I got a chance to go fishing this 4th of July. Since all of my spinning rods & reels are packed up I headed out to my local pond with my fly rod, flies and my trusty Berkley honey worms. I was on the water some time after noon and I tied on #10 eagle claw bait holder hook with a yellow honey worm. This is usually a very productive set up for catching bluegills but not on the 4th. I caught only one average sized gill with this set up. So I open up the fly box and select a size 6 green woolly bugger. I make several casts with this fly, when I notice swarms of minnows about the same size as my fly are schooled up in the shallows and they seem to be fleeing from larger fish feeding on them.
These minnows had black backs and my fly was greenish and slightly larger then the minnows. I keep casting the fly that I had on because I didn't want to waste time "matching the hatch". Turns out this was a good choice because my fly stuck out like sore thumb and since it looked like a wounded bait fish in the swarm of live ones the bass that attacked my fly was in for a surprise.
I was sight fishing so I actually saw the fish attack the fly suspending in the water. As soon as I saw him take the fly I set the hook firmly. Every time I hook up with a keeper LMB on my fly rod the fight is intense! I have my 9' six weight fly rod in my right hand and the fly line in my left hand. The fish dove down and started taking up all the slack line in my hand. I transferred the weight of the fish to the rod so as not to break him off. I kept a steady pressure on the fish trying to steer him away from snags. The fish jumped three times trying to shake the hook off, fortunately my knots and leader held up to this abuse. I did my best to keep the fight as short as possible because the day was hot and I didn't want to stress the fish too much. After about 3 minutes of struggle I was able to land the fish using my net.
Wow! This fish looked and felt pretty big on the line and as you can see from the photo the fish is about as big as the length of the landing net. Since I did not have my scale or a tape with me, guess is that he is about 18-20 inches and about 2.5 pounds. You can probably see this in the photo, this fish has a wounded jaw. My fly was firmly hooked into the top of his bony mouth but as you can see on the left side the jaw has skin abrasions. The wounds did not seem fresh and there appears to be signs of healing.
So immediately after taking the photos and removing the hook from its mouth I put him back in the water from which he came to live another day.
I kept on fishing after this catch but only got another average sized pumpkin seed on the woolly bugger. I went home around 4pm because the heat and humidity got the better of me.
If you are looking for a different style of fishing, I highly recommend fly fishing as it is an exciting way to catch fish of all varieties. Catching an 8 inch golden shiner on the fly rod is about as exciting as catching a trout of the same size.
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