I do love this time of year!

I do love this time of year!

I sent a few pictures to a buddy of mine who is in my opinion, THE fish whisperer, and he commented back, “Don’t you just love this time of year?” With commitments these past three weekends, it has left me stuck in my neighborhood to do some quick fishing. That means, when my schedule allows, I am only 10 minutes from literally being on the water. I’ve been testing those waters these past three weeks or so and I have caught a few bass, here and there, with that one Saturday morning where I caught the 3.5 and the 4.1 pound bass. Other than that, I’ve caught a bass or two on nearly every outing but nothing really big…and the elusive sacalait (aka crappie or white perch) have been non existent. That is, until this weekend.

I heard from one of my students that a few people had been catching sacalait at a nearby lake so I loaded up my kayak and made the 7 minutes drive to my spot. I checked on Google Earth and it’s about a half mile hike to get to the lake, while carting my kayak on a crushed limestone path. With that kind of effort, I was not going to do a half-hearted morning trip. I worked my tail off and I caught 4 bass and four big sacalait for my efforts. I got home a little after noon and after a quick lunch and a few chores around the house, I was ready for another trip to my neighborhood lake, which is only 1 tenth of a mile to and from my house πŸ™‚ I was using my fluff butt under a vosi and on my third or fourth cast, my cork slipped under the dark clear water. Enough for “catch and release.” That one was going to get released into a skillet with hot grease…and the next one and the next. By the time the bite stopped I had caught 20 (I only kept 13 of the nicer ones)

Going to have a nice fish fry with these
Two of the bigger ones from the day

So Sunday afternoon, I was itching to get back on the water but I wanted to try a new spot, also in my neighborhood. This lake is deeper than the first and it seems to hold larger fish (especially the bass) but they are much harder to find because there is so much cover. It took some doing but I found a few big sacalait that wanted to play (the biggest going a pound and a half). I only caught six before I snagged the sunken tree that they were holding next to and that ended the bite. I searched the rest of my “spots” in that lake but I had no luck. So, I carted my kayak to the lake where I had caught 20 just the day before. I was greeted with a nice fatty and ended up catching four more before I called it an evening.

This one had shoulders πŸ™‚
Only 9 but everyone was filleted.

Take a close look at these next two pictures. One was taken on Saturday (I’m wearing jeans and tennis shoes) and the other is Sunday afternoon (in the sandals and shorts). I didn’t adjust the fly for the picture. It’s exactly where the fly was lodged in the fish’s mouth. I think nearly ALL my fish were hooked in exactly the same place.

Another thing I learned this weekend is, you can never have enough fluff butts and VOSIs in your box πŸ™‚ I lost several over the past two days. I see we have rain forecast in the days ahead so I’m going to get on my vice and tie a few more of the chartreuse and black up. I think the fishing should be great for the next two weeks leading up to the next full moon. Tight loops and tight lines πŸ™‚

Things are starting to “Pop” around here.

We just experienced a record cold snap down here in the deep, deep south. Photos of fish kills in the gulf have surfaced everywhere. We have had some family issues so it’s probably been a couple of weeks since I’ve even thought about fishing. Well that changed this morning. My “internal alarm clock” woke me up at 5:30 and I ventured out to my neighborhood lake. I brought three rods with me. One with a deer hair popper, one with a fluff butt under a VOSI, and another with a small baitfish pattern. I wanted to target bass, bream, and sacalait.

The morning was absolutely beautiful. In fact, I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Songbirds were everywhere…singing, courting, and busy building nests. The squirrels were doing the same and I saw many little bucks chasing females as others nervously cut pine branches for nests. Then there were those magnificent Canada geese. They too were interested in courting and there were females being chased as they flew low over the lake. So, with all this love in the air, I thought, “surely the fish will have love on their mind too.”

I quietly worked the banks without any luck until I saw some action near some submerged branches about 100 feet in front of me. I quickly paddled over and I was greeted with a perfect eat on my popper. This fish quickly got me on my reel and I worked it carefully to the kayak. I was determined not to loose any big fish this morning.

