Bass On The Fly

I had the pleasure of having someone today, requesting bass on the fly. Although I have had plenty of fly fishermen in the past, it had been several months since the last one. Peter was looking to get a personal best and I knew exactly where to bring him. Until now, all he had caught were fish up to about a pound. He would surely break that today!

We started in an area that should have given him plenty of quality fish but for some reason it was slow. In fact, after many casts all he was able to catch were weeds! I decided to make a cast with conventional tackle and immediately hooked a good one. They were definitely here but we needed to figure out how to get them on a fly! A few changes later, he finally got his wish and hooked into a real nice one. No problem breaking his old record with this fish! After a great fight, I netted his catch and pics were taken. He went right back at it and managed a few more smaller ones afterwards. I decided to make a move to see if we could bump up the numbers as well as the size and relocated nearby.

This next area had more current and I held on the edge, allowing him to swing the fly. It didn’t take long before he was tight lined again but it was even smaller than the last couple of fish he landed. I repositioned several times with similar results and decided to move again. This time I was going to try shallower to see if was any better.

Our next move was to a rocky area surrounded by plenty of weeds for cover. I don’t think he was expecting to get hit immediately and was surprised by the take. This bass immediately took to the air and threw the fly before he could tighten up completely on the line. It was the big one that he wanted and as fast as he hooked up, it was gone! A little disappointed, he was right back it looking for more! Several casts later, he hooked into another heavy fish and it didn’t stay pinned for long either. Although we never saw it, he knew it was big by the weight. More disappointment and right back at it again! A couple more lost fish later, I had to check the hook for sharpness. It was sticky sharp and not responsible. It was just bad luck! We covered this area thoroughly and he did manage to land a couple of fish, but they weren’t the ones he wanted. Time to move again!

I headed back to where we had started and tried working the areas above as well as below but the results were the same. It wasn’t until I made a few casts that we saw any action. I hooked into another quality fish and brought it to net. He continued casting as well and may have missed a couple of strikes. As we were nearing the end and readying to leave, I casted in to where he had made multiple casts and hooked a really large one to end the day. It definitely seemed like they didn’t want the flies but I’m not sure why. I had switched them several times thinking that a pattern or color change might make the difference, but it didn’t. It’s usually harder to get bit with a fly and today was no exception. We had worked areas that were holding fish and barely picked at them. I have a feeling that a little sunshine might have changed their attitudes, but we weren’t that lucky. Overcast skies were what we were dealt and tough fishing was what we had. Peter did however manage to land a really nice fish and lose several others even bigger during his trip. If we had of remained for the entire day, I may have made a few more adjustments that might have put more fish in the boat, but we’ll never know. All that being said, it was still nice to see someone tangle with these smallies on a fly rod, even if most of them came off. He had many other strikes that were apparently short ones as most of the fish were missed. Hopefully the next time out, these fish will have adjusted and become eager to eat. Only time will tell!

Rocking & Rolling

Yacenti, Marco & Nick hooked up with me today for another roller coaster ride. Despite an attempt to anchor up for sturgeon, we weren’t able to make it stick. Time to switch to plan B and much smaller fish!

Our second area wasn’t much better as I was faced with 3 footers and even with the electric motor on anchor mode, the current was too strong for them to feel the strikes. We left here, also fishless!

Plan C had me fishing open water and trying to drift over flats where I hoped they would be able to hook up. Both Yacenti & his son in law Nick managed to hook smallies, simultaneously and the skunk was officially out of the boat. We made several more drifts and came up with only perch bites before relocating once again.

The next spot had been producing lately and I was pretty sure they would be able to catch fish here. That is, if the winds didn’t get too big! Well on our very first drift, they had a triple header and 3 walleye were coming in the boat. In fact two of them were keepers and made it into the livewell for them to eat. The first few drifts had several more fish, both bass & walleye and things were looking good. That is until the winds increased and the drifts sped up. No longer could we get away with a 3/4 oz. weight. I had to go to 1oz. and even at that, it was tough. Eventually I had to double up and go to one and a half ounces and that was ridiculous! The waves had grown to 3 & 4 footers and our speed had increased as well. So much so that I had to use a drift sock to slow down our speed. Each time we had to return for another drift, I had to keep the bow up and not get the boat on plane. Bites were less now due to this and I had to make another change to keep them in the game. They were now working baits off the bottom and using something completely different. The bites returned and the game was back on!

In the remaining few hours of fishing, everyone managed to land plenty more fish of all kinds. Bass, walleye, perch, pike and even a small musky were caught. Although the conditions weren’t great, the action was. We stuck it out until almost 4:30 before calling it a day. They had endured some of the worst conditions this season and came out on top. Mother Nature tried but failed to shut us out! Man always wins, sometimes!

The “Crushfest”

The final day with Rick & his brother Danny saw us focussing all of our attention on smallmouth. We hooked up shortly after 7:00 and headed directly to bass area to fish. I hoped that the fish would be there! Danny confirmed that they were when he hooked up on one of his first casts. Ironically, it turned out to be the biggest fish of the day, but we weren’t to know it yet. They both caught several fish in this area before we were forced to move due to the winds. They had increased and were blowing around 20 knots from the SW, sustained. Gusts were over 30 and it really put a damper on what we were doing and where. We had to relocate!

