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everythingthatswims

Craziest Conditions I Have Ever Fished

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Today, I got out of class at noon, headed back to my apartment, and hooked up the boat to take her home for Thanksgiving break. Unfortunately, my brothers will be keeping her in VA for the winter, so I will once again be kayak-bound! On my way home, I drive by a place called Mount Storm. Mount Storm has a power plant lake on top of a mountain, at 3600' elevation. It is a very unforgiving place, all the flags up there are tattered from the wind, the trees only have leaves on one side, and the gas station up there has the windward side door blocked off to entry. My route happens to pass within 2 miles of the boat ramp, and even though the conditions were less than ideal, I had to give it a go!

 

Dropping the boat in was a task, I pulled the keel up on the bank, but had to get a rope and tie a cleat to a tree so it wouldn't drift away while I parked my truck. Air temps were in the 30s, and although the forecast said it wouldn't get below freezing, the ice on my reel would say otherwise. I don't know what the wind speed was, it was no less than a sustained 20, and the gusts were pretty intimidating. I stuck to the protected side of the lake and stayed close to the ramp. When the fog would clear, I could see waves hitting sea walls on the far side of the lake and launching whitewater a pretty good ways upward.

 

I ended up landing 5 largemouth and 2 smallmouth, all of them in the 1-1.5lb range. I used a SK 1.5, a vision 110, a 1/2oz jig, and a ned rig. I only had a couple hours of daylight so I didn't really have time to put together a pattern, but the wind was blowing so hard that my pattern was just to fish what was fishable! I've fished in 30 degree temps a pretty good bit, but the wind made today absolutely brutal. I started with fingerless big wool gloves, but had to switch to full fingered gloves, because the wind would suck the heat right out of my fingertips.

 

I like getting out in extreme conditions, because since I do fish tournaments, it's nice to have some experience in rough water and nasty weather for when the time comes! @Bluebasser86 fishes in these conditions every time he goes in the winter but it's a big deal for a southern boy like me.

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My fingers barely made it through holding those fish for a photo!

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 And that's a smallmouth in clear water on a 1/2oz black and blue jig. (it was too cold to even think about putting a trailer on another jig and retying)

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That smokestack is probably the best visual I have for the wind (I was idling that's why my trolling motor isn't locked!)

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Used to have a tradition of fishing on New Year's Day with a friend of mind because his birthday is on the 2nd. Several years ago it was 9* when we launched with a high of 21*. One of the coldest days I've ever fished soft water but we caught quite a few fish that day. It's crazy some of the things you don't think about that you learn fishing cold conditions. A metal spinning reel stem between your fingers is like holding an icicle, micro guides are not an option, changing baits is almost impossible, braid turns into a slightly flexible icicle, you can backlash a reel really badly if there's enough ice in the reel or one of the guides to stop a cast, you can get a headache from running if your forehead isn't covered well, all kinds of fun stuff.

 

I'm almost to the point that I prefer those conditions because I'm rarely sharing any water when it's like that and the fish seem to bite better when it's nasty in power plant lakes. 

 

When the steam is freezing to the buoys and your cold weather suit, you know it's really cold.

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Both of those look rough.  

 

I've had some frigid days ice fishing (read: every time I've ever gone).  I haven't gone as an adult, but as kids we didn't have any portable shelter and would run a wind blasted lake chasing tip ups.  

 

More recently, last weekend wasn't rainy or crazy windy, thankfully, but we did camp 35 minutes from the river in North Central PA and the air temp got down to 14 at one point.  We waded all weekend, and regardless of layers, 20-34 degree air temps and 40 degree water temps over two days beat the **** out of me.  I used to love getting out in cold weather, but this was probably my coldest trip since back surgery.  It got rough.  I also learned some things, like if you're going to teach the girl you're dating (who has only very basic fly casting skills) how to cast streamers, don't do it when it's 14 degrees out.  

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Nice fish, way to tough it out. I wish we had power plant lakes! TVA has some steam plants that used to discharge hot water but I think after a few ash spills they only discharge luke warm water in fairly small amounts

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Last cold water/day experience I had was a couple years ago when we had some good snow.  Less than a mile from the boat ramp I got stuck in the snow on a little hill on a corner....$#@$.  I felt the snow would melt some as the day got a bit warmer but new I had to make it too the lake to fish the day first.......good thing a friend was following and saved the day.

P.S.  Seems like cold...rain keep many many people off the water......Love it.

P.S.S.  Good job on fishing....it's an addiction huh!

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Anytime I'm out in a thunderstorm and holding a metal rod I consider crazy!

