Small Flies for Big Bass

Here’s a very short video of one of the bass I caught this week. I’ve heard people say “big baits = big fish.” I say, NOT NECESSARILY SO! Check this fish out that I caught on my 3 wt.

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Good Intentions

With a week of my “kiddie camp” completed, I was looking forward to doing some fishing this weekend. I had a church gig scheduled for early afternoon, so I knew that I would be limited to a morning trip somewhere very close by. My intentions were to make the five minute walk to my neighborhood lakes and harass some bream. I intended on catching enough bream for a quick fish fry for lunch, but my plan went array because I ended up catching 7 bass.

I started my morning at dawn by hitting the banks with one of my crease flies. These new poppers have been my “go to” flies for bass this spring.

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The trouble is, I caught a nice bass right off the bat and had two others break me off. Determination set in and I made sure the fish weren’t going to make a monkey out of me this morning. I promptly managed one nice one

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And that was followed by a few more. I was down to my last popper and it had gotten so mangled by the last two bass that I had to abandon it. I switched to my rod loaded with one of my shad flies and I caught this 18-inch fish that weighed right at 3 pounds

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I quickly reminded myself that I intended to catch some bream, so I hopped over the levee and decided to hit “old reliable” for some summer chinquapin. I had a hard time getting any bream at all on a fluff butt but I did manage a few small (7-8 inch) bream early on. The big bite definitely wasn’t on, so I decided I was not going to keep any today. I worked another point that usually produces a big bream or two and my strike indicator disappeared. I strip-set the hook and knew right away that that wasn’t a bream. I was only using my 3 wt at the time so I knew that I’d have to finesse this big baby in if I wanted to land her. After a hard fought battle, I landed this one that weighed  3.1 pounds and measured 18 and 1/2 inches.

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Oh, I did end up catching 7 bream that would have been worthy of the frying pan but I decide to make a bream run another day. One of those was this chunky goggle-eye.

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School is Out. Guess What?

School has been out down here in south Louisiana since last Wednesday and I’ve taken advantage of the time to get on the water. My first excursion was a trip to Grand Isle with a good friend and colleague of mine. We were able to fish only one day  (Thursday morning) because the wind picked up Friday and made it just about impossible to fish from a kayak with a fly rod. I did manage to catch three pretty speckled trout on poppers by anchoring and casting with the wind to my back to a wind-driven point. I had numerous misses and even lost a real nice one at the net but was able to land this one before the wind just got impossible. I actually foul hooked her (look under the pectoral fin) so for a while there, I thought I had Moby Dick on the end of my fly rod!
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I came back home to spend time with family, as my daughter and her husband were coming to town for the Memorial Day weekend. The whole time, I kept a watchful eye on the winds and decided there would be a window of opportunity to get some trout fishing in the surf Tuesday. The CCA STAR Tournament began Saturday and I finally decided to enter the tournament and fish it in the fly division. I caught 8 speckled trout Tuesday morning but they lacked the size of the fish I caught the previous Thursday. I had two fish that were 15.5 inches so I entered my biggest and low and behold…Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 3.36.28 PM
I received a text from a former student of mine and I agreed to meet him early Wednesday morning to fish for a couple of hours in what has become my favorite fresh water hangout. It’s ashamed it’s a private lake but it has afforded me hours of chill time and I’ve caught 44 bass there the last two visits! I was able to sight cast for bass on crease fly poppers. I would see a wake and cast to it and then watch as the bass would explode on my popper. My largest of the morning was 2.87 pounds.
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I’m still fighting the pain of two broken wrists. I’ve had my left splint off for three weeks now but the right one is still bothering me. Here’s a copy of the X-ray:
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It doesn’t take a radiologist or a hand surgeon to see the crack on the radius bone. It will be seven weeks tomorrow and I still cannot land a fish without my wrist brace. The darned thing (the brace, not my hand) is beginning to stink now 🙂

Anyway, here’s another picture from yesterday’s bass fishing:

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My hand surgeon made me promise to keep some of the bass from the lake that were under 15 inches, so I kept these 8, filleted them and gave them to some of our custodial workers at school. They were thrilled!
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School is almost out. Time to fish!

With less than a week left, I’m getting the fever to really get on the water as much as I can before it gets too hot and uncomfortable. A couple of mornings ago, I walked on down to our neighborhood dam and was able to get one big bass to eat one of my baitfish shad flies. I didn’t have a ruler to measure the fish but I did have a digital scale and the fish weighed in at 3.83 lbs. That’s my fly rod personal best! FullSizeRender

I was also able to get down to another local lake with one of my students and we caught and released over 50 bass between the two of us. Talk about fun! These fish explode on poppers like crazy. In fact, I think they are some of the healthiest bass I’ve caught recently. They have a lot of fight in them and they just seem heavier than other fish I’ve caught that were the same size. I plan on putting together some video when I get off of school so I’ll be posting here soon. I’ll also have to tie a few more flies to replace the ones that have been lost to angry fish 🙂

 

Following Doctor’s Orders

So I went in for my follow up check up with my hand surgeon and when I asked him about physical therapy he said,”anything you want to do.” “Go fishing, play your horn…go fishing.” Well I did just that. I had a couple of hours to spare before getting supper ready and going to our dress rehearsal with the incomparable, Rene` Fleming so I went fishing in the neighborhood lake. I took only my 3 wt, and another 5 wt rigged with bream flies. I must have landed about 2 dozen small bream but nothing to really brag about.

