Sunday, November 27, 2011

Big Lake Nov 27, 2011

You have your good days, and then you have your bad days....

Today was the latter.  Hit the ice about 11:30am.  Finished at 5:30pm.  6 hours...

I was all excited since I got my new gopro2 and the flat lenses.  Well I tried a side by side comparison.  My gopro 960 (old one) footage  The new one better but grainy.  It sure seemed dark for noon.  Hopefully a better review of the differences sooner than later.

The only thing to report today is I saw an F350 with a plow come off of Big Lake at the Polaris dealership on the south shore.  So they are driving on the lake though the ice wasn't too much thicker than last week.  Maybe a tad over a foot but more clear ice.

The minute and a half video pretty much sums up my day... you just have to watch the video.  Too tired, too bummed to talk about today. I actually saw a few fish...too bad I didn't get them on video. I guess it wasn't THAT bad but still...

Good thing I am a firm believer in the law of averages.  It is a "law" you know...not the theory of....

Video 1 minute 38 seconds:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Glenn Highway Lake Nov 25, 2011

So I decide to try somewhere other than Big Lake.  I've had success at this lake before in past years.  Though the fish don't seem to be as large as the ones in Big Lake, there typically are more of them. Found ten inches of nice clear ice.

Set up the shack and in the first 7 minutes, I hook a char that I estimate to be 22 + inches...twice!  Didn't ice him though.  Both times, the hook just fell out at the hole.  I am surprised he stuck around after getting hooked and pulled all the way up into the hole.

Notice in the video I posted below how interested he is in the lure but only took it in his mouth two or three times.  Keep in mind I am looking from directly above so I can tell if he has the hoochie in his mouth or not.  Except for the time I hook him and one miss, he came by and just swatted at it. I am surprised to see from the side video view that he was actually opening his mouth.  From above it just looked like he came cruising up to it and swatted it with his head.  Notice the fish didn't fight at all either.  Not sure what was going on.  The initial charge looked aggressive but after that, it just seemed super lazy.

Well after that fish, I only saw a few more fish and none were char. All the fish I saw after the char were after it got dark.   So how could I see them after dark?  I got to test my underwater LED lighting system!  Worked great...except I didn't catch anything.  In the video, you will notice all the little dots.  they looked almost like brine shrimp and as soon as I turned the light on, they were just swarming around it.  Maybe I watch too much National Geographic, but I thought for sure something would come feasting on them like small trout or even sticklebacks.  But NADDA.  It also allowed me to sight fish in another hole about 4 feet away.  That was pretty cool.

I did manage to ice a sucker on a spoon tipped with shrimp.  Kept him for lake trout and pike bait.  Cut him up into smaller strips so I can tip my jigs.  I saw a HUGE sucker after it got dark.  I was all excited thinking it was a big char but on closer inspection, it was definitely a sucker.  Did not know they got so big.  I bet it was well over 25 inches.

I also had something else on after I tipped my spoon with a small piece of sucker meat.  Stepped outside, came back in and peered down the hole and couldn't see my spoon.  Set the hook and I saw something medium size, maybe 14 inches or so take off.  Hmmm..... 

So for 5 hours on the ice, I see one nice char, two suckers, a mystery fish, AND 5 muskrats.  Who knows it could have been the same one but it was starting to irritate me popping up in my hole so often.  I even moved my shack once into deeper water but I could still see it whizzing by my area.  First it scared me, then it was just a nuisance.  I almost forcefully relocated it, but didn't want to deal with a pissed off muskrat in the confines of my shack.  I've tried looking for it on the video but I couldn't find it.  I was surprised that it was still active after dark.

I also got my gopro hero2, a eye of mine flat lens housing, AND a mako flat lens kit.  I ordered the gopro from Mako so the lens was free.  I can't wait to try it out!

Here's the video 2:45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Big Lake footage from Nov 20 and lessons learned

I took 18 minutes of footage, pretty much at random and sped it up 10X to show the activity that happens under the ice.  Now keep in mind that if you weren't looking down the hole, you'd think there was nothing there since I didn't hook a fish during this 18 minute portion.  What amazed even me, was the number of fish on the video that I didn't see while peering down the hole in a darkened shack.