Poppers were the fly of choice this morning.

After releasing that fish, I continued to work my popper, occasionally switching to my baitfish pattern and my fluff butt. I did manage to catch a couple bream over 7 inches and I let a little 3-year-old boy on the bank get a chance to “reel” it in. He was so excited. I think that made my morning. I did catch a couple more bass and one of them was a PIG! It’s so cool when you see the wake of the fish as it approaches your popper. It takes an enormous amount of patience not to set the hook too soon. This one was a perfect eat and I did everything by the textbook. It too took me to my reel fairly quickly and was a “jumper.”

Selfie with MusicDoc πŸ™‚

I weighed her (4.18 lbs), I took one more good picture, and I let her go. I did creep up on a few pairs of pretty decent-sized bass that were either guarding beds or getting ready to spawn. They would not eat anything I threw at them. In conclusion, I suggest everyone get on the water and tie on a popper. I have a club meeting this week with my high school fly fishing club and I’ll be instructing them on how to catch bass with a popper.

2021…Hold My Beer

So it’s already half past the second month of the new year and I haven’t posted anything here yet. Let’s see…well there was the fiasco at the nation’s capitol, and now record cold in the deep south. I have lost friends to this darned pandemic and I’ve gotten some bad news lately on the health of some close family..but wait…I only write about the positive and boy do we need positive right now. Sooooo…..I did welcome the birth of a brand new granddaughter (Angeline Rose) who is doing great (3 weeks old already) and both she and her mom are well. I have gotten a few chances to get out in my neighborhood lake to do some fishing and I have had some limited success.

All those fish were caught on flies I tied myself. The top three were caught on a scaled-down version of my shad fly so that makes me happy. In fact, with my wife out of town helping my daughter out with my (now) three grandchildren, I had to catch supper one night and so the bluegill, red-ear (chinquapin), and sacalait (crappie) all made it to the stringer and hot grease for supper. Other than that, I have nothing else to report. I am hoping the weather gets milder and I get a chance to get out for a fishing trip or two before the summer heat sets in. Otherwise, I will have nothing to report except for trips to my neighborhood lake in the evenings after school. But even those can be very fruitful. Here’s to 2021 and I hope things get better for all of us.

2020 My year in review…let’s focus on the positive.

We all know that 2020 was a heck of a year that many of us would like to forget. With a worldwide pandemic, a crazy political election, violence in our streets, and yes, a record number of named tropical storms, it would be easy to say, “let’s flush 2020 down the toilet.” However, those of you that know me know that I very seldom focus on negative things that bring us down and I want this last post of 2020 to be a “2020…In your face” kind of post. Just a warning…it’s going to be long πŸ™‚

So 2020 started off with the one year birthday in January of my grandson, Benson. This little boy is a riot! He loves the outdoors, he loves cleaning and blowing leaves. I can’t wait for him to be big enough to get in a kayak with his Poppy.

As the pandemic slowly made its way to the United States, my family took time to get out and do some things before the country shut down. We enjoyed Mardi Gras in Thibodaux

Hosted an engagement party for my son and his fiancΓ©.

And Nanna was able to get out to DisneyWorld with our granddaughter before it closed down.

My daughter and my granddaughter pose in front of Cinderella’s Castle shortly before DisneyWorld shut down.
Lisa and I bought bikes and began riding nearly every day.

We enjoyed social distancing meals in our front yard, and my siblings discovered Zoom meetings.

Family zoom meetings became a weekly thing
Socially distanced meals in the front yard.

My grandchildren kept growing and we looked forward to FaceTime meetings and pictures sent from my daughter. In October, my son married the love of his life and we are enjoying our daughter-in-law.

My son got married and we welcomed Jessica to the family.

Well, this is my fishing blog…so let’s get to the fishing!!

