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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.

Friday, August 15, 2014

White Bass Flies

I'm STILL enjoying trying to find some good & easy shad/baitfish-imitating fly patterns I can use for White Bass & Wipers.
Here's some stuff I've tied in the past week or so:
In the photo below, the top fly is a Silver Baitfish, and the bottom fly is a Bowen's Baitfish.

And in the photo below....the the top fly is very similar to a number of craft fur baitfish flies, but not exactly like any of them...so I can't give an exact name for it.  The head was created by putting the craft fur in a dubbing loop, however.  The middle fly is my attempt at Casey Smartt's Glass Minnow.  And the bottom fly is also not named.  Congo Hair tail, craft fur body/head covered with a few wraps of Wapsi Palmer Chenille.
Overall lengths of these are generally 2.5" - 3".  I hope the fish love 'em!  :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Color Preference of Catfish

Blue.
Here's the article/study. Read all the way to the end...its interesting to learn that the fish preferred an unscented blue lure over a scented pink lure...even though the fish otherwise preferred scented lures over unscented ones of the same color.


I know...there's no statistical evaluation of the raw data.  Statistically speaking, there may be no significant difference in fish preference between certain colors.  And any experiment needs to be repeated and corroborated before being accepted as true.  But blue DID seem the overwhelming favorite.  Enough said.  :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Saylorville Walleyes and White Bass - 8/9/2014

My buddy Jay and I fished Saylorville Lake from shore on Saturday morning...from @ 8:45am-11:45am.  The weather was cloudy, 7mph wind from the South, 71 degrees F, and the lake level was 842....6' above normal pool.

Jay and I were hoping for White Bass / Wipers.  I took a fly rod for carp, but didn't see any.  Jay ended with 2 White Bass, 4 Walleyes.  I ended with 12 White Bass, 2 Walleyes, and 1 Channel Catfish.

A couple of boats fished near us most of the time...for the most part they were respectful about keeping distance....Or at least they tried....but I was casting MUCH further than would normally be expected, what with a spinning reel full of fresh Fireline and a slab spoon tied on the end.  I was fine with them, though...I spoke with both boats, and we got along well enough.  There were a few good busts during the time we were there.  Mainly they were too far for me to reach from shore.  The boat guys chased them down as quick as they could, but the fish were nearly always gone by the time they got there.

Early on, Jay and I each caught a walleye on slab spoons.


Then we caught our White Bass.  It was really slow action...long dry spells between each fish.



Jay checked out some other spots down the shoreline a ways.  When he returned @ 11:15am, he started casting an inline spinner, and caught a couple of walleyes, including a nice 21-incher:


I snagged up and lost my (3rd of the day) slab spoon, so I put on a spinner as well.  I cast into shallow water, and caught a catfish:

On the very next cast, I had another, better hit.  I thought it was going to be a much better catfish, but it turned out to be a nice walleye of @ 19"...and Jay hooked and landed its twin at the same time.  A DOUBLE on walleyes...at Saylorville???  A sure sign of the "Alpaca-Lips"!! :)

After the double, Jay caught one more white bass, and then it just died.  I had to be home around noon anyway, so we left.
There was a colorful Regatta going on, too:




Monday, August 4, 2014

Saylorville Sunday, 8-3-2014

Jay and I fished Saylorville on Sunday, August 3, 2014, from @ 9:30am-1:30pm.
Based on recent reports and Jay's experiences....we really weren't expecting much.

We fished from shore/waded.  When we arrived there was a few minor busts in the shallow flooded brush.  Jay caught a couple white bass and a largemouth before I started catching a few fish on a topwater lure.

And then it was like somebody flipped the light switch on, and the fish hit on nearly every cast for each of us for awhile.  They would hit our lures (yep, I was using spinning gear!) before they would hit the bottom, or they would pick the lure up off the bottom, or they would strike as soon as we started reeling up off the bottom.  Crazy.  Most of the fish seemed to be in 5'-8' water depth.

I tried, unsuccessfully, using flyfishing gear.

The action slowed, and we gave it up.

I landed 19 Largemouth Bass (all but a couple were 14.5"-17.75") and one 11" White Bass.
Typical Saylorville Bass....small heads, big bodies...HEALTHY FISH that grow up feasting on shad:




Jay landed 15 Largemouth Bass (and had a bunch more jump and throw his lures!), and at least 2 White Bass.

