Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Soaking Bait!

A view from the office this morning! I have several groups of clients wanting to get out on the water and catch a sturgeon, so Derek and I headed out to see if we could find any action during the day. We fished South of Tisdale and saw a few roll but no takers! Looking at the weather we are supposed to be getting a bunch more rain so this may be the last time on the water for awhile!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sturgeon Time!!!

I finally got all of the duck and goose hunting stuff put away and decided it was time to get the boat out!! After a quick wash job I removed a couple seats and got the bed installed in the boat and then put the top on. After that it was another couple hours of loading all the rods, tackle, and equipment necessary for these all night sturgeon trips. The boat was ready to rock and so was I, so I called my buddy Ben and he and I and our two boys headed out on a scouting mission.

We launched the boat at Tisdale armed with every kind of bait known to man and headed upstream to find us a likely spot. After looking over a couple places I found one that suited me and Ben threw the anchor! Within minutes we had the 4 rods in the water and the waiting game started. Our first bait hit the water at 5:30 PM and it wasn't until around 7:00 PM when we had our first pull down. The rod dipped 3 times and then buried but as I grabbed the rod to set the hook the fish popped off. I checked all the baits and got them all back in the water for another try. It wasn't long and the exact same thing happened, rod went down but fish was gone before I could swing. Again I rebaited the rods and cast them out and this time the rod buried and I grabbed it and set the hook, fish on!! We had the fish hooked but that only lasted for a couple minutes and the fish popped off!!

By now it was around 8:30 PM and the action slowed so I just kept fresh baits in the water knowing it was just a matter of time. At 10:00 PM the rod buried and the fight was on!! Ben fought the beast while I got all of the other rods reeled in and out of the way. The fish was stripping line off of the reel like crazy headed down stream before Ben got him turned around and headed back towards the boat. Two to three times Ben had the fish close to the boat and he would take off again headed down stream. The battle lasted about 25 minutes and on the last run the fish jumped out of the water right next to the boat and soaked us all before he finally gave up and came to the side of the boat. I tried to measure the fish but couldn't get an exact measurement, but it was a male between 7.5 - 8.0 feet long, a real beast!!! After removing the hook we took a long time to revive the beast and when the fish was ready he swam off to fight another day!! The boys were stoked to get a chance to see the last of the dinosaurs up close and personal. Cade has seen several of them over the years but this was the first one that Nick had ever seen and I now think he's got sturgeon fever like the rest of us!!

After the battle we got everything cleaned up and the rods back into the water to try and get another one. It was pretty quiet and I drifted off to sleep around 2:00 AM, but around 4:00 AM I was awoke by the sound of the screaming reel, fish on!! It took a minute to get my bearings but I managed to get to the rod and was barely able to get it out of the rod holder as the fish ripped line off of the reel!! The fish went downstream for at least 100 yards then back up stream for probably that far before we could get the fish turned and headed back down stream towards the boat. Again the fish went past the boat by a long shot and we battled it back towards the boat. As the fish came close to the boat we got a good glimpse and it was huge!! Easily bigger than the 7.5-8 foot fish we had landed several hours ago. This fish was 9-10 feet long and was twice as big around as the prior fish as it was a big, big, female. It was too dark for a decent picture so we un hooked the old girl and sent her on her way!!!

After all the chaos we baited the rods and went back to sleep for a few hours and hoped for another fish but it wasn't to be. We called it quits around 10:00 AM and headed in to the dock!! It was a great trip and I cant wait to get back out there.

If any of you would like to try one of these over night sturgeon trips give me a call and we can get it on the books!!     

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Late Goose Opener

The geese had been thick in my fields in Sutter prior to the late goose opener but as it got closer to go time the numbers seemed to dwindle a bit. After the scouting mission on Friday I had renewed hope that it would be a slaughter as the geese appeared in the fields again! We were up and ready to roll at 3:30  AM and begun the daunting task of putting out decoys! We started in on the task and by 6:15 AM we had over 2500 decoys set, layouts brushed, and everyone patiently waiting! It didn't take long and some birds started to fly but just didn't want to finish, which is typical for a cloudy day with not much wind. As the morning wore on the winds picked up a bit and by mid day the birds were working in well and they were raining out of the sky!!! The flight lasted until around 2:00 before we called it quits and packed it in! We ended the hunt with a mix of specks and snows totaling right at 42 birds. There were several missed opportunities as well as a few birds that must have been wearing their bullet proof vests, as they just wouldn't fall!!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Duck Season is over!!!

Duck season is finally over! All of the blinds are cleaned up, decoys put away, and we are in the process of cleaning up all of the atv's and putting them away for another season! For many of us this will go down as the worst duck season in history, but may go down as the best season in history for a lot of hunters on geese.

This season was full of sunshine and if my memory serves me right it was the first time in my life that I have not hunted in a single rain storm during the season! In my opinion this year was not a shortage of birds as some may claim it was just the non-existent weather. We had a ton of birds in the valley but they just needed to be mixed up by a good 3 day storm with south wind and rain, but it never happened! All of our best hunts came in the bright sunshine and North winds, luckily we have a couple blinds that produce in those conditions or it would have been a long season!

As soon as the post season storms hit there were birds in every field that still had water and the morning flights were incredible! All we could do is sit and watch the show with hopes of what next year may bring.

I for one am not to optimistic about next seasons outlook! At our current stored water capacities in the reservoirs it looks as if the farming water will be cut by at least 50%, resulting in half of the rice production in the valley this year. If we do not receive any more rain fall between now and the start of next season, no one in the valley will get district winter water to flood for straw decomp or duck hunting!! The only ones in the valley with winter water will be the guys that can afford to run their wells and pump the ground water. That is the worse case scenario, we can only hope that the rains come and the reservoirs fill!!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cade's first Jr. duck season!!

This was Cade's first year as a licensed hunter, and a first for me being to take him on the junior hunt! I had looked all over and had a ton of birds using one of my small wetlands, so that is where we went. As we parked the truck it was silent and I had hoped it would be, thinking that the ducks were feeding in the rice and then loafing  in the wetland during the day. As soon as we started walking to where we would set up the wetland exploded with ducks and geese both, apparently they were already there but being silent. We continued on with hopes that the birds would return as the morning wore on. Right at legal shooting light Cade killed a greenhead and then almost immediately after that a nice widgeon. It slowed down after the initial barrage of birds but they were still coming in here and there so we stayed with it and he ended the morning with 2 ducks and 2 specks!! The second day of the season I picked the wrong spot and the hunting wasn't as good but again he managed a big old speck and was super excited about it! It was a lot of fun finally having a Junior of my own that could participate in the action and by next season Quinn should be ready as well! We are looking forward to next season when we can do it again!!