Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bartlett Lake Biblical Flood Update

The lake is up 35ft to 85% full, not the 100% we were hoping. SRP is trying to hold the lake 8ft low at 92%. I personally like the lake full!

Those days and nights were rough, they ran three 2 man teams continually. The other six employees didn't make it in before the washes ran over and closed the road. There was no going OR coming for 72 hours. The six remaining trapped employees ran in two man two hour shifts, cranking 40 1 inch thick cable wenches spred over the entire dock before getting a four hour break. This went on 24/7, day and night! If they failed, the marina would be submigged within the hour OR even worse, a 12,000lbs anchor line breaks! During the biggest storm of the last 12 months, the marina would be pushed off its morings, buckle, smashing the dock w/ millions in boats being compremised. Those six guys had a VERY rough 72 hours!

My boat made it through unscathed!

Pea Soup Andersen's Restaurant - Buellton, CA has the best split pea soup in the world, it's rich, thick and wonderful w/ sourcream & bacon bits, plus it's All-You-Can-Eat. Sounds wonderful but I wouldn't know because I've never eaten there. Despite that unfortunate fact, I doubt it's thicker or more baby-shit green like then Bartlett Lake. The lake is completely trashed! A mud flow 100 yards wide that stretchs the length of the lake PLUS floating masses of reeds, branches and whole trees make a trip down the lake trechorous. I'm praying the debre will settle soon, my uncle is visiting us the end of feburary.

Lack of Fishing Trip to Bartlett

Went out to the lake w/ little hope of catching anything and we were right to be discuraged. Not a damn thing, not even a bite. The lake is as silted over as i've ever seen it! The water is thick w/ mud. There are rivers of mud w/ reeds, branches and whole trees floating down the lake. Trying to navigate the lake is like trying to navagate a mine field. Regardless, we gave it our best for 3 hours. Walked a 6th of the marina trying to find those bloody fish, nothing! (BTW the minnows were really nice, it was a shame no fish would eat them!) We gave up....TOTALLY SKUNKED!

Before leaving we always run the boat motor for 15min to keep it properly lubbed and to keep any moister in the gas from settling in the engine. Unfortunately, the storm pushed crap into the motors water intake empellor (for cooling). The engine wouldn't circulate water, that's bad! Dad got down and cleaned it out but it still dribbled worse then an old man with prostrate cancer. We decided dad should take the boat out and give it a good run. We lucked out, the engine started peeing properly! Ya! Saved me a few hundred in proctalagy fees! Now all we have left to do is clean an inch of scum off the pontoons, fun.

Anyone interest, the lake is 15ft down (85% full) and coming up at irregular intervals. It's fluctuating 2ft up and down every day.

I did take a few nice pictures, hopefully they'll come out well.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bartlett Lake Biblical Flood 112,000 cfs

Bartlett Lake is currently at 39% (as of 01-21-10) and going up one foot an hour! By Sunday both Bartlett & Horseshoe will be 100% full. That is crazy! 112,000 cubic feet per second of water is flowing into Horseshoe & Bartlett Lake causing the water to rise one foot an hour! Crazy! The normal flow rate is 150 cfs in the winter and 1000 cfs in the spring. 112,000 cfs is an 100X increase in water flow every second! That is an Awsome amount of water!

We are in the mists of a torrent from California to New Mexico & Mexico to Nevada. Some areas are getting 5+ inches a day with 3ft of snow above 5000ft. We even had a tornado warning (some reports of a funnel) over Scottsdale & Carefree. The marinas walkway was damage in this wind storm. Bryan has `all hands on deck` endlessly cranking loose mooring lines. 40+ lines, 10 people, every hour for the next 4 days! Those folks are going to have CRAZY sore arms! Additionally, Mike & Cindy have to continually adjust the gas, water & sewer lines and add new dock links before the rising waters literally rip everything apart. Let's hope my boat weathered the storm!

