Friday, October 7, 2011

I need to set up an anonymous tip hotline.

I've been getting anonymous tips over the past few weeks with different fishing locations around central IL.  The last one paid off with a couple bass the day I got my new fly rod so I figured to try out the other couple locations I was made aware of.  The one I visited yesterday is a public lake in Brimfield, IL.  The commenter had said that he and a friend hit up this pond and caught 100+ bluegills, a nice crappie and several small bass.  Sounded like a hell of a time to me so I packed up and headed out.

My first intention was to get some use with the Pflueger reel and Sufix braid that OBN provided me with to review.  I tied on a flourocarbon leader, bullet weight, and 7.5" black and purple Culprit worm.  On my second cast, I had a hit in some reeds along the shore.  Felt like a decent fish.  He thrashed once, got tangled in a reed and then my leader snapped. 

I took the time to tie on another leader, weight, and hook and got to casting again.  Not a dozen casts later I had broken off again.   I'm gonna spool up some mono and give the Pflueger reel another chance before passing judgement on it, though I'm much more impressed with it than the line.

I had only two worm hooks going in and I foolishly didn't pick any up before heading out so it was time to switch to the fly rod.  I tied on a smallish popper and (anticipating the bluegills) a dropper rig with some kind of nymph thing with shiny copper wire that I was given.  For anyone who isn't familiar, a dropper rig is when you tie about 1 1/2ft of tippet onto the hook of the popper and tie on a smaller fly that doesn't float.  The idea being that if you attract fish that are too small to eat the popper, they'll eat the dropper fly.

It worked like a charm.  I had a quite a few swirls at the popper and a few even drug it down but didn't get the whole thing in their mouths.  However, every once in awhile I'd see the popper shoot under, would set the hook and it was fish on.  It's like combining the simplicity of bobber fishing with the fun of fly casting.

There were fisherpeople every 30 yards or so along the bank, bobbers bobbing along or poles propped up on Y-sticks.  I gave the usual nod and "Any luck?" as I passed each one.  No luck to be had, with only one guy with a little bluegill in his fishtrap.

The fishing definitely wasn't as good as had been indicated by my commentor (I blame the varying temperature here lately) but I was getting hits just about every 3rd cast or so.  I missed alot of the hooksets, leading me to believe the fish were too small to eat even my tiny dropper fly.  The seven bluegill I brought to hand were nearly identical to this:

Better than what all the bait fisherman were catching

Eventually, something drilled the popper under and was putting up a good fight when I set the hook.  I was convinced I had a bass on the line.  Imagine my surprise when I pulled this guy out of the water:

My first crappie that didn't involve a bobber or tube jig.

That makes four species on the fly rod this year: Largemouth, Bluegill, Trout (At the Hooked on Fishing event), and Crappie.  At least I accomplished one goal that I set for myself.  (Don't think I'll be setting goals next year, it makes doing outdoorsy stuff feel like work.)

After the crappie, I worked along the side of the lake with no shoreline trees to get hung up on.  I caught a couple of the 7 bluegill, missed a few more hooksets and had a few fish fight their way off the line.  A good way to spend a couple hours on a day off. 

I realized my fly box is getting pretty bare just in time for fall.  I have a bunch of dry flies, a couple poppers, that nymph, and two woolly buggers.  I think I might have to invest in a vise and tying equipment in the next couple months to replenish and keep myself sane over the winter months.  Any suggestions as to a relatively inexpensive setup?


Team MiRketti said...

This is the tying kit that I have had since 5th grade. It was 20.00 then. Now it's 35.00 so it might be more reasonable to get a table mounted vice. I haven't looked again since I got mine. It's been a good vice for me. It might not be able to tie really small flies but is good for size 16 on up.

For suggestions on materials, I would get a dubbing kit, a good hackle, some deer or elk hair, some black or brown fly thread, some head cement and some hooks to play around with. Then buy the rest of the materials for the fly's you want to tie as you go.

Anonymous said...

Mark,Sorry you didn't get into any bigger gills.We caught most of them suspended couple/several feet deep away from the shore.My friend caught most of the fish on a G.B.Pheasant Tail and I caught mine on a new snail pattern and a Dub'n Dart(small fly that imitates a small fry)There is also some real nice red-ears in there,but we couldn't locate them.

