poppers

6-9…Family Fishing

Today we drove up to a family cabin to celebrate a cousin’s birthday (and do some fishing, of course). I don’t get much time to fish with my oldest cousin, so it was fun to get some time in the boat. Anchored the boat in three feet of water and caught a few nice bluegills and perch, along with a little bass. I had a decent topwater bite, and he bobber fished with worms.

Braden and I hit some good sized bluegills and perch off the dock

Evening Bluegills

Sunday was our last day at the cabin. Fished for a while in the morning and caught a few bluegills. After lunch we drove over to one of our favorite catfish holes and drowned some worms. Unfortunately, the catfish didn’t cooperate with our plans. Instead Noah landed this 25″ monster of a sucker/carp thing. It took him over five minutes to bring in! While it wasn’t fly fishing, its still fun to pull in some big fish on spin gear every now and then. I tried a fly for a while, but that didn’t work so well.

 

On to some prettier things…

Braden and I had some of the best bluegill fly fishing of our lives in the evening. We took the canoe back to the spot where I caught the bass. Braden caught well over sixty in two hours on dries and poppers, all thick slabs as big as my hand on nearly every cast. The little bay was just filled with fish. Just cast, twitch, and bang, a big bluegill would practically come flying out of the water after the fly. Not a bad fight on a five weight, either.

I still find it amazing how aggressive small bass are

Big Bucketmouths in Skinny Water

I’ve never had much luck fishing in the river above the cabin. Its usually too shallow, too weed choked, too warm, too something. Dad once caught a nice bass out of a sunken tree on a big bass bait, but that was it for all the years we’ve been going up there. Then again, I’ve never really explored it. Until today.

 

The early morning had gone by rather uneventfully. I managed a few small bass at the mouth of the river, but even they weren’t really biting. On a whim, I decided to take a paddle up the river to check things out. The high water had flooded some grass and cattails, creating a big pocket of water that was previously unwelcoming to fish. Then I saw him. A three pounder lazily swam away at the flash of my paddle. That was the one I wanted.

Bass heaven

Grandpa’s old Wenonah glided through the cattails. This was perfect. Submerged cattails in two feet of water with plenty of cover. Small bluegills and minnows darted around in the weeds, giving the bass plenty to munch on. I wedged the canoe in a clump of weeds and tied on a big yellow popper. It only took two casts. Two bloops and a pause. No explosion of water, just a subtle slurp, more like a cruising trout than a bass. The fight only lasted a few seconds before he broke me off. He demolished my leader, leaving me with only a sad looking stub of 30 pound mono and a sinking heart.

I recovered and paddled over to a new spot. The lake was almost perfectly calm. I dropped the anchor on the outside of the cattails. Another big yellow popper went sailing into the cover. This time it got nailed. I set the hook and held on for dear life. This was hand to hand combat. I was way back in the thick of it, and if I let him go he would just get hopelessly wrapped in the weeds, get that split second of slack, and spit the barbless hook right back in my face. I had no choice but to hang on and hope my 0X tippet would hold as he thrashed wildly. Luckily, it did. It felt like forever, but honestly the fight didn’t last more than two minutes. I wrassled him into the boat and got this self portrait by balancing the camera on a canoe paddle.

Later in the morning Noah and I paddled out to the same spot and did a little bluegill fishing for dinner. The bluegills were thick in there. A fly didn’t survive long. Noah caught eight fat keepers on his glass rod and twice as many smaller ones in an hour. Fried in a little lot of butter, they sure tasted good. I also got a chance to test out some jigs on a spin rod. I felt really guilty, but it was actually kinda fun. I cranked in a few nice perch and Noah caught a big crappie. No more bass tonight, but we hit  the bluegills hard. Its a great way to relax after throwing big flies on a six weight all day.

8-29…Big Gills on Poppers- A Weekend at the Lake

Headed up to our cabin last weekend and had a great time fishing with Grandpa. On the first night the evening topwater fishing was excellent. Noah and I caught lots of crappie and bluegill, some of them pushing nine inches, on little cork poppers.

The quarry was the destination of choice on Friday. Unfortunately, the fishing was pretty slow. The bass were lethargic, and very hesitant to even look at our flies. All of us ended up catching some bass, but nothing like past days. The biggest was a 12 incher, but I lost one (as usual) that was much bigger, maybe 15 inches. The sunfish were a bit more cooperative. Grandpa hammered them, and the rest of us caught our fair share as well.

Saturday brought more bluegill and crappies. Noah and I took the canoe out and found schools of fat crappies feeding on minnows that were rising to a minuscule hatch. Many crappie were to be had, and we even had the chance at catching the elusive tailing carp, but I couldn’t get a long enough cast in before he stopped tailing. Braden was pounding the perch on shore with a little streamer, with some bass mixed in as well.

Once in a while, we put down the fly rods and head to a nearby river to chase some catfish. I know, it isn’t fly fishing, but it is fun in a ridiculous sort of way. Memories of sitting on the bank being baked by the sun on a ninety degree day and catching catfish after catfish come into my mind. Usually, the catfish are really biting this time of year, but today we only picked up a couple. A recent flood had changed the structure of the river, and our favorite hole, which probably doesn’t exist anymore, did not produce like it used to. While everyone caught a fish, Grandpa got the prize for the most fish, with two. That should tell you something about the action. Next we are off to a blue ribbon trout stream and some camping. Stay tuned.

 

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