I'm hoping the cold water will put off the spring spawn for a month and allow the fish (specially the shad) to feed on the tons of nutrience being pumped into both lakes. The higher waters, increased shore-lines and abundance of food should make for a fantastic & successful spawn. On a downside; the lake is going to be very hard to fish w/ all the extra feed. The debris fields will make the lake completely unnavigable (but will provide great cover for the spawning fish and fry) with WHOLE trees floating down the center of the lake. One medium water-logged stump will completely destroy your boats lower unit, out-drive and fiberglass. Not to mention the gel-coat and impeller damage even the smallest debris will cause. The lake will be a mine field for the next month. It will take an army of Mexicans to clear that lake and the responsibility will fall on Bryan. It's a good thing the Army Core of Engineers got the dam repairs done and spill-way debris removed before this flood hit! Completed Dec. 1st 2009 The nutrience will cause a CRAZY algae bloom this spring. There will be 10 foot algae beards flowing from every boat & dock until the water warms and the carp come back. All things considered, this biblical flood should really benefit the health of the lake and Bartlett Lake Marina once the debris has been removed. Now, if only we could get APS to leave Horseshoe full and leave Bartlett alone! Not Likely!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti, Capitalism & the wealthy

Through all the strife, American capitalism still has proven the best at helping lift the poorest and most destitute. The clearest example; the fat, ugly Americans have provided $200 Mil in donation in less then 5 days! That's is addition to Obamas $100 Mil (not counting his personal donation of $15,000!). The closest any other country has come to giving is Britain's $30 Mil but I'll give them major credit for scraping up anything! They've had to live through Brown (a glimmer of our future w/ Obama)! American philanthropy is great but as soon as all the T.V. crews go home w/ a blubbering Geraldo Rivera accosting some poor prop child in tow, all the donations will stop.

The people of Haiti have a long road ahead of them! Most say it will be 5 years before the first earth-quake destroyed building is rebuilt. Everyone knows the attention span of us stupid Americans in the Age of MTV makes a 5 year old ADD child look like a Tibetan monk! Hell, most are already getting tired of the `stupid` news interrupting their American Idol to plead w/ us to text more money to `Support Haiti & the Red Cross`. Don't even get me started on George Clooney Save Haiti Telethon! God only knows who will get that money! I'll bet the corrupt Haitian president (dictator) is picking the color of his new Mercedes leather interior as he watches Hollywood shed their alligator tears for the poor Haitian orphans. If only we could get them to show the same sympathy for our efforts to fight terrorism, maybe sell a war bond or volunteer w/ the USO. I will not be holding my breath! What the Haitian need is income that last longer, something they can build upon. What they need is good old Adam Smith capitalism!

Take this tragedy and turn it into the re-founding of the Haitian capital. Every demolished building has to be bull-dosed and trucked off. The scraps recycled (in 3rd world countries they actually reuse concrete, well I'll be! Recycling, what a concept!) and made into new building materials. For example; after Katrina, New Orleans and Mississippi was flooded w/ an army of small landscape business's (mostly emigrant workers) drawn to the overwhelming need to clean up those cities (not to mention the billions in federal contracts). Mayor Ray Nagent couldn't have possibly pilfered all the money, could he? As you read this an army of Haitians are being paid $1.50/day a clear rubble & trucks are running 24/7 to the dump. I know what you greedy collective bargaining unionised American would surely `walk` if someone dare offer you $1.50/day for hard labor in a hazardous work environment! What would you have the Haitians do? Work for free, touting, "Civic Duty"? That mere $1.50/day will go a long way to support a family in the 3rd world. Once the rubble has been cleared away there will be a great need for construction workers. Do you really think the nations capital is going to be abandoned? Once the rumbling has stopped and all the bodies removed, construction will start. If planned, the city could be a jewel in the western hemisphere, akin to the old Cuba (pre-revolution).

Obamas favorite Fat Cats would flock to Haiti! With no natural resources the only revenue available is Tourism! A perfect example; a Cruise-line industry just this week had to make the hard decision to either by-pass the Haitian island port-of-call or carry on `business as usual`. They made the right decision and disembarked on the island. The news is having a fit! How dare those fat Americans drink Mai Tai on the beach while poor earth-quake orphans are starving in the street! Would you prefer the fat Americans keep their stubby hands in their pockets and NOT waste their `not so` hard earned money on coconuts in the shape of a funny monkey? So, your telling me that the funny monkey maker no longer needs income? When the earth-quake shook the monkey makers money tree, the EUROs fluttered endlessly around his feet and he need only rack them up? No!, this poor hard working guy with a mound of rotting coconuts needs your sticky American dollars! He needs a steady reliable income source that isn't predicated on Clooneys big bleeding heart that only flows when children are dying by the school bus load. The people of Haiti need the ugly Americans capitalism! America, if you truly want to support Haiti buy your cruise-line tickets and a coconut monkey for every member of your family.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

01-16-2010 Bartlett Lake Crappie - Can fishing get any better?

