Monday, February 20, 2017

Here in Ankeny, Iowa, the ice on all the local public ponds is gone. On February 10, there were still some guys icefishing these ponds. A week later on February 17, they 100% open! Crazy warm weather for mid-February! Its very unusual, but I can't say I don't enjoy it.
So, I took Friday off and tried out a new fly rod/reel.
As I mentioned previously, I got an Allen Kraken reel and a Douglas Sky 9' 6wt rod. The Sky won the Yellowstone Angler 2016 6wt Rod Shootout.

Anyway, I fished 6 ponds on Friday. Caught 1 Crappie at the first one, 1 Bluegill at the second one, skunked at the 3rd, 6 Crappies at the 4th, Skunked at the 5th, and 4 Bluegills, 1 Crappie and 1 Bass at the 6th. Crazy day, slow fishing, but beautiful weather for it.

Lots of Muskrats out and about too:

Then I went fishing Sunday late-afternoon. Again, very nice weather. I was hoping to get a Pumpkinseed Sunfish, and was successful.  Caught 2 that looked like Pumpkinseed x Bluegill Hybrids...and 6+ Bluegills.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Some New Gear to Play With!

I've been pretty happy with the flyfishing gear I've been using the past year or two.

I read Yellowstone Angler's 2016 6wt Fly Rod Shootout:

I've never owned "top of the line" expensive flyfishing gear.  And yet....flyfishing is what I do.  I love it.  Why DON'T I have some truly top-notch gear?  It isn't really that I don't WANT it.  Of course I do.  My 2nd fly rod was SO MUCH better than my first made me actually enjoy using it, put a smile on my face when I was fishing.  So, yeah, I KNOW there's a difference in gear.  Its up to each individual to determine whether expensive gear is worth the price tag....and whether they are willing to pay that price.

Normally...I'm not willing to pay a high price.  I'm still not, really.  But after reading that review, I decided I wanted to try the Douglas Sky rod, the one that won their "Shootout".  It sounds perfect for the varieties of flyfishing I do.  And I also wanted an Allen Kraken reel for it.  I've had excellent experiences with a variety of Allen products (rods, reels, hooks, beads, etc.). The Dorado color option on their Kraken reel has captured my attention for some time.

To lessen my guilt of buying these items, I decided to fund their purchase by selling some of the flyfishing rods and reels I no longer use much.  Some items I sold locally, some online, and some I traded in.  I feel I got really good deals on the items I purchased, and so far actually have a surplus of money from the sale of my I may buy an extra reel.  Haven't decided for sure, yet.

I got the Douglas Sky 9' 6wt fly rod.  Looks and feels great! As the ice melts off the local waters, I hope to use it maybe later this week.

And the Allen Kraken reel....its beautiful!  To some it may seem gaudy.  But to a fisherman, Chartreuse ROCKS!  And everybody loves electric the Dorado color pattern suits me just fine!

I'm certain when the fish see me approaching the water with this awesome new gear, they will be jumping onto the bank BEGGING for me to catch them!  That's how this is all supposed to play out, right?

Early Season Warmwater Flyfishing Game Plan

Its about a month earlier than normal, but the ice is starting to melt off the local public ponds.
Its time to get ready or BE ready to flyfish at any moment.

My buddy Jay shared with me that a recent issue of one great fishing magazine, In-Fisherman, recommended the use of a small hair jig under a bobber for catching early season Largemouth Bass.

I hadn't really associated the two before, but its basically the same fly rod technique (microjig - indicator) I use early season for everything....bass, crappies, bluegills, etc.  I tie my own, many colors, but ALWAYS have plenty of Chartreuse on hand!  I use 1/80th oz jigheads, with #8 hooks (or #10, but I like the #8's better if I can find them).

I don't target bass with this method, but I do catch them.  One of the first bass I caught last year was 18.75", caught in this manner.

The beauty is in the slow movement of an apparent easy "meal"...the water is cold the fish's metabolism is still somewhat slow, they aren't super-aggressive yet.  But icefishing has shown us that many warmwater fish never really stop eating during the winter...and sometimes they are downright FEROCIOUS beneath the ice!  So...I've learned to temper my mindset of what the activity of early-season fish really looks like.

Now, this technique doesn't just work early can and does work all year.  Even for nice bass.  I caught plenty of nice bass with this technique last year, while targeting bluegills, crappies and other sunfish.  Of the 11 Largemouth Bass 18"-20" I caught on flies last year, I think 4 of them hit a little microjig under an indicator.  It always surprises me when it happens.  Its such a small morsel for a big-mouthed fish....its seems like a marlin eating plankton.

But anyway, this is a great early season flyfishing technique for MANY early-season warmwater fish.  If you haven't tried it yet, give it a shot soon!  :)