Category Archives: Pflueger Arbor

Jubilee Creek 8/21 Collabo with LH

After my initial solo success at Jubilee College State park, Clif from Lunker Hunt asked if I would be interested in taking him back there to hunt some lunker chubs. The emails that followed culminated in the two of us meeting up in the not-so-early morning near the same area that I put into the creek before.

I was rigged up with the Pflueger Arbor reel/Sufix braided line that OBN sent me to review. (Which I want to use at least one more time in a more appropriate manner before submitting my official review. That heavy of a setup isn’t done justice by flinging small jigs in a tiny creek. Sorry bout the wait on that OBN!) I had originally tied on a 3″ white grub, hoping for something bigger than last time.

After tromping directly through poison ivy (pretty sure I did last time too so hopefully I don’t break out too bad), I scooted myself down into the muddy water. Clif followed and we got down to fishing.

Well, I got down to casting and Clif got down to catching. I want to say his first or second cast had a creek chub on the line. A handful of casts later had another. Around that time I was second guessing my choice of a larger lure. I switched up to a Beetlespin, which had worked pretty well on my last outing. After a few more casts and a few more fish caught by Clif, I was second guessing the length of my flourocarbon leader. Clif offered up the smaller grub he was using to see if that could turn the tide along with a new longer leader.

For a while, it didn’t. Then we came across a nice tree that spanned the width of the creek and caused a nice deep hole with lots of cover. Finally I got a bite and caught a fish:


By this point Clif was in double digits so I gave up on any notion of keeping up and just focused on trying to catch the monster smallmouth we both were hoping was hunkered down in one of those deep holes.  No such luck but there were a bunch of Chubs:

Sorry for the lack of photos.  I hesitate to mess around with my phone too much when I’m ankle deep in muddy water.  Need to buy a waterproof camera.

A fish or two later, I snagged up and snapped my flouro leader. Clif graciously offered up another grub, which I promptly snagged and broke off as well. Rather than just use the jigheads I had in my pocket, I kept taking Clif’s. My bad, I feel kinda crappy about it.

Anyway, eventually the bite slowed down and we moved on; stopping and offering a few casts any time we couldn’t see the bottom. We caught a few fish as we went along.

We came across a pretty sketchy spot and had to pause for a minute to figure out how to get across a tangle of fallen trees. Overheard:

Clif: “Are you very agile?”

Me: “I’m the most agile 470lb man you know, I guarantee it.”

I then played fat guy parkour, slowly hopping awkwardly from branch to branch and then half-fell/half-jumped to the ground. I didn’t blow out a knee so it was a successful navigation.

We reached my walking limit sometime later. As we were fishing our furthest-out spot, a voice drifted into hearing. A voice booming out in song. Half hymns/half seemingly made up lyrics such as “I love this trail, I’ve been on this trail all my liiiiiiife.” We started heading back just after he passed. A little further upstream, the Singing Horseman lead a troop of teenagers on horses into the stream and stopped there.

We stopped rougly 20-30 yards from the group, not knowing the protocol was for walking into a big group of horses. (Especially since 2-3 of the horses seemed ready to lay the equine smackdown on each other. Stomping around, chasing one another, etc.)

Eventually they moved on and we started the hike back. Clif fished his way back and caught a few more. I didn’t have much left in me to really fish but I was grateful for the periodic breathers.

 We ended up walking a total of 2.2 miles. (I would put up the MyTracks map but I forgot to turn it off so you’d see it make a beeline down the road at 55mph for 10 more miles.)

Between the two of us we must’ve caught around 30 fish. (Clif with 2/3rds of those) Not the biggest fish but fun nonetheless. We’re planning on doing something similar soon but in one of Clif’s top secret spots. Maybe I can get my elusive smallie! Thanks again to Clif for putting up with me holding him back and losing all this lures.

Did anybody else get out fishing this weekend? Have any luck?


Wading Jubilee Creek 8/4/11

The original plan was to go hike in Jubilee State Park (the closest big piece of open land to me) to scout for the deer season, see if I could find convincing evidence to return in October.

