Do you love big bluegill?
Headed out to New Beggs City Lake this morning. Was about an hour behind schedule. I had planned on arriving about the time the sun popped over the horizon, but slept in a bit.
Once I got there, it was a fairly quick setup and launch for my kayak. I was going light, only my 8wt, all three fly boxes, and one spinning rod with a new lure I wanted to try for trolling. Once I launched, I trolled the lure over to where I planned on doing some fly fishing. Didn’t catch anything trolling.
As I tried to quietly paddle into this small arm of the cove, I saw a lot of surface disturbances. Most were turtles spooking as I neared them, but a few were fish hitting insects/minnows on top. I saw a couple large swirls near a weedline, with large wakes heading for deeper water; one of those also left a trail of bubbles as it burrowed through the grass on bottom. I’m pretty sure those were Carp. I would spook another one about an hour later, just feet from my kayak.
I paddled all the way back. I realized the water was pretty darn clear; I was seeing grass on bottom in 3 FOW (pretty good for Oklahoma). I had a Deer-Hair Diver pattern I had tied up a couple weeks ago tied on. I started tossing that around. Didn’t get any strikes, until……I had decided to pull it in, cut it off, and tie on a smaller popper. THEN some fish decides to try and eat it. I didn’t connect.
I tied on a store-bought, Betts popper. I have a few left over from last year. I immediately started getting some hits. Then, I started connecting with some various sunfish:
I even caught a first for me. I’ve caught them in a cast net before, but never on rod-and-reel, nor a fly rod. Got a Golden Shiner. I’m not surprised, as I had seen some “medium” sized Shiners swimming around. Heck, when the popper landed, one jumped to the left, and my popper immediately started moving to the right. I must have thrown the popper on top of at least two different fish, one ate it, the other spooked.
I also managed to catch two of what I wanted to catch, some Largemouth Bass. First LMBs on my 8wt, and first LMBs on-the-fly from my kayak.
I must say, that I think my 8wt is going to become my go-to rod for my kayak. I was getting some nice casting in. I will say that I have not used my 5wt on my kayak yet this year, and last year, I had the rod spooled with line that was a little to light for the rod.
After about 9:30, the topwater bite was starting to die off, so I decided to do what I did last week; troll upwind, then drift downwind tossing around a lipless crankbait. I wasn’t expecting much, as I wasn’t seeing much in the way of surface action like I did last week.
I did three troll/drift passes. Whenever I would get close to the north bank, probably 100’ or so, I would start to get the occasional soft hit, but couldn’t connect with the fish. On the second pass, I finally managed to stay connected with “whatever” long enough to get it to the surface for a quick look-see. CRAPPIE! Decent size, to. Of course, with my luck, it came unbuttoned about a second after it hit top. Either I wasn’t setting the hook quick enough, or the hooks were pulling out of their mouths.
I decided to switch from the 3/16 lipless crankbait over to a 1/8 size lipless crankbait, staying with the silver/black color. On the final pass, I got a few hits, again, not really connecting with them. I did manage to catch one fish, this one:
A little Shellcracker, probably down in the grass, eating snails and small crawfish. I guess it wanted that little shad-like lure I was using.
Adaptability! HAH! I was thinking about keeping that Shiner, going back to my van, and getting a catfish rod out! Pass a 3/0 hook through the eye sockets, tie a balloon onto the line, and let it out!
I'm planning on going to a different lake tomorrow. There's LMB in there, but it can be difficult to catch them. I've heard the best bet is live bait, under a balloon. I'm thinking about changing my rigging a bit, ROFL......
A fun day with some good fish pics and good memories. It's hard to beat catching gills on the surface.