July 29, 2008

Why does it always rain on me?

In desperate need of some fishing (haven't been since the 22nd, and after a stressful weekend...), I headed into the (relatively) unknown yesterday, despite residual high-waters from the unrelenting rains we have seen for the past, what is it, 6 days now?

The goal was to scout a nearby reservoir for a bass outing scheduled for today. I had been to the res. before, trolling for walleye, but only ever caught (massive) sunfish. However, as listed by DEC and evidenced by the juvies near the cartop-launch, there are smallmouth and largemouth there. Unfortunately, the area around the reservoir is completely wooded, so I thought it prudent to confirm that casting room existed from the dam.

Short answer; it does.

So, all the way to the end of the dam (and to the top of the spillway), and low and behold, I immediately spot a 12" LMB cruising along the top of the spillway ("WHAT ARE YOU, NUTS? YOU COULD BE SWEPT OVER IN A SECOND!"). Anyway, the water was moving pretty good above the spillway from a good ways back through the bay from the main reservoir, as you might imagine after all the rain, so I cut off the frog fly and threw on a weighted olive/green bunny-strip contraption with some flash that I came up with.

As I said, casting room exists...but it isn't exactly always where you need it...so, standing on a concrete wall, 6' above the water, with trees to my back left, bushes to my back right, more trees about 50' behind me, and tall weeds everywhere between, I decided to make sure I got as much line out as possible before starting to cast. This meant dropping the fly to the water while I stripped some line off the reel.

Curiously, or rather, not so curiously, the fly sat on top of the water, the dense, dry fur counteracting the weight of the heavy wire hook and wraps of lead. "Good," I thought, "this way it won't hang up while I get ready and into position."

Then I saw her. She agreed with me that it was good. The fly had hit without much fanfare, but apparently had made enough of an impact to attract her attention. I didn't know what to do. She was 5' from me (well, plus the additional height), staring at it. But not like a bass normally would...I've seen plenty of bass follow, and she was acting more like one of those snobby browns you find on a clearwater stream. The fly was motionless, except for the slight tug of the current. I could try to move it, which would likely sink it, but would that be a good thing or bad? Should I twitch it? Should I sink it? Should I try to dap? I was frozen. So she took mercy on me, and with a sudden explosion, engulfed the 6" of half-wet rabbit fur before I had made a decision.

I don't know exactly why, but all of a sudden I had 18" of feisty smallmouth bass on my line, and what little I had managed to strip out before I noticed her there was immediately gone. And of course, there was the spillway to worry about...she headed directly for the deep hole in front of it. To pull her up would likely send her over the other side. So we played tug-of-war for a little bit and she finally moved forward out of the trap, and I brought her close...but I had nowhere to land her (remember, 6' concrete wall). Sadly, I flicked out some slack, and was thankful to once again be fishing barbless.

So I made a few more casts...no follows or hits (the fly now acting the way it's supposed to, underwater), but a few twigs and leaves. So, time for a changeup. Of course I was thinking of changing just the fly...Ma Nature had a decidedly different change in mind, and sent the lone dark cloud visible for miles directly overhead, dumping on me for about 30 minutes, thunder, lightening, the whole deal. I got off the dam and under some leaves (which afforded no reprieve from the torrent), and realized, indeed, the sun was still shining. I was soaking wet and freezing, and the sun was shining. I laughed, waited it out, and headed back.

As the sun helped me dry, I made a few more casts, and realized that I just didn't have the energy or desire to sling weighted flies any more. So, I reverted. Hey, I had to make sure the fish were there, I couldn't bring Joe to a 1-fish pond with expectations beyond reality. So, ultralight rig with 8" plastic worm brought in a couple largemouth, and I was satisfied that there were adequate fish to warrant more trips. And I was wet, tired, hungry, happy, a little angry, and a little sad.

My car, however, is quite upset with me for leaving the windows cracked throughout the storm. Seems avoiding the lightning may very well lead me to being electrocuted by the power window circuits.

Oh well, live and learn.

1 comment:

Flying Ties said...

Looks like it might be time to get one of those looooong guide nets for those occasions. Collapseable would be ideal.


Its a bummer when you lose a fish like that, but at least you made the choice to drop it (probably the right choice, vs going for a swim near a spillway). Earlier this year I lost a nice 18-19-20 incher to my own stupidity. That hurts.

A lot of people knock shore fishing and always want to wade or go in a boat, but I tell you, if you're willing to go where no one else goes then you'll catch fish, and usually big ones.