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May 14, 2011 / flogginwater

Mother Nature and the UPS Man

Went fishing on Thursday. It didn’t go quite as I thought it would in the weeks leading up to it – I was trying to get together with a fellow from the Oregon Fishing Forum, who has recently discovered one of my favorite little creeks. I was going to show him some of my favorite spots – but our schedules didn’t mesh this week. When I hadn’t heard back from the fellow for a while, I knew I wouldn’t be making the trip down to the creek this week. I was just going to go hit up the lake, and do a solo trip in the canoe. But then fate, luck, and the powers that be intervened, and my friend Jason called on Tuesday.

Jason had been out fishing the lake a couple times in the last week, and he’d found gold – or rather – crappie. Big ones. He’d pulled 4 fish 11+ inches out of a certain spot, and lost a couple fish that were even bigger at the surface. He wanted to get back out on Wednesday or Thursday – Wednesday was out for me, as it was Daddy Duty Day – Mom went out with a friend for the first time since having the little man (who turned 1 month old yesterday!). So we agreed to meet at the boat launch at 9AM on Thursday.

We got the boat unloaded and off we went, trying a couple spots Jason had found but hadn’t fished much, before trying the honey hole. The water was cold, the sky was overcast, and the air temp was in the 50’s. Not great warm-water fishing conditions.

The fishing was rough – we didn’t get any bumps bites or hook ups in either of the first three spots we tried, even Jason’s honey hole. We headed across the lake to another cove – that was sheltered from the wind, where I knew of some downed brush and timber. The timber pile was void of fish – or willing fish, at least. Then we started catching trout – respectable fish, for stockers. The average trout was about 12″ long, which is pretty decent considering the average fish they dump in to the lake is about 9 inches or so. They were all pretty uniform in size and shape – typical of stocker fish. But they were fish none the less. I get a bit more excited over catching a trout than Jason does – he’d much rather get 10″ crappie than 10″ trout – and I must admit so would I – a 10″ crappie is a much bigger fish, with more meat on them, and they fight harder.

Jason had the magic touch – he was catching 5 fish to my one – using a combo of power bait on one rod, and a Kastmaster spoon on the other. Jason has his 2 rod stamp, and was making good use of it! I was fishing curly tail grubs and Trout Magnet jigs, sometimes tipped with a Berkley crappie nibble, mostly. My other rod was rigged up with either a small micro crank bait, or an in-line spinner. Didn’t get any fish from the spinner or the crank – the jigs was what they wanted from me.

We puttered around the sheltered cove, catching the occasional trouts, spooking the occasional panfish or bass. The water was really high and clear, and the warm water fish had lock jaw.

Eventually we headed back to the honey hole, after the weather cleared a bit, the sun came out, and warmed the water a couple degrees. There was a school of small bass hanging out around the honey hole – so I rigged up the fly rod I brought – my Grigg. I had a different reel and line with me this day – wanting to see how the new 4 weight Cortland Fairplay Rocket Taper line I’d picked up would do. Normally I fish “better”, more expensive lines – the Cortland 333+ and 444+ lines, or Scientific Angler’s Mastery or Professional lines. But I found the Fairplay line for $19.99 and wanted to see how the 4 weight would fish. I’ve used a Fairplay 6 weight before, and it was a decent line. The fairplay lines are full length (82 feet) lines, with a 40′ belly and short front and rear tapers.

Normally I fish a Cortland double tapered 3 weight floating line with the Grigg 4 weight rod. The 4 weight rocket taper line performed great – turning over a double fly rig easily. I was fishing a #12 Goddard Caddis dry as my top fly, and a #12 bead head damsel nymph as my dropper. The bass weren’t having any of it. We eventually worked up into the cove from the honey hole, finding a huge school of mixed species – bass, perch, bluegill, and a few small crappie, balled together near a stump in 8 feet of water. These fish weren’t having anything – my flies, Jason’s jigs, my jigs. Jason cut a chunk off of one fish he’d kept that had swallowed his bait. The little chunk of fish flesh did the trick, and Jason hooked up with a larger trout – which flopped off as he pulled it out of the water. The fish looked to be 15″ easily.

Shortly after Jason lost his trout – I hooked up with a small yellow perch, which was kept for use as crappie bait. We returned to the honey hole, and Jason cut a small chunklet from the side of the perch. We fished the honey hole hard – with one short hook up for Jason, but the fish got off. We were getting discouraged, so we headed for another cove to try, resting the honey hole. The next cove produced nothing, and it was getting late in the day by this point. I promised my wife I’d be home by 6:30, so we would soon have to leave. We headed back to the little sheltered cove on the other side of the lake for a few minutes.

Jason threw out the perch-chunk bait, and began working his Kastmaster. I was fishing my trout magnets tipped with crappie nibbles. Jason’s bait rod doubled over, and the fight was on. He got the fish in – all that effort, all that hard fishing finally paid off, and he was rewarded with a crappie that went over 11 inches. We had to call it quits shortly thereafter.

We’d been rained on, shined on, dealt with wind and calm – Mother Nature was asserting herserlf. I got home and had a notice in my email box from UPS – there was some bad weather in Minot, North Dakota that had caused a delay in the progress of my new fly rod from Cabela’s. The rod was supposed to be delivered yesterday, but the delay has pushed the delivery date back to Monday (since UPS no longer does Saturday delivery). I was a bit disappointed, I’m itching to see how my new rod will cast. I hope the Man in Brown delivers my new rod Monday, like the website promises! Mother Nature just HAD to keep me from having the new rod in my hands this weekend.

In addition to that Fairplay line – I picked up a couple other toys which I’ll be doing a review on after I’ve had a chance to fish them – I picked up a new Cortland CDM mid-arbor 5/6 reel, which I put on my Grigg Heritage glass rod – taking the Argus reel that was on it to use with my new 4 weight. I also picked up a package of Cortland braided loop connectors, to give them another shake. I’ve used loop connectors before, but never was satisfied with them in the past. I want to give them another honest try. I rigged up the new Fairplay line with the loop connections. I messed up the first install attempt – getting the fly line too hot and it melted off. OK, second try was much better. I’ve got 2 more of the loops left, so I may or may not eventually try them out on my other lines. We’ll see how the 4 weight holds up for a while.

I need some more dry fly hooks. I want to tie up more caddis flies for the upcoming OFF Fly Fisher’s Fish In in June, to include a few more Black Goddard Caddis, and some black EHC’s.

I’m also pondering building my son his first fly rod, in addition to his first spinning rod. I’m thinking something short and light for him – like a 5’6″ or 6′ 3 or 4 weight rod. Got to start the boy out with something he can handle, and we’ll probably start his fly fishing off targeting panfish.

When he gets older, maybe he’ll get Dad’s Griggs passed down to him.

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One Comment

  1. Mel / May 15 2011 09:36

    Can't say you guys didn't give it your all. Finally, a nice Crappie reward. Hope the new rod arrives and all is well.

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