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Jeff Zurawski

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  • Location
    East-Central West Virginia
  • Favorite Bass
    Smallmouth
  • Favorite Lake or River
    New, Greenbrier, Elk, Gauley, Upper James

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  1. On second thought, I may need to up my rank. Yesterday I lodged a 4/0 spinnerbait hook into the back of my buddy's head. Totally my fault as I got careless with my casting trying to keep up with a fast bite and sorting through lots of small fish. I hated that it happened, but felt prepared to deal with it using the braided line hook removal trick, which I'd not done before. I learned about it watching a youtube video and probably never would've have known about that method were it not for computer and internet technology. It works !! My buddy said the only part of the ordeal that really hurt any was when I had to wiggle the bait around while cutting his hat off from around the embedded hook. In the past, I'd always been able to push the barb through, cut it off with my pliers, and then back it out. I guess that might bump me up a notch or two on the ATS?
  2. I'll go with 3. I wade with one rod and a small sling pack that carries a single 3500 box, a couple or few bags of plastics, pliers, line snips, and a can of snuff. I do use a rod/reel combo and boots that are pretty far advanced compared to what I started out with 40 years ago. I have a modern sit on top kayak specifically designed for fishing that I'd call advanced technology, but I keep that simple, too, with no motor or sonar, which aren't needed because I use it to float fish easily readable smaller rivers from put in point A to takeout point B. Same deal with my 13' whitewater raft, which I use when I have a partner or two. Its fabric and construction are technologically advanced compared to inflatables from the old days, but I made a row frame out of treated lumber that could accurately be called rudimentary. And my anchor system is lengths of logging chain tied to a rope that I drop off the back of the boat then half-hitch to a d-ring. I don't use a trailer, either. Instead I inflate and deflate the raft each trip. Generally I like to keep things simple with my fishing and other parts of my life. Money does play a role, too. If I had a lot of it to spend, I'd probably buy me a rigged out river jet boat.
  3. From clear like crystal to stained like maybe 3 ft visibility. In dirtier water I more often use bigger baits with bigger blades and skirts that have solid (instead of clear-ish transparent) colors.
  4. Old Bomber 4a in Moss Back Craw, which is chartreuse w/ black back, has been very good to me in dirty water around here. Red colored cranks usually work good too.
  5. Awhile back on this thread I posted about little finesse spinnerbaits I made starting with what LureParts calls its "Finesse C-Spin" frame. They've been working very well on a small River I fish often when water is clear to slightly stained. Smallmouth from 4" to 18" and all sizes in-between have been crushing them burned through fast, shallow water in the evenings 6:30 until dark. The 1/4 oz size has a 7/8" long body arm and 1 9/16" blade arm. Size 3.5 blade behind a size 3 is excellent combo for high speed retrieves in the riffles. Skirts are made from fine cut silicon I got at LivingRubber. These baits are a kinda fragile. The wire is thin and needs bent back into shape after releasing all but the little ones. The skirt material looks tore up after about 50 fish. For right close to $3 per finished bait, I won't complain. I'd like it if they had a bit bigger hook on them though. A few of the nicer fish from this week... That bait is too pretty to fish with. 😃
  6. Have you tried changing the angles in the wire from the line tie to the head and line tie to swivel? I'm no expert, but I think that might do something and is worth experimenting with.
  7. In clear water, my experience is the opposite. The bite is usually a lot better when it's cloudy during midday and when the sun dips out in the evening.
  8. Starting to get pretty out around here.
  9. I have a hard time catching them until water temps start to hit 50 or better. If it's been consistently hitting the low 50s, I'll fish in muddy/stained conditions. Not muddy like solid chocolate milk, zero visibility, but 6-8" visibility yes. I do better with big black jignpigs worked slow in eddies than with spinnerbaits when it's like that.
  10. True that. Water temps in the local mountain river I fished the other day had been just starting to hit low 50s in the evenings. Flow was up, but clarity was good with a bit of dinge and 4ft or so of visibility. Some fish were caught around cover in the deep, slow moving pools. Some in small pocket eddies in faster water outside bend sections. A surprising number of biters were in shallow riffle water less than 2 ft deep. Surprising to me, anyways. I didn't guess fish would be in those types of areas until water temps had stabilized at 50+. All the baits already mentioned will work no doubt. I'll add super shallow running cranks to chunk and wind through the riffles. Something that runs a 12-18" down max.
  11. I don't mind when invitees refuse advice and stick with baits and presentations that aren't working, so long as they're having a good time. Complaining about how bad the catching sucks gets them dropped from the list. In a flipped situation, I'm like Bird. Last time it happened was a couple months ago when a buddy and I were on a float during tough conditions. We'd been cycling through all the stuff we like catching em on and which most often works good, but had little action. Eventually he switched to something that I had doubts about even though I'd seen him do good with it on dinks last year under similar conditions. Fifteen minutes later he caught a gorgeous C-class Smallie. I anchored up in the middle of the River so we could catch our breath and take photos before releasing the fish. Being the good partner that he is, he asked if I needed one of his baits and hell yes said I. First cast with it I caught a plump sixteen-incher. No lie.
  12. Great Laurel blooming around here now. And interesting fungi popped up under a pine out back of the house.
  13. You're right, a ned wouldn't be any easier, at least how I usually fish them, which is pretty much the same as how I work a tube -- always making some amount of bottom contact. But I know hardcore ned heads that do something different with them that I don't fool with. They set up their rig so it suspends and doesn't sink to bottom. Kinda sorta like flinging a fluke out there not doing anything with it, but letting the current move the bait and watching your floating, slack line for signs of a bite. If that's what Ohiodude's buddy is talking about, then I can see what he means because presenting a ned that way in a drifting yak that's spinning in current and wind seems like it'd be manageable.
  14. Maybe your buddy means it's hard to fish them while the kayak is drifting along and changing angles in the current? That situation can be difficult and irritating for me, too. And in some spots under some conditions I don't feel like I'm fishing good unless the boat is stopped.
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