So here's the lessons I learned at how this type of "research" changes or reinforces some of things I do to be a better ice fisherman.

1) Looking down the hole is not only good to see the fish strike but also gives you tremendous confidence knowing that the fish are there.  Now I know that for every fish I see even in fairly shallow water, there are probably another 4 or 5 outside the hole I can't see.

2) You can see the small immature salmon congregate whenever I re-positioned the camera and kicked up a cloud of silt.  We often bounce or large spoons off the bottom for a similar effect.  I know a buddy of mine that will aggressively pound the bottom and just let his spoon lie on the bottom with no action for a few seconds.  big fish will suck up the lure right off the bottom.  The only reason I don't do it more is it clouds up the water and I love to sight fish so its a love/hate deal for me.  What I may do is to jig a big spoon or even use a 8oz cannon ball sinker and just pound the bottom with it every now and then.  Not sure if its the silt cloud, the sound, or the combination that attracts them but I know it does.

3) It's hard to tell when its sped up 10X but what you would notice at normal speed is that all the immature salmon came cruising leisurely by.  That's not good.  They are too comfortable.  I have witnessed many times where small immature salmon or sticklebacks would be swarming my bait and then all the sudden instantaneously scatter and you know a big fish is near by.

4) With the number of 6 to 8 inch immature salmon I saw on the tape, I am definitely going to spend some time jigging BIG spoons or big swimbaits here.  There has to be BIG fish utilizing this food source.  I have caught some nice dollies and burbot on Big Lake using spoons that I used to jig halibut and rockfish.  I think they were 3oz and 5oz Krockadile spoons designed for saltwater.  These days I hear you have a shot at Big Pike as well.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Big Lake Nov 20, 2011

With the recent deep freeze, I figured the ice would be ready on Big Lake so I thought I'd give it a try.  A secondary reason was to test a new set up for some underwater videos from a little different angle.

Got off to a late start and hit the ice around 1pm.  Knowing that Big Lake had only recently frozen over, I decided to stay really close to shore.  Ice felt solid so I dug two test holes about 30 ft from shore.  Found about 12 inches of ice with 6 of it being clear ice and the other 6 inches a much weaker white ice.  Still that's plenty of ice so I set up my portable shelter and turn on the propane heat and despite it being -1 deg when I started, it was nice and comfy.

What surprised me today was the number of small salmon I saw,  We used to see them maybe 10 or more years ago, but about 5 years ago, they just seemed to completely disappear.  But they are back in force now.  Not sure if they were silvers or reds but the one I accidentally snagged was about 8 inches long.  I was amazed when I looked at the video how many were actually in the area.  The day was cloudy so not much light and I didn't see anywhere near that many looking down the hole even though I was in a dark shack.

Ended the day with two rainbows 15 and 16 inches long.  One caught on a pearl krockadile spoon and the other on a dodger and jig with a mini hoochie.

I'd say the underwater footage was okay but will need to work on additional lighting or another angle.  Next time, I plan to bring my underwater lights and give it a go as well.  I had to lighten up the video so its a bit grainy.  I will work on that.  I guess it's not a bad first effort.  Will be better on a sunny day.  I hear the new gopro 2 cameras are much better in low light conditions.  I guess I will have to pick one up!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Video editing practice

Well you know its bad when I have to post about my video editing but I wanted to document it so my apologies to folks who are looking for a fishing video.  So as you may know, I condensed my season down to 12 minutes of video.  But then someone posted the new gopro 2 ad on a forum and I was stunned.  I am pretty sure the super slow motion was done using Twixtor software which is out of my league but the rest of it looked like something I could edit.

So I tried my best to shorten the 12 minute video down even further.  the to try something new I used the audioswap feature on youtube which basically just replaces the audio with music.

I just hit "I feel lucky", got some heavy metal tune I had never heard of before, but it seemed to match the video so I just kept it after making a few tweaks to get the intro to match.  But I don't think its the way to go but it wasn't a bad first effort.  I need to do something where I can lay background music but also get the important sounds of the environment like drags screaming, fish splashing, me scremaing in pain as I whack my leg with the fish bonker.  lol.

