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Dreaming of Spring

by Les Albjerg

One of my favorite ponds

One of my favorite ponds

In my last blog entry, I was challenged about catching lots of Sunfish in the colder water. I would like to share some of my techniques and methods to get an early start on Panfishing. I looked in my Diary from last year and my first "over 50 fish" was on March 17th last year. I actually waded out until the water was between my knees and thighs. I fished the Suntech FinePower 56 at both lengths, and then switched to the Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 63. Much more on why later.

The first secret is a bit of a no brainer. You have to know your pond. The pond I fish early has a very shallow bay. It is knee deep to waist deep, and then there is a nice drop off to about 18 feet. It is a gravel, sand, weed bottom and easy to wade. My secret weapon is an I-Bobber. (picture 2) Clip the I-Bobber to the end of your line, and look for fish! (The I-Bobber is a small castable floating wireless sonar fish-finder that will send the readout to your iPhone.)

What depth are they suspended at? Once you find them and know the depth, it is time to use the next special tool, the Nakazima Ball Floats 5/8 inch model. I am fishing with a Red Wiggler and at least one BB size split shot. I may use a bit more weight depending on the wind. Set the length of the line to hook where you have found the fish suspended, and then simply fish your awesome Keiryu or Tenkara rod like a Cane Pole! It is that simple and so much fun!

So on the day I had in mind, I started on the left with the Fine Power set at 5.2 meters and worked my way across in an arc catching fish all along the way. I then extended the rod to 5.6 meters and did the same thing again! It was very easy to collapse the Fine Power, put it in my Zimmerbuilt, and pulled out the Sawanobori and fished it across at 6 meters. It was over a 100 fish day!

Lots of fun, relaxing fishing! It would make Paul and J.P. of Tenkara in Focus shudder, but boy is it action filled and a blast!

Comments for Dreaming of Spring

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Feb 25, 2019
Mixed Feelings On The I-Bobber
by: Karl Klavon

Hi Les. Interesting post. But I have mixed feelings about using this latest technological marvel. I live in California, with a population approaching 40,000,000 people, if we have not already exceeded that number. All the easily accessible fishing spots in this state are already being seriously over fished. This device will only further degrade the fish population's safety in my state, giving them no place to hide from an ever increasing number of techno/anglers.

Of course fish finders have been available for many years, mounted on boats for the most part, but this development means that every Tom, Dick and Harry with 90 bucks to spend and a smart phone can have a fishing rod activated fish finding tool at his disposal, which can not bode well for our fish populations. Just because we have the technological abilities to do certain things does not necessarily mean that we should be doing those things and publicizing our ability to do them. My 2-cents.....Karl.

Feb 25, 2019
by: Les Albjerg

Karl - I understand your concern. However there is a duel responsibility to care for our fish, personal responsibility as well as that of the State. The day I talked about where I caught so many fish, they were all released. I used a barbless hook. None of the fish swallowed the Red Wiggler. So there needs to be a personal ethic in your fishing.

I fish several highly pressured areas. I find evidence of catch and release often. Twice last year I caught the same fish twice in the same session. I could see the tiny hole where I had released them the first time. Since we do have technology, I'm going to use it responsibly.

I go fishing to catch fish! If the goal is to simply wet a line, I can walk 200 feet from my front door and "fish" in the irrigation canal for 7 months of the year. There are no fish there, but I could pretend!

The State has a responsibility to manage the fisheries. I belong to a group that is trying to get Oregon and Idaho to set limits on Crappie on Brownlee Reservoir as well as several others. It is still one of the best crappie lakes in the West, but the fish are almost all small now. The reason - Korean fishermen fly over here during the peak of the season and harvest thousands of crappies, put them in coolers on dry-ice and fly home with them! Perfectly legal. They are doing it in the Owyhee Reservoir too. The end result is most of the fish are small. They also keep everything they catch. I like eating them too! They aren't called "freshwater halibut" for no reason. Last year for every 10 fish I caught, one was a keeper.

So, rather than getting upset at technology, get involved in State Fish and Game policies. I know my regional fish biologist on a first name basis. I also visit with other staff at the regional office. I report violations every time I see them. It really is upsetting to see people taking 22-28 inch rainbows out of the Trophy Pond at Wilson Springs. But am I any less irresponsible if I don't report them!

If you carry your argument far enough, we should all go back to at least willow poles and horsehair lines. Put that fluorocarbon tippet away! It is too technologically advanced!

I should also mention that using the great JDM equipment should be banned too. The five times I have been out perch fishing I have outfished my partner at least 3 to 1 because of the enhanced ability of strike detection using the Tenyru Spectra rod as well as JDM jigs.

Feb 25, 2019
by: William DeLanney

I believe there is too much technology in fishing today. Nothing wrong in keeping it simple like when we kids and just having fn.

Feb 25, 2019
but did it help?
by: bill piatek

Do you feel the locator helped much? I'd think a thermometer would have been more useful this time of year. Did it only help to target the depth they were at? You mentioned you were fan casting and catching them at all points.

