Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lunchtime Flyfishing, 6-18-2015

I took a co-worker flyfishing during lunch today, hoping for another catfish.  We didn't catch any cats...but did catch Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Crappies, and Redear Sunfish.

The fly that caught most of my fish was a brown simi-seal leech with an orange glass beadhead.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Verified...Redear Sunfish!

I mentioned in this post from a week or so ago:
...that I suspected there may be a few Redear Sunfish in a certain nearby pond.  I finally got back to try and catch one of these spooky fish, and DID!  I caught just one...a 9-incher...and they are indeed Redears.  I've only seen maybe 6 nesting only in a certain area. I suspect they may have been stocked from elsewhere...and at this point I'm not even sure if there are any females in the pond or it may not be a reproducing population.  Because of that end, I will keep this pond under my hat.

I've been flyfishing the local public ponds in my city, starting in 2006 (so, 10 years now!).  It was only about 3 years ago that I discovered a series of connected ponds have Pumpkinseed Sunfish in them.  They are beautiful fish not commonly found in the area lakes and reservoirs, so that was a really nice surprise to find a population of them locally.  I always hoped I'd find some Redear Sunfish too....they get big and fight hard, but can be difficult to entice to strike a fly, except when they are nesting.  There are some of these in lakes within an hour or so drive of where I live, but I usually prefer to spend my time fishing rather than driving so I generally fish close to home.  I say all this just as background to help understand why I think finding them in a nearby pond is SO AWESOME! that started off my day on a high note.  Since most of the fish that were on nests scattered when I approached, I put an indicator above a microjig to fish the far side of the weedline to see if I could get a female Redear or one of the males that had just vacated the shallows.  I didn't get anymore Redears, but the indicator dropped down, and set the hook, and a nice fish shot out for the middle of the pond.  I couldn't stop it on that first run!  Strong fish!  Turned out to be a 20" FAT Channel 2nd Channel Cat on a fly within 5 days.

I also caught a couple bass on poppers, and found some pretty nice bluegills.

After leaving this pond, I picked up my buddy Jay, and we fished Saylorville Lake.  Using spinning gear, I caught a White Bass, Jay caught at least 3 more plus a Freshwater Drum.  But most of the time we were flyfishing for carp.  We saw plenty of them, but they pretty much ignored everything we showed them.  I dropped a fly down in front of one that was feeding in some heavy flooded vegetation.  The carp dropped down to the fly, I set the hook, and it took off for open water.  My excitement was became unhooked in about 3 seconds.  Bummer!

And then in the evening, my buddy Chad sends me a message asking where I'm going to fish that evening.  It had been a long day out in the sun already... but its tough to resist a fishing invitation!  So, back out I went.  Chad flyfished poppers for bass, so I flyfished for bluegills with a yellow Boa Yarn Leech.  I did well, and so did Chad.  In addition to bass, he managed a Bluegill on that large popper!  I ended up catching 4 bass along with the bluegills.

It had been a very enjoyable day of fishing!

Monday, June 15, 2015

First Flyrod Catfish of 2015!

Caught during lunch today, after we got a BUNCH of rain over the past couple days.  The ponds are high, and waters are running!  This one hit a microjig under an indicator.
What a fattie!

Friday, June 12, 2015

19" Largemouth Bass on a Bluegill Topwater Fly?!

I was pretty surprised to catch this 19" Largemouth Bass on a little foam fly I was using to tempt bluegills during lunch today.
Also surprised the hook held well enough to allow me to tug, pull, and drag this bass through the thick weeds he kept diving into and getting hung up in!
Ahhhhhh, luck.  :)

I was excited to spot some decent-sized sunfish in the shallows near nests that had red on the edge of their operculums.  In my area, that can only mean Pumpkinseed Sunfish or Redear Sunfish.  I put micorjigs in front of several of them, but could not coax a strike.

I looked repeatedly, trying to discern the iridescent blue cheek markings of a Pumpkinseed Sunfish, but could not.  I know there are a series of interconnected ponds in my town that have Pumpkinseed Sunfish, but have otherwise never seen them in any other area ponds/lakes.  The pond I fished today was quite a distance from those ponds.  I've never caught/seen a Redear Sunfish in any of the local ponds, so I'm excited by the prospect that perhaps THIS is such a pond.  I NEED to know what they I gotta go back and keep trying to get one of these things to strike a fly!!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Grass Carp 2015

I feel very fortunate to have finally caught another Grass Carp on a fly rod.  I caught it last night out of a local public pond.

I went to the pond because it has Grass Carp, but considering all the fruitless (for Grass Carp) trips I've made to this pond, I'm forever optimistic, but know my chances of catching one are pretty slim.

So, I went to the pond to target bluegills.  I grabbed the 5wt rod out of the car, instead of the 6wt I've normally been using (because I often want to cast wind resistant bass poppers at these ponds).  It had 3X tippet (~8 lb test).  Many bluegills were in shallow close to shore.  So, I went with at gray Boa Yarn Leech tied on a #8 dry fly hook (for less weight).  This allowed the fly to be worked with a nice action, slowly, without it sinking much.  I think this was key.  And, I'd previously caught 2 (maybe 3?) Grass Carp on a Boa Yarn Leech.  I knew they might go for it.

There were lots of people out fishing....I counted at least 13 other anglers on this pond during the 2 hours I was there.  I worked my way down a shoreline that others weren't fishing.  I saw a few signs that there might be Common Carp or Grass Carp around...but the swirls could also have been bass or catfish.

I caught some smallish bluegills, had a nice crappie on that  shook free near shore.  Further down the shore, I saw some more large swirls and activity.  Before I could fish my way along to that area, 2 other anglers came down and stood on shore there and fished.  They seemed oblivious to the occasional large swirls.  I didn't see them catch anything, and after about 1/2 hour, they left.

It was getting dark.  I moved to within casting range, but still kept a reasonable distance away.
I kept casting around the area.  Finally, I got a strike. Subtle, could have been a small bluegill.  I set the hook....

....and instantly, all HECK broke loose!  It was like somebody threw 3 bombs into the water....thrashing, super-loud exploding tail slaps...complete mayhem!  Threw giant waves across the pond!  Then it took off like a torpedo and porpoised out of the water twice as it headed for the middle of the pond.  After that, it was much more docile.  Despite my completely undersized gear, I was able to lead the fish around much of the time.  I walked it about 70 yards down the shoreline to a spot where I thought I might have a chance of landing the fish.  It made some runs to deeper water, but it would then let me bring it back to the shallows, before taking off again.  It was back-and-forth for quite a while, I was soaked from stepping in the water trying to get a grip on this fish several times.  I finally was able to land the fish.  I was SO EXCITED!!!  I was bummed nobody was around to take a better picture of me with this fish.

I'm not sure what the total duration of the fight was...It didn't seem quite as long as the 20 minute battle I had with one a couple years maybe 12-15 minutes?  As I mentioned, she became very docile after the first minute or two.  I feel like I won this round with patience rather than the strength of my equipment!  I'm STILL so excited about it!

This is my biggest Grass Carp so measured 41.5" in length, with a calculated weight of 35.5 lbs!

I tried to get a picture of me with the fish, it didn't turn out very well, since it was with the low-resolution camera on my iPhone, which had no flash...and it was really dark out.  This was the best I could get.  I'm holding the fish tight to my chest.  It was THAT big!