Friday, July 21, 2017

Before the Storm, 7-20-2017

A quick check of the weather app radar showed the storm about an hour away +/-.  It had been a very hot day, and I hoped the cloudcover and barometric pressure change (if there was one) would get the fish feeding.  I got to a local public pond around 7pm.

Who knows if there was any difference...but I did catch some fish.  I flyfished with a blockhead popper, and caught ~6 bass and 2 hybrid sunfish.  The biggest bass measured 19", which is pretty good for Iowa.  The very next fish sprinted for deeper water, and broke my line.



As soon as I saw some huge lightning streak across the sky overhead, I decided it was probably time to head home.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lunchtime Report 7-18-2017

Got to a pond during my lunch hour.  The end I start at was pretty much devoid of visible fish or even bubble trails.  Fished for a bit there anyway, then went to the opposite side of the pond.  Saw some bass.  Had a strike or two, but didn't hook them.  Caught 5-6 Bluegills, then started looking for bigger fish.

Cast to some "carp bubbles"....a catfish intercepted the fly on the drop.  16":
Looks happy to play:

Saw a few bubbles closer to the outside edge of the weedline.   Cast into that area, set the hook into a heavier fish I thought was gonna be a carp, but ended up being the biggest catfish I've seen in this pond so far.... 22":


It was 'bout time to head back to work...finally saw a few mud clouds and bubble trails on the far side of the bay....made some casts.  The line finally jumped, I set the hook and was into a good fish.  25" Carp!


I didn't have high expectations when I went fishing during lunch today....I was pleased to even get some bluegills.  The cats and carp were welcome bonuses!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bullhead on Fly

I flyfished a local public pond with a buddy on Saturday afternoon from 1pm-5.30pm.  This is rarely an ideal time to fish, but it was a time I had available, so I didn't squander the opportunity.  I'm not sure, but I believe the air temp was in the low 90's F.  There was a bit of a breeze, which helped.

Fishing wasn't great.  Bass and Hybrid Sunfish were chasing young-of-the-year shad, but were extremely picky when presented with a variety of fly patterns.  I caught some bass, hybrids, and a bluegill, but it was slow, tough going.

Believe it or not...the highlight of the trip was catching a big Black Bullhead on a fly!  I've caught a few bullheads on flies in the past, but none this big.  This one was guarding a depression in the muddy shallows.  I don't know if there were eggs there or not, but it was definitely guarding it.  I dropped the fly in that depression (lets call it a nest?) several times, and the fish would turn and inpect it, then return to its favorite guard post at the edge of the nest.  About the 5th time I dropped the fly there, it turned and appeared to have taken the fly, but I wasn't totally sure.  I set the hook, and sure enough it had it in its mouth!   I would have guessed that fish to be @ 10" long in the water....so I was very surprised at how big it truly was when I lifted it from the water.  15"!!  Huge mouth on it!



The fly I was using was a black-bodied Bow River Bugger.  I had put it on because I had seen some baby bullheads in the shallows next to shore.  At one point, I reached down and grabbed a handful of them, then opened my hand and let them swim away again.




Thursday, July 13, 2017

Crazy Good Bass Evening 7/12/2017

There had been "heat advisories" all day.  @ 5pm some rainstorms moved in.  Nothing heavy or long, just got everything wet.  The rain stopped after dinner, it was really nice out (cooler) and calm.  It was a later start than I'd prefer, but I really wanted to go fishing.

Drove past a few ponds, and my steering wheel turned me to where I needed to go.  Started fishing @ 7pm.  It turned out to be one of those precious few crazy-good evenings of fishing.  Like you could do no wrong.  I flyfished topwater for bass.  At one point I caught bass on 3 consecutive casts into the same small area.

Biggest 3 bass of the evening measured 19", 19", and 17".  Several more were in the 16"-16.5" range.  I also lost a big one that spit the fly after a couple minutes fight, and had 2 fish break my tippet during the hookset.








I could see pods of tiny shad (guessing...but I do know there are shad in here) scattered many places, and fish would occasionally blow up on them.  In several instances, bass were going hi-speed horizontally airborn, attacking and chasing baitfish.  A couple had to have cleared 6' horizontally.

Nice Hybrid Sunfish were attacking the baitfish as well.


Crazy good evening!  Oh, and I did pick up tick #7 from around this pond.  Fortunately none have attached.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Early July 2017

Lunchtime flyfishing outings over the past week have resulted in a few Channel Catfish, but no carp.  The carp I have had on have either shook free or broke my line.  They are there!  I was getting a good drop on a carp near shore when a catfish showed up out of nowhere and grabbed the fly!
The catfish are all practically "cookie-cutter"...all pretty much the same size.  They are fun,  I look forward to when the grow another 6"+!




Also during lunch, I visited a pond hoping to try for some Grass Carp.  The grassies didn't show themselves, but the bass were very willing.

And I visited a stream to flyfishing for Smallmouth Bass.  Caught a green sunfish, a few small bass, and a nice healthy, STRONG 15.75" Smallmouth.

Monday, July 3, 2017

New (to me) Fly Rod

Earlier this year, I sold some of my fly rods and fly reels that I was no longer using, and bought some newer gear.

I got some pretty nice new gear!  Among the purchases were a Douglas Sky fly rod (excellent rod, seems to do EVERYTHING very well!), a couple Allen Kraken fly reels, and an Allen Alluvion fly rod (very impressed with this rod...has great feel and its just SO FUN to fish with!).