Fish Count: 23 Crappie, 5 Catfish Total: 28

We got to the lake around 1:30PM, it was definitely cold and over cast. I had a 1hr meeting with Bryan (the marina owner) to discuss his two websites, spring marketing w/ Jon and the progress of Boat Club Manager before I could start fishing. Dad was already in our spot and had one huge bite right before I showed up but missed the hook-set because he was trying to Marine open an MRE. I went straight to our second spot, hooked up my new fish pole holder and my newest invention, The ACME Fishing Pole Potentiometer Hook-Setter w/ Mouth Release. The name seems a bit long, I'll work on that! I'd like to report that the rig worked like intended but it didn't. The string got knotted up, the release line wasn't long enough and the bloody thing wouldn't release! (That and the line tasted terrible!) Otherwise, I think with some refinements the idea is sound. Mean while, dad was getting hit like crazy and pulled up one nice slab crappie. I quickly packed-up the TAFPHS w/ MR and moved my butt to the honey hole. The next 30min were frantic! Dad was trying to get a MRE going but that would have to wait! The fish were coming fast and furious, the minnow wouldn't even make it 10ft before we'd get hit! Literally, every time a minnow hit the water we would hook up (w/ only a few misses). Dad didn't even have enough time to get his pole in the water. If we had two or three poles going I guarantee we'd have caught 30+ fish in 30mins. All the fish were around 3/4 pound, just lite enough to heave out of the water w/o ripping the hook out. We did loose one that way but ended up catching him the ever next cast. The lake gods were looking favourably on us this day! That's right, we caught the one that got away! At least, dad and I would like to think so. He did have two fresh wounds in his mouth, greedy little bugger! For the 2nd trip in a row, dad banged one little bugger on the underside of the marina, ripped the hook out and knocked that crappie OUT! Those little crappie really have a weak noodle! This time the hook impaled on the underside of a boats running board, the fish banged off the board, flipped back into the water but luckily he slowly floated back to the surface. I saw him just floating there, dad had more then enough time to scoop him up with the net. That crappie was out for a good 45sec! A few minutes later, I hook into a Line Zinger! I was staring at my limp line and rod tip, watching for the slightest movement, when the line went less limp (there was no `bite`, just a sense). I yelled for dad to set the hook and just held on! We both thought it was a bass but to our complete astonishment, it was a GIANT 2.52LBS female crappie (weighed by an official G&F scale at Bartlett Lake Marina). She was a beautiful 15 inch Black Crappie, 2 inches across her back and very full bodied (thick)! She was half full of eggs, not really showing yet. The `fattening` up season must have just started (cold water but warm days). I did feel a bit bad for not releasing her but that pasted after a few moments. Don't fret, she'll make a fine meal! We were really lucky to land her, she tangled in dads line and banged into the out-drive twice. She even pulled drag twice! Dad thinks his jigging attracted the big girl. Dad also hooked into something BIG (we think it was a big crappie). His pole doubled over, the fish rocked to the left straight under the marina and pulled off! Dad was disgusted!! Damn near threw his pole down. After the first 30min., the crappie came slow and steady with just a few moments of craziness. I had just enough time between the action to take a few bites of my macaroni w/ cheese & BBQ beef patty MRE. (Side Note: The Gov't is getting chincy w/ the 2010 MRE's! They barely had enough for one person and the portions are smaller. 2003-2009 MRE's were over full with snacks, mixed drinks and entrees. Damn you B.O.! ;-p) The crappie really started messing with us! They were hitting the minnows w/ their gill plates, sucking on them and carrying the minnows around in their lips. The little buggers wouldn't EAT IT! I even managed to hook one in the back behind the gill plate. We caught an additional 5 catfish (none of any size, the biggest 1lb'er came right as we were packing up to leave at 5:30PM), no bluegill or bass. We ended up burning through five dozen minnows and caught 23 crappie. This trip was by-far the earliest we've ever got off the water after night fishing. It's good we came in early, as it was, Dad was out filleting them for 1.5hrs. If we brought home any more he would have been stuck cleaning'em for hours. Plus, it was crazy cold and we are out of hand-warmers.

