Long Roddin’ for Bluegills 7-9-2010

9 07 2010

Ever since my Mossy Creek trip, I’ve been thinking about getting out all my fly fishing gear. For those of you that don’t know me, I started freshwater fishing (after growing up saltwater fishing on the Chesapeake for Spot, Croaker, Flounder, etc) when I was living in the New River Valley from 2006 – 2008. I was fly fishing for trout in small mountain streams in the fall and spring and fishing for smallmouth and bluegills in the New River in the summer. I had put up my fly fishing gear in leu of conventional tackle when I moved to Richmond and bought my kayak.

I got out my stuff last weekend and after Rachel and Sadie were in bed tonight, I set out to Robious Landing Park. There’s a dock here that crew boats use to load/unload so I picked out a spot there and got ready to cast with my TFO 3-weight. There are about 8 people on the dock and most of them start to watch me as I begin the 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock arm movement of the fly angler’s cast. I’m throwing a size 12-ish ant pattern with some crystal flash and I’m expecting big things. I immediately hook into what feels like a really small fish…so on a 3 weight I know it’s tiny. Pull him in and I immediately hear the teenager behind me say “awwwww” to the 2-inch bluegill that is now flopping on the dock. Yeah…real big fish. I continue to cast for 25 minutes or so and while the fish are slurping the surface around my fly, none of them manage to get it in its mouth. I determine I need to size down the fly and tie on a size 16 hopper.

I move over to the boat launch and start roll casting to the brush pile about 10 feet away. I immediately get a hit from a much larger bluegill this time. While its only 5 inches or so, it puts up a great battle on a 3wt. I continue roll casting to the brush pile and end up hooking into 4 more bluegill, all about 4 to 5 inches in length. These things are great fun on a 3wt!!!! It’s 8:55pm and the park closes at 9pm, however I haven’t gotten the fishing out of my system for the evening so I head to a local apartment complex pond.

I’ve fished this apartment complex pond before for bass and have caught them from 8″ to 12″. I assume there’s bluegill in here as well so I get to casting. Within the first 5 casts, I get a 4 or 5 inch bluegill on. Another fun fight on the 3wt and another fish released. I go on to catch 2 or 3 others, sometimes sight casting to surface disturbance to get my strikes. I spot some more surface disturbance and throw my hopper over into the area. As my hopper is sitting there, I notice the surface disturbance stops. Hmm…wonder what’s going on? SPLASH!!!! The line tightens up and my now instinctive reaction kicks in to raise the rod tip. This is no bluegill, this is a bass!!!!!! About the same time I get my rod to the apex of my fighting stance, the line goes slack. SHOOT! Hopper broke off. I’m using 6x tippet and while it’s rated for more than what these bass weigh, I’m sure my knot tying skills with line this light is quite rusty. I immediately get charged about catching a bass on a 3wt so I run back to my truck to get my fly box.

I then spend the next 20 mins trying to tie a size 12 black wooly bugger on a 6x tippet in the only light I could find, my interior truck light. Tying an improved clinch knot with 6x tippet on small flies is difficult as is, try doing it when there’s hardly any light!!!! I finally got it tied and ran back over to the water. I then start the typical streamer fly routine of casting out and stripping back in. Cast….strip…strip…strip…strip…pick up…and repeat. About the 6th cast into the original bass strike area, I get the familiar feel of my fly line going tight and I go to lift the rod tip up…..the fly breaks off again. Damnit I’ve really lost fishing with light fly tackle. It certainly had to be another bass. I wasn’t going to spend another 20 mins trying to tie on another fly so I head home. I know the bass in this pond probably haven’t seen flies much, if at all, so I’m going to tie on some stronger tippet and head back soon. I’ll be reporting back later.

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