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Shallow Water Mud Slingin’

The morning was a bust. Saw two skunks, two beavers and an otter, but barely a duck anywhere near my setup. Before heading back to the truck I wanted to inspect a beaver dam that I’ve been watching all year. Low water has kept me away from it and just enough water to skate back to it was the case on this day. The motor worked for it, but I was able to get in close to two sides of the dam despite random hard clay bottom in spots. Here’s a few clips of the digging, clawing and scratching required to simply get a look at this dam. I cut out the extended mud blasting efforts to save time, but trust me there were a few moments of slow progress or even hopping out of the boat to get turned around.

 

Rainy Day Scouting for New Water

Here’s a little banging around on the day after New Years Day. I was hoping recent rains would have flooded some new areas for the ducks, but at this point it still hadn’t runoff enough to flood them. It did rain another 2 inches two days after so another scouting run will be in order after the current freeze thaws.
After all this running around, I found a spot and dropped some decoys and sat in the rain for five hours. No shots fired and all but guarantee the ducks were sitting tight in the timber somewhere.

Boat Ride Back to the Truck- opening day


Well it’s been a long year or two around here. With a baby in the house, what little spare time to hunt and fish there has been, hasn’t made it into the blogs. While things have settled down enough for me to get back into the swing of things a little bit, the blogging is slowly catching up.

New to the mix this year, is the Gator Trax boat from so many blogs in the past now calls my back yard home. The guys just weren’t using it so much anymore and when they did use it, usually it was up here with me. So it made sense for us to work out a deal, and so we did. I was reluctant as i already had a boat without a motor and barely enough time to get out as it is, but we agreed it was the right play. I now need to sell either the Gator Trax or my Geaux Custom to wash it all out, but we’ll get it done over the winter.

I picked up the boat right before the season and barely had a chance to run it before opening day. She is a little tired from sitting quite a bit in recent years, but fired right up for this jaunt into the wood duck swamps of northern Alabama. I ran the GoPro even though this was hardly the most exciting boat ride, especially with the cold-natured restarts that plagued me all morning. The boat seems to be loosening up the water-based carb problems that popped up last season.

Before the season, I bought a 35hp new take-off carburetor from mudbuddy, but the linkages were all too different and ended up sending it back and rolling the dice. The motor actually runs pretty good other than the random sputter-and-die routine that seems to be getting better as fresh gas runs through it. I still feel like the tiny air filter we rigged after the entire air cleaner assembly came up missing on a hunt a few years ago is part of the problem.

I spec’d and ordered parts to put a higher flowing air filter setup along with a water proof pre-filter. All of those parts finally arrived and are assembled and ready to clamp on. Hopefully the additional fresh air will help with some of the sputtering and the annoying dead spot in the throttle that always seems to kick in when you’re navigating the technical stuff.

Otherwise, the motor is in good shape with plenty of prop wear left for another season or two.

 

Chickamauga Lake Crappie Fishing Report

We’re still basically going twice a week these days. The fishing has been consistent, not great but consistent for a couple of weeks now. I took my kayak bass fishing buddy out last night for his first crappie run of the year. It was miserably slow from afternoon until about 10pm or later. I knew the dam was drawing very little water until midnight and just assumed it would be a bad trip altogether. We ended up picking up enough short fish to keep us interested until some keepers came along. Between 11pm and midnight someone let the dogs out and we nearly ran out of minnows in a firestorm of biting crappie. We walked away with 17 keepers and were almost shocked at how much the fishing picked up that last hour.

To be fair, our average catch was closer to 10″ than 14″ but we had a blast trying to keep minnows on hooks.

Surprise!

Aaron and two of the nicer keepers he was catching

Chickamauga Lake Crappie Fishing Report

This weekend was too busy for me to get any fishing done. Ironically, frying fish on Saturday night prevented me from catching fish to eat. As the weekend wound down on Sunday, I made my way to crappie spot and met my neighbor on his way home from the golf course. Our medium shiners were extra large and possibly contributed to the lack of fishing action. I’d picked up some fluorescent submersible lights on Saturday as well as a replacement globe for a donated Coleman lantern. So a full lighting package was employed soon after sunset. We’ve decided that fishing for crappie at night without them is a significant disadvantage. We didn’t catch near as many fish as we did a few days before, but almost every fish caught was a keeper. Larger bait catches larger fish. It would seem like a no brainer, but we look for a balance between catching a bunch of fish and the more boring version like Sunday’s trip that ended up yielding 9 keepers between 8pm and 11pm. We’re still finding plenty of fish with eggs, so we can only assume to be on the first half of the spawn cycle.

Weekend Crappie Combo Report Chickamauga Lake

After a decent Wednesday night outing, we gave it another go on Friday. Unfortunately a harsh weather change locked their jaws up tight. we caught two keepers in five hours of fishing that ended up at 41 degrees by about midnight.

14.5" KeeperAs temperatures returned to normal, Sunday afternoon was wide open for a double special fishing trip. For the first time, my custom aluminum boat hit the lake. Yeah, it only has a trolling motor for power, but it hit the water like a champ. The weather was good except for the winds picking up to about ten MPH later in the day. I only caught two fish, but they were good fish on light tackle. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It looks like crappie season is full underway starting any minute now.

Bass on a beetle spin. My specialty.

Chickamauga Lake Crappie Fishing Report

The third outing for crappie was as promising a trip as we’ve had. After three days of warmer weather we knew the water temperatures would be up. In fact, it was nearly eighty degrees today. Knowing the temps would be back down tomorrow we decided that today was the best day of this week to go sample the staged crappie in our sweet spot. Continue reading »

Banging Off of Trees on the Last Day

Ending a season that wasn’t all that great with a few bumpy boats rides seemed appropriate. We had a blast even with the few ducks we managed to shoot.

Post-Hunt Ride in Brent’s Boat

After hunting Sunday morning (not it the rain thankfully) we made another lap around the area and turned the Camera on. I had the camera on the inside of the grab bar this time, to protect it from limbs. The view isn’t as good of the bow from that mounting location, but it’s still pretty cool.