The earth almost shot up and collided with my brand new pocket camera but fortunately I was able to summon `The Force` to advert tragedy! Dad was showing me the pictures he had just taken, as he turned the earth made it's move! Fortunately, I was able to use my innate midichlorians to catch the wrist strap on my rode holder, causing it to flip 360 degrees twice around my stand w/o hitting anything. At the same time, I restrained the earth and adverted disaster! Now, someone might say, the wrist strap snagged my pole holder as dad turn away from me, pulling the camera from his hand, flipped twice and by sheer dumb luck the camera didn't fall to it's untimely demise. That `someone` isn't me. If only I could figure out how to use The Force to fly my wheelchair around or even just hold up my whiskey flask! :-\ Cheers!

Location: Bartlett Lake

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

01-02-2010 First fishing day of 2010, Killed the Crappie, 21 (5lb of fillets) a new Record!

I did not think a day at the lake could have been any better then our last trip (12-20-2009), I was wrong! I've filled a cooler with fish three times in my life, this made a forth. The weather was outstanding! The air was a crisp, fresh 65 degrees w/ no clouds or even the slightest breeze. I didn't even put my jacket or poncho till 4:30PM. We started chumming corn around 2:30PM but didn't do very well. Catfish just aren't our thing! Rick is the Catfish Hunter! I did catch an 1lb'er and we got another bite on a water-dog (I didn't have to wait another 25yrs, Yay!) but we didn't catch that one, either. BTW; Mr. Dog Jr. did survive that attack! We had placed the pole in a holder on the boat, so when it got hit, dad had to run all the way around the boat to set the hook. I was hoping a big cat would suck Mr. Dog in and run off with it but I guess they just like playing with the mud puppies! Dad gave up and went after crappie, he started slow but found the little buggers. After pulling up two 3/4lb crappie in 5min I gave up my hunt for cats and switched to crappie. It was the right move! Over the next three hours we caught twenty-one (21) 3/4lb to 1lb crappie and three big bluegill. It was like ice fishing, all 24 fish were caught in an area 18inches by 72inches. We had to keep the fish out of the docks, buoys and the boats out-drive. We managed to not loose one fish but one did fall back into the lake. Sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it? I hooked a smaller crappie in a little 18inch hole, dad grabbed the line and pulled the fish from the lake. To our surprise, the hook was bare! Dad looked at me with the puzzled expression, "Where did the crappie go!?" Dad glanced at the bare hook then down at the water and dashed for the net. Apparently, the crappie banged it's head on the underside of the dock, got knocked silly and pulled off the hook! When dad looked back into the water he saw the crappie just floating on the surface gulping water. Luckily, dad netted him before he woke up and escaped! By the time dad threw him in the fish-basket he was fully recovered and flipping out. The bite was steady for three hours, not insanely fast but fast enough to keep dad jumping. We used up 4 dozen minnows (dad had to run back to the store for the second 2 dozen). At one point (about 45mins) the crappie quit biting and started hitting and killing our minnows with their gills. Dirty little buggers! Normally after killing the minnow they'd circle back and we'd catch them but this time they just killed it and swam off! Fortunately, the bite picked back up for the last hour before the sun was completely down behind the mountains. The stars were out bright (and only a few UFO's)! We got off the water before 7:30PM and back home eating a Macho Beef Burrito by 9!

Fish Count: 21 Crappie, 3 Bluegill and 2 small catfish...Total 26

12-21-2009 The very first Orange from my Orange tree

After three years of waiting and we finally ate the very first orange and from our orange tree. I planted it back when Don was working for me. It was a tiny bit punky and little sour but pretty good for sitting on the tree for three years. I think we have four more left, we'll pick them on Christmas.

12-20-2009 Bartlett Lake fishing trip with Rick - The first trip of the new 2010 season

It was a fantastic day out on the lake , especially for winter's day. We had a bit of everything, excitement, triumph, loss, intrigue, offerings to the lake gods and even an alien spaceship! Where do we start? Awe yes, the beginning!