The fishing year-in-review actually begins on New Year’s Eve with a trip I made with Chuck, “Snakedoctor,” to the Pearl River area where we caught some small white bass on flies.

The bass fishing in early January was surprisingly good in the neighborhood lake.

The fishing really heated up for me in March when our school went on lockdown. My idea of social distancing was in a kayak, far from anyone who would give me the virus. Also, by handling fresh fish, I figured I was strengthening my immune system πŸ™‚

Sacalait in March
Bass in March
More sacalait in April
A pretty pumpkin also in April
The bass were still hungry in May
They were eating frog poppers in June
It was hard to get to the marsh in July with all the tropical activity so I just kept on playing with the bass
THIS is why I chose to stay close to home this summer!
So I kept on fishing bass in August
and September
I was able to get out in October the weekend before my son’s wedding
In November, I was instructed to harvest a few for a fish fry.
And I closed out the year in December with a fat speckled trout.

I was able to spend a lot of time on my vise and I tried to get more creative with my flies. All our conclaves got cancelled but I still got to do some deer work.

I started celebrating some of my local high school, college, and major league baseball teams too.

National Champs
The Padres and the Phillies

I also began thinking more about “matching the hatch” on what the fish were eating around here. I came up with the musicdoc shad, a streamer to try to match the shad the bass feed on in my local neighborhood lake.

Musicdoc Shad

I also tied a variation of a shrimp/charlie pattern that I hoped would get the sheepshead and redfish’s attention.

Musicdoc shrimp

I think I’m most proud of this recent fly, which uses duck flank feathers to imitate the scales on a sheepshead minnow that I call the Musicdoc Butterbean.

So, you can see that 2020 was actually a good year. I am thankful for my health, my family, and the great resources we have in Louisiana that help to relieve the stresses that the year brought us. I look forward to what the coming year will bring in sportsman’s paradise and I look forward to being able to document and share it with those who are willing to read my blog. Happy New Year!

Matching the hatch in Southeast Louisiana, the Musicdoc Butterbean

When I was a younger man, we would fish the marshes and bays of the southeast Louisiana coast during the winter time and we would catch our own live minnows to use for bait. We would use the traditional live cache minnows but we noticed a special, smaller minnow that was a particular “food favorite” of the speckled trout when we cleaned them. The closest thing I’ve found on the internet to this small minnow is the sheepshead minnow. All I know is, they were small, plump, and the trout loved them. We called them “butter beans.”

Earlier this fall, I made a few trips down to the marsh and I caught lots of small trout. I did manage to harvest a few that were in the 13-15 inch range and when I cleaned them, there they were…the butter beans! So, I set out to “match the hatch” and here’s what I came up with

Here is a ‘dry’ version of it.
I think it even looks better when wet.

My goal was to develop a fly that looked like the real thing that could be fished under a VOSI or free swimmed. I tossed a few of my early tries in the pool and saw that the fly nearly floated. So, I came up with a version that has about 13-15 turns of .025 lead wraps and I think I’ve come up with a winner.

For the hook, I use a size 2 Eagle Claw salt water hook that I bend with a needle nosed pliers just a bit to open up the hook gap.

For the rest of the fly I use:

size .025 lead wire
white 210 denier thread
white bucktail
pearl estaz
ice wing fiber (pearl)
mallard (could use teal or even wood duck) flank feathers
antron dubbing (I used a mix of brown and olive for the top and a cream/yellow for the underbelly – also a red to mimic gills
eyes of your choice

After you’ve widened the hook gap, add about 13-15 wraps of the lead wire and secure it with wraps of thread.

Then add a small pinch of white bucktail.

I add about a hook length of bucktail
Next comes the pearl estate chenille.

Tie in ice wing fiber on the top and bottom of the fly. I do this twice
Add a small bit of fire red antron dubbing to imitate gills and a blood line

Here’s the part that really makes this fly look like a baitfish…tie in a duck flank feather to each side

Notice how the iridescent colors show through the duck feather.