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Good deal! I have run up to Storm three times in the winter when everything was frozen solid in Maryland. A little bit of wind goes a long way on that body of water and I can't imaging what it was like with those wind speeds!

 

Was there on a clear cold day with a fishing buddy. Couple of hours in and we were wondering why we were being pelted with hail. Whatever was coming from the smoke stacks that day was freezing and falling on us.

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Things we do to fish!!  :lol:  Lucky for me I have access to a nuke discharge lake of 3,000 acres.  Never freezes or drops below 50 degrees no matter what the outside temp.  If I can get there, I can fish.  Little tip.....don't take the plug out of your boat before you drive to the ramp or you will have to sacrifice a whole thermos of coffee in the bilge to thaw the ice that now is now frozen in the threads. 

 

 

 

 

jan22.jpg

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You guys ever been out then come back with a ramp covered in snow ? I did it "once" .

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2 hours ago, scaleface said:

You guys ever been out then come back with a ramp covered in snow ? I did it "once" .

Boat paddle doubles as snow shovel

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10 hours ago, TOXIC said:

Things we do to fish!!  :lol:  Lucky for me I have access to a nuke discharge lake of 3,000 acres.  Never freezes or drops below 50 degrees no matter what the outside temp.  If I can get there, I can fish.  Little tip.....don't take the plug out of your boat before you drive to the ramp or you will have to sacrifice a whole thermos of coffee in the bilge to thaw the ice that now is now frozen in the threads. 

 

 

 

 

jan22.jpg

You ever hear about the kid who caught a DD from his kayak on that lake? B)

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9 hours ago, scaleface said:

You guys ever been out then come back with a ramp covered in snow ? I did it "once" .

The biggest problem is when you get back and the ramp is a solid sheet of ice from other guys taking their boats out of the water. 

 

I had one time that I was on the Kansas River on a good blue cat bite and it was snowing hard the whole time. Got back and the long, steep river ramp was covered in snow. Took a long time to get the boat out and up the ramp that day.

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2 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

The biggest problem is when you get back and the ramp is a solid sheet of ice from other guys taking their boats out of the water. 

 

I had one time that I was on the Kansas River on a good blue cat bite and it was snowing hard the whole time. Got back and the long, steep river ramp was covered in snow. Took a long time to get the boat out and up the ramp that day.

Spooky

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Fished a tournament back in the 70s with 22 mph Northwest winds, 27°, & sleet!

 

Every 3-4 cast I had to stick my rod in the water, shake it, to get ice out of the eyes!

 

My jig rod was frozen to the deck & the rod box was iced shut.

 

Caught one of the biggest stringers of my life!

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I wasn't fishing but last weekend my uncle asked me to help pull his dock and pontoon out of the water for the winter. When we get there it was 22*, snowing, low 40s water temps in northern Michigan (Torch Lake). We get the boat and dock out no problem but the boat lift that has to come out sunk in about 18" of muck. My cousin and I went swimming in nothing but our boxers for about 45 minutes to get the thing unstuck and out of the water. We were numb but burning at the same time. The redness of our skin was starting to turn purple. Not a fun experience and has deterred me from fishing in the cold.

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The absolute windiest time I've ever been out was last summer, I was going down a bank throwing a buzzbait when a wall of rain moved across the lakes at an amazing speed.  It went from glass calm to hurricane force winds in a matter of seconds. Hit us hard, luckily we were nearby an empty boathouse that doesn't have a lift inside it, so we were able to take shelter in it.  Barely got there though, our little 15 horse motor could hardly make headway into the wind.  We later found out that a hurricane had actually touched down about half a mile from where we were, and winds were reported up to 75 miles an hour.  This was on a small (360 acre) lake, so the waves didn't have as much distance to build as they do on larger lakes.

 

The time that I was closest to sinking the boat and the largest waves I have ever been out on occurred on a lake called Monroe (largest lake in Indiana, and of coarse we were fishing at the far side of the lake from the ramp).  I was prefishing for a tournament there in early July and had been having a terrible day.  We had fished from 6 am from 7:30 pm and only had one keeper, and we hadn't even been shaking fish off.  Started seeing a storm build along side of the lake around 5:30, but for the next two hours it just seemed to run parallel to us.  Since we had absolutely zero patterns going for the tournament, we kept on fishing.  Then around 7:30 we got a call from someone who basically told us to get the heck off of the lake right now, the storm had just knocked out power to a huge part or the surrounding area with reported wind speeds of 40 mile an hour sustained with gusts up to 70.  And it was looking like it was going to stop running parallel to us, and instead go right into us.

