I went out to the lake over my lunch
hour the three days I was at my second
office. The conditions varied each day.
With the change in conditions I found
that I had to change the tactics I used
each day. I still caught fish on the same
flies, but I had to use them differently.
I fish the same general areas of the lake
and settling pond.
Tuesday the wind was blowing out of the
south at about 15 mph. This had been going
on for a couple of days. I could see that
there was a line of algae out about 15 feet
from the shore along the flat of the main
lake that I fish. The wind had pushed all
of this algae against this shore and it
sure looked like a place to try. The water
was a pea green color like a pea soup that
had been cut by adding the same amount of water.
I went with a leech pattern on a size 10
hook with a small black bead head on it.
I tied this with boa yarn, wrapping it up
the shank about four times. I like this for
a leech pattern as it has some bulk, but
also has a lot of movement as you strip it,
let it drop or put any other action on it.
When the water is clear I go to patterns
that have more bulk. I think it
lets the fish locate them better.
I cast this fly out and let it drop for
about 12 seconds. I knew that this
would put it down about 5 to 6 feet as
I started to retrieve it. I moved the fly
at the same speed the waves were pushing
the fly line in. I tried to keep the line
fairly tight. The line was about a third
of the way in from the edge of the algae
line when I saw the line dip a little. I
set the hook and had a very feisty gill on
the line. This was a nice fat female
and I returned her to the water.
I figure if it works once then try it
again. Each time I would cast out and
let the fly drop like I did the first
time with the slow retrieve I would
get a fish on. I got gills and a few
bass by doing this. It is not fast
fishing, but it sure beats sitting
in the office.
When I went out Thursday the wind was
not blowing very hard. There was a
slight breeze out of the west. I could
see that the algae was gone from the
flat. I was watching the lake and the
settling pond to see if I saw any
activity. I finally saw a little
surface activity on the settling pond and
decided to try there.
Since there were a few fish taking
something off the surface I put on a
popping bug made out of 5 sheets of foam,
alternating black with yellow. There are
black discs on the ends and in the middle
with yellow discs between them. It is a bee
imitation. I cast this out about 10 feet from
the edge of the weeds and let it set for a
few seconds. A very cooperative gill came up
and took the bug. I even waited long enough
to let the gill really get it before setting
This gill decided that the best place to go
was into the weeds. I had to work for a while
to get her out of them and landed. But that
is part of fishing and what makes it fun,
to be challenged. I cast a few more times
along this weed edge and got another gill
and a small bass. I decided to cast the other
direction and see what would happen. I had
just let the fly settle, and was waiting to
move it when the water opened up under it. More
out of surprise than skill, it was a little
while before I was smart enough to set the
hook. When this bass felt the hook she went
into orbit. Fortunately she decided to head
for the other side of the pond and not into
the weeds. I let her run to wear some energy off.
Just as this fish had hit a truck was pulling
onto the road. Two guys had been fishing the
main lake for the morning and were headed home.
When they saw this fish hit they stopped to see
what it was. They were very courteous
and stayed out of the way.
After the fish ran I worked on getting some
line back in, but more I was trying to keep
her moving to get tired. I did have the rod
high in the air to keep her up in the water
column. I was afraid if she got deep she might
wrap me around something. All in all I could
not put a lot of pressure on with 4X tippet
going to the fly. I just tried to keep tension
on her and keep her away from the weeds. After
about 12 minutes I got her to where she was about
20 feet from shore. She jumped at this time
and we got to see how big she was. She also
saw us and took off on another run.
One of the guys went to the boat and got a
long handled net so he could land her if and
when I got her in. She jumped a few more times,
but I could tell that she was starting to get
tired. I could exert a little more control
over her. I was still letting her swim around
against the tension of the rod and line. She
finally got tired enough that I could really
dictate where I wanted her to go. I brought her
in at an angle to the shore where we
were standing and the other gentleman netted her.
This was a huge bass. This was a net with a
scale and showed just over 8.5 pounds. I took
the fly out of her mouth and we looked at her
for a minute. We did have her down in the water,
but still in the net. I thought about it
for a few minutes and then decided that we
should release her in the main lake. Too many
people would fish this settling pond and the
would catch her. I know that many of them would
keep her. We took her over to the main lake in
the net and then he released her, without our
handling her very much.
I had to hold her lower jaw to get the hook
out but that was it. This is the largest bass
I have caught in this lake. But then I had
to head back to work.
On Friday I headed back out to the lake.
I could not see anything happening so I
decided to cast in the areas where I had
caught fish before. Nothing was happening.
I changed flies and still nothing. I was
getting ready to move when I found out what
would work. When I get ready to move I always
cast the line out and then wind it in fairly
fast using my off hand to put some tension on the
line so it winds on the reel better.
I was winding the line it with a McCreys Honey
(Ricks Favorite Bluegill flies in the panfish
archives) on the line when a gill hit it. I decided
to try this again and had fish hit the fly
every time as I brought it in this fast. I
decided to try a popper with the same fast
retrieve and it worked.
I would have gills or bass come up and hit
the fly while it was moving fast and always
near the surface. This is crazy for the middle
of July, at noon and with the temperature near
90 degrees. But if it works I will do it. I
tried three other flies and they all worked
the same way. Nothing hit if the fly was still
on the surface of if I retrieved them deep. But
make a wake on the surface and the fish smashed
them. I caught several fish and
then had to head back to the office.
Kind of crazy that things change so much from
day to day but that is part of fishing.
Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick firstname.lastname@example.org