A cold rain followed by bright sun sent my favorite pond’s residents into the depths. Casts from my float tube were counted into the depths and slowly retrieved. For two hours the catch totaled 4 fish, 2 largemouths and 2 bluegills! Each was taken at a different depth which indicated that most of the fish were suspended over deep water. Fishing my way back to the launch site, I noticed that a band of shade extended from a section of tree-lined shore. Casts into the shaded shallows with a white/silver Mini Minnie produced 26 bluegills of 7 to 9 inches in the final 45 minutes.
A favorite stream’s water is cooling now and fallen leaves skim along its surface like miniature sailboats. My 3-weight delivered size-10 Mini Minnies near rocky outcroppings and deadfalls where they were counted down into the inky depths. With surprising regularity, they were either smashed by big bluegills or the line simply acquired that “suddenly heavy” feeling that accompanies the take of a sizeable crappie. Even at a point where many would retire from the constant action, I persisted to feed my addiction to the hook set.
A friend and I fished in opposite directions from the bridge entry on a local stream. During his absence, I hooked a 13-inch largemouth bass. As it was brought toward the rod I saw two larger bass following the hooked fish and focused on the fly stuck in its jaw. Moments later I hooked a large green sunfish and, once again, two good-sized bass (both smallmouths this time) escorted the hooked fish to within a rod’s length of me. When my friend returned I recounted the two encounters and suggested he try a large streamer. In the next 30 minutes, he landed and released one of the largemouths and both smallies. It was a lasting memory for both of us.
Streams that flow into reservoirs host migrating fish intent on feeding heavily before the onset of winter. Armed with a 5 wt. and Mini Minnies, I waded downstream to a shaded deep hole with a multi-tentacled deadfall. Many presentations that were counted down to a depth of 4 feet then erratically stripped were intercepted by a thumping strike followed by a thrashing fight. A few of the crappies were lost among the clusters of branches but far more were brought to hand. Our fishing log entry noted the yipping coyotes just before dark as we headed home.
A hunt for big bass sent me to a pond armed with an 8 wt., 4 i.p.s. (inches per second) sinking line, and a 4-ft. length of 16-lb. tippet, and our H.O.T. (acronym for “Hold On Tight”) Streamer in the sunfish pattern. Along the face of the dam I counted the fly down (using the one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, etc. method) to 8 feet of depth next to a thick weedbed of coontail and imparted a strong lift, drop, strip retrieve. The tail vibrations signaled the bass population that a wounded baitfish was in their territory and caused innumerable smashing hits followed by memorable battles. What a great way to spend a sticky evening!