Do you love big bluegill?
I was intending on throwing a new-to-me foam pattern for LMB on my 8wt. I get to the launch, unload my kayak, and gear up. I pulled out a Gurgle Pop, the one I tied up on a 1/0 worm hook. I had added a rather voluminous tail of marabou, krystal flash, and flashabou. These tend to float at first, so I wanted to get the bug wet before I launched.
I pulled some line off my fly rod, and gave the bug a couple slaps to the water to soak the tail. I then decided to give it a couple throws just out beyond the weeds to see how well it gurgled and/or popped. As soon as it lands, I get a hit from a Bluegill. I give it a couple short, sharp strips. Yep, it gurgles, and it will pop and throw water if you jerk it hard enough. Then, a couple seconds after it lands, a LMB decided to try and eat it. I clearly saw a large dorsal fin and the back of the fish above the water, then everything sank down. I tried to set the hook, but nothing happened. I retrieved my bug, and looked at it. Would you believe the entire freaking point of the hook is GONE! What the frak?!?!?! I guess that’s what happens when you try to save a couple dollars and buy some really cheap hooks.
Unfortunately, that was the only Gurgle Pop of that size that I had. However, I had three size 8s and two size 12s in my fly box. I tied on a size 8, and launched.
The wind was out of the northeast, and blowing at a decent clip, gusting to 10 mph. It was also “mostly cloudy”, so I had high hopes of some kind of action, if I could just stay out of the wind. Luckily, I had launched on the upwind side of the lake, so while it was windy, I didn’t have a lot of waves to worry about. I paddled over to a little slough and dropped my drift sock into the water to try and hold position. I made a cast up into this little channel, and had just enough time to take up the slack when I got a hit. I missed a hookup, and just dropped the bug right back where I first cast it. Sure enough, splash! And fish-on! This little booger wanted to run! Unfortunately, it was hemmed in by weeds. Lucky for me, it decided to follow the weeds to me, and pass me on my right side. Sure enough, it was a Bass, but only about 12 ½”.
After that, I caught a couple Bluegill as the wind blew me slowly into deeper water. I decided to see what the conditions were like up the creek. I did not know if I would be able to use my 8wt up there, as that pole is 9’, and I knew there would be some brush along the banks, and overhead. Thankfully, it wasn’t that tight. I was able to fish my out of the creek, after paddling up it. I even spooked an Unidentified Fishy Object up in the shallow end, presumed to be a big Carp, although I never saw the fish. I did, however, see the trail of bubbles from the weeds when it bolted, and the initial wake that it created.
Lots of Bluegill, and a couple of really aggressive Green Sunfish came to hand.
As usual, for this lake, I did a recon around the shoreline. You can usually pick up some floats in the weeds, and sometimes a lure or two hung up on the cables the hold the fishing platforms in place. I managed to recover 3 floats. About that time, I headed back to the launch. I was originally planning on loading up and heading home, but I noticed a bunch of small Bluegill hanging out around the launch. So, never one to pass up an opportunity, I pulled out my 5wt and tied on a Deer Hair Caddis pattern. I managed to catch a couple small Bluegill. I switched over to a Parachute-Post Midge in about a size 16. Boy, those little fish sure did their best to eat that bug! I think I’m going to have to tie up about a dozen or so, maybe go up a size or two to make them a little more visible.
Sounds like you had a fun day on the water, Allan! Float hunting adds to the fun. I try and get at least one each time I go, especially when fishing new waters.
Last year, I bagged over a dozen in one day. Several of those I can actually use. Most of them I just give away to the kids or their friends.
Now, I have competition. Older gent, with a long pole and a basket on the end. Of course, he can't see them all, which is why I like doing them from the water; I can see directly into the weeds, while from land, you have to look through lots more weeds, and brush.