Then I mix olive and brown antron dubbing to form the top of the minnow.

I tie two sets on top and the underbelly
I use an old toothbrush to “brush” out my feathers.

Use some head cement on your wraps and then I use FabricFuse to glue my eyes in

And there you have it…the Musicdoc Butterbean. Now that I’m through with exams, I’ll be giving this pattern some more “research.” Stay tuned to see how that research turns out πŸ™‚

Making Lemonade

Making Lemonade

2020 has been a doozy of a year. Covid-19, crazy politics, record tropical season, and more. But through it all, we have learned that family is more important than anything and when life does give you lemons, you definitely have to make lemonade…or lemon meringue pie.

It’s my favorite time of the year to fish the South Louisiana coast and I was blessed to be able to find some good conditions to fish (see my previous post) a week before my son’s wedding. After the wedding, I put a self-imposed quarantine on myself to pretty much stay away from family and friends. The good news is, no one reportedly caught the virus by attending the wedding. The great news is, my version of quarantining includes lots of fishing. πŸ™‚

So, the week after the wedding I chose to do my local pond fishing because the winds were going to be too rough for another Leeville trip. Add to that, Hurricane Zeta ripped through there and they are still without electricity 10 days after the storm passed through there. I was treated to a beautiful morning and the fish seemed to like the cooler temperatures so they were eating what I had to offer them.

Here is the first on of the morning. It ate a fire tiger deer hair diver.
Another hungry bass
It’s great to be able to fish a well-managed pond. It was definitely a stress relieving morning.

I normally don’t keep bass but the owner of the lake insisted I harvest bass under 15 inches for pond management. Additionally, my family loves fish tacos πŸ™‚
This bass loved the LSU diver.

So, another week goes by and I’m looking forward to heading to the Southeast Louisiana marsh for some speckled trout and redfish. The wind was predicted to blow 10-15 mph on Saturday but it showed signs of improvement for Sunday morning. I checked my gear and realized that somehow, I had lost my YakAttack parkNpole, which meant push poling for redfish would be a bit of a challenge. However, it was predicted to be cloudy in advance of a cool front so I figured I would just try to focus on speckled trout.

I began the morning with a popper/dropper rig (deer-hair popper with a Lafleur’s Charlie on the bottom).

I got a lot of hits on the bottom fly and pretty soon I was having a blast, catching small trout on nearly every cast. There were also periods when I was getting blowups on the popper but I was having usual difficulties hooking those small trout. Speckled trout are notorious for snapping at bait to kill or would it with their three larger teeth and then go back to eat their prey. I did land a couple 11 inch trout on the popper before something big broke off my bottom fly. I decided to go with my typical VOSI (Vertical Oriented Strike Indicator) setup for the remainder of the day.

I would conservatively estimate I caught about 100 trout that day. Most were 8-11 inches long so they were gently and quickly released back into the water. I did have one monster trout that I estimated to be over 20 inches that got off the hook right as I was about to net it. What a bummer, but something I could overlook anyway, considering all the fun I was having.

I actually was getting tired of catching “undersized” fish around noon and since the action slowed a bit, I took advantage of the bright sunshine and decided to paddle out to some broken marsh in search of redfish. The tide had been falling all morning long and the water inside the marsh was noticeably muddy. I did end up on a stretch where the water seemed clearer and I could see bottom. That’s when I saw a large slot (or baby bull) red as is slowly cruised the flat. I grabbed the only rod that I had available to me at the time, which was set up for speckled trout. It worked perfectly three weeks ago so I assumed I would be able to cast to the redfish and swim the VOSI and my fly right past the fish without spooking it and get it to eat. Well the redfish swam into some deeper water and I lost if for a second so I cast in the area where I had seen it last. Then it came out of the deeper water and was heading right toward me and was about 12 feet in front of my kayak. My fly was about 10 feet behind the fish so rather than pick my fly up and cast it again, which I figured would certainly spook the fish, I stripped it fast to get it out in front of the approaching redfish.

