Friday, November 17, 2017

Mid-November 2017

The weather continues to get colder and windier.  We had days that were forecast to be in the 50's, but then it never made it that warm.

For some reason, I've really struggled to catch bluegills and crappies, which are typically about the only thing reliably biting this late in the season.

As sort of a continuation to my previous post about fly size for bass, I went fishing for bluegills & crappies, and ended up only catching some decent largemouth bass.  The first two hit a microjig under an indicator, so I switched to a small shad fly and caught one more.

And by the way....on this particular day I fished 3 ponds....I got skunked at the first two.  The next time I fished the same 3 ponds, I caught fish at the first two, but got skunked at the third.  So....I guess the point might be "the fish are always biting somewhere"?

And they were hitting the larger flies again.

Unpredictable fishing seems to be the name of the game this month.  A couple weeks ago I caugth bunch of decent crappies from one pond.  So, one day I took the afternoon off work to flyfish for them again since the wind was strong from the same direction.  I hoped the crappies would be along that same windblown shoreline where they have been before.
Caught one.
But it was the only one.  I missed a few good strikes, and only managed to land one more fish....a bass.
So I headed to another pond to try and target bluegills.  I caught some:

As I was fighting one of the bigger bluegills, a BIG bass took a swipe at it right in front of me.  That was exciting!  I switched flies twice before I felt like I was using something that big bass might strike.  A couple casts later.... BAM!  That was pretty cool, and even better that I was able to fight and land it.
21.25"....the biggest bass I've caught all year!
I didn't weigh it, but some bass weight/length tables I found suggested a weight of 5.7 pounds....this is a very good bass for Iowa!  As far as I can recall, this bass probably ranks as the 5th largest bass I've caught in Iowa.

Just when I assumed I'd probably caught nearly every bass in this particular pond....This one shows up!  I was stunned by the unexpected.  After releasing the fish, the adrenaline gave me jelly legs for about 20 minutes....and I kept making these weird involuntary sounds of disbelief and even talked to myself a couple times.  This fish turned me into a crazy person!  Pretty fun!

I feel the open-water season drawing to a close.  The ponds WILL freeze over for the winter, as they typically do here in Iowa.  I'll fish the open water as long as I can and as the weather allows.  Whatever happens...this has been a pretty darn good year for flyfishing...and this bass was an exclamation point on the season!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, everyone.

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