Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Peaches!

She's 9 years old (yesterday).

Luckily, she inherited my good looks...and some English person's teeth, apparently.

This is a much better picture:

She's smart, funny and has somehow inherited my sarcasm. I have no idea how that happened. She's not all that excited about fishing, but she likes to kayak, and she doesn't complain too much when I turn off the crappy pop music and turn on AC/DC. She'll even shoot whatever gun is nearest to her when asked, as long as I'm there to help. I think I'll keep her. Happy Birthday!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Whoohooo! Fishing the Broad River

It's been quite a while since I've been able to get out on the kayak and do some fishing. Between what I do as my everyday job (forensics), and what I consider "fun" at my job (simunition training for cops across the state...I'm a very good bad guy/bullet sponge!), I've been putting in serious time at the j-o-b. But with all that work, comes some overtime comp time. A full day of comp time, at that. So I decided that I needed a day on the river. But not just any river. The Broad River!

There's 3 rivers that flow near me: the Saluda, the Broad and the Congaree. I've fished the Saluda, mainly for trout because it's fed from the bottom of Lake Murray, so the water stays below 60 degrees pretty much all the time, and it's pretty fast flowing (350-1000 cfs). I've fished the Broad near downtown Columbia, and had pretty good luck with the bream, but I wanted to try the kayak on it, so I loaded up the green monster and headed north. Lucky for me, I had some friends with me!

All these guys have been good enough to hook me up with swag, so the least I can do is give out some props...image-wise, at least. I mentioned the green monster..that's really the best way I can describe my kayak.

It's a Lifetime tandem sport fisher. It was 300 bucks at Academy, and so far it's been worth every single penny, even if it handles like an aircraft carrier. But as you can see, it fits in the back of my truck, and I catch fish out of it!

I headed up to Peak, just below the Parr Reservoir. Off of Hwy 213 is a very small road that takes a sharp turn below the bridge and takes you to the canoe put-in for the Broad River. The put-in is....interesting.

Getting in was easy. Getting out was not. It just looks level in this picture. In reality there's a 10 food drop almost vertical down to the water. I'm bringing a winch next time.

I did pretty good on the water. I would paddle to some rocks, anchor off, and then fish for a while.

The Broad River is....broad. It's also pretty shallow, at least the part where I was. I was constantly running into rocks. Luckily, there was no current on the side where I was. The Parr Reservoir was just upriver from the put-in, and the greenery in the picture above was an island separating the current driven water from the still water.

I caught about 10 small bream, but only took a picture of'll have to take my word for it!

They were eating up my spider-fly. I'm no pro fly tyer, but this fly was ugly even by my standards. It was my first attempt at a bug-bodied spider. Trust me, it was ugly, but these bream were chasing it almost to the rod tip. I had 2 inch fish attacking it on top of the water! I love topwater fishing...

Here's your obligatory self-pic...notice no duckface.

I learned some stuff today, too.

I don't need 4 gallons of water, but a 20oz Pepsi does not replace sweat the way Powerade will! I was prepared to catch fish, but I saw several gar, three of which were over 2 feet long...I had no way of "catching" something like that....

and I left this in the truck. Good for me, I was wearing polarized sunglasses, so I could see the gars before I cast to them. Except for the ones that were tailing 15' from the boat. Those I cast to...but didn't catch, thank goodness. I think a pair of long needle nose pliers and a towel will be in my load out for my next trip. Along with the machete, too. I saw one snake. Unfortunately it was two feet from me, and I had just walked past it. I was anchored up behind the pillar on this railroad trestle:

and had got out of the boat to try and cast into the current. I just took a look down and saw this little snake head peeking up out of the rocks taking a look around. By little I mean I could see a foot and a half of him, and he wasn't much more than 1-2 inches in diameter. Still, it was a snake, and it was close. Too close, so I waited until it disappeared, and I very gingerly reached out to the boat and got in it without crossing back over the rocks. I'm sure I looked pretty funny trying to reach my kayak with the butt end of my fly rod...but I wasn't going back over those rocks.

With the exception of the snake, it was a great day on the water. I didn't catch anything big, but I did catch fish. Next time I'd like to paddle up to the spillway and try and float with the current down to the railroad trestle. I've got a feeling the smallmouths will be on the "current" side of the river...better food sources and all that. That, and I need to have another truck/fisher/kayaker with me so we can float down the river, load back up and retrieve my truck later. Volunteers?