Thursday, January 13, 2011

2010 - Lessons Learned in Warmwater Fly Fishing

In reviewing the ups and downs relating to my warmwater fly-fishing adventures of 2010, here are some things I learned...and wanted to post here so I don't FORGET.

-Springbrook Wunder: Dale, a local fellow fly angler (and friend) with knowledge, personality, and fly-tying skills I very much admire, has been showing me this pattern for a few years as being good for crappies. I had tried it on occasion, but not very often. Well, I finally DID give it a solid effort this Fall, and the results were absolutely excellent! Depending on the depth and aggressiveness of the crappies, I used this both with and without a strike detector (Thingamabobber).  This pattern has worked very well for me in a number of color combinations, including (body/tail colors) red/chartreuse, chartruese/white, pink/white, all chartreuse, and gold/natural grizzly.  I used 1/80th and 1/100th oz jigheads.  Both worked equally well.  I think for the various uses of this pattern, I will probably stick with the 1/80th oz heads once my micro jighead supplies run out.

-Strike Detectors: Finally actually tried using these, and had definite success. I feel this is a worthwhile addition to my repertoire. I like the 2 smallest sizes of Thingamabobbers. I plan to try these in a few more situations in the coming open-water season.

-Fishing deeper: Due to improved water clarity in some places I fish, I experienced more difficulty in catching fish on my favorite shallow-water presentations this year. For crappies especially, fly patterns that dropped deeper in the water column helped a great deal, and I plan to use these more in the coming year. Specific patterns that did really well for me were “microjig” fly patterns such as the Springbrook Wunder, small Clouser Deep Minnows tied with craft fur, and Crappie Candy.

One thing I want to explore more for 2011 is using sink-tip lines for fishing a local good-sized river. I expect it will be a steep learning curve for me, and I expect to lose a good number of flies to the bottom of the river, but it will be wonderful to find some success with those fish. Hopefully it will allow me to add some of the species to my “Fly Fishing Life List” that I’ve been thinking about lately.

-White Bass: I didn’t use fly gear very often on the local reservoir, but when I did, the fly pattern that worked best for me this year was a Deceiver.

In a previous year, I tried Deceivers with NO success, and found Clousers to work best. The obvious point is to try different things until you find what the FISH want. Patterns you have confidence in certainly help you catch fish much of the time…but not always!

I also had plenty of White Bass strikes on foam topwaters such as Blados’ Crease Fly, but for some reason hook-ups were difficult. White bass often strike at the head of the fly, so I feel they were just missing the hook. At any rate, White Bass are super-aggressive hitters and excellent fighters….a perfect match for fly gear when they are in shallow waters.

-Crappies: I caught more crappies this year than ever before, and was by far the species I caught most often in 2010. One public pond that produced well the previous 2 years did NOT produce well for me this year. Fortunately a 2nd local public pond that I had been ignoring came through with some excellent crappie action late in the season.  Although I tipped Ben on the location, his RESULTS are what encouraged me visit this pond this Fall.

-Largemouth Bass: Most of my biggest bass were caught in the first month after ice-out, which was from about mid-March to mid-April. After that, the smaller bass got more active.

-Shortnose Gar: Caught a few of these this year. Rope flies worked really well to entice them to bite. The jury is still out on how long to wait to try to entangle their teeth in the nylon, and whether singing the ends of the loose strands so they melt together improves catch rates or not.  BIG kudos to my friend Ben, who made all the difference between my thinking about flyfishing for gar, and actually getting on the water and making it happen this year!

This is sight-fishing for sure…more like hunting. You don’t cast until you see the fish and get into position. In contrast, much of my bass, bluegill and crappie fishing is completely blind fishing…just casting into likely areas and watching the line during the retrieves for strikes.

-Carp: Fished under a ripe mulberry tree and caught a few carp, missed several others. This is really fun and I hope I manage to time it right again this coming year. I want to try some new “mulberry fly patterns”.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dave for sharing I learned something as well from this post.