Success! on shortstrikes... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Success! on shortstrikes...

10-06-2005, 12:43 PM
Yesterday, on the way home I stopped by a tiny little pond next to my neighbor's lot. This pond is ancient with Bald Cypress trees growing around it, which are rare 125 miles from the coast, and is spring fed with a Bass and Bluegill (mostly small and stunted) population in it. Well, with our prolonged drought all the lakes in NC are very low again and the water table has lowered this little pond as well showing the structure and hangups as well as crowding the fish more. So I checked my watch and thought I could put in 20-30 minutes casting before being noticeably late from work. I tied on the same red and white hard popper and cast to where the sunfish were sipping bugs under overhanging willows and such. First cast and I see a rise and small swirl.....wait.....wait.....strip a little ....wait ....nothing. Another few casts later in the same vicinity and a pronounced small SIP! at the fly but no take. must be a small fish, I'm thinking. I scan the pond surface and behind me in what appears to be open deeper water a goodsized swirl happens. I cast right on target and pause.....then twitch.....pause....gurgle....and a rise and swirl and an almost take. At this point I resisted the impulse to trip the hookset trigger and held the rod low and gave a single steady one foot strip and the popper disappeared and the line tightened so I strip set somewhat gently then more snug as the fish bolted. AHAA! GOTCHA! This fish wasn't huge by any means and the playing was not done on the reel but just hauling in and releasing line. Resisting the hookset urge paid off and when the fish came to hand I got a real surprise which I only rarely see due to dirty or turbulent waters. About the last ten feet to the shore, I can see with polarized spex, both the Bass and the popper in the corner of his mouth and the fish is swimming parallel to the bank in about 2 feet of water when up from the darker depths a SECOND, MUCH bigger Bass (maybe 3 pounds to this just under a pound fish) is closing in fast. He wants some of the action too and is agressively seeking an opportunity to attack. As I leaned to release this guy the BIG fish cuts a hard right and heads back to the safety of deeper water. I get all excited and start flubbing hurried casts, and muddied my shoes and got "busted" by my wife when I got home. (she must have smelled fish or pond water or sensed some aura about me). But that's another story. :hihi:

10-13-2005, 09:38 PM
. . . muddied my shoes and got "busted" by my wife when I got home. (she must have smelled fish or pond water or sensed some aura about me). But that's another story. :hihi:

I'm guessing it was the footprints across the kitchen floor :chuckle:


10-14-2005, 10:24 AM
I hope not as we do the shoes off thing at our little farm so possibly it was the aura or the fish smell that did it or just woman's intuition. (that or I REALLY need some new sox)

Anyway the reply from me is because I went back again yesterday after work and caught half a dozen of so 7 inch bluegill on both topwater and sub surface spiders and at quitting time something neat happened.

I thought "one last cast" uh-huh......that's original! lol! and put the spider right under an overhang where some gills were sipping bugs and BANG! I get one and it does OK but I'm shopping for a 4 wt now and reel to have a better time with the smaller fish. So.....I pull in some line and am going to get this last one on the reel and call it quits when the rod tip bends WAY over and the reel knob jumps out of my hand and starts taking out line. WHOA! this little guy just got BIG! Immediately, I realize something HUGE just attacked and ate my little gill. I lift the rod tip and it goes right back down nearly touching the water as the line keeps peeling off and the drag is not quite screaming but is ZZZ-ZZZZ-ZZZZzzz-ing along as I palmed it and the fish is headed for deep water. I pull back fairly hard and turn the fish and get it within 5 yards of shore when it goes limp and I feel the bluegill again doing a little panic swimming. Awwwww.........then WHAM! the big boy gulps the bluegill again and the fight is back on. I already knew this big guy isn't coming to hand since it is not hooked but is only carrying my hooked fish in its mouth. So I pull hard enough to lift the fish from about 5 feet down and see some flash of belly and side of something BIG. Big enough to swallow a 6-7 inch bluegill twice! Not sure if it was a Bass or a Cat because at that point the 8 pound tippet parted and I let out a big laugh. I'm now thinking up a really big fly design that looