Monday, September 9, 2013

Bass Attack at Pena Blanca Lake!

My Fishing Equipment Transport Vehicle
A couple of weeks ago I found myself with a little bit of extra time and a bad case of bass fever. This has been an extremely busy summer, and I haven't been able to get out as much as I would like. Being rather late in the spring, it was definitely way past time to go fishing. Pena Blanca Lake was the recipient of some much needed restoration by the Arizona Game and Fish department. They completely drained the lake and pulled all of the garbage and sunken boats out of the bottom and dug out a lot of the sediment that had built up since the lake was first built. About two years ago they let it fill back up and started to stock some bluegill, grass carp, bass and catfish. These fish formed the foundation of the populations that will survive the hot Arizona summers and naturally reproduce in this lake. I have heard good things about the recently re-opened Pena Blanca lake, so I decided to load the kayak into the truck and head south to check it out.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Saga Interupted

As far as my summer fly fishing plan of trying to catch all of the trout species that inhabit Southern Arizona...It went out the window almost as soon as I decided I wanted to do it. As it sits I have been in trout waters exactly one time with no catches all summer long. I am not really all that heart broken over the lack of quality fishing time because along with remodeling our living room and kitchen, this past winter all of the cards fell into place to make the dream my wife and I had for a trip to Europe a reality. When I decided to make plans for fishing this summer I had no idea that the preparations for this trip would consume every spare moment I had for fishing trips. At the beginning of summer we also decided to host our second exchange student, and we spent a lot of time and energy preparing for his arrival. I am excited for the opportunity to learn about the Norwegian way of life and to share our lifestyle with a young ambassador. The down side of these exciting new experiences is the lack of extra time for recreational activities such as fishing and hunting. It even seems impossible to get to my local pond for an hour or two of cat fishing! 
I am sorry for the lack of good (or any) content over the past couple of months, but as the summer starts to wind down and the weather cools off a little bit I will be back out in the field fishing and hunting. so stay tuned for some great stories! Starting with a trip to Pena Blanca lake and some much needed fish catching!

 If you guys are at all interested, let me know and I will do a quick post about my trip to Europe and share some of the pictures I took. I didn't get to do any fishing while I was there, but I went to some exciting places and had some interesting experiences including my wife getting into trouble for taking a picture of a hooker in Amsterdam!
A Street In London

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Couple Of Hard Earned Bass

Mud And Milfoil
For Fathers Day I was finally able to pull my lazy self out of bed early enough for a half day of fishing at Arivaca lake. It has been a couple of months since I have really been able to get out for a morning with a fishing pole, and I thought this would be a good day to take out the kayak out for its first "real" fishing trip on a lager body of water. So I made sure my battery for the fish finder was charged and loaded up the truck with fishing equipment and the kayak, stopped for some gas, and headed for Arivaca lake.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Spud Factor of Quail Hunting Analogs

John target practicing with a .22 long rifle.
In quail hunting, as in all things, practice and planning are essential for success. Most people go to their local skeet shooting range in order to practice shooting their shotguns at moving targets. That is a great method for improving your overall aim and increasing your hit ratio. I would not recommend leaving that practice out, however it does not totally cover what is needed to effectively shoot a flushing quail, especially when hunting without the benefit of a dog. Even on the best of hunts when you are doing everything correctly the quail will flush with surprising speed and in unexpected directions. When they do flush they tend to take off low and head for the nearest cover. In most cases there is less than three heart beats to mount, aim, and fire before the quail are behind a piece of structure and gone. Even the best sporting clay fields do not give you a good representation of what this is like as you are perpetually at the ready and know when the clay will fly, where it will fly from, and and in which general direction it will go. Even hunters that use dogs to flush out quail have some advanced warning as to when a quail will flush so they can be at the ready when it does happen. Without a dog the flush will come almost unexpectedly and in an unexpected direction. This type of hunting relies on quick reflexes and perfect form more than aim to be able to consistently hit a target. How do you practice this? With potatoes!

Why potatoes? You might ask?
Shot from the side with a .22 rifle. 

Reason # 1: Mashed Potatoes Are Yummy and there is no more fun a way to make mashed potatoes! Assuming you can find any of the pieces after you shoot it. Potatoes tend to explode quite spectacularly when hit with a 12 gauge shot gun. Exploding spuds also supply an unrivaled giggle factor.

Reason # 2 Potatoes are biodegradable so you don't have to run around gathering up the pieces when you are done. Potatoes will rot away in just a couple of days leaving the area clean and just a little more fertile than it was before you were there.

Reason # 3: Potatoes are a renewable rescource. Under the right conditions potatoes will grow into new plants, resulting in more potatoes. They could potentially be a never ending supply of these little brown quail lookalikes!

Shot from the end with a .22 this one split rather evenly
Reason # 4: Potatoes are fairly cheap as compared to other types of shotgun practice materials such as clay pigeons, and they are reusable if you miss. When bought in the 10 lb sack at your local grocery store you will get somewhere around 25-30 potatoes  for around $5.00. That is a whole lot of practice for the money.

Reason # 5: Most importantly, they look like quail. The coloration and size of Idaho potatoes is very similar to the size and shape and coloring  of the Gambol's quail that are so prevalent here in Southern Arizona. This means that when a buddy randomly throws a potato baseball style toward any of the dozen or so nearby bushes, and you squint real hard while standing on one foot and listening to psychedelic punk rock, it looks just like a flushing quail. Potatoes also blend into the surrounding desert, have a similar speed, and stay in the air a similar amount of time. When the shot is taken starting with your shotgun in the resting position down by your hips You get a really accurate representation of the same reaction shooting needed to consistently hit the quail in a real hunting situation.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ricks Review: Native Water Craft Manta Ray 11 Kayak

Patagonia Lake, Arizona at sun set.
Fishing in the deserts of Southern Arizona is extremely limited. There just aren't that many lakes or rivers large enough to hold fish. Within a two hour drive there is one small river that is mostly surrounded by private land and Indian reservations, and the few lakes we have are smaller canyon reservoirs. This means they are narrow, long, deep, and surrounded by cliffs. Anywhere there is relatively flat space the vegetation is so thick that shore fishing becomes nearly impossible. These issues make a boat of some kind almost a necessity for fishing. There are five such lakes within 100 miles (close enough for a day trip) of my house. One is a tiny over-fished trout lake up in the Catalina mountains that doesn't allow boats at all, three have a 5 mph no wake speed limit or are limited to trolling motors, and one is large enough for a large boat to make about a 1/4 mile circle on one end for water skiing. This is bad for a fisherman stuck on the shore, but the limited number of people with smaller boats means this is great for fish populations in all of these lakes. and for the few fishermen who have a boat small enough to get to them. I want in on this action, so I need a small boat.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fishing Gear Overload? Four Ways To Cut The Clutter On A Family Fishing Trip.

Family Picnic
Every once in a while I am able to talk the wife and kids into going to the lake with me for a picnic and some fishing. we do not own a boat and none of them particularly like to go fishing, but they are a good family and go from time to time just to make me happy. When this happens I get excited because this is the time I am going to show them how much fun fishing really is. In my excitement, I start gathering up my equipment and loading it into the truck. I usually load up what I would normally bring on a fishing trip with a buddy. A couple of bait casters for bass fishing, two or three spinning rods for bait fishing, a couple of fly rods for bluegill and trout, four or five other poles of varying purpose and usefulness just in case. then I add in four or five large tackle boxes chock full of all kinds of baits, lures, and terminal tackle to cover any situation I might come across. I will also grab a couple of folding chairs and a small ice chest for sandwich stuff and throw that stuff in the truck. After I get every piece of tackle and gear I own, and every type of bait I can think of sorted, organised, and loaded, I turn around and see the large ice chest and several dozen plastic grocery bags containing a wide variety of picnic foods along with paper plates, plastic cups, a large bag of charcoal, and various other assorted necessities for a family picnic piled up and waiting to be loaded into the, now full, truck.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gun Control And The Second Amendment

Before deciding on being pro or against gun control legislation, read this one sentence slowly and carefully.

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." -The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States-

The Second amendment is as profound as it is ambiguous. It is the only constitutional amendment that states a specific and undeniable purpose for it's existence. That complex jumble of letters and punctuation alludes, but does not outwardly state, that there is a need of the people to have the weapons necessary to form or join an organised military for the purpose of securing or protecting the freedoms of the people. It also assumes that it is already lawful and even expected that the people are already allowed to own, keep, and carry weapons sufficient enough to form a military strong enough to protect the nation as a whole from another military power. It then states that owning and bearing arms is a right that can not be limited.