Rick beat us to the lake and started chumming with corn, we arrived a little after 1PM. It was cool with a steady cold breeze coming from the west. The sky was perfectly clear, not one cloud but the sun was warm. It did get a bit colder as the wind picked up. Luckily the wind died at 3PM and it didn't get much below 40 degrees that night (Jacket, poncho and hand-warmer (I did burn the piss out of my wrist w/ those damn chemical warmers) weather but no need for the electric heater or Gortex poncho). Rick got into some Beautiful pale channel cats. The first was a 3lb'er+ and he hooked into another 6 cats in the next hour and a half. Dad and I weren't as lucky with the cats. Dad did catch a nice 1lb bass on a worm and a very small cat. I was having no luck! I kept getting nibbles but couldn't hook the little buggers. I did have a first, not totally successful but a first. The dock store gave us one tiny waterdog, the smallest mud puppie I've ever seen, with our two dozen minnows. I had dad hook Mr. Dog through the mouth and lowered him to the bottom in hopes that one big whiskered friend would put an end to Mr. Dog and in the process get a hook stuck in his face. I've been fishing with water dogs for 25 years without a single nibble! This day that ended! My line started slowly moving to the left and my pole got heavy! I waited til the tip dipped and yelled for dad to set the hook. Dad grabbed the line and gave it a quick jerk. The problem was, I wasn't using my pole holder (the pole was resting on my laptop/rig) so when dad jerked the line my pole flew off its rest! I felt his weight for the split second before my pole-tip fell and my line went slack. UGGGGG! 25 years of waiting and I missed my chance! Let's hope I don't have to wait until I'm 57 before the next bite on a mud puppie! In case your interested, Mr. Dog didn't make it! He gave his life valiantly to pursuit of a big wile catfish! Mean while, Rick was catching catfish after catfish! He caught seven in the first two hours; three over 3lb's, two 1.5lb'ers and the rest weren't keepers. The cats were being caught 50ft down, as Rick pulled them up quickly they got the Bends! No joke! As soon as we netted them there would be a large pop followed by a growling wusssh of air. Apparently, the catfishes swim bladder was quickly decompressing with a big puff of air out the fishes mouth. Two catfish had such a drive to live they found a way to break free their chains of bondage and excepted (physically and metaphorically)! The first to make a run for it (quite literally) was a 1.5lb'er. After landing the the little bugger, he actually started walking way using his bony dorsal fins! We caught him before he could make it to the water, seeing his effort, Rick had pity for him and let him go. Saying, "Any fish that actually walks deserves to be set free! Hell, he maybe the next evolution of walking channel catfish!" But wait, we hadn't seen anything yet! We had placed the three big 3lb'ers+ on a steel fishing stringer (you've seen the type, solid steel chain with big steel "safety" clips that you latch through the fishes jaw). Apparently, they devised a plan of escape! Through sheer tenacity and strength of will, they managed to twist and pull until one actually broke the steel clip and escaped! He didn't just unclasp and slip off, he twisted so hard the metal actually snapped! Now that's a true desire to live! Unfortunately for his co-conspirators, they were immediately placed in the fish baskets once the plot was unearthed. They met an unfortunate but, all be it, a very tasty end! Rick was all over the catfish, he even managed to catch a 1.5lber while he was away from his pole out getting us more minnows! Dad caught one tiny cat an I only got the one water dog bite but don't fret, we made up for the slow start with later crappie! Seeing as we couldn't catch a cat, dad moved on to crappie (around 4PM) and immediately hooked into a 1lb slab crappie. The lake Gods must have looked favourably on Ricks sacrifice because soon there-after we got into the crappie! He managed to catch 5 more crappie and big bluegils in the next ten minutes. I switched over to crappie and got into them pretty quick. Over the next 2 hours dad and I caught 9 crappie and 5 big bluegils. Rick still hasn't been able to get the crappie bite going but did land a few big bluegils and got hit by a few crappie. We tried our new green sinking crappie light (in conjunction w/ our old floating light) but didn't have much luck drawing in fish. I was able to land one additional crappie. Rick and I both saw a large crappie lurking around the lights. It chased my minnow and hit Ricks minnow but we didn't hook him, bummer! The night was perfectly clear, the stars were extremely bright and I saw a UFO! Rick said it was just an airplane on approach with its red blinking lights on like the five other blinking red lights flying behind it. I don't know, it was Flying, totally Unidentifiable (as it was dark) and for sure an Object! :-p

I think we had a great night, one of the best of 2009! Fish Count: 9 crappie, 7 bluegill, 2 large mouth bass and 9 catfish (5 keepers & 3 brought home by Rick) Total: 27