The afternoon did get interesting when I made a good cast by some cypress knees and immediately got a small 7-inch bass to eat. No sooner had I hooked the juvenile bass than a larger behemoth bass inhaled my fish. It took off and made a pass under my kayak. I let him run for a while but it decided to spit the baby bass back out. I landed it. It had a few scales knocked off but I think it will make it. I revived it and sent it off on its way. I continued to make a couple more casts in the same area and hooked another small bass and a couple of bream when my phone rang. It was my wife, so I figured I had better take the call. She was wondering where I was and what was for dinner. You know. The usual 5 PM phone conversation. After a couple minutes on the phone, I picked up my 3 wt. and went to make a cast when I realized that something had eaten my #10 frog popper. When I got the slack out, I realized is was big. I made sure to strip set the hook but the dog gone thing rose to the top and spit my popper back at me. It must have been over 20 inches! Oh well, I know where I’m going to start fishing the next time I hit that lake 🙂

On the way back in, I ran into a guy who was bank fishing and he pointed out that there were monster red-ear bream on beds. Sure enough, I saw some nice big bream on beds. Try as I might though, I couldn’t get them to eat anything. They were definitely set on guarding the beds and were not in an eating mood. I’ll be back for them too. I just have to catch them before they head out of the area completely after the spawn.

Sorry no pictures this trip. I’ll try to get back on the water somewhere this weekend.

Therapy…Just What the Doctor Ordered

 

The reason I haven’t posted anything on my fishing blog is because I haven’t been able to fish. I broke both of my wrists during a faculty/student dodge ball game three weeks ago and I’ve had splints on both wrists since then. I did manage a few casts from the bank last week that produced a couple bass so all was not lost. I figured the fish needed a reprieve 🙂

There is always a silver lining to every story and there are several with my wrists fractures. First of all, it’s forced several of my students to step up and cover for me at school. Second, and most importantly, I WILL NOT have to have surgery to repair the fracture. Third, my hand surgeon has a lake behind his house that is stocked with bass, bream, and hybrid striped bass! He told me I could fish as long as it didn’t hurt. In fact he said to “please come and take out as many under 15 inches that I can.” I told him I normally don’t keep bass but I may make an exception for him. Well, when I’m wearing those splints, I feel like I can do anything and so I made a morning trip Saturday.

When I arrived at 6:45 AM, the sun was just peeking up over the horizon. There was a slight fog hovering over the glass-slick lake. The sounds of birds, the croak of a couple bull frogs, and the dabble of ducks on the lake created a overture to my ears, something I hadn’t experienced in a while. I began working a fire-tiger popper against the bank and within five minutes, I have my first blowup. Of course I missed the fish as I tried to set the hook too soon. I still have to get used to these “paws.” Five minutes later, another blowup but this time it resulted in a hookup. This fish had shoulders on it and it got the best of me as it charged to the kayak, swam under it and then just got off. I guess I didn’t get a good hook set in it. My arms have suffered atrophy because I haven’t used them in three weeks.

Finally, I hooked a nice feisty fish and was able to land my first bass of the morning. I continued to work the bank and found a few patches where I would get strikes and then there would be a section of nothing. I fished for three hours and landed 8 nice bass (a few were over 15 inches).

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First bass of the morning

In the meantime, I probably lost the same amount, having one break the line right by the popper. I retied another popper, this time trying a frog pattern and after about ten minutes of patience was rewarded with the fish of the day. This hybrid striper weighed just under 3 pounds. When it exploded on my popper I could tell that it was either a five-pound bass or it was a hybrid. The thing was VERY angry and took off like a freight train, much to the dismay of my right wrist, which was hurting (it was the one with the largest fracture). I switched the rod to my left hand and vowed out loud that I wasn’t going to lose this fish. I have to admit that I was proud of myself for keeping pressure on it and not losing it.

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Fish of the day, my first hybrid caught on a popper

After that fish I did have another fish snap my tippet so I lost my frog popper. I tied on a new “shad” crease fly creation that I’ve been working on and was able to nearly sight-catch my final bass of the morning. I saw something crashing bait about 50 yards ahead of me and I snuck up on it. On my first cast, a 15-inch bass inhaled the fly. I still have to tweak it but I think I have a winner there.

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Another one eats my frog popper. 

I ended up keeping two bass to feed my son and myself. All in all it was a very therapeutic morning. My wrists fared well and I caught fish on poppers that I created myself. God is good!

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