My thumb is raw, I slipped in a bunch of goose poop almost falling on my butt, and I lost 3 flies. Some people would see this is as a bad thing but I am grinnin ear to ear.
Work and school have had me pretty down lately. So I got up this AM right before the sun peeked over the houses, grabbed my trusty March Brown 5wt and headed out back to see if the bass were up yet. I have a retention pond out back, it’s a big neighborhood pond and I am fortunate to live on the biggest one in our subdivision. It has a nice moderate drop off on the sides, the deepest my kayak depth finder has found was 12 feet and it has a nice big submerged island in the middle. It makes a nice big flat for the fish to feed and bed on. I have carefully staked out mallard and wood duck decoys that mark the edge of the island where it starts to drop off and I have caught 7 different species of fish in the pond. I like it a lot.
This morning I was throwing a green gurgler with a little red hackle and some green rubber legs in about a size 1. Bloooop….Bloooop….Blooooop… WHOOOOOSH!!!! I love seeing a top water bite. It has been a while since my pond fish have reacted to a gurgler. About two years ago I whooped these fish rather badly over the summer on gurglers and this is the first time they have eaten them again in two years. Well, it’s back on and I am having a blast.
There is a spot along the bank, right behind my house and I always see bass running this part of the bank chasing bream or shiners. I decided I’d start there and work my way around the pond. As I stripped line off my reel a large boil and splash erupted to me left right at the spot. Yep, the bass are awake and hungry. I took my time getting my line off and managed at my feet and began my false cast. My March Brown fly rod loves to eat line. In only three false casts I had about forty feet of line out and a nice tight loop. I dropped the fly about two feet off the bank and let it sit for just a second and started stripping it in letting it make its namesake sound. I casted a second time to about the same spot only a little further out. Plop. Bloooop….Bloooop.. BAM! Fish on! He wasn’t a giant but he ate my fly and that always makes me happy. I stripped him in and grabbed his lip. Right in the corner of the mouth was my fly. A quick flick of the Willy Joe Hemo-cuts and the fly was loose.
I tossed him back and checked my leader and moved down the bank. A little further down is a spot on the island that has a really steep drop-off and the bass love to hang out there. A fly thrown up on the island flat and dragged off the edge usually gets eaten. I had about 5 big blow-ups on my fly before the line came tight and I had the fish on. The sun was just peeking up and the reflection on the glass calm water was shattered but a nice little two-pound bass. As he cleared the water and shook the water flew off like diamonds and he was back under running again. As he neared the bank he went deep and got into the grass. The fight stopped. I stood there waiting to feel a tug or head shake but it was just dead weight. Uh oh, this isn’t good. I pulled up slowly and felt a little tug back so I figured I still had him. Then just as I thought I had him out of the grass and would be able to drag him in, “tink” goes the line and I only have a leader. Fly #1 gone. I tie my own flies so this isn’t a big deal, but it was the last one of that size I had left. I am actually writing this and looking at my vise knowing as soon as I have this done its back to tying for a while.
I tied on a bigger fly of the same color and pattern and as I worked my way around to another spot that usually has a big one hanging out in it, I caught about six more smaller fish in the one-two pound range. I arrived at the spot where I usually see the biggun. Two or three casts later there was a blow-up on my fly and I had another fish on. This one could barely fit the fly in his mouth but he was jumpin and shakin like he was a 12-pounder! I stripped him in and took the fly out and let him swim back. A few casts later another blow up on my fly. It was a big whoosh and this one was from a grown fish. My line came tight and as he started to pull line back, “tink”… my fly was gone. Mr. Bass now has a nice piercing and some lip jewelry. That gave me quite a rush. That fish was, ( now remember the fisherman’s rules for lost/not seen fish apply here), at least 40 pounds and had giant sharp teeth with glowing red eyes and a harpoon sticking out of his side!! But really it was a good solid fish and I have caught 6-7 lb bass in this pond before. I tied on my last green gurgler and started casting. In the past I have actually caught the fish that has broken me off a few casts later and gotten my fly back so I gave it a shot. This fly was a little more special since it had a rattle in it. I dropped it on the drop off, bloop, bloop, BAM! Another solid fish in the three-pound range but he was wearing no lip jewelry. A couple more fish in the one-pound range and I figured that big one was at home admiring my fly stuck I his lip and posting pictures of it on his FaceBook page.
I moved along and worked over another spot. After about 6 casts I decided that squirrels were on the target list and since I mis-judged the tree behind me my fly launched itself into the topmost branches, ya know the ones that don’t bend far enough down to get your fly back, yep that one. As I tried to get my fly back the leader popped about 4 inches from my connection. I only had a small spool of tippet, not really a good choice for replacing an entire leader, with me so I had to call it a morning. I rolled up my line and headed into the house.
As I sit here now my dog is snoring at my feet and the house is quiet. The perfect time to tie flies for this evening’s adventure…