That's a sad sad commentary on the Crappie fishing by you. I've seen the same reduced sizes in WI and MI.

I fish more rivers than lakes. But when I fish a lake I just walk the bank fan casting. Don't begrudge you the technology but just don't want to go that far. No criticism here.

Feb 26, 2019
it does help!
by: Les Albjerg

Bill - I use the I-Bobber maybe 10 times a year. In the spring at one of the ponds, you could fish all day 10 yards from the school and never catch a fish. The I-bobber helps me find the school and the depth.
Once you find them, it is pretty easy to get into fish. I love fishing fixed line for panfish. Going back to William's comment, using the I-Bobber allows me to use the simple "pole" to catch fish.

One of my goals is to fish more. This means two things. Shorter sessions, and fishing closer to home. I have 5 ponds and a large lake within 20 minutes of where I live as well as two major rivers. In the spring it is tough knowing where the fish are without some help.

The second purpose of the I-Bobber is as a safety device. Lake Lowell is surrounded by a wildlife refuge. There are several active beavers, and they have dug channels in the lake. By having the I-bobber out in front on the rod, you can see them before you step off possibly over you head if it is a deep one. It is fun to work your way out to the pods of rushes in June and fishing the edges with the TenkaraBum 40 for sunfish. It isn't fun when you get soaked.

I have used the I-Bobber to find structure in several of the ponds I fish. This gives me a great starting point to fish when I go after the spring as I know the areas that the fish may be hiding. Last, just south of me is the northern edge of the High Desert that runs from Idaho south to Arizona. There are several spring ponds that I have discovered. Using the I-bobber I know that 3 of them have fish and 7 don't. One of them has slab crappies! It is a tool! It can put you on fish, but you still have to use the skills of a fisherman to catch them. There have been times when the I-bobber shows lots of fish and they all have lock-jaw. Knowing they are there and not biting is frustrating to say the least. I guess I should stop sight fishing for carp as seeing them is a cheating too. Oh, and I often sight fish for trout in the clear streams.

As I said in my last post, being a responsible fisherman is something we all must take into consideration as our equipment has gotten so much better and there are more fisherman and fisherwomen these days.

Anyone up for the ultimate challenge? Lets go noodling!

Feb 26, 2019
Noodling Nightmares
by: Hoppy D (SD)

Went back to the bare-bones basics once, and gave noodling a try. My second dip up under a bank rewarded me with an irate muskrat firmly attached to my left thumb. Well and truly gnawed I was.

Whenever I start to question the place of technology in the pursuit of fish, I just have to look at the scars on my thumb to remind myself that a technologically-advanced fishing rod keeps my fingers safe from irritated muskrats and makes the sport of fishing more enjoyable. Long live technology! Just use it with a conscience like Les does.

Feb 26, 2019
No Attack On Les
by: Karl Klavon

It was not my intention to criticize Les on his fishing actions as being unethical or unsporting, but to lament another highly effective technological tool being advertised to and placed in the hands of the many groups of unethical fishermen there are out there, who keep all the fish that they catch, regardless of an immature fish's size.

Poaching - the taking of fish on private land, out of season, over the legal limit, or where the method of take is illegal in and of itself - is also a rampant problem in these parts, which the state is incapable of doing much about to the extent that they are asking for the public's assistance in reporting observed violations to them. Where the infractions take place, it is usually impossible to get a vehicle license number and it is a danger to ask for a name and address of the violator, so the Cal-Tips program goes mostly unused.

The wardens are spread so thin that they have to try to do an impossible job. Due to funding cuts, there are many warden vacancies that are going
unfilled as the older cops retire, farther adding to the problems.

As one who had tried to be involved with the state in the past, I found it to be a very frustrating experience, with zero accomplishments gained, an exercise of wailing at the wall, with the State Fish and Game Commission, as always, representing the powers that be in the economy and doing what they wanted to do rather than what the sportsmen thought should be done. Perhaps, your state is different.

It has gotten so bad here that there are fishermen who will not go out to fish with out a fire arm in their possession. I no longer fish in those kinds of places - good as they may be or were in the past.

You can praise the effective technologies all you want and use them if you like but, along with that the flip side of the coin may very well be the degradation and eventual destruction of your and our fisheries. So before you lay your money down on the next greatest gadget, please give the ramifications of the technology some consideration.

Feb 26, 2019
Topic locked.
by: Chris Stewart

I'm going to give Karl the last word on this one. People have had a chance to air their views, and I'm not at all sure more discussion will add much value.

There is indeed a poaching problem all across the country. However, I am also pretty sure that the people who read these comments are not the problem, and the people who are the problem do not read these comments.

Hi-tech may make poaching easier, but technology is not the problem. Poaching is the problem.

I think most states have a phone number for reporting violations. Save it on your phone's "contacts" list.

One good thing about fishing and technology - you can use it if you want to, and you can avoid it if you want to. Fish any way you want - as long as its legal.

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