I've gotta say....that's is probably the best bass day I've ever seen out there!
Boat traffic, lake lice, and folks on the beach....the lake was BUSY on Sunday!!

Lunchtime Bass - 8/1/2014

On Friday during my lunch hour, I went flyfishing at a local pond.  I used a lime green blockhead popper for bass, and fished an area of the pond I almost NEVER bother fishing.  It paid off.  The ring of matted algae around the pond was still thick and  nearly impenetrable.  The bass had to be drug through it in order to land them....and that was on the TFO BVK 6wt rod that I broke by doing exactly that... and just had repaired.

I missed that rod while it was being repaired...I just LOVE it!  :)  And now I love the warranty and service TFO provides as well!

Here's a couple of Friday's fish:



Monday, July 28, 2014

Flyfishing for Smallmouth Bass, 7-27-2014

My better half told me I could go fishing...so I HAD to go.  I WANTED to go.  Unfortunately, it was REALLY WINDY.  That severely limited my choices.  I could try to flyfish some local ponds by putting the wind at my back and fishing the calmer water on the upwind side.  But, I've been flyfishing topwaters for Largemouth Bass at the local ponds quite a bit lately, and the local reservoir and river still have high waters.

My better choices were limited.  I considered a small river for Smallmouth Bass.  This river had effectively dried up each of the past two dry summers.  There were only shallow intermittent pools left, and these may have largely frozen during the winters.  This definitely hurt the entire river's ecosystem.  Water had been high in this river early this year, and I wasn't certain it would even be wadable yet.

So, those were questions that needed answers...Would the trees adequately block the wind?  Was it wadable?  Were there any decent fish worth catching?

I went.  The stream section I intended to fish was busy with people...canoers/kayers/anglers/folks walking around.  Its a small stream, a guy can pretty easily cast a fly to each bank from the middle of the river in most areas.  Anyway, I quickly checked Google Earth for alternative access locations, and picked one nearby.  I walked upstream on shore, then waded back down and flyfished a 1/2 mile stretch of river back to my car.

Mosquitos swarmed me as soon as I got out of my SUV and started gearing up.  They badgered me the entire walk up the narrow dirt path through the woods as I headed upstream.  They left me alone, thankfully, as soon as I got in the water and started wading.

Smallies often like yellow or chartreuse, so I first tied on a chartreuse mylar bugger (basically a Woolly Bugger with no hackle) with beadchain eyes.  It didn't take long...a half-dozen casts in, I watched a wake bulge its way towards the fly.  Fish on!


Decent little Smallmouth Bass of @ 11" to start the day!
I saw a sucker (the only one I saw all day, as it turned out) on the far side of a section of fast water, and made some casts that tumbled right by the fish, but the sucker was uninterested in it.

Now that I had seen the water depth/clarity, I felt reasonably confident a topwater might get some attention.  I tied one to my line.
The first strike on the topwater was a dinky, but aggressive, Smallie:

I fished an interesting short rocky rapid with an especially large submerged boulder on the downstream side that was sitting in a small calm pocket, but surrounded on 2 sides by faster water.  That looked GOOD!  I landed 3 fish from that rock, and lost one more that was probably the biggest one.



That popper continued to work well for me.  Here's 3 pics of one fish that was one of the better ones for the day (it was too tough to decide which was my favorite picture of it):



I came to a spot that looked really good, but it had just gotten worked over by a guy fishing with spinning gear.  The current was too fast and deep for the popper to be effective, so I switched to a crayfish pattern under a strike indicator, a technique that Tim Holschlag finds to be extremely successful for Smallies.
It worked, I caught one!
As I moved past that spot, I continued in the wake of the spin-fisherman.  I switched to a yellow blockhead-style popper.  This worked well too! (I think the first two are pictures of one fish):


The fish really seemed to like that popper, but it broke off on a fish and I lost it.  I saw it float away, so the fish is still OK.

I switched back to the pre-formed foam-head style popper that I was using earlier (the green one).  The final stretch of river didn't look as good as some others I had fished upstream...but there were some large scattered boulders around.  I cast near one and the popper got attacked.  I couldn't tell which side of the boulder the Smallie dove down on...my side, or the downstream side.  It was a strong fish!  My line broke again.  I didn't see the popper float back up.  I tied one another popper and made a few more casts, then called it a day.  It took me @ 4 hours to work that 1/2 mile stretch of river.

Anyway, my expectations had been low, so I was extremely satisfied with the number and size of Smallies I was able to catch in this stretch of river on this day.  :)