Tag Archives: Bass

Last Best Streams: #855.

It’s a headwater tributary of a stream I’ve fished before, notable for tall bluffs and sparse development, excellent water quality and rare plants.  Forty miles long and smaller than it should be, the stream lends its water through underground channels to feed springs further downstream.  The fishing’s alright for little smallmouth that like brown woolly buggers.   These guys, limited by food and space, can be eight inches long and three or four years old- not runts, just perfectly suited to their home.

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Wednesday Night Ties: restocking the bass box.

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How I learned to stop worrying and embrace the Tampon Fly.

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I like the Meat Whistle because it has a lot of movement in the water and it sinks fast, knocking against rocks and looking reasonably like a crayfish or madtom or sculpin.  The fish only like the Meat Whistle a little.

I like the Hairy Mary because it’s easy and looks reasonably like a half-drowned dragonfly.  But the fish would only sit underneath the Hairy Mary, looking sullen, then depart.

I like the Home Invader because, aside from the lead eyeballs, nearly all the materials can be found in a farm lot.  I like the homespun look of the coyote fur collar.  I like that with pale yellow marabou, some gold and pearl tinsel flash, and barred ginger hackle you can make them look almost exactly like one of the thousands of stonerollers grazing Ozark stream bottoms.  But only dinks chased the Home Invader today.

The Tampon Fly is none of those things.  It looks like nothing; it just wiggles.  It casts like a sack of dead kittens and takes ages to reach its destination.  It’s dumb to tie.  There is no jarring strike or surface explosion.

But it works.  And sometimes, when nothing else will- that’s good enough.

 

 

Wednesday Night Ties: Swap flies.

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It’s an odd thing, tying flies for strangers all across the country and getting a dozen or so in return.  Time and tedium accumulate, as you crank out one after another as close to identical as you can- and mine aren’t nearly so nice as the articulated deer-hair concoctions others will make.

It’ll all work out, though.

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Jumping the Gun.

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Water warms slower, and I know when I see the empty parking lot I’m early.  Too early.  The big, gravid females move first, and I’m still too early for that.  Maybe the fish are stacked up at the mouth, waiting for the first warm spring rain to ascend.  That doesn’t help me.

So I walk the banks and wade shallow riffles looking at the empty hulls of long dead freshwater mussels.  They fish, too.  These living stones house their young in envelopes of flesh that mimic prey, twitching them on the stream bottom, enticing fish to bite.  The larval mussels clamp down on gills and fins, getting a free ride upstream or down.  It’s as bizarre and fragile as anything you’d see in the Africa or the Amazon; Attenborough should narrate.

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Wednesday Night Ties: Smallmouth goodies.

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Wednesday Night Ties: Found objects.

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I told myself I’d tidy the tying table in stages, sorting everything and working through the pile of hooks and materials that had accumulated during the cold months.  Tonight it was bass bugs- from top to bottom, stuff that will hopefully draw a few smallmouth come May.

 

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