So in my last article, I waxed prophetic about my carefree summer
and spring fishing for bluegills in Mississippi. Well, my carefree days
ended in June of this year as I took a new job in North Alabama.
Today I had my first fishing trip in AL, and boy, it was a good one.
So, if you read my last article, I talked about learning to tie popping
bugs and my success with those. I left off with the fact that I had tied
up some wet flies, but had not had any success with those yet. That
all changed today.
A friend at my job has permission to fish an approximate two acre
farm pond here in town. When he asked if I wanted to go, I jumped
at the chance, especially since I have not wetted a line in a few weeks.
As we would be bank fishing, I decided to grab about five or six flies
to carry in my travel box. Of course I chose the Hypno Toad (I know,
hard to believe, right?), but something told me to grab a few of the wets
We get to the pond and I immediately tie one of my Hypno Toad poppers
on the 2-wt and start to stalk my prey. Hey, it's my number one fly and
you go with what works, right? Being a good Panfish Feature article reader,
the only thing I can hear in my head is Rick saying how he stands back from
the bank and begins casting shallow, working his way out. As I am a better
than average student, that is exactly what I do. Thirty casts and 50 yards later,
zero taps. I did not even see a fish rise to check it out. While disappointed,
I am also a good Soldier, and there was no way I was going to loose this battle.
I look in my flybox, and my version of the Panfish Polecat is staring
at me. I tied my version with yellow legs, black body and tail, with
an olive underbelly. I had observed some fish moving right up against
the bank, so I begin casting parallel to the bank, in about one to two
feet of water. Using a short strip-pause-strip retrieve, the first cast
was uneventful. On the second cast, however, I almost had the rod
jerked out of my hands!
My first cast would be parallel to the bank, about a foot off the weed
edge. My next cast a little farther out. After three casts along a section,
I would walk a little farther down the bank, but not before making a back
cast along the section of bank I had just left. More times than not, I got a
gill on the back cast.
Oh how I wish I had a camera with me today. The way my father and
I measure bluegill is hand size, and a hand size bluegill is a nice fish.
These monsters were the size that totally dwarfed your hand, and you
were hard pressed to get your hands around their body to begin the
de-hooking process. Needless to say, I had a great time and the 2-wt
spent quite a few moments bowed over to the handle. After two hours,
I ended up with 10 bluegill and 4 small bass.
I tend to always fall back on my military training at the end of any event.
We do what is called an AAR after action review. My AAR for today:
what did I learn? I learned not to be scared of subsurface flies. I learned
I do not need a strike indicator to use them. I was successful today at
reading the situation and adapting. I learned I need to tie some more
Hope you are wearing them out.
My version of the Panfish Polecat, tied on a size 8, Mustad R74 hook. ~ Jeff