Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Change of Pace

My buddy Russ gave me a hot fishing tip to a good bass pond so the first chance I got I skipped down there to temp a few bass.  The pond was very shallow so I was able to use a floating line and bass poppers all day and the fish were very very receptive. When I made it to the shoreline and saw bass working in tight to the bank I could tell it was going to be a good day. 

Fishing for bass is a definitely change of pace when compared to trout fishing.  Trout, at least while feeding, tend to move a lot so their fishing tactics revolve around intercepting them while they are prowling for food.  Bass on the other hand are ambush predators waiting for the meals to come to them.  Just visually inspecting the fish suggest their differences.  Trout are slime covered torpedos sculped for swimming long distances with minimal effort, while bass are built like a short roided-out line backer primed to crush anything that comes within sight.

I plopped my popper near the first bass I saw and no sooner had it hit the surface then water erupted as the bucket mouth swallowed my popper.  I continued working down the shoreline tossing my bug beneath the shoreline vegetation.  Some of the strikes I had were simply epic.  The water would swell in a wake toward my popper then the water would erupt....Fish ON!  Others would come and sip the popper off the surface like a trout taking a dry fly.  Others yet wouldn't even break the surface, they would just hover beneath the fly and suck it under the surface and into their large mouths (no pun intended).  Left: definitely a large mouth!

The sight fishing was fun because you could see the bass come up to the fly, inspect it ,and ultimately take it down, but getting bit by unseen bass was even cooler.  If you didn't watch that popper like a hawk, it would disappear and you would miss the strike.  The problem with watching the fly with undivided attention is that sometimes the bass unloads on the fly and scares the shit out of you because you are expecting a subtle take.  You can never tell when the water is going explode with an angry bass tied on the end of your line!  Right: Bass, Bass where are you?

Another difference between trout and bass fishing is the complexity of the flies.  Trout can be fussy at times for fly size, color, profile, action, et cetera.  Conversely, bass just require something to look big and alive even if it is colored like a carnival ride.  Not having to worry about pattern selection, and just covering water makes bass fishing a nice change of pace from trout fishing. Left: One downside to bass fishing is that it wrangling the fish can chew up your digits a little bit....

I had never spent a lot of time bass fishing, which is way my largest bass until fishing this pond was just a bit under 12".  At this pond I caught a number of fish in the 16-20" range, which were big strong toads.  In pressured public waters there are fewer of these large fish and the ones that are there are highly suspicious.  This pond had lots of big dumb fish, my favorite combination!  Places like this really let you know how good fishing could be with catch and release and good management.  Thanks again for the hot spot, buddy!  Right: A nice bass taken from my tube.

OK, maybe just a little more fish porn!  Left: This guy left a wake as he crushed my popper.

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