If you're looking into fly tying,might I suggest supporting your local B.P.S's flyshop and get one of their starting kits.I tied for years on day you might want to up grade.Another suggestion would be pick one or two of your favorite pattern's to tie first,and build from there.If you try to experiment and tie a bunch of different types of flies right off the bat,your material inventory/cost will get out of hand real quick...been there done that.I've found it better for me now,to buy a couple different flies first and try them out and then if I really like the pattern,go ahead and buy the material to tie them with.Hope this makes sense or helps.
p.s,if you want to add a smallie to your list head to Powerton before it closes,it is also my favorite place to catch a carp on a fly.

Anonymous said...

Mark,also don't forget next weekend,you can head over to Pekin Lagoon for some trout action. There's all kinds of different fish swimming around in there.Read in your past writings about your carp fishing,when I was a kid I would ride my bike down to Glen Oak Lagoon and spend the whole day catching carp out of there.In the past,I know a couple people that would dump a few crappie in there on their way home from Banner.
Don't know if they're still in there,but it used to be another place to kill an hour or two. Just
becareful,it can get a little bit
CREEPY down there towards dusk.

Mark said...

TM - Thanks for the suggestion man. I was digging thru the closet my wife has deemed the "Mancloset" and found a bunch of feathers and fur and such that I think you sent to me way back when with some of those dry flies I still use. Thank you much, I imagine your materials will give me a good start, just need to pick up a vise and bobbin and such.

Anon - I've tried chasing down Smallies at Powerton before but have never figured out where they are. I saw a guy pull an 18-19 incher out of the little inlet that runs next to the parking lot and have fished there and down by the discharge but I can't find them. I'll have to give it another shot before it gets too cold.

The Glen Oak area creeps me out in the daytime (one of those areas I wish we had CCW) but promises of carp are enough to give me some courage to check it out.

I haven't decided if I'll be checking out Pekin this year or not. Last year I went and flung a fly around the entire lagoon for a few hours without a single bite while people were pulling them left and right on corn and marshmallows. If I do go I'll be bringing a pole set up for corn as a backup. Paying for that trout stamp without catching anything is a major bummer. If I go, it'll probably be on sunday.

Anonymous said...

praire state outdoors...teen aged boy comes clean.He made up the story about being attacked by a mountain lion.He actually fell out of the tree stand and was afraid to tell his folks,for the fear that they wouldn't let him hunt again alone..they sure will trust him now!

Mark,I'm off work all this week/weekend.Let me know if you want to meet over at Powerton.I'll try to help ya scratch a smallie off the list.Can show you a spot,where it's usually good for a bass or two.It's the same place that I pointed Dustin(B.P.S.)to,it paid off for him.No promise of the size or numbers,but can give ya a few tips on how to unlock the smallie and carp fishin there.

Mark said...

That would be awesome. I'm off on Thursday so anytime that day would work for me. I can also be over there by 4:30ish any other day after work, whatever works for you.

Any suggestions as to flies that'll work? I'll stop in to BPS to grab a few tomorrow night.

Anonymous said...

Thursday works for me,there's a 60 percent chance of rain.I can meet ya around 9am,if that's ok,later if needed.If it's raining to hard,we can always shoot the breeze at BPS.Powerton is now on winter hours,believe they close the gates at 4pm.I do really good on black leech style buggers and small bait fish streamers,but really I've got plenty to share(fly junkie),you can alway's pick some up later afterwards if ya like the patterns.
I drive a light blue mini van.10TH Mountain Div/fly fishin stickers on the back.

Mark said...

9am it is. I drive a blue explorer with an ISRA and Troutrageous sticker on the back.

I have a couple brown and a black bugger I think but no streamers. I might need to borrow a couple.

Can I get your name so I know what to call you?

Anonymous said...

lol,don't you want to go around asking people...are you anonymous?
See ya Thursday,I'll check this posting before I leave,just incase something comes up....Jake.
p.s,already working on an excuse incase the fish don't bite...too much rain,water running muddy...ha

Anonymous said...

Another quick thing,saw that you and Clif are looking into snagging a few asian carp.Last week I was over at Clinton Lake fishin the
48th rt. bridge.On the way out stop at the spillway and there was alot of huge bigheads swimming around in there...20lb plus.