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Monday, September 15, 2014

Mixed Bag Flyfishing, 9-14-2014

I visited a local public pond on Sunday evening.  I flyfished from 5pm-8pm.  Hard to believe it is pretty much completely dark by 8pm!

There were hundreds of wild geese and ducks scattered all around the pond, and they had the shallow areas pretty well muddied up.  Deeper areas were reasonably clear, and most of the algae mats around the shoreline were gone.

I switched back and forth between a blockhead popper (trying for bass), and a chartreuse mylar bugger (unweighted, trying for everything).  I caught one decent Largemouth Bass and a 9.25" beastly Hybrid Sunfish on the blockhead popper, along with a smaller Hybrid or two, and some aggressive Bluegills.  A large bass broke my line and stole one of the blockhead poppers!
9.25" Hybrid Sunfish...inhaled the blockhead popper!
On the mylar bugger, I caught 4 Crappies, 1 nice Largemouth Bass and some smaller ones, a couple Hybrid Sunfish, and 3 beautiful Pumpkinseed Sunfish.




While I was fighting one of the Pumpkinseeds, a BIG bass attacked it right in front of me!  I tossed some flies around for it, be never saw it again....although I had some really good strikes on a blockhead popper that never got hooked up.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Topwater Bassin' Still Going Strong - September 7-8, 2014

Sunday evening, I flyfished for a bit before dark.  The bass on this trip averaged significantly smaller size than normal.  The last fish of the evening, as it got dark, was more like what I was expecting:
They all hit a yellow blockhead popper, as you can see WAY DOWN THERE:

During lunch today (Monday), I flyfished a local public pond.  I caught a couple Hybrid Sunfish on the blockhead popper:
Then a 16" (guesstimated) bass:
After losing a second decent bass, right before I headed back to work, I caught this hefty 19" bass!  This is the biggest bass I've caught from this pond, although I'm certain there are a couple of even bigger ones.
Both bass eventually dove into the thick algae beds on the bottom, and it was very difficult to drag them back into shore.  I felt lucky that my shredded line or rod didn't break!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Quick Smallmouth Bass Trip, 9-4-2014

I decided to try flyfishing for Smallmouth Bass after dinner.  By the time I drove north to the river, it was @ 6:20pm before I finally waded out into the stream.  The river was only slightly higher than my previous trip earlier this year, but seemed a bit dirtier as well, from a recent rain.  Overall, conditions were decent, though.

I knew there wasn't much time to fish.  I fished the same section I hit before, but this time I finished it in about 1.33 hours, compared to @ 4 hours when I was here a month ago.  Run-and-Gun wading!

I didn't work any area thoroughly, just hit good spots briefly, and quickly plowed through the barren stretches.

I started out with a yellow Blockhead Popper, and caught one Smallmouth Bass on it, plus missed a second, and had a 3rd shake free after a few seconds.  I switched to a large-ish chartreuse Cactus Chenille Bugger with lead eyes, and caught three Smallmouth Bass and one Hybrid Sunfish.  I was looking forward to fishing some large boulders in the last section of stream before finishing, but there was another angler there...so I just cut up the bank and walked back to my car and left.  I did stop and ask how he'd done, and he'd caught a half dozen Smallies with spinning gear, and lost a very nice one right at his feet.  He was there when I arrived...I don't know how long he'd been fishing, but he was working that last section pretty slow and methodically.

Anyway, no big fish for me, just 2 "medium-sized" bass in the 11"-13" range, and a couple smaller ones.




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Blockhead Bass - September 2, 2014

The Fall White Bass fishing extravaganza is going on here, so I've been focusing on them lately.  It had been 3 full weeks since I'd tried flyfishing for bass on the local ponds.  Last night I had a short timeframe for fishing...not enough time to chase the White Bass, so I hit a local pond with a fly rod and a Blockhead Popper.

I was happy to discover the fish are still very willing to strike topwaters.  I flyfished for just over an hour, and caught 7 Largemouth Bass, 3 Bluegills, 1 Crappie, and 1 Hybrid Sunfish.  The biggest bass measured 18", and was the biggest one I've landed from this pond so far:

Senyo's Mini Baitfish

Encouraged largely by Jeff's (from High Plains Fly Fisher blog) post of a fly pattern he's been using for Smallmouth Bass ( http://highplainsflyfisher.blogspot.com/2014/08/bugs-from-benchsimple-baitfish-streamer.html ), I purchased 4 colors of Senyo's Laser Dubbing.  I may have to purchase some more colors.

I'm a little disappointed that their isn't more color difference between the white, gray, and silver minnow belly colors, but I'll get over it.  The white can be used for everything....and the silver minnow belly has some super-thin silver holographic tinsel mixed in it, which looks really good. The chartreuse lights up great under UV light!  I guess my only gripe is I just wish the gray was darker.

