Having made a decision to finally give fly-fishing a fair shake
last year (Spring 2007), I purchased a nice, yet affordable,
fly-fishing rod and reel. Since I figured I'd be fishing mainly
small public ponds, and my main quarry would be bluegills,
with the odd bass or crappie a distinct possibility, I chose a
5wt rod and reel. I won't get into more details than that right
now, but would be happy to entertain specific questions.
I had fly-fished before, with notable success, but I really was
convinced that most of the time I could present my lures to the
fish more quickly, accurately, and effectively with spinning gear.
I no longer feel that way.
Even decent bluegills have fairly small mouths. Small unweighted
(or lightly weighted) lures fished slowly are often the ticket to
tricking bluegills. These lures, or flies, are best cast and
presented with fly gear.
Crappies too are highly susceptible to small, slow-moving flies.
Bass? You guessed it. Although they often like flies that are
somewhat larger than those used for crappies and bluegills,
it's sometimes surprising how often a decent bass will attack
even a small fly.
I ended up using my fly rod for well over 100 fishing trips
around the Des Moines metropolitan area in 2007 year,
and caught well over 1,000 fish on it. In addition to bluegills
up to 9.5", bass up to 16", and crappies up to 13", I also
managed to land 2 white bass, 1 hybrid "wiper", 3 channel
cats in the 21"-22" range, green sunfish, and naturally-occuring
hybrid sunfish up to 9".
Good places to catch fish on the fly rod are local public
ponds around the Des Moines Metro area. There's
probably one not far from your home. Bigger bodies of
water also offer great fun for panfish and the occasional
bass on the fly rod. Big Creek Lake, Easter Lake, Blue
Heron Lake, DMACC Pond, Fort Des Moines pond are
top choices. Although I've not tried it, I would bet a guy
could catch bullheads on a fly rod by fishing the ponds at
the DM Water Works Park!
I've seen guys fish the Des Moines River with fly-fishing
gear, but in many areas the bank is steep, which makes
casting more of a challenge. However, if you can wade
out away from shore, the opportunities are almost limitless
on the river.
And don't forget that you can fly-fish from a boat, canoe,
kayak or float tube as well.
No excuses. Get out there and give it a try! ~ Dave