Welcome to Warmwater Fishing!

North Alabama Farm Pond Bluegill

By Jeffrey M. Jones, (scum.glove), Alabama

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 as well.

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 wet flies!

Hope you are wearing them out.

My version of the Panfish Polecat, tied on a size 8, Mustad R74 hook. ~ Jeff

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