used crankbaits, sassy shads, bucktails and spinner baits and hooked up at pretty fast speeds; luckily our adrenaline was pumping!

We released every single one of the critters, and after the crowds and the heat started up just before noon, we hit the ramp and split. Pretty good weekend.

2018 Spring Fishing Report

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The fishing on area lakes is finally starting to heat up.

I’ve hit Falls, Jordan and Gaston lakes over the last few weeks, and here is what I’ve found.

Falls Lake was still slightly stained from recent rains a couple weeks ago. I launched mid-lake and found white bass feeding right off in 15 feet of water. They were taking small inline spinners trolled slowly across points and humps. Catfish and perch were also taken off submerged trees with metal spoons in similar water depths.

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Gaston Lake was slow, as water temps there were struggling to rise. Stripers were non-existant at the mid lake level and all reports indicate the fish are still in the northern extents of the lake on spanwing grounds. Anglers have had success trolling live shad, very slowly, as well as bucktails early and late. Water flow, as usual, is key there in the waters leading to the back of Kerr Lake dam.

I hit Jordan Lake yesterday, on the last day of April, and found striped bass, white perch, castfish and crappie feeding fairly well. The fish hit trolled crankbaits, sassy shads on jigheads, and small metal spoons jigged vertically.

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The fish were staging in 15-20 feet of water, but there were some moving around a bit. I found no fish feeding shallow that day, but bass anglers have been hitting the flooded banks, and flipping soft plastics with success. Crappie are also being taken shallow, but mine hit a fairly large Bomber crankbait in deeper water.

So, the fishing isn’t white hot yet, but with temperatures hitting close to 90 later this week, I’d say it’s about to pop off. This weekend should be fantastic, wherever you decide to venture.

 

 

More Cedar Scrimshaws

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I’ve had two more cedar scrimshaw commissions of late.

This one was ordered for someone’s dear friend whom lives in the North Carolina mountains. It’s another hummingbird with a hybrid rhododendron. I figured the flower should represent a local blooming evergreen for the client.

I had fun playing with the colors on this one, and felt like I captured the iridescence of the hummingbird’s feathers better than I have previously.

Then, I had another barred owl to do. Again, I opted for the rhododendron to complete the composition. I really like this one.

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Scrimshaws at Seagrove Pottery

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A very special commissioned piece

I recently made an agreement with Seagrove Pottery in Cary, NC to sell my cedar scrimshaws.

Seagrove Pottery is a very unique place to shop. They have a colorful assortment of pottery in many forms, but they also feature a few local artists and their crafts. So I’m thrilled to be able to join in with such a fantastic group of people.

I took them some cedar coasters, which a good friend inspired me to try out, and a hummingbird, which my girlfriend first inspired me to try. They loved the creations and asked I do a bunch more. So I obliged and got busy.

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Then, a few flower pieces. The first is Plumeria, and the second is a Dogwood.

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And they wanted a few cardinals…

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And finally, a lone Hibiscus…

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So if you’re looking for original pieces of pottery, or any kind of special gifts, including birdhouses, hummingbird houses, walking canes, or a variety of original artwork, go check out the collection at Seagrove Pottery. They are located in Saltbox Village in Cary North Caroliona at 1267 Kildaire farm Road, Cary NC 27511.

 

 

My First Book is Ready for Pre-order!!

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So after two years of work, my first book is ready for pre-order!!

Waldorf Publishing picked me up a couple years ago, and after two years of editing, marketing tasks, securing endorsements, etc., the title is up on their site and available for pre-order.

I am beyond excited to be able to make this announcement, and want to thank any and all who have helped me make this possible!!

Here is the link!!

Aside From the Harvest

My Gun Perspective

I was 14 and worked at Little Caesars in Cary. The city was on Forbes best and safest city to live in that year, and ridiculously high up there; at least to me it seemed. I had finished all my closing duties and was sitting on the cutting tables waiting for 10:30. That was closing time. Only one other person was with me, the manager, she was in her 40’s, and she was involved with paperwork.

Probably around 10, I saw two guys, all in black, walk by the store quickly, left to right; I’ll never forget it. They didn’t have masks on yet. When they ran back around the corner, and straight into the store, they were in black from head-to-toe. I remembered they were both young and white.

One stood just after entering pointing a gun at my face, the other jumped the counter and made for the register, but it had already been cleared of all but a few bucks. Something happened in those moments though that completely changed my life; something that told me something about myself. I heard his keys hit the floor when he jumped the counter. They had their driver park behind the store, and took the car keys; they didn’t trust she would remain, I suppose.

I was present at 14. I already knew what I would do if I was alive when they exited that store. Can you imagine? The athletic fella was unhappy the register was near-empty and asked for the safe to be opened, but we told him we’d already made the deposit, but we’d open it. He panicked. I could see it in his face he knew he had to get out. He was terrified. Then he scared us to death. He made Robin and I lie face down on the floor. He put that pistol in the back of my head and shoved it a bit. I remember my teeth hitting the floor lightly. He wasn’t so tough after all. But I’ll never forget that either. Then, he said, “if either one of you get up, I’ll kill both of you” then he ran out like a coward.

As God is my witness, I followed his coward ass out, and locked that door behind him, without thought, I just knew I had to. As I turned to get back to the phones, Robin was up and dialing 911, then he ran back up pointing the gun at me through the door as I was pivoting. I ran back behind the door to the back area and waited agonizing minutes for police to respond. It took a while too.

I decided after that I’d never be in that position again if I could help it. I know first hand it’s on you in these types of situations, and it always will be. Arming yourself can be especially empowering after living through something like that, of this I can assure you. It will change the way you view the world, and it will remove fear entirely.. After training, or just life experience with a gun, it becomes, ironically enough, just like your car, you become one with it and can use it safely without much situational thinking at all. However, I choose not to carry unless I’m going somewhere I have had issues with in the past. I could tell another story about confronting 9 illegal fish netters on the Cape Fear by myself last year, and that a good buddy, spent over an hour with me a few days later, picking up the nails and screws they dumped in the gravel parking area at Buckhorn in response, after I called them out, gun on my hip. You see there is no cell service down there…at all.

I said all that to say this…

A reality we seem to be begging for.,,,

‘Hello young man, I know you’d like to go to college, but we have a disagreement in this country over here, so take these guns and kill who we say kill, when we say kill, as many as we say kill. Then come home, if you can, and turn in your guns. You aren’t old enough to protect yourself and we obviously can’t or won’t protect you either. Do try to fit back in, ok?’

Or,

You drive up to the school to pick up your child, or children. You hear gunshots. You observe multiple men, dressed in black, flak jackets, heavily armed posted up behind a building, seemingly unable, or again, unwilling, to respond, to protect you and your children. You hear more gunshots. But all you have is a phone.

Maybe it isn’t the school, or the church, or the mall; the location is irrelevant. And I don’t know what people are seeing or thinking, because I’ve seen all the news outlets telling us the multiple grotesque and frankly insulting failures at every level by our authorities, and these catastrophic failures have been observed now at shooting after shooting after shooting. And these reports seem to have no political polarity. They’re just brutally honest. Yet we scream for our rights to be taken.

I’ll tell everyone of you who reads this plain out. You cannot legislate away hatred or greed or envy. And you can make all the restrictions on gun owners you want, hell, let’s say we could snap our fingers and every gun and bullet on earth disappears (which will not happen with any laws or bans) I can assure you corrupted and hateful people will still kill, they will still kill many and they will, I have no doubt, invent something far deadlier than a gun in short order.

I hope we all carefully consider what we’re asking for.