This past Wednesday night was the first weeknight I have had free from volleyball in a few months and being that the sun was out (my only requisite for fishing)…I decided to check out one of the local creeks that I hadn’t fished for a couple months. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time now that the sun starts to set around 6:30pm, so I ran home, swapped out my car for the Suburban (full of fly-fishing gear) and made a quick jaunt…where I parked, slipped on my 3mm waders, grabbed my 5’6” Cabela’s TQR rod, attached a size 6 brown crayfish pattern….and slipped down, into the creek.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how things would go. I wasn’t sure if the fish would be up and feeding or on the bottom of holes in a lazy pattern; it didn’t take long to figure it out as my 4th casts was a good one and I hauled in a 10 inch smallmouth. Though the fish wasn’t a big one…the fact that he was aggressive was the info I needed. Two casts later, I landed another fish…this time a spotted bass of about 12 inches. As I moved downstream I couldn’t believe how great it felt to be outdoors with moving water all around me!
As I neared the next hole I eased….step by step carefully into the hole. The water was remarkably clear and I false casted until I had enough line out to drop my crayfish bug just inside a log that sits atop a hole of about 5 feet in depth. I readied my left hand and made a couple small strips…but nothing. I then lifted the rod tip slowly with my rod hand and it was then that I felt tension and snap set the line. It is at this point that I usually have either hooked an underwater limb or a fish. Quickly my line began to move and I knew I was into a nice fish. A few big strips later and I lipped a beauty of a fish….a 15 inch spotted bass with a big tummy. As usual I took a moment to snap a few photos and eased the brute back into his hole.
The key to this kind of fishing is to bounce or drag the crayfish imitation along the bottom…the second factor is staying ready for about anything that feels odd on the other end. Sometimes this can be a sharp jab but sometimes…as was the case this time…it can be nothing more than some casual tension; the key is setting the hook with a good strip set and as I often tell my two boys, setting the hook is free so go ahead and give it a rip!
The next few holes were more of the same as I landed a few more of each, spotted and smallmouth bass; one of which was another chubby 16 inch spotted bass that gave me a real tussle and wasn’t happy at all about being landed. I turned the bend in the creek knowing that I had but one more hole to fish before I pulled out and walked the mile or so back to the truck. This particular hole is long and narrow with a deep flow that runs smack down the middle. I stripped out about 30 feet of line and false casted until I had the fly almost to the other end….I then dropped the fly in the middle of the stream and started slowly dragging it back towards me. Once again I lifted the rod tip, felt tension and snapped the tip upward quickly setting the hook on a heavy fish.
The next minute or so was both exciting and a bit nervy as I slowly stripped in a foot or two at a time on what I could see was a large smallmouth bass. I was nervous because this was a day that I forgot my glasses back about a mile away at the truck and through the past dozen or so catches….I hadn’t been able to re-tie my fly; a practice that I regularly do every 3rd or 4th catch. As it turned out all was good and eventually I was able to lip what was a 17 ½ inch smallie…what a way to finish up what I knew was simply a bonus day!
If you…like me, love to fish these small, pot-hole creeks and streams…then don’t stop; grab your gear and give these small waterways a go and I think you will find that it is a great time of the year to Enjoy the Great Outdoors.