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 - http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt. 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.
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.