IT WAS A TEXTBOOK EAT!! With one large rush of its tail, the redfish flared its gills and gulped my…uh…??? My VOSI??? Oh no! There’s no hook in that thing! It’s just a cork! So a big redfish has just swallowed my cork and is now cruising to the right of my kayak. I think it has seen the kayak and it suspects something isn’t right, so it gradually picks up speed. In the meantime, I didn’t know what to do. I knew grabbing my other rod, which was laying on the ground behind where I was standing to throw it another fly would not be an option, so I just stood there and did nothing. πŸ™‚ I watched as the redfish swam away with my cork in its mouth and my fly (you know… the one with the all-important hook in it) trailing behind. I watched the rod tip bend and I thought to myself, there’s no way this is going to end well. However, it didn’t end badly either. As the fish realized that something wasn’t right, it spit my cork out and it took off, leaving a mud boil in its wake. I thought it would have destroyed the cork but it didn’t and I actually used it to catch about 30 more trout that day. I did switch rods and I poled around some more “fishy” areas but I never saw another redfish. I got bored with that and I decided to head toward some diving gulls. I immediately got back on the trout bite and spent the last hour of my trip catching fish on nearly every cast!

Other than the dirty water (which meant no redfish), the trip was a perfect day. I was able to take my Musicdoc limit (18) of speckled trout home to share with my mom and dad, and for a fish fry soon with my family. Typically, the larger trout show up in the next week or two, but with all the hurricanes we have had to endure this season, only God knows. In a way, I’m glad the fish were nearly all undersized. If they had all been keeper trout, I would have been finished by 8 AM and I most likely wouldn’t have been able to laugh at that crazy redfish for eating my cork.

This 15-inch trout definitely made the “team.”

Fall in Southeast Louisiana

Can 2020 be over? Just over? We are now looking at our 7th named stormed to hit our coast this season! Whew…

I had to get that off my chest. Now, to the fishing. I caught a break this past Sunday and I slipped my kayak into the beautiful marsh, of my beloved Southeast Louisiana. The weather man had predicted winds of 5 – 10 and sunshine. Well, like I said earlier, it’s 2020 and you didn’t think the weather man was going to get it right, did you? The wind was blowing 10 – 15 for most of the morning and the clouds didn’t break until probably 11:30.

I got there at the break of dawn and I began throwing a deer hair popper. I got a couple small blowups early on and I realized they were probably small trout. I had told myself that it wasn’t going to be a “meat” trip; that I just wanted to catch fish…and that’s what I did. I changed rods and started throwing a Lafleur’s Charlie under a V.O.S.I. I started with some very small trout and I ended up catching 5 different species Sunday. Speckled trout, white trout (sand trout), gaff-top catfish, hard-head catfish, and redfish.

First Speckled trout of the day was small but very pretty.

Even though the wind blew hard, and the water wasn’t very clean, I was able to pretty much catch fish non-stop. My second fish was a small sand trout (most people down here call them white trout but these very small ones are probably sand trout…or so I’ve been told).

Small sand trout on the Lafleur’s Charlie.

The trout started to get a little bit larger

A little bit larger

And I caught a few that were 13 inches or better, so they got put on ice for the fish tacos Monday evening. Then I caught a slimy gaff-top catfish.

I even caught my personal best for the year, a 16-and-a-half inch speckled trout.

16.5 inch trout on the fly rod.

I probably caught about 50 trout and I had a dozen in my ice chest that “made the team” for my Monday evening fish tacos when I decided it was getting time to head in. By about noon, the sun was starting to come out and the wind was dying down. The tide had been slowly falling all morning and I thought I would check a shallow flat that was about 30 yards behind where I was fishing. I looked on the lee side of the point and I noticed a few swirls that probably meant there was bait in the area. I push poled my way over there and that’s when I spied a large slot redfish slowly cruising the edge of the marsh grass. I grabbed my fly rod and realized all I had on there was my speckled trout rig, which was a chartreuse charlie under a small VOSI (vertical oriented strike indicator).

