How about this fall? Thus far the weather has been spectacular and recently, Sunday, November 6th, Frank Terkhorn, John Morgan and I got together at a friend’s lake to do a little float tubing (float tube fly fishing) for some bass.
As you can see from the photo, we all had our Creek Company ODC 420 float tubes. ODC stands for Outdoor Discovery Craft and if you haven’t yet seen or been in/on one of these little jewels then you really don’t know what you are missing. In fact, the other day while fishing a lake in the Linton area I had a funny thing happen to me…as I neared the only other pair of fishermen on this small lake, a husband and a wife in a canoe, I could hear them trying to figure out just what exactly I was and how I was moving about so quickly. Finally I heard the husband say, “I’m just going to ask-are you standing up in that thing”? Without even hesitating I just raised my kick-fins up into the air so that they could see that…I wasn’t standing and I was using my fins as a way of propelling myself around. They were quite amazed at how functional the tube was and as I left I could hear the husband tell his wife that my float tube was exactly what he needed to fish many of the small ponds he liked to fish!
I met Frank and John at the McDonald’s in Linton and within 15 minutes we had pulled off and down into the grassy area surrounding this seven acre lake. We all started grabbing and preparing our gear as all of us would be fly fishing. Flies were discussed along with lines and theories on where the fish might be lurking as Frank went one way (the left-hander), John and I then shoved off and went the other direction…we agreed we would all meet halfway and share our notes and thoughts.
I decided to start with my floating 6-weight rod and line with a black, size 6, boogle popper. I made my first cast towards shore and was getting comfortable in the tube when I heard a ‘splash’ and without thinking strip set and lifted my rod…the weight and bend of the rod let me know it was a good bass. A few seconds later I lipped a nice, hefty 17 inch, 2 ½ pound largemouth bass. What a start…it couldn’t be that easy? Another casts a few feet eastward, once again towards the shore, resulted in yet another nice chunky 14 incher that I quickly stripped back to my tube.
The frolicking of the bass was loud enough that even on a windy day it could be heard by my two compadres…and I simply yelled out that I had a black popper on. Frank, being odd and left handed, was fishing the far side of the lake that was deeper and didn’t have any trees or overhanging limbs-therefore he stayed with his streamer. John was near enough that he quickly went about tying on a popper of his own an the next few minutes was nothing short of amazing as all three of us were catching bass at an alarming rate.
John is still new to the sport and I motioned for him to come on down and move past me so that he could be first to fish the ‘virgin’ waters that lay between us and the other corner of the lake. I heard a commotion and turned in time to see John set the hook on what was a very nice bass. I stowed away my rod, grabbed my camera and started taking photos. A few minutes went by, it was indeed a great setting with the sun at our backs…I said to John to go ahead and heft that big fish up for a ‘hero-shot’ of him and the fish together. It was at that very moment that I saw a big splash in front of tube…then John’s head slumped downward. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that he had just lost his trophy just inches from glory!
We took a look at his leader/tippet set up and it was too small, allowing this big, hefty bass to escape back to the freedom of the lake with a popper in his lip. John was disappointed and understandably so as this would have for sure been his largest bass yet on a fly-rod. Probably didn’t help much, but all I could muster up was a quick one liner, “Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all”.
We moved off, back to casting and enjoying the 65 degree day that God had blessed us with this, the first week of November. What happened next was quite odd…it was as if the man in charge of the lake flipped a switch. For the next two hours all three of us continued to circle the lake, casting, trying new flies, even different fly lines…but to no avail. The fish had changed their minds and did so with an abruptness that was literally shocking. We were catching fish hand over fist as they say and in minutes we hardly caught another fish the rest of the afternoon.
The three of us finally wound up back at the boat launch at about the same time and decided to call it a day as we had been so rudely treated by the fish. Equipment was drained and stowed away as we sat overlooking the lake and talked about fishing, family and life. We shared a delicious sugar cookie prepared by Vickie and made plans for upcoming trips. It had been a day of both fun and fun with a couple other guys who were not only quality men…but men who loved fly fishing like I do…men who also love and Enjoy the Great Outdoors.