In my scouting I found that a creek runs through the park.  Thinking that obviously deer need to drink, I figured hiking alongside the creek would be a good place to start.

 After googling the crap out of the park, I found a couple sites saying that the creek held Smallmouth.  At that point, just about any notions of scouting for deer went out the window.  (I really don’t know what the hell to look for anyway.)

So I asked facebook for help.  Mike and Clif both suggested I start with the spinning rod.  I tied on a beetlespin and headed out this morning.  This is my total trip from the time I stepped out of my car to the time I stepped back in:

Tracked by the Android app My Tracks.  2.8 miles over 3 hours.  

Rather than just take the easy way down under the bridge at first, I decided to follow a trail and blunder through a bunch of vegetation (some of which was probably poison ivy, if my tingly legs are any indication.) to try to get to the creek. (Thats what the trail above the two tacks at the bottom is.)  After figuring out it was a 10 foot drop to the creek that way, I headed back to the bridge, set down my backpack and rod and slowly slid down into the water.

Right away I tossed the beetlespin along the bank on the deeper side of the creek and on my second cast, I had a bite!  A tiny bite but a bite nonetheless:

Pretty sure it’s a giant crappie minnow.  My dad would call them chubs.

I was stoked.  Second cast, in a pool that I had just slid into and walked across.  Probably the only fish left in the hole that I didn’t scare off.  I tossed about a dozen more casts into the pool without a bite and I moved on.

A majority of the creek was too shallow (3-4 inches or less) to hold fish but I would stop and toss a few casts  any time the water got deep enough to not see the bottom or along banks/stumps/overhanging trees.  Nothing looked too promising for awhile.  Eventually I came across what looked like a pretty decent pool:

The middle thumbtack on the map above.  

I threw a few casts along the bank in the shadows, as close as I could.  The Plueger reel/Sufix line combo that I got for a review from OBN casts amazingly.  Even with a lure that’s probably too small to be cast on that setup.  I’m more accurate with it than any other setup I have.

I had a knock on one cast but missed the hookset.  I cast back to the same spot and immediately got snagged on a root under the surface.  Cool thing about getting a snag when you’re wading is that you can walk over and unhook your lure.  Lame thing about getting a snag when you’re wading that you walk through the water you were just trying to fish to get your lure free.  Convinced that I had scared any other fish out of the area, I trudged on.

I slowly moved along, stopping and casting whenever the water looked deep enough.  Eventually I got to the top of the trail where the last thumbtack is.

Creek Chub Heaven.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

I stopped taking pictures after that because I felt like I was taking pictures of the same fish over and over but I caught 3 more.  Every couple of casts I had a tug on the line.  The combination of the deepish pool, overhanging branches and tangled roots were a perfect sport.

The clasp on my Beetlespin spinner came undone on the last fish and he managed to to shake the jighead off.  I sat down on a downed tree, drank my other water and ate my other granola bar and relaxed for a few minutes.  It had been about 2 1/2 hours by this point and I was pretty pooped so I started to hoof it back.

Saw only one guy, an older gentleman who was fossil hunting.  He showed me  a couple that he had picked up, pretty cool stuff.  I asked him if he knew if there were any smallmouth and he said he had only seen them in the early spring when the water was higher.  I feel like I could’ve caught a couple if they had been in there.

Oh!  I wore my KSOs and they did awesome for the most part.  The only thing I was disappointed in was that they let a good amount of sand in.  The only reason that’s disappointing is that KSO stands for “Keep Shit Out”.  Oh well, I was comfortable and never slipped while walking down the creek.

I’ll be on the lookout for more bigfoot print reports in IL, see if I fooled anyone:

“The prints are 16 inches long and were pushed down with 470+ lbs of force.  The beast must be monstrous!   Hide your kids!  Hide your wife!”
EDIT: My loving wife just pointed out that just because you wear size 16 shoes, it doesn’t make your feet 16″ long.  Then she laughed at me.

Walking along in the sand and mud, sinking up to 6 inches or so with each step gave me a pretty good burn in my calves.  A good workout.

Even though I didn’t catch the smallmouth I was looking for, I’d call the trip a success.  I managed to take what I had read online about creek fishing and turn it into fish.  Now just to find a creek with some bass in it.  Any suggestions?

