Monday, April 19, 2010

Evening Fishing 4-18-2010

Well, its happened. I think I've fished one particular public pond so often, the fish have wisened up to me. They've learned what I like to use, when I'm likely to show up to fish...I think they even get worried and miss me when I'm not there! OK, that's probably going too far, but its a handy, if inaccurate, explanation for how slow the fishing has been there lately.

I fished last night, from around 8pm (guessing...I forgot to look at my watch) to 11pm.

When I got to the pond, Central Iowa Fly Fishers President Dale Sanders, was just finishing up his fly-fishing excursion for the evening. We chatted a bit, compared flies, he threw a fly he'd tied into my fly box, and then it was like Tag Team wrestling. He tagged out, I tagged in.

It was a nice calm evening. Fish were dimpling the surface. I think most of these were small bluegills, but I did see a crappie or two come up as well.

Since the fish seem to have me figured out, I've been experimenting with different fly patterns, hoping to mix it up enough that the fish will be fooled more frequently. I've had some successes, but its still been slower than I've come to expect.

I was getting hits on the yellow boa yarn leech, but they mostly they were short-strikers (I did get one crappie and one bluegill on it). That usually means I need to change to a darker color. Since the sky was still light, I figured I'd try black, since the fish below would be able to see that dark silouette looking up. Within just a few casts, I caught another bluegill and another crappie. I thought I was really onto something. But then the sky darkened as evening wore on, and I stopped catching fish on the black boa yarn leech.

That's when I tried Dale's fly. I might have had some taps, but no solid takers on it. As we discussed, the fish DO seem to have a distinct preference for yellow and chartreuse colors in this pond...and SHADE of yellow seems very important. Brighter/lighter yellows work better than the darker shades of yellow, it seems.Its a very good-looking pattern, the fish were just being extra-picky last night.

So, next I switched to something similar to a boa yarn leech, but tied with some bright yellow wing-n-flash for the tail, and "fun fur" (I think?) for the body. I caught a 14.5" bass on that:

The bass hit close to shore in the shallows, so, being a calm night, I decided to finally try a foam frog pattern I had tied up...see if I could get another bass or two. I've had catfish hit bass topwaters at night, so that was also on my mind.

Well, the first fish on the foam frog wasn't a bass. Nor a catfish. Who knew crappies would eat frogs?

I did get a chunky 13.5" bass to take the frog too:

I fished the remainder of one side of the pond with the frog without any more action, so I switched to the Estaz Crappie Killer I'd used previously, and caught another crappie or two right away. Then nothing. Put on the trusty yellow boa yarn leech again. I had a really good take on it, where I saw large "waves" come up on the fly from behind. But I managed to miss hooking the fish.

I rounded a corner of the pond and fished along, for the "home stretch" back to the car. I got another really good take, and suddenly a fish was taking all kinds of line as it headed for deeper water. Excitement! Boy do I want to see THIS fish! After several runs and some stand-offs, I ease the fish into the shallows and up to the shoreline. Catfish! And a decent one! This one measured just under 22", and is the biggest catfish I've caught from this particular pond so far.

So, it was a slow night, but at least there were "highlights". Total was 6 crappies, 2 largemouth bass, 2 bluegills, and 1 channel catfish.

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