 

So we fired up the motor and got out of the cove we were fishing, and in literally 5 minutes the lake had gone from ~10 mile an hour winds to 40-70.  Our 21' fish and ski (it has a way deeper v and handles waves much larger than a bass boat would, luckily) was getting waves swamped over the bow all the way to the wind sheild on almost every wave, filling the boat with water.  By this point the rain was coming down so hard that we lost track of the shoreline, and the wave action was so jolting and the waves that we couldn't figure out were were on the small GPS screen we have mounted on the dashboard.  We were driving essentially blindly, on an unfamiliar lake, with no view of the shoreline, and we couldn't even read our GPS.

 

We ultimately ended up finding our way into a protected cove where we hid from the wind for about 20 minutes, but the rain was still pouring down and the boat was filled with so much water that it was sitting dangerously low, even though the bilge pump was on.  After that we decided to try and get back to the ramp again, this time by hugging the shoreline as lone as possible.  By the time we got back to the main lake, the storm had calmed down and virtually disappeared, the rain had lessened and the wind down to a breeze.  

 

The whole way back to the ramp we saw boats ran up on shorelines, bassboats and pontoons alike.  Several had obviously ruined the hulls by choosing to run up the shorelines, apparently the owners thought that they had to do that to keep from sinking the boat with them in it.  One especially nice Ranger bassboat with twin power poles had run up on the riprap shoreline, ruined its hull, and the back end was under water.

 

Never before had I actually felt like we were more likely to sink or flip the boat than not, the experience has definitely gave me a new appreciation to the power and danger of wind, especially on big lakes.

 

Coldest ever was a day with a high of 28 and a low in the single digits, with freezing rain that would freeze on your jacket, in addition to 10-20 mile an hour winds.  No rain gear can keep you dry in that.  By far the coldest I've ever been, but we caught a boat load of fish vertically jigging blade baits.

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Yes, I fished anyway.  

 

 

Florida House 075.jpg

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Love this thread. Been there. Good tips too (Thanks, BB86).

 

Back when I lived in steelhead country we sometimes hit  super-cooled conditions (water below 32*) and "anchor ice". I used to pop my flies or bait in my mouth to thaw them.

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On 11/17/2017 at 9:48 AM, Pro Logcatcher said:

Anytime I'm out in a thunderstorm and holding a metal rod I consider crazy!

Not crazy.  Stupid!

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6 hours ago, Paul Roberts said:

Love this thread. Been there. Good tips too (Thanks, BB86).

 

Back when I lived in steelhead country we sometimes hit  super-cooled conditions (water below 32*) and "anchor ice". I used to pop my flies or bait in my mouth to thaw them.

Even the salmon eggs?

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8 hours ago, Jaderose said:

Not crazy.  Stupid!

Gotta risk it for the biscuit 😉

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If you notice, there is a buzzbait on one of my frozen rods.  :o  That's what a nuke cooling lake in winter will do to ya!!:P  Nothing like catching topwater bass in a snowstorm.  BTW that was the WORST and most DANGEROUS conditions I EVER towed in.  I left my house for a 60 mile tow to the lake.  It was clear and dry but very cold (that's why the rods were on deck).  When I got 10 miles from the lake it started "misting".  The road became a solid sheet of ICE.  I was towing a 20ft boat on a dual axle trailer.  I had come too far to turn around and I knew that if I could get to the lake, everything would thaw once I launched.  If I even as much as touched my truck brakes, the trailer would try to come around the truck.  I IDLED the last 5 miles past over 40 cars and trucks in the ditches.  

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On 11/18/2017 at 11:19 AM, Chance_Taker4 said:

I wasn't fishing but last weekend my uncle asked me to help pull his dock and pontoon out of the water for the winter. When we get there it was 22*, snowing, low 40s water temps in northern Michigan (Torch Lake). We get the boat and dock out no problem but the boat lift that has to come out sunk in about 18" of muck. My cousin and I went swimming in nothing but our boxers for about 45 minutes to get the thing unstuck and out of the water. We were numb but burning at the same time. The redness of our skin was starting to turn purple. Not a fun experience and has deterred me from fishing in the cold.

YOU are one tuff individual......WOW

On 11/20/2017 at 7:06 PM, TnRiver46 said:

Even the salmon eggs?

Back in Oregon trout fishing I used to keep the water pack trout eggs in my mouth while stream fishing....that way didn't have to slow down with the catching.  Tried the oil pack once........only once!!!!!!!

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8 hours ago, Paul Roberts said:

Yup.

Mmmmm tasty

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