Mid-afternoon arrivals at local White Bass hotspots allow anglers to beat the crowds. Still, two spin-fishers could be seen upstream and another down from the landing. The tall, far-side bluff had yet to cast its shadow on the stream, so my preparations were leisurely. The stream was swollen and discolored from recent rains, but there were reports of catches of smaller males and the occasional bigger female. I waded into casting position armed with a 6wt rod, a reel spooled with 3-4 i.p.s.sink rate line, a short 4-foot leader with a size-8 silver/white Mini-Minnie. Initial casts were stripped rapidly without success, and the first attempt to allow the fly to sink deeper was hung up behind a rock, and a roll cast was necessary to free it. I waded further downstream to a large eddy that held a sizeable deadfall. The first retrieve was ignored but slammed hard, accompanied by throbbing vibrations. Finally, with the fish within arm’s length, I reached to lip it only to discover the sizeable female had yet another run in her bag of tricks before capture. These sleek, muscular beauties always amaze their captors with power and stamina, attracting legions of admirers.
Our store will be closed from April 10 through May 10 while Roxanne has back surgery. In the meantime, We hope your spring fishing is outstanding.
A fine mist seemed to suspend above the gray water of the large pond. The lines of distinction between the two were erased at a distance, and the only contrasting color was the blackened outline of a deadfall. Into this black and gray world, I launched a float tube and kicked into position to cast to the deep edges of the submerged timber. An intermediate sinking line hung from the 5-wt. rod as a gentle roll-cast propelled a size-8 Crappie Bully toward the target. Each cast was “counted down” to an increasingly greater depth before action was imparted. The fourth cast was interrupted by a line-lurch at the count of 8 that I answered with a rod-lifting hook-set. I smiled at the throbs of a fighting fish. Several rod-tip bounces revealed the fish’s attempts to bore into the depths before a silver flash indicated it was a crappie. The speckled beauty was admired and released as a Great Blue Heron squawked its annoyance and departed. Another 11 crappies were caught and released before my fly found submerged wood and had to be broken off. With that site now disturbed, I tried another similar area, but the only taker was a fat Green Sunfish. I suspected many of the pond‘s crappies were suspended over deep water, but my float-tube trolling efforts failed to discover them.
Recent rains have rendered area streams unfishable, and with several cold, rainy days in the forecast, I embraced a small pond trip as my only fishing option. The day was sunny and warm, but a 20 mph wind with stronger gusts posed a challenge. Turbulence from the wind and rain left the water stained, leading to the fly choice of a chartreuse Bass Bully to aid the fish’s visibility. I knelt at the pond’s edge to diminish the impact of the wind with an 8wt rod. Theorizing that the largemouth bass would be suspended and facing into the wind to feed on the diverse menu being blown toward their position, casts were made into the wind. Retrieves at various depths determined their position in the water column. Action came quickly as the bass were aggressive and located at a depth of 2 feet over a 6-foot bottom. The frustration of having to cast into the wind faded in the excitement of the rod-bending battles. Casts at angles from my position were especially effective, giving the bass a side view of the fly. Sixteen bass of 10 to 16 inches were brought to hand and released before I surrendered to the wind and the tiring casts it demanded.
Two 60-degree days generated the hope of locating some active bluegills in a small pond. The water was still chilly, so I chose a 5-wt. bamboo rod figuring that if the fish were uncooperative, I could at least maximize my enjoyment of casting. I knotted a white size-10 Bully Spider knotted to a 9-foot leader. White is a good color for early spring because the cool water is clear, and sunlight penetration easily reveals a light-colored fly to the fish. Bullys’ flexible legs pique the bluegills’ interest. As expected, the fish were widely scattered and suspended at a depth of 3 feet over deep water. They were soaking up the warmth of the sun, which accelerated their metabolisms and, consequently, their need to feed. Strikes were infrequent and very difficult to detect. Most hits came on the vertical drop as the fly dropped at 4 inches per second toward fish-holding positions. Line-watching was critical. I met even the slightest twitch or hesitation with a strip hookset. I missed a few but enjoyed the throbbing circular vibrations of a dozen bluegills of various sizes. No two were caught in the same location, so it was important to keep moving and casting over different water to increase the chances of strikes. I confess to being addicted to the “beautiful vibrations” of bluegills.