Monday, August 31, 2009

5 Days Until Deer Season 2009/2010

I spent today taking care of all the chores that had piled up while I was away on my cruise. After getting the "real life" chores taken care of this morning, I went to Gander Mountain to buy the last few items I needed for my bow. I only have 5 days until the opener here in Virginia, so I want to make sure I am 100% ready!

I needed to get a new insert for my Whisker Biscuit, as well as some broadhead washers, and some new nocks. I was also in the market for some new arrows. Unfortunately, Gander was sold out of almost everything archery related. They didn't have the Beman arrows I shoot, or any Whisker Biscuit rests! I was also unable to find the broadhead washers that I wanted.

I ended up buying a package of Goldtip nocks, some Scent Killer Spray, Hunter Specialties reflective trail markers, and a Luminock. The Luminock was an impulse buy. I have heard mixed reviews about this product, but I had no problems getting it to work with my arrows and bow. I also installed the new nocks on all the other arrows and shot about 20 times.

Since I had all of my hunting stuff out, I figured I would go ahead and organize my gear. I had all of my stuff crammed into two giant Tupperware containers, so I pulled everything out and organized it into warm weather gear and cold weather gear. I also washed all of my warm weather clothing, and am planning on spraying it all down with Scent Killer before I store it. I then organized my pack and checked out my Hunters Safety Systems full body harness to make sure it was in working condition.
I also made plans with my Dad to hang a new stand at the property I am hunting Saturday. Hopefully this stand turns out to be as productive as I think it will be!

The weather is looking great for this weekend, so hopefully I'll get a chance to knock down a few deer in the morning. If I don't, it is no big deal because I am going to spend the day at the property cutting grass and hanging the new stand before I hunt in the evening. My Dad may even be joining me to help hang the stand! Hopefully I can track down a new insert for my arrow rest before Saturday.

(I am still trying to get pictures from Bermuda squared away, and I hope to put some up soon. Hopefully in the next few days.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Exciting News

I am going to keep this short and sweet. I just got back from a great 5 day cruise to Bermuda. I'll hopefully have some pictures to share within the next few days. I'm doing a little bit more traveling this weekend before I head home.
I reckon I will follow my cousin Matt's advice and share this important development...The big news I have to share is that I received word that I have been hired as a Sheriff's Office Deputy in Virginia. After about a 5 month application process this was great news to hear. My tentative start date is September 17. That leaves me two whole weeks of nothing but Smallmouth fishing and early archery season deer hunting. After that I have 12 hour shifts and real life to look forward to! I am truly blessed to have been given this opportunity so soon after graduation. I can't wait to start.
Hopefully I'll have some sort of post up by Sunday detailing my trip to Bermuda. Thanks to all of you who have offered well wishes during my job search!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pics From My Latest River Trip

I spent the evening on the Shenandoah River again tonight. I caught a lot of fish, but no monsters this time. I did see some really cool critters hanging out down by the river though...

If you look close enough there is a huge Bald Eagle hanging out in the Sycamore tree.

Here is an Egret...

And this was my view on the way back to the boat landing...

I plan on being back on the river at least one more time before I go on my cruise to Bermuda. Hopefully Hurricane Bill doesn't change the plans!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Big Smallies On The Shenandoah

Today was the best day I have ever had fishing on the Shenandoah River. In the past week I have gone fishing three times from my kayak. All three times I have caught numerous fish, some of which have been decent, but tonight was unbelievable. What makes this night so special to me is that I caught really big fish on the river. For the past few years the Shenandoah has been plagued by fish kills which have wiped out the adult population of fish. Therefore large Smallmouth bass were a rarity to catch. This year there hasn't been a kill, and the river level has stayed up all summer long. This combination has made for some great fishing!

I got in the river at about 4 p.m. and paddled close to two miles upstream from where I started. I had fished this stretch of river the other day, but wanted to go farther upstream over some small falls that require portaging over. I caught a few small Smallies like this one, before I got to the falls. On the first cast after I crossed the falls and got back into my 'yak all that changed.