I tied up a few different baitfish patterns with it, and its really great stuff to work with.  I'd pull out a very small bunch of fibers, grab it by the ends, and then separate and re-stack the fibers a few times to get a bundle that I felt would stay put when tied down in the middle.  I don't know if anyone else bothers to do this, but in my mind, it results in less waste once the baitfish is completed and brushed out to blend and shape the fibers.

In searching for other baitfish fly patterns that use this material, I encountered one called Senyo's Mini Baitfish.  I was really wanting some streamers for White Bass fishing, and determined I needed something smaller than 2" in length in order to reduce the number of missed strikes I was experiencing on other baitfish streamers.

Well, I haven't been back out to test these on White Bass yet.  But I really DO like they way these look, and how they act in the water.  Other than a few extra strands of flash material and the eyes, they are tied with 100% Senyo's Laser Dub.  Maybe I'm my own worst critic, but I don't feel mine don't look as good as some I'd seen pictures of when I did a Google search....but I do think they will catch fish.  I'm generally trying to imitate a small Gizzard Shad, which is the main forage of the local White Bass.  I tied mine on a #6 saltwater hook (Allen's SW002).


Monday, August 25, 2014

Flyfishing for White Bass, 8-23-2014

Odd place, Saylorville Lake.  A lightning-heavy rainstorm passed over in the morning.  I got out to the lake around 9:30am as the last few drops were still falling, and the lightning had long since moved on.

I fished for an hour-and-a-half with no fish activity sighted, and not fish caught.  I did see one or two carp, and made some poor casts in their general direction.

My buddy Jay showed up around 10:30am, and he found fish almost right away, although the action wasn't fast.  I was up and around the shoreline a ways from him...out of sight...and he kept calling me on my phone to come over.  I finally did.  I caught one white bass while he caught 4, plus a drum and a walleye.  Sheesh!

An experienced angler knows that sometimes you just gotta move on.  So, I headed back down the shoreline to an area I'd already covered that morning.  But, fishing activity did pick up, and by 12 noon, it was rocking really good, and stayed that way right up until we left around 3:30pm.

I used spinning gear much of the time, but once the fish got really active and were within casting distance of a fly rod ( I brought a 9' 6wt this day), I grabbed my fly rod.  Personally, its just more fun!

I put on a craft fur baitfish fly,
and the fish were really having fun attacking it, but I wasn't hooking up as often as I wanted...as in, lots of MISSED strikes.  I also had fish (catfish?) break my 8.2 lb tippet 3 times!!!  I switched to 10 lb tippet and didn't break off any more fish.  I also eventually switched to a #8 Marabou Clouser, chartreuse over white, and started catching a much higher percentage of the fish that were striking.


FUN!
Here's a 12" Wiper:
And here's a 14" White Bass (FAT):

Monday, August 18, 2014

Flyfishing for White Bass, 8-17-2014

Following my previous blog post, I tied up a couple more shad-imitating flies.  I had seen a picture of a fly pattern called "Bill's Articulated Baitfish".  I only had a picture to go by....no recipe or instructions.  I thought they turned out reasonably well:
The first one I tied (the bottom one with the chartreuse eyes) I used a superline or backing line as the articulation connection.  I may have tied it down too tightly or something...when I sink-tested the fly, it was dead....no action in the water.  So, the 2nd one (the top one with the red eyes), I used a bent-wire connection, and I really liked the action during the sink-test!  In case fish were small and/or striking short, I left the rear hook in place, where I had clipped it off in the first (bottom) one.  I'm glad I did!
Another fly that caught fish well was this one:



Another fly that did well was the bottom one in the picture below.  You may not be able to see it in the picture, there is a metal bead on the hookshank about 1/3 hook shank length back from the hook eye.  The tail materials tangled some, but I could still fix it and fish it.


I missed at least 2 strikes for every fish caught on the above patterns, probably because of the size and hook placement.

I had a tip from a fellow flyfishing white bass angler...   Small #8 Clousers tied with marabou instead of bucktail.  I had tied up a couple of these:

I fished the bottom two, while my buddy Jay fished the top one.  They all caught fish VERY well, with much fewer missed strikes than the bigger patterns.

In fact, I had the biggest White Bass/Wiper of the day  on the middle fly above.  The strike and fight were amazing....after 10-15 seconds, I decided I must have hooked a channel catfish, THAT's how hard this fish was bulldogging and fighting!  I finally dragged it up onto the sand in the shallows, but it flipped a few times, threw the fly, and swam away.  It was probably about a 15" fish.  Not huge, but REALLY NICE, especially after battling with the fun medium-sized fish (11-12") all day.

Jay took my picture against the fog on the lake in the morning.