Mostly about fishing...maybe a few odds & ends thrown in.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Great Fly-Fishing Outing - 6 Species!
I got to fly-fish with Jenni, Julie, Scott and Steve on Wednesday evening, 6-16-2010, at their private townhome-association pond.
We fished it a handful of times last year. We know there are largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegills, hybrid sunfish, crappies, and grass carp in the pond.
Our main target is always the grass carp, because they are big fish! It is also probably the biggest challenge to get them to strike a fly. In order to tip the scales in my favor, I wore a "lucky shirt"...the one I was wearing when I caught my first grass carp ever on a fly from this pond last summer.
We couldn't really see the grass carp, so we would occasionally toss out some chunks of old hamburger buns to get the fish to feed on the surface.
We had a few strikes on large floating fly patterns that somewhat resembled bread, but no good hook-ups.
We took breaks during which we fished for the "other fish" in the pond. We caught some small- and medium-sized bluegills, and some medium- and large-sized hybrid sunfish, like this 9-incher:
Next, we noticed some good activity near the inlet culvert, where we had seen some good bluegills hanging out earlier. I suspected largemouth bass were chasing the bluegills. So, I put on a foam bass popper fly and headed to the edge of that area. After just a cast or two, I got a good strike, and an excellent battle ensued. The bass never jumped, but kept trying to dive to the bottom of the pond. It was a good fish, which measured at 19"...probably around 4 pounds:
I also caught a smaller bass from that spot, before switching locations and flies again.
We continued to have fun with the bluegills and hybrid sunfish. I eventually landed a small crappie, too. Then we fished again for the grass carp. I switched to a fly that is nothing more than a craft-store "fluff ball" type thing, trimmed to the hook to provide maximum hook gape. Unfortunately, it sinks, but it is easy to keep it suspended in the water column by VERY slowly retrieving line....just enough to keep all slack out of the line. This technique worked! I got a strike, set the hook, and the battle was ON!
I could tell it was a smaller fish than last year's big one, but it was still very strong and a good fighter. Scott helped with the net, and I was eventually able to lead the fish into the shallows and into the net. It is NOT a big net, but it worked...HOORAY!
It measured out at 33" length, and I ran this through a lenght-to-weight conversion for Grass Carp, and got an estimated weight of 17.5 lbs.
Well, to complete a clean sweep of all the fish species in this pond, I still needed a channel catfish. I didn't have high hopes for this, so I just tied on a soft-hackle nymph that had been working well for the bluegills and sunfish in the pond. I tossed out towards the middle of the pond, near some remaining floating chunks of bread that the bluegills were occasionally pestering, and began retrieving. BAM! A very strong strike, but not big enough to be another grass carp. Still this was a decent fish, and catfish always fight good. I estimated this one to be @ 18" long.
6 species of fish, all on flies, in one evening! Very awesome!! Thanks Jenni & Julie for letting me fish with you at your pond again, its ALWAYS a very fun time, even if we don't catch anything. And thanks for taking such great pictures...again! Thanks also to Steve, for smoking some good cigars with me, and introducing me to Leinenkugel's "Summer Shandy" beer. It was so good, I went and bought a case!