I cast my #3 Mepps Spinner and hooked into a big fish. After fighting it for a minute or two and being treated to some spectacular jumps I landed this hefty Smallmouth. This fish was wider than my kayak. I judged it to be about 16 inches long (longer than my forearm) and weighing between three and four pounds. After taking some more pictures I released it back into the river.

I caught two more nice fish that weighed around two to two and a half pounds in the same stretch over the next hour. Here was big fish number two.

Big fish number three.

The last fish I hooked into of the evening was a monster. I cast into a deep hole just above the falls that I had portaged earlier in the evening. I let the spinner sink, and then started a slow retrieve, barely keeping the blade turning. I was rewarded with a heavy strike and about a 2 minute fight with a huge Smallmouth. Because I was so close to the falls, I had to paddle with my left hand and fight the fish with my right. I finally felt like I could make a try at landing the fish, so I dropped my paddle and got the fish next to the boat. I had the fish out of the water and laying on the side of the kayak, when it gave a shake and broke my 8 lbs. test line. I swear this fish was around 5 to 6 pounds, because it dwarfed the first big fish I caught this evening. I only wish I had gotten a hold of it long enough to get a good picture. I am pretty sure it may have been a citation fish.

I was blessed with a great evening, and I hope to get back out on the river in the next few days. It would be great if I could convince my Dad or some other family members to join me on the river for some trophy Smallmouth fishing! We'll see what happens...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Bowhunting "To Do" List

I have been shooting my bow pretty frequently the past few days. I am happy to say that I have almost returned to last year's accuracy level. There are a few things that I need to do to my bow to allow me to shoot a little bit better...

I need a new insert for my "Whisker Biscuit" arrow rest. After three seasons of shooting, I have worn through the bristles to the point that my arrow occasionally falls through bristles and rests on the frame of the Biscuit.

I also need to retie a new nocking/draw loop or buy a plastic one to put on the bow. I have been looking at the plastic ones for a year or so, and can't decide whether or not to try one out. The only problem I have with the string loop is that it stretches and I can tell that I am not hitting the back wall of the bow when I draw.

New arrows are also a necessity, as I am down to just three. I started with 8 last year, but lost and broken arrows have dropped me down to three. I'll probably end up buying a 6 pack of Beman ICS 400 arrows to replenish by supplies.

Luckily, I don't need to buy broadheads this year. Last year I switched to Rage 3 Blade broadheads. I bought my first pack, and was so impressed with their performance that I bought another. I haven't used the second pack I bought, and two from the first pack are still in good shape.

Unfortunately the owner of the bow shop I use died suddenly over the winter. I am unsure if his shop is still open. I may end up going to Gander Mountain if his shop has closed down, but I am afraid to see how outrageous their prices are. We'll see whether or not I can manage to buy any of the items on my wish list. Luckily I have a birthday coming up soon, so perhaps I'll supply my family with my wish list and see what happens! Good luck practicing to all of you getting ready for bow season!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Less Than A Month To Go

In a few short weeks it will be opening day of archery season in some parts of Virginia. These are areas that have very dense deer populations, so a special early season is in place to allow the harvest of antlerless deer before the real season begins. I managed to bag a doe on opening day of this season last year. I find this season to be a great scouting tool, as I was able to pattern a group of bucks on the property I hunt. I look forward to being able to hunt a little bit more during this early season now that I am done with school.

I figured tonight was as good a night as any to start practicing with my bow. I shoot a Reflex Growler that I bought 3 years ago. Reflex is the off brand of Hoyt and from what I can tell, it shoots the same as my friends Hoyt's that were made around the same time. I shot 5 arrows at 20 yards and managed about a three inch group. I then moved the target out to 30 yards and shot 5 more times. This time my group was a little erratic, although all 5 shots were in the "kill zone." I need to get my bow tuned and have a few more arrows made, but unfortunately I don't have the time or money to do that right now.

Saturday I get a private tour of the jail I have applied to work at. I have some other odds and ends to take care of during the next week, and then it is off for a 5 day cruise to Bermuda. I am looking forward to all the events on my calendar, but unfortunately they are going to cut into my shooting practice. I'll try to blog more often!