I was out at the lake to spend my lunch
hour. It was a blustery day. The wind was
blowing from 10 to 20 mph from the south
and the temperatures were above normal and
getting warmer. No jackets needed. This is
weird for mid-November in Iowa.
Other folks have decided that this is a
good day to be out. There are folks on both
jetties. I decide to go to the flat on the
main lake that I fish quite often. The wind
is blowing against this shore and there is a
dirty water line about 25 feet offshore. I am
thinking this might be a good place to cast as
the breakline is at about that same distance
out from the shore.
I try a nymph pattern first. I cast it out and
let it drop and then slowly retrieve it. When
the fly gets near the shore and I raise the rod
tip for the next cast I see the flash of a fish
behind the fly. I decide to move the fly slower
and see what happens. This happens again. The fish
follow but will not hit the fly.
I drop to a smaller size fly to see what will happen.
Again the fish follow but nothing happens. I drop
down to a size 16 Pheasant Tail Nymph. The same
thing happens. I see the fish but I don't get
them to hit the fly.
By now I am thinking, "if the small fly does not
work, go bigger." I look in my box and see one
of my experiments. This is a Gary LaFontaine
pattern up sized. I took some red foam and made
a disk out of it. I drilled a 1/64 inch hole in
it. I pulled a red marabou feather through this
hole. When I got it near where I wanted the foam
to be on the feather I put some super glue on the
marabou and then pulled the foam over it. I have
about one inch of feather behind the foam. I tie
the marabou feather onto the hook about three
inches from the foam. I super glue this spot so
the body will not move. I twist the marabou feather
and wrap it up the shank to the largest bead head
I have placed on the hook. I then palmer the thread
up the hook to help reinforce the marabou.
This way the bead head will drop to the bottom
but the foam will keep the tail up in the water
column. Just a note, if you do this. Put the bead
head on the hook and run the foam disk over the
hook point. Drop it into some water in the sink
and see if the hook goes to the bottom. If the hook
floats, then trim the foam some. If the bend is
not standing up, with the bead head on the bottom,
then you need more foam. I do try to get the hook
to be just off the bottom as the marabou does
add some weight. I hope this is as clear as mud
to you. After I tie the fly I do this again. If
the foam keeps the fly from dropping all the way
then I cut notches in the disk so it has a
herky-jerky movement to it.
I do chicken out and tie on a heavier leader.
I cast this fly out past the mud line and let
it drop. I know the water is only about 6 to 8
feet deep along here. This is a 10-foot leader
so it will reach the bottom. I also know there
is not much of anything along this flat. No trees
or brush and only a few rocks. It is a mud bottom
that I think has a ton of nymphs in it.
I let the fly set for a little bit and then hop
it a few inches and let it set again. I want to
stir the mud a little and get the marabou tail
to move some. I do this several times and then
the line takes off sideways. I wait a few seconds
to let it tighten and then set the hook. I am fast
into a fish that is not happy to be on the line.
I work the fish to get it to turn and swim parallel
to the shore. This way I can tire it out. I get the
fish to come to the shore and it is a nice bass.
She measures 21 inches long and is chunky heading
into the winter. I let her go. It sure is fun when an
I move about 20 feet down the shore and
cast out again. The second time I try to
hop the fly I feel weight and set the hook.
This is a bigger fish. This fish takes me
into my backing on the first run. I am glad
I put the heavier leader on. I hang onto
the fish for a while to wear some energy
off. We then go into the tug of war. I gain
some line and the fish takes it back. This
goes on for about 10 minutes before I can
get the fly line back onto the reel.
By now one of the guys on the jetty has
come down with a net. He wants to see what
I have on the line. I am slowly gaining line.
I get the fish to swim in kind of a circle
out in front of me and can gain about two
feet of line on each round. The fish finally
comes to the surface and it is a big bass. Now
I really want to get it in to see just how big
she is. I keep working her in closer and closer.
We finally get her in close enough to net.
She tapes out at 26 inches. I have to use
forceps to get the fly out as she inhaled
it so deep. We admire her for a minute and
then return her to the lake. I thank the
gentleman for bringing the net. The net
sure made it easier to the land the fish.
I may be teaching him what I know about fly
fishing, after I caught two fish and he had
zero with bait casting stuff.
My time has run out and unfortunately some
of the folks on the far jetty have come down
to fish the flat. I decide that it is easier
to leave than to talk to them. Besides that
it had been such a good day that I did not
want anything to mess with that.
Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick