Sunday, May 16, 2010

Don't need a frog to keep the skunk away today!

So I decided I'm gonna stay away from big lakes unless I have someone with me who knows the water.  I get too overwhelmed with all the open water and different opportunities and I think I get a little lost.  I definitely get frustrated.

Today I went and checked out Spring Lake (which is actually two lakes) outside of Pekin, IL.  There were alot of weeds so I went with a texas-rigged Powerworm and a Purple/Silver Rat L Trap on my other rod for whenever I got some open water to throw it in.  I worked along the edge of one of the lakes, working the worm and trap all the way down.  Long story short, I got to the end of the lake about two hours later with no bites.  I lost my Rat L Trap on a submerged tree, got pissed off and decided to head back to Peoria.

Just like the other day, I decided to head to Charter Oak North to try to salvage the day.  I pulled out the fly rod with a little orange foam ant tied on and got some more casting practice in.  I got to experience fish "rising" to my fly for the first time today.  It really gets your heart pumping to see even a little fish slowly stalking up to your fly on the surface.  I had a couple little fish come up and nip at the fly and I missed a hookset on the one that actually took it.

I abandoned the fly temporarily, switching to the Powerworm from earlier.  I tossed a few casts to the weeds with no takers down the bank on both sides.  I eventually went back to the fly rod, this time with a little white and pink popper.

It took me a few casts to get used to the little bit of weight on my fly line and to get the right speed of strip to get a good pop but eventually I got it going.  On my third or fourth cast with the popper, I popped it a couple times, looked at my phone to check the time, heard a splash and felt a tug on my pole and it was my first decent bass on the fly!  I actually reeled up the slack and got the play him a bit on the reel, let him tire himself out.  I swung him up on the dock and snapped a pic for you all:

Just under 12".  Not huge but my biggest on the fly so far.  I tossed him back, went to cast back to the same spot and smacked the popper into the dock midcast, obliterating it.  D'oh!

Now in a pissy mood, I picked up my baitcaster and tied on a buzzbait, figuring if they hit a popper they might hit something else loud on the surface.  After a couple dozen casts with no bites, I went to a white Walmart spinnerbait.  No dice.

Back to the fly rod.  I still don't know the difference between a dry and wet fly but I picked out a little black one with feathers sticking out all over and a little red tail.  It floated!  And the bluegill loved it, they were sneaking up from underneath, taking shots at it.  I had one on but it got off about halfway back to the dock.  After that, the fly wouldn't float and the fish didn't like it nearly as much.

So I switched to a smallish brown fly with little white wings.  I got it out there and it floated too!  Once again, they love it while it's floating and I actually hooked a little guy:

The fly stopped floating after that and they stopped hitting it again.  Note to self:  buy fly floatant.

It was about 12:30 by this time and I was getting hungry and tired after being out fishing/driving since 7:00 so I decided to head home, happy to have at least gotten a decent bass and had a bunch of fish rising to my bait.

So a decent day, I wish I would've just gone to Charter Oak first and not wasted time driving to a place I'm not comfortable.  Oh well, lesson learned.  Also, since starting with the fly rod, I've got four fish on it and no fish on conventional tackle...  What the hell?  Is that why people convert?  It just gets impossible to catch anything on anything but a fly? :)  Probably not but it definitely keeps things fresh.

I appreciate everyone checking out my blog lately, hope you all are having better luck than I have been lately. Have a good one.


Clif said...

Good work man.

You've discovered why I started making my own poppers out of wood. I've written a few posts about them if you can find them. They can take a beating.

troutrageous1 said...

Congrats on the upgrade from frog to bass. Looks like things are progressing well.

Mark said...

Clif - I dug through your old posts and found some of the poppers. I think I'm gonna go get a couple dowels, a little paint and some feathers and go to town. I think I might dig through some of your older posts and see if I can't pickup some info on some of the fishing spots around here too. I keep getting way frustrated whenever I fish anywhere but at Charter Oak.

Trout - Thanks, I'm stoked about the "upgrade". :)

Clif said...

Some of the poppers I've done are pretty ornate and therefore labor intensive. But these are pretty easy. Even easier would be a "blockhead" popper, google that and see what I mean. If we ever meet up, I'll give you a couple.

Fishing a new lake is tough, especially from shore. Big lakes seem daunting, but imagine the satisfaction when you finally figure it out. I have one (just one) lake that I know like the back of my hand, every other time is spent exploring.

Just keep searching and you'll start to find spots.

Mark said...

Those were the ones I was focusing on since they don't look like they necessarily need any power tools or anything, just a little saw, some sandpaper and some of the fiance's nail polish. I might try to get ahold of a pair of her old flip flops in a bright color to make some out of foam, I imagine they hold up better than balsa.

As far as meeting up, that sounds like a great idea. As soon as I get past the wedding/honeymoon vacation next week I'll be all for it.

Also, are you guys notified when I reply to a comment on here? Or should I reply on your blogs?

Clif said...

No notice, but usually i try to check back in.