So here's the two minute practice video.  I'll post below that the original 12 minute highlight video.  I wanted to keep all the clips ones I shot with my gopro (The 720p version). So a few clips have been removed and a few added.  tried to emulate a few for the editing tricks I saw in the go pro ad like stop frame, speed up and stop, etc.  I thought it turned out ok.  So here it is:

And here below is the original 12 minute version:

Here's the KILLER Gopro ad that was the inspiration:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Upper Kenai: Bridge to Sportman...Another condition report...ARGH!

So not having fished past weekend and on my day off Friday, I HAD to go somewhere.  Check the weather and its supposed to be above freezing but windy.  Look at the weather station and no wind...hmmm.  Well I am going stir crazy so I HAD to try it.

Launched at the Bridge in Cooper Landing.  No wind, sweet! That is until I turned the corner.  Then it was HOWLING! Holy Cow.  In the slow sections of the river, I had to paddle downstream to actually move downstream in some spots.  So I only fished for maybe 30 minutes as I just checked out the sites seeing as though this was my first time ever drifting this section of the river.  Hard to believe.

The water levels have come down dramatically but I was disappointed to see the water was still silty with visibility less than 20 inches.  Maybe a little over a foot.

Two bits of excitement.  First going through the Princess Lodge rapids.  Not sure if I got lucky but it was easy.  No sweat.

Second didn't seem as bad on video but at the time, it was a shot of adrenalin for sure.  The wind starts ti pick up and it catches my paddle causing my body to lean over a bit, The yak starts tipping and another gust hits the yak and it sure felt like I was going over.  Not good since I was in the middle of the river avoiding the sweepers and shallow stuff.

The lesson for the day was I need to upgrade my footwear.  Probably just a few more wool socks.  Standing in the river was miserable!  My hands were fine just wearing disposable gloves.  Even with the metal paddle pole.  But my toes were freezing.  Also I knew it from ice fishing but my olympus stylus tough 8010 is wimpy when it comes to cold.  Had to shove it in my drysuit to warm it up a bunch of times and then it would only work for 10 minutes or so.  Gopro worked great.

So here's the video of a few sections if anyone wonders what its like to float the Upper Kenai in ya go.  I'd rather watch porn my porn that is.....

The video:

And a few pictures!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Should I stay or should I go?

Well here I am trying to decide whether to go fishing or not.  It just seems insane to leave given the weather conditions.  Not so much for the fishing but for the drive.  Decent amounts of snow all over including Anchorage.  If this was the dead of winter and I was going ice fishing, I wouldn't even think twice about it.  But the first few weeks of snowfall, people aren't used to the conditions and many have yet to change over to snow tires.  No matter how careful I may be, you have to watch out for the other drivers.  And not to sound too arrogant, I don't trust them at all!

So I hate to admit defeat but it's just not worth it.  Time to clean the garage and shovel the driveway.  Hopefully it just makes me hungrier to go again...wait scratch that, one of the major reason I wanted to go was to burn off the excess calories I ate while in Texas.    Maybe I will go look at ice augers.....

So the decision process went as follows:

The marine weather looks marginal.....

Kenai River flows near cooper landing is still very high but snow river is finished dumping into the lake. So MAYBE it's fishable....

I hear there is four inches of ice on smaller lakes up north and this site tells me ice is forming on Big Lake though I wouldn't recommend trying that yet!!  A great page to check Big Lake conditions.

So I thought I'd try Whittier or Seward today.  Just some exploring with no real hopes of catching fish.

So I loaded the yak inside the garage, my daughter wakes up and says "have you looked outside?" Uhhh...No, why?...ACK!  Maybe I should have looked first!!!!

The internet sure is handy!  So I thought I'd check other sources.  Here's what I am looking at:
 Russian River Ferry 7:45am
 Portage Turn off 7:45am
 Whittier Tunnel Staging area 7:45am
 Whittier Access road 7:45am

Uhhh..No, I don't think so.  BUMMER!!!!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Upper Kenai Condition Report

Here's the condition report. Why condition? Because it certainly wasn't a catching report and I didn't even see a fish! This year had been a year of many firsts. This was another first... The first time I didn't catch something two trips in a row! Conditions were tough but still it was good to be on the water!!

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