You suspect it is going to be a good day when you
toss your bug over the side of the yak in the middle
of the lake and a gill takes it while you are getting
all of you gear in order. As I said in a previous
rendering ". . .I can be trained" so I started fishing
in the middle of the ten acre, eighty year old lake.
I began to pick up a gill about every five minutes,
just enough to keep me interested in blind casting a
#12 epoxy black ant. That is hard to do when you are
a structure/bank kind'a guy. Since I'm an "OLD GUY" I
have trouble seeing the end of the line sometimes so I
usually tie a quarter-inch strip of yellow craft foam
in the loop to loop connection at the line to leader
connection. The foam is cut down to leave only the knot
so there is no problems from this crutch. All of the
takes were gentle as the fly dropped naturally. The
line/indicator just started to move off as the gill
swam away with his snack of black ant de jour.
This time of the year there is vegetation growing out
from many of the banks for five to fivteen feet. This
makes my usual 'hit the banks' approach problematic
and even the 'hit the structure' approach suffers since
most of it is in the GREEN ZONE. Spell that bug sliming,
profanity causing, time-wasting GREEN ZONE. One end (east),
or about a quarter of the lake, is practically unfishable
since it is only one to four feet deep and now weed packed.
The only fishable shallows are where the cows keep the
vegetation tramped out. That is an area which I call the
'Cow Shelf' along the north bank in 1 to 4 ft of surface
growth free water that leads to a ten foot bottom. Along
the south bank, the depth runs to about 14 feet on a steep
drop (20 ft from the shore it is 14 feet deep).
As I let the wind push me to deeper water near the south
shore, the catching dropped off in comparison to the
fishing. This south shore provided a few strikes and
swirls but only one gill (8" and a blue black Dude).
I started switching flies to test the culinary tastes
of the fish that day. There are some great looking,
and in the past, good producing areas here: old posts
from a fence line, old stumps, downed trees, a pier,
stick-ups. . .but NO JOY. The whole south side adjacent
to deep water was just casting experience (yep , I need
it). I got plenty while rounding the west end and moving
up the more shallow north shore still using ants, bullie
spiders, a hackle-type spider and other wet/sinking flies.
I'm getting frustrated and it is hot and still and humid
and. . .man! This feels like a popper afternoon (7:00PM).
Have you ever had that little voice saying tryapopper,
tryapopper, tryapopper? I have. . .and I did, and
it became a 'SNEAKY PETE DAY.'
The day turned around immediately. I was using a PETE
that is a dremel type bug which was too big for smaller
gills, just right for 8 inchers, and tempting for any
bass. I lost count of the takers in the next hour and
a half. It was finally just too dark to see where I was
casting and I still had to get the truck out of the
pasture. The catch proportion was 90% bass (12 to 16 inch)
and 10% gills (and shellcrackers). They wanted that PETE
to be making a fuss on the water. Most of the strikes came
just after (like 2 sec) a couple of 6 to 12 inch strips.
The 'Cow Shelf' was bass central.
I won't go into a lot of fish catching detail but the 16
incher stands out. This worthy was off of the bank about
20 feet (and 10 ft from the weed line). It was immediately
evident that he had a real attitude about being restrained
as he took off for deep water and then directly toward the
Yak. I have a chain anchor hanging about two feet below
the yak to drop in the wind and a UL spinning rod pointing
off the rear of the yak (for really frustrating days ONLY).
Yep, he put my flyline in the hook on the spinner and wrapped
the anchor line. You would have paid to see the contortions
displayed as I tried to untangle everything without breaking
a rod, loosing the fish, or dumping the yak. Miraculously he
was so well hooked that he was still on after the spinner
was eliminated from the equation, then he very obligingly
unwrapped himself from the chain…. Yep, gotta' go the church
Lesson learned: Listen to that little voice.
Stay tuned for the next "training experience" from the
'not real smart guy'. ~ Michael Aldridge