Though it was too late for last week's issue,
I finally made it to the water in earnest
It was mid-afternoon before we left. My friend,
the Old Fella, and my son boarded the boat and
arrived at Grande Avoille Cove about three o'clock.
My compatriots were fishing bait. I rigged up my
favorite bluegill fly, the Jitterbee, under an
indicator on my eight-and-a-half foot Rapidan.
Water levels still were a little low, but much
better than last time I had made a scouting
trip to the lake. But I only motored the boat
half as far into the cove as usual, and we
began fishing a bit nearer the entrance than
I usually like.
The bite was dismal at first, but we managed a
few small bream. There's a small canal running
off the south of the cove I named after my girl
because it's her favorite place in the whole
basin. I normally start fishing about there,
and sure enough, when we got to that area things
My son, who's twelve, caught more fish on this
trip than any previous one. I tried to negotiate
down the canal, but the big boat wouldn't make
it in the shallows there, especially with three
persons aboard. We found a couple spots where
the chinquapins, or redears, were ganged up and
the three of us took turns pulling them out. Of
course, the Old Fella and I made sure we were
busy checking our bait or Jitterbee so that the
youngster would get in a few extra turns. The
chinquapin were big and feisty, mixed in with
a few goggle-eye (warmouth) and red-breasted
bream thick as a Stephen King paperback.
The Jitterbee, originated by Randy Leonpacher,
is my favorite warmwater fly of all. I started
off with red and black but the 'gills seemed
less than enthused. I switched to chartreuse
and black and this was welcomed with tip-bending
vigor. We also landed two catfish, and about
four small bass.
Oh, we had our share of toils, too. We laughed
in bemused frustration at them. I laughed
through grinding teeth when a missed strike
brought leader, indicator, Jitterbee and a
couple feet of line twirling around the rod
tip, wrapping inside and outside of itself,
in a convoluted mess that took me twenty
minutes to disentangle. The Old Fella and
boy laughed with heads shaking as they worked
loose two snarled lines that kissed upon a
mutual swing backward for the cast.
It was our first outing of the spring, and a
fantastic one. When the sun was getting low
in the sky, I found the only hole of deep
water in the cove, at the mouth of Sawmill
Bayou, throttled hard to get the boat on
plane and departed. We bumped a log pretty
hard on the way out, but there was no damage.
That log had never been there before, but that's
the way it is in the basin: Always changing. We
got home just before dark, satisfied and tired.
It was a good trip. Despite the weariness, the
recharge of the soul had begun.
I went back Monday and Wednesday, but the
bite was much slower due to a storm front
having passed through, with strong south
winds that actually brought water levels
Now, the weatherman is predicting a cold front
for Friday. Figures. ~ Roger
It's out! And available now! You can be one of the
first to own a copy of Roger's book. Native Waters: A
Few Moments in a Small Wooden Boat
Order it now from
or Barnes & Noble.com.
Roger will also be giving away three autographed copies to
readers. Stay tuned, for an announcement on the Bulletin
Board on that soon.