But I admit with all the great reviews I've read over the past few years in regards to the Orvis Helios 2 Tip Flex rod, I knew I really wanted one in a 9' 6wt,  But apparently I'm not comfortable outlaying the kind of money it would take to buy one brand new.  I've been watching for used ones on eBay, placed bids on a couple, that quickly went beyond my mental limit.

And then a used one showed up on a message board.  I felt the asking price was reasonable.  I bought it.  It was delivered to my house on Saturday.  I unpacked it, assembled the rod, marveled at its lightness and balance. It was in immaculate condition, I didn't see a speck of dirt or even a single scratch on it.  For all intents and purposes....brand new!  I then attached a reel and lined up the rod....and took it fishing.






Oh my.  I'm in love.  I started it off with the toughest challenge I usually put my rods through...casting blockhead poppers for largemouth and smallmouth bass.  Now...there was no wind that evening, but I will say it threw that popper extremely well.  I realize this rod has a lot of hype associated with it...but after fishing it, I realize in this case there is NO hype....its real.  It lives up to everything ever said about it.  It is accurate at both short, mid, and long ranges.  And it can actually hit those long ranges!

I caught maybe 8 bass from 12"-16.5", and some big Hybrid Sunfish around the 9" range.  All excellent fighters, and the rod handled them as you would hope and expect.  Perfectly.

I'm very pleased with my purchase.  At the moment, I couldn't honestly tell you whether the Douglas Sky or the Orvis Helios 2 is better...they are BOTH extremely capable rods and top choices for any serious fly angler.  I would have no problem recommending each of them.  One thing I had read regarding rods of this caliber, and I would like to paraphrase here, is:  If you don't have one already, you owe it to yourself to GET one.

Blog Issue / Dividing Line

The website I've used to host the pictures that I post on my blog and message boards has changed their Terms of Use.  They will still store photos for free. Despite having ads on their site, they will no longer allow sharing of the photos to message boards and blogs, without paying a $400/year fee (or more expensive by-the-month fee).  Too expensive for this guy!

I will find an alternate website that will host my photos for free.

I am unlikely to go back and fix the photos in any or all of the previous 545 blog posts I've already made.  For this I apologize.  Maybe I will take this opportunity to, over time, write up some new updated posts of the more popular posts/threads/topics.

So...this post (hopefully) marks the dividing line between the old posts with lost images, and the new ones that will once again contain images.

Thanks for sticking with me through this! :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Smallmouth Bass 6/27/2017

I had planned to take this coming Thursday off work to flyfish for Smallmouth Bass.  The selected river had finally dropped into a marginally wadable level.  But with 3 consecutive days of rain in the forecast, the river is going to go back up again for who-knows-how-long.  So, I went last night after work and a quick dinner.

I'm glad I went, but the river was higher, muddier, and cooler than I would have liked for wet-wading.
First cast with a popper caught the biggest Smallmouth of the evening (14").


6 Smallies and the Green Sunfish hit the blockhead popper, with 2 additional bass hitting a chartreuse-over-yellow Clouser Deep Minnow.


Near the end of the evening, I noticed something bizarre struggling in the water as it flowed downstream past me.  I chased it down and lifted it from the water.  A bat! Cute lil' bugger....I researched it later, and believe this is an Eastern Pipistrelle (actually now known as a Tricolored Bat). I put it on shore....Hope it survives its dunking!
Eastern Pipistrelle bat aka Tricolored Bat

Mulberry Hatch, 6-26-2017

Jay and I took our kayaks and fly rods to Blue Heron Lake. I'd hoped for gar, but never really spotted any. The wind was minimal, which usually means the carp won't be in the shallows ...but fortunately for us, a few were there, as well as a few catfish.
I'd caught a couple fun, hardfighting carp (watched the first one chase down my swimming fly and eat it), and then got pushed in too close to shore...looked over the side of the kayak and could see a few smallish carp and a NICE catfish swimming between my kayak and shore. I got back out withing casting distance and anchored up. Then pulled the hook out of 2 carp (one while trying to land it next to the kayak without a net, one while trying to steer one away from the snags along the shoreline), and had 2 nice consecutive fish break my 11.8lb tippet during the hookset. I feel one might have been a big catfish. And then hooked a big fish near where I'd seen that big catfish earlier...but it took me into a snag and freed itself.
Lots of excitement with only a few fish to show for it. I settled down, took some deep zen breaths, and pressed on. Caught a small catfish...
... then a nicer one (19"), and another carp. The catfish was a heckuva fighter....it bulldogged deep, and did NOT want to come to the surface at all!
Jay also caught a decent catfish...he really seemed impressed by how strong the fish was!
Action slowed there, so I moved along, looking for maybe some Orangespotted Sunfish, but caught a bunch of small bluegills and a bass instead.
Hit one more spot for carp, and managed to get a decent one...while I was fighting it, his buddy swam next to him for awhile, and came almost all the way to my kayak before finally sinking out of sight. I've seen that behavior many times...where one carp will swim along with one that is fighting on the line. With bass/white bass, they'll often do that, ...like gulls hoping to steal the baitfish from another...but carp don't appear to be trying to steal anything...just kind of buddy-ing up and seeing what's going on. Smart? Social?