Sunday, May 20, 2012

Redear on the Fly

What I love about this pond is how seemingly well balanced its different populations are.  Pickerel troll the waters in large numbers, and are very healthy.  Largemouth bass also inhabit the small body in equal numbers and health.  Sunfish, mostly redear, fin the pond with an established dominance as well--unfazed by the abundant predator species.

One would not know of the pond's healthy diversity after fishing it for one day, however.  Species caught in the first half of the year depends largely on timing; and often times will be retained to one species.   Fishing in the colder months of March and early April will provide several pickerel--some up to 20-inches.  Fishing in April and May during the bass spawn will undoubtedly produce largemouth.  The angler fishing after the first full moon in May will provide some unparalleled sunfish action--that was my goal for today.

With thoughts of wrestling some scrappy sunfish off of their beds, I headed down to the pond with the kayak (this time with my new cart), my three-weight TFO fly rod, and a spinning rod (rigged with a senko for bass hanging off of the drop-off).

After some initial trouble with the cart, I began fishing around 4:30 P.M, and quickly bagged a 14-inch largemouth, fooled by a black and olive, rubber-legged Wooley Bugger I'd tied.  My dad asked for some meat, so I slid this fish onto a forked stick lashed to the side of the 'yak.

As the sun fell behind the shade of the towering pies to the north, surface action picked up.  I quickly snipped the Wooley Bugger and tied on one of Harry Murray's productive Shenandoah Sliders.

Working my way up the north bank, casting to the grass beds, I managed several redear sunfish taken from their beds, and lost one bass.  These fish are bottom feeders when they aren't spawning; so if you can find a healthy population of these fish, you would be punishing yourself to NOT chase them with poppers.  Plus, they can reach large sizes, and are great food fish.  These went on the stick.

In the upper end, where the small creek flows into the pond and grass and shallow water abound, I bagged several more fish with long casts to the bank.  The stringer was getting heavy, though I was only keeping about a third of the redear, and never more than one from the same spot.  I continued.

I fished back down the north bank after thoroughly fishing the flats, still bagging fish after fish.  Finally, after fishing half of the length of the bank, I switched over to the south bank.  I found more fish on the south bank; but they were not quite as willing.  The bedding habitat that is present on the opposite bank is not found quite as often there.

With a half an hour of light left I beached the kayak, packed everything up, and carried it out.  This night was altogether one of the best I've had on the pond--relaxing, exciting, and productive.  I even managed to get some video--check it out.

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