I was afraid I was going to spook the fish with my tiny cork so I made sure my initial cast was about two feet out in front of the fish. I slowly stripped my cork out ahead of the fish and I “dragged” my fly within sight of the fish. I watched it slowly change directions and start following the fly. My heartbeat started racing when I saw it decided it was going to ambush it from behind….patience…patience… watch it! It then flared its gills and when they closed…BAM I strip set the hook home in the top of its mouth. Within seconds, the fish was on my reel and then about 20 seconds later, it was into my backing! I was careful not to try to turn it too early, but there was a big pvc pipe with barnacles on it nearby and I was not about to have it cut me off. Sometime between 7 and 10 minutes later, I was netting a “baby bull” at 27 inches.

This fish was released to go make babies.

As I sit here and watch the weather, I know that the road I take to my fishing spot will be under water for the 7th time this year, as hurricane/tropical storm Zeta heads right to Grand Isle. I am thankful that I was able to get out this past weekend and I hope the storm doesn’t mess up our marsh too much. We have lost so much and there is evidence that we have lost even more due to the previous six storms this year. It’s all good though. I love the fall in south Louisiana and I expect to have a few more good trips before Christmas. Tight loops and tight lines πŸ™‚

27 inch redfish. Notice the sun had finally come out.
16.5 inch Speckled trout. Clouds and wind made things difficult at times.

Another Beautiful Evening on God’s Wonderful Planet :)

God has blessed us with so much, it’s sometimes easy to take the small things for granted. After school today, I had one of my high school fly fishing club meetings. We talked about purchasing a new combo and those who had combos, brought them to practice our casting. When I dismissed everyone I had an itching to get on some water so I slipped my “yellow submarine” into our neighborhood lake for some quiet time. Who says we don’t have fall colors in Louisiana?

Click on the picture and get a closeup of those pretty red leaves!

About five minutes after I snapped that picture, I received a Facetime call from my wife and my two grandchildren (ages 3-and 3/4 and a 1 and 3/4). She had taken a surprise trip to Houston to see them. I proceeded to paddle to a spot where I know I can catch a few bream and nearly call my shots, so I had to show off in front of them. I was able to catch three small but beautiful bream with my phone in one hand and my fly rod in the other. It was awesome to hear them shout, Poppie! Poppie!

After I hung up with them, it was time to look for something that would put a good bend in my fly rod. I haven’t fished in my yellow submarine (Wilderness System Tarpon 120) in a while and I forgot just how effortlessly it glides through the water…almost too easily because as I cast and began stripping line, the kayak would still be moving and that cost me my first big bass. I wasn’t able to get a good hook set in it and it easily spit my fly out after a very short fight.

15 minutes later, I was in a similar situation but this time I had no slack in my line and I sent the hook home…or so I thought. This one broke my tippet. You can imagine my frustration with having lost two fish back-to-back. I was getting ready to tie on another deer hair popper when I spied my old one floating on the water. I retrieved it to see that the fish had broke it right above my loop knot. The know wasn’t the problem πŸ™‚ I tied it back on and fifteen minutes later, I landed my first bass of the evening.

This hungry bass couldn’t resist the deer hair diver.

I took a quick picture, released it and a few casts later, I landed another one that was just a bit larger.

It was getting dark when this one ate my diver.

It’s always cool when you catch one while another fisherman is staring at you from the bank. Anyway, I had had enough for one evening. I did have some work to do at home. Before I go though, I wanted to post a closeup of that fly of the evening. In this photo, you can see the details and intricacies that go into these Deer-hair bugs. Notice the wispy marabou feathers in the tail section and the subtle flash. I think I’ll fish this pattern again very soon.