Sufix Braid/Pflueger Arbor reel first impressions.

A few months ago the Outdoor Blogger Network posted an opportunity to receive a free package of Sufix 832 Advanced Superline.  I threw my hat in the ring and learned a few days later that the random number generator had smiled upon me.  There was much rejoicing.
A couple weeks later (but before I received the Sufix line), OBN posted another opportunity to receive a Pflueger Arbor spinning reel.  Wouldn’t ya know it, I got lucky again and soon had a new reel on the way to use with the new line.
Some time later, my first package was waiting for me on the porch:
Had no clue what strength to get so I got the equivalent of 10lb test mono.  Hopefully its  not so thick as to scare off the fish.
Knowing line visibility is key when fishing soft plastic type baits (which is when I have my limited success fishing for bass), I chose the Neon Lime version.  They weren’t kidding about the “neon” part:
I’ve never really used braid before (maybe twice for a total of 2 hours or so) so I don’t know what I should be looking for when initially critiquing the line.  It’s thicker than I imagined but then again I did ask for the 40lb test version, which is super strong (the wire cutter part of two different pairs of pliers had trouble cutting through on the first squeeze).  However, I’ve realized that for anything besides topwater type baits, I’ll have virtually no choice but to use a flourocarbon leader or the fish are bound to see the bright green thick line tied to the lure.  It doesn’t really matter how strong the line is if my knots are garbage or the flouro isn’t strong.  
Just last night, I got the Pflueger reel via Fedex:

It sure is purdy.
8 bearings.  That sounds like alot right?  
A good fit for my big meathook.  Notice the big handle.
First impression on the reel:  This is the nicest reel I’ve ever used.  (This coming from the man who regularly uses a $20 shakespeare setup bought at Walmart, so take that for what you will.)  The handle is super smooth and everything fits really tightly.  The only mechanical weirdness occurs when the handle is turned the wrong way.  Even with the anti-reverse on, the handle just starts unscrewing itself from the reel.  Not a problem as long as you’ve used a spinning reel but I wouldn’t want to pass it off to my niece or another kid.  I could just see them reeling the wrong direction and the handle coming off.  Bad new bears.
The box/website advertise “Braid ready spool!”  but after tying an arbor knot and trying to feed the line onto the reel, I found that braid likes to slip.  Even on a “braid ready spool” After some googling, I found that a layer of electrical tape around the base of the spool allows the line to bite in and slip less.  It seems to work and hopefully the line won’t snag up on it somehow.  Not a big deal as I turned up alot of anglers having the same problem with their reel.  It’s just a minor gripe that the reel is advertised as braid ready but is totally not braid ready without some tape.
Those are the only “problems” I had initially with the reel.  The max drag (carbon fiber drag!) is 10lbs so I’m planning on cranking it up and putting the Sufix/14lb fluoro/double uni knot to the test.
So I got the line spooled onto the reel (which is mounted on a $30 Berkeley Amp rod found readily at Gander mountain) and got about a pole’s length of fluoro tied on the end.  My plan for this setup is to document EVERY single fish caught.  Every trip I have that produces a fish will be tagged with “Sufix/Plueger” and eventually I’ll put together a compilation in the Review section of the blog.  After a few outings using the setup I’ll do a conventional review for each product individually to pass judgement as well.
My job changed my schedule last week so I now work Saturdays and have Thursdays off.  Kind of a mixed blessing as working the weekend sucks but I now have a designated Mark-day that I can use for whatever outdoor activity my heart desires and not have to worry about plans my wife made or family get-togethers.  I’m stoked.  I’m heading out in a little bit to take care of some paperwork so I can start school again this fall.  After that, if weather permits, I’ll go and do some testing of the new setup and hopefully get some fish documenting done.  Expect to hear more soon.
I was given the Sufix line and Pflueger reel in return for an honest review of each product.  I have no existing business relationship with either Sufix or Pflueger.  I realize this isn’t really a review yet so I probably don’t have to put up this silly disclaimer.  However, I’m not down with FCC violations so better safe than sorry.