I decided to head to a more sheltered area and despite the winds still blowing, they were a lot less. They continued casting for the bass and picked a few more but I wasn’t satisfied with their results. I grabbed another rod and started working something different and locked up on my very first cast. Time for them to change! I had to instruct them on what to do but after several missed fish, they caught on. It was at this point, that they would be hooking fish with more consistency. I moved around and each time someone was locked up, I hit the anchor button to hold in the area. They pounded on the fish each and every time I did this and the numbers started to climb. I really love this feature on the motor! Whenever the fish stopped biting, I released the hold and found another place to stop. This went on for the remainder of the day with fish after fish coming aboard. They had to get on the road a little earlier today to head home so we called the day sometime around 2:00. It didn’t matter as they had more action today than the last two days combined! Nobody knows exactly how many fish were landed but that’s not a bad thing. They both caught plenty of bass and Rick even landed a small musky in the mix. They left completely satisfied and that’s all that counts!

In the three days of fishing, we had focussed our efforts on giants the first day. Walleye the second day and smallies on the third day. All three days were successful with today being the best of all. They had wanted to end with a bang and today they absolutely crushed them! Big fish and high numbers too. Who could ask for anything more? Definitely a great day for fishing!

October Heat Wave

Rick & Danny were back this morning and we decided to troll for musky as soon as we hit the water. After about an hour or so of looking at a blank screen, I pulled the plug and headed for something that would bite!

We set up on an open water area and despite the winds blowing from the north, we were still able to make it work. A quick demonstration cast with a drop shot for Danny had me locked up immediately. Time to go to work! I gave Rick a jig and set it up on a rod that he had brought and the two of them started to cover the water. For the next several hours, plenty of walleye were landed with most of them being overs. They did manage to put a few keepers in the livewell though that would be on the menu tonight. After getting their fill of the eyes, we made another move in search of some smallies.

Our next location was a current break that let me use the new electric motor again. It’s a pleasure to be able to set the anchor on when I get to where I want to be and focus all my attention on what everyone is doing. I once again made a demonstration cast for Danny and locked up immediately! It’s just that simple! Although it wasn’t what we were looking for, it was a keeper walleye and joined the others in the well. Danny continued hooking and landing fish but Rick wasn’t having as much luck and struggled to get bit. A few nice smallies came to net along with several more walleye but all were from Danny in the back of the boat. We remained here until Danny was no longer hooking fish and headed to another place soon after.

I decided to make a long run while we ate lunch and stopped on a shallower area looking for aggressive bass. Soft plastics were used here to entice some decent smallies but they were few & far between! I covered a lot of area with limited fish being landed, along with several missed strikes. In the end, we moved a little deeper and they casted jigs to pick up a couple more fish. Time for another move!

The last spot was another open water area that was loaded but unfortunately the winds had stopped completely. The lake was a total mirror and the fish were pressed to the bottom, not moving. We did manage to get several strikes and land a few more fish but it was definitely a grind. By 3:30 we were contemplating leaving and after another 15 minutes, pulled the plug on the day.

Plenty of chances were had by everyone today but the walleye were the better fish caught. A number of larger overs were landed with several smaller keepers for their dinner tonight. Despite the summer weather in October, we still managed to catch enough fish to make this day great! If all the fish missed had of stayed pinned, it would have been incredible. But that’s fishing, I guess!

Initiating Another One

Rick & Danny were in for a great time, catching big fish today! They wanted sturgeon and that’s exactly what we were going to get. We hit the water at 7:30 and headed right to where I hoped they would be and set the lines. Although I was marking them, it took a while before we had our first hit and Danny was finally locked up. Rick had been with me last year and landed plenty, so it was his brother that took the first rod. It may not have been a real monster but the fight was still a great one. Danny couldn’t believe just how hard they fought as he brought a smaller one to the boat. We both wanted him to get a bigger one so Rick decided to let him have the second one as well.

We waited almost 15 minutes for the next fish to hit but this time it was definitely better. Danny reared back and set into dead weight! He now realized what we were talking about as this one made several good runs and hung tight to the bottom the entire battle. Eventually after 5 minutes or more he brought the fish to net and several pics were taken before the release. This fish may not have been giant but it was still quality and Danny’s biggest fish to date. I knew there would be more and reset all the lines anticipating our next bite.

After a couple of small ones, Rick finally got his first big fish to fight. I had picked up a couple of left hand retrieve reels specifically for him and he was loving the fact that he was able to reel on his side. Ten minutes passed before we even caught a glimpse of what he was into and it was definitely larger than all the previous ones landed. I netted his fish and took a few pics before releasing it to the water again. I still don’t know why anyone would kill one of these creatures just to eat it!

The whole day went like the morning with numbers of good fish being caught. They got to battle lots of fish, both small and big but unfortunately no real monsters were landed. Despite this however, they both had a great time and some incredible fights catching sturgeon. Tomorrow we will be back out but looking for other species instead. Bass, walleye and a possible musky will be on the list and with any luck, all three will be landed. The first two won’t be a problem and we’re crossing our fingers on the third. Only time will tell!