Closeup of my Deerhair bug

Cooling Weather…Fishing Heating Up

With that first blast of cooler air…well in South Louisiana, cooler means lows in the upper 50s, the water temperatures start to fall and that means the fish can remain in the shallows a little longer. During the summer, when I fished my local neighborhood lakes, most of the hits I received on flies were within the first half hour of sunrise. Now, I can actually count on getting action for a couple hours before things slow down. Another bonus is, I can expect to get on the water at 6:30 instead of 5:30 so I can get a bit more sleep πŸ™‚

I slipped my kayak into the lake at around 6:30 and I enjoyed a beautiful awakening of wood ducks, Canada geese, a playful nutria, great white egrets, and hungry kingfishers. Oh, did I mention that the big bass were hungry too? I tied on a small dalhberg diver and I picked up my first bass with 5 minutes of being on the water. It was small but it was a start.

You can see the color that was working today.

I kind of thought to myself, “Maybe it’s only going to be small fish today. I’ll take it because it was such a beautiful morning to be out on the water.” Then, I had a huge blowup and missed fish. I tell students in my fly fishing club that one of advantages of fishing with a fly rod is the speed at which I can get my fly back into the strike zone after a miss. I lifted my fly out the water and I was back in the “zone” within seconds. A couple of strips and this time my hook found home. I could tell this one wasn’t a little one and after a few minutes of back and forth, I was able to land this nice fish.

This chunky bass was a tad bit over 19 inches.

The morning continued with action right up against the bank.

This deer-haired diver was the ticket this morning.

Around 8:30, I decided to see if the bream would bite and I managed a few small ones at first,

Small but pretty

And then I hooked this pretty red-ear.

Red ear, shell-cracker, or chinquapin. Hard fighting pan fish!

What a great way to spend a couple hours in the neighborhood lake. I’m already looking forward to next weekend.

Getting the Skunk Smell Off

Getting the Skunk Smell Off

Two weeks ago, I ventured down to the southeast Louisiana marsh to do some sight-fishing for redfish. The trip was a feudal attempt by my standards and I ended up with a big fat skunk. A couple of days later, I rode my bike to a neighborhood pond and I broke my jinx by catching some bream off the bank.

Fast forward to this morning when I put my kayak in the back of the truck and headed to “Old Faithful,” a private pond owned by one of my former band dads. This large pond/small lake rarely disappoints and this morning was no exception. I arrived right at first light and paddled to some of my favorite spots. The morning began with the bream feeding on top. I was tossing a tan-colored attractant and I caught 10 fat bream in about 10 minutes on my 3 wt. I then saw some big swirls on the bank and I changed to a 5 wt. and a small deer-hair frog imitation. I managed two pretty bass right away and then I saw a nice commotion over by a tree that had fallen in the lake a few months ago during a storm. It seemed the bass were trying to catch the dragon flies that were flying around the structure. I proceeded to land my largest bass of the morning, a 19-inch beauty that probably weighed close to 4 pounds.

Big fish of the day- a tad bit over 19 inches and probably close to 4 lbs. I can’t find my digital scale 😦

I was able to pick up a few more in that spot before moving on down the bank. Although it’s been hot down here, I think there has been some slight thermal cooling going on and the bass were hugging the bank looking for something to jump in the water. That little deer-hair frog pattern did the trick for me and I landed 15 bass on it before a greedy one broke my tippet.

You can see the frog legs on the bug (Pat Cohen’s frog legs)

I got all of them back in the water quickly so they wouldn’t be stressed. This one lost a little blood but it swam away very vigorously when I released it.

After I lost my deer-hair bug, I tried on one of my double-barrel frog imitations and I caught three more to round off my morning.

The trip was a great way to wash off the “skunk” from my trip down south two weeks ago. It, however, was a costly one for me because I lost my wallet to Davy Jones’ Locker. I had put it in my front pants pocket and it must have fallen out and into the lake at some point during the fishing. I’m not looking forward to having to go to the Office of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license. Oh well, catching 10 bream and 17 bass kind of takes the sting out of it.