Sunday, April 14, 2013

#yearofthesmallmouth vs. #yearofthebluegill Warm water fly fishing

When will #yearofthebluegill truly begin?  About the 10th, water temperatures were in the 60's and then dropped of to about 50 - 54 degrees.  That's according to the USGS site -  Water temps dipped due to all the rain since about Tuesday evening until even yesterday afternoon.  We do need rain very badly.  These streams are still running a bit low and have been for the past several years.  You've got to have good water flow for a healthy stream habitat.

#yearofthebluegill . . . I'm wondering when those fat panfish will start hammering my flies.  I can pretty much pull them out of timber or bounce my flies of the bottom and make them hit it but recently, I am wondering if they left this location along with all those gar.  Last year, I found a lot of gar in a portion of stream I've never seen them in before.  We had a slight bit of flooding last year but nothing major since about 2008.  Actually, I'm thinking Hurricane Isaac dumped on us for days a few years ago.  Anyways, I'm sure they moved in from a deeper part of the stream or even the lake which is miles upon miles away.  Tons of gar - probably 20 or so - and huge!  I only see a few now and that's preferable, lol.

I started out with a Panfish Charley which I had luck with last week.  Obviously, it's called that name for a reason but the bass just didn't understand and took it anyways.  But, it's wasn't popular this weekend.

I decided to tie on something nasty.  Panfishing was the goal but since I was already at a certain location, I figured to hit some bass before moving up stream.  Tying on this heavy beast of a fly on my 3 wgt. - yes, a 3 weight rod, I cast into some deep and swift riffles.  On my first cast, a fattie hit tugged the line hard.  I played this whale - or did it seem that way because I had a small rod?  The line went slack after a few minutes.  I figured it could possibly be the beast of a bass or a carp.  I cast back to the same spot over and over but he was gone and a nice 1 pounder took my fly at the end of my drift.  Of course, after I took the picture and released the bass so that I could post it on Instagram, the photo disappeared!

And so my luck went with the next smallmouth too.  About an hour and a half later, I gave up.  With no activity, I began wading back but was still casting and drifting downstream.  After snagging my (not sure what to call it - Olive Shucks? - cuz it's got long shuck estaz, lol.)  I tied on a Black Shucks and fought another beast - well, he was 2 lbs. and that's a beast to me.  I played him, I tried to tire him but he was in his death throes - yes, death throes.  This smallmouth bass was spinning and at times fighting and tugging upside down.  I couldn't land him.  At the point where I just about had him in the net, the fly broke free!!  For the Shucks pattern, I was casting into deep riffles and just drifting it.  In the past, I would jig it a bit but this bass hit it on a fast drift as I walked downstream not expecting anything.

I was upset but motivated.  I tied on an orange Crazydad (crawdad pattern) which did get a number of strikes.  I then tied on a purple Crazydad and that's when the fun started.  Everything started hitting this purple fly and the panfish finally came out of the woodwork.

I didn't land any huge bluegills which I know are still hiding out here.  I came here for panfish and I'm gonna get some from here soon!  Orange Crazydads did take a few fish later on but purple was the most productive fly of the day.  Not only was I drifting the Crazydads through riffles but casting it behind me into the brush and structure too.  Both methods were productive in landing bass.  There wasn't much of a drift near structure so I had to strip it in slowly with a bit of jigging action.  These Crazydads are made to look like fleeing crawfish.

It wasn't too bad of an outing.  If I hadn't of landed that smallmouth on a "Shucks", I would've left for the day.  I landed a few more piggies but took this big momma on an orange Crazydad - pictured below.

I dislocated my finger over a week ago but still went out for some panfish action.  Well, I didn't do too bad with pannies but those bass just won't leave me alone.  My finger is still swollen and could barely wrap around the handle.  It could be slightly broken but the swelling has gone down quite a bit.  This weekend, I should be healed enough to cast a heavier rod.

Here is an Olive Shucks which is a size 2 and that's a lot better than the size 8 I was casting the other day.  The hook was barely lodged in some skin on that bass I couldn't land.  I imagine the larger hook would've set a lot better and a nice photo would have been shared with all.

Crazydads and my favorite leaders.


  1. Josh
    Found your blog from your comment you left on my post and have to say I like this blog format better than the one you were using. This is some trip you made the other day. What is the name of the those bluegills you are catching? They look like a yellow tail bass --the name that everybody used in Mississippi years ago. Those are colorful bluegills. I hope the water temps warms up for you soon and you can get into some big bull bluegills. thanks for sharing

  2. That looks like a pretty good fishing trip to me, Josh! Great variety!