Last year, I challenged myself to land bass regularly. Which did happen every weekend for about 12 consecutive weeks. Sure, every year I go out and target bass but this year took the cake. I went out to find new waters. I drove for hours. I hiked where I may not supposedly should've hiked. I found new locations on Google Earth and even used my phone as a GPS - which couldn't always find a tower.
I enjoyed the outdoors so much this past summer and fall. It was very cathartic just to wet my line and stretch my tight muscles. This big ol' coach potato got a lot of exercise over the past four or so months.
I landed a lot of bass and panfish. Probably about 50 or so bass - small to medium cookie cutter 1 lbs. bass - some large ones too. I took on my fair share of Ozark and Shadow bass with some big ol' bluegills here and there. Some carp and Fall fish hit the foam flies too.
It's not just the fish. Sure, it justifies my manhood and renews my "man-card" every so often. The thing that really motivates my to go outdoors is the water. I don't know what it is about wading streams. I used to live on the edge of Lac La Jeune Provincial Park in British Columbia. I mean, right on the edge. I spent a lot of time hiking on trails and wetting my line for Kamloops Trout. Those are big trout. I shot my fair share of Grouse and Marmots too.
Here in the Ozarks, you've got a fair shot at hitting trails, fishing and hunting. But the one thing that really brings a smile to my face is landing those fat bluegills. Hunting for smallmouth can stress me out but finding and landing panfish comes very easily to me.
In reading Fly Fishing and Fly Tying for Bass and Panfish by Tom Nixon, I have learned to tie flies specifically designed to target panfish. Should I tell you guys?? Maybe later . . . might keep you coming back for more. Although, you will find some of them with tying instructions on this blog.
So, this next year, I will be wading and taking out the kayak for those tough little fighting bluegill, sunfish, crappie, Ozark bass, Warm Mouth, etc. I may even look for a new 3 wgt. or even a 2 wgt. rod. The ol' 4 wgt. is a good rod but those 3 wgt. rods are exceptional when landing 'gills.
Just throwing this out there before I end this post - I used to become desperate about catching fish and would drift scuds and sowbugs for spotted bass as they basked in the sunny riffles during the afternoon. A slow afternoon requires slow and patient fishing.
Am I going trout fishing this winter? Heck no. I'm gonna tie up some flies for Spring.