White Bass Report at Jordan Lake & Latest Woodworking

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So it’s been a very busy end of winter and early spring, both on the water at Jordan Lake, and working on some really cool commissions I wanted to share.

The 2019 white bass run at Jordan Lake was a trickle at first, then starting last Tuesday, it really tuned on.

I took two different days off work when the rain was light, and at least the weather conditions were what I considered optimal. The water conditions were however, not. The river was stained and the main lake was as well. And talk about high water. I usually can’t stand fishing Jordan Lake when it’s high, but I’ve been so busy, frankly, I needed a day on the water and at least everything else had lined up to get out there.

At least it was easy to launch.

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I was looking at a skunk after nearly an hour and a half of searching, but then found them, and when I say found them, I mean found them like never before. Double after double after double trolling, so I just started casting.

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Now most people who fish for white bass for any number of years know they can just about count on days when those fiesty critters just keep biting; fair weather, blue-bird days, overcast, it doesn’t seem to matter, when you get on a biomass of them and have the right lures; it’s indeed non-stop fishing. And I have had many of those days. I thought I’d known no more frantic fishing until last week. I got tired of catching and releasing them; mainly because out of probably 200ish fish on the day, only 1 met the new 14″ minimum for my creel. And they’re just about my favorite fresh water meat for the table.

It was a surreal day of fishing. Cloudy then clear, off and on. Winds weren’t light, and the current (the Army Core of Engineers was aggressively pulling water at the Jordan Lake Dam) was intense. I fished in the river and the main lake, on two seperate occassions, and the results were nearly the same. A ton of fish were caught, but only 1 keeper both outings over 14″.

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But the fish are staging in 10 feet of water now and seem to be scattered around even into the shallows from there. Anything under 15 feet and you’re in the zone. Crankbaits, inline spinners, beetlespins and grubs, whatever, go throw it. Just remember the new regs, only 10 for the creel too.

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Now I have had several woodworking commissions of late and they really let me get creative. Hope you like the stuff. If you think you might be interested in anything, there’s a custom woodworking page on this site, feel free to give it a look and contact me if you’d like to talk about a piece. It’s all chainsaw-milled lumber, and I mill it and do all the work. The little hummingbirds are inexpensive and great for gifts.

Good luck fishing!

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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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More Cedar Scrimshaw Commissions

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I’ve been catching up on more cedar scrimshaw commissions over the last few weeks.

The piece above is a cardinal one of my neighbors wanted. She didn’t want any flowers, but agreed to allow for a tree branch… This particular piece, as with the last few bird inspired scrimshaws, has no etching, nor does it have any inked lines at all. This seems to make these particular pieces appear more realistic.

I also got a Grateful Dead, Steal Your Face piece done for another client, and this one is totally engraved. He still has to decide if he wants any color, or if he wants to keep it simply line art.

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And then I did this one for a very special person…

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This one does have some lines inked, but only in the darker areas, and there is no engraving, save the signature on the back. It’s my favorite hummingbird to date.

Then, I had another good friend who needed a cedar board and help with finishing it. He had a cast iron replica of an old car passed down to him by his grandfather. So we cut a piece to size, belt-sanded the rough cut lines and then mounted the car. This was a fun little project and I was honored to help preserve and display the piece.

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So the new mill is getting worked out and I’ll have more project updates soon!

New Cedar Scrimshaws

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I’ve been creating new cedar scrimshaws lately for a few commissions, and also stock for the store in Cary.

These pieces are inspired by a good friend’s suggestion after seeing some of my cardinals. As usual, they are crafted with aromatic eastern cedar, and the artwork is original. I used pastels, color pencils and ink after cutting and sanding the wood to prepare for the artwork. The only thing engraved on these cedar scrimshaws are the signatures.

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After milling a few logs lately….

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I have plenty of canvasses to do things like, maybe this…all on one piece…but with varying species of birds and flowers.

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Here are some ‘process’ milling pics from yesterday. Log #2 is under my belt. The Alaskan chainsaw mill is working great!

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Milling an Eastern Red Cedar Log

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I finally got the ripping chain for my chainsaw; let the milling of eastern red cedar slabs begin…

The four boards (above) were milled today from the same eastern red cedar log. I bartered a job with a customer for a dead-standing tree on their property, a few years ago, and this log has been waiting to show what it has hidden within ever since.

At first, as I was trying to get the feel for this new contraption, I rocked the saw back and forth while cutting because it was quicker. That is a mistake, and will only result in more sanding time. I quickly realized I had to trust the system, and push, straight-armed to gain maximum control, and maintain as steady a speed on the saw as possible. This gave me the smoother lines as evidenced in the center two pieces from the feature photograph.

I would say, it is crucial not to overrun your saw. I have run and owned multiple chainsaws, over many years, and I did use a ripping chain, and additionally cedar is in fact a soft wood. However, my saw almost overheated a few times as I became familiar with the speed I could run it while cutting with the grain, as opposed to cross-cut. Make sure your saw isn’t smoking, and if it does, shut it down and let it cool immediately.

Here was the beginning of the process after assembling the mill to the saw.

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I used an old u-channel post for a rail for the first cut; simply screwed through the holes, which were already provided, and leveled.

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The first cut was rough, but I had a feel for the setup and made adjustments. I used braces and screws to stabilize the piece and continued.

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These are really going to be rewarding to work with. Stay tuned!

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Photos of Late..

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I’ve got a rain here in Cary today today, so I’m working on woodworking projects, but I decided to share a few pics I’ve taken lately. The Sagittarius piece is the companion piece for my Stepfather, the Scorpio was a birthday gift for my fellow Scorpio Mom.

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I got out Saturday afternoon for a Surf n’ Turf attempt. However the fish weren’t biting, and the deer are still pretty darn scarce in my neck of the woods around Jordan Lake at least. EHD is still hampering numbers badly. But it was a beautiful day and evening nonetheless.

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This is a spot on the lower half of Gaston Lake. I’ve always thought the chain was really cool so I took a pic.

Below are just some random shots I thought were kind of neat. Sort of work-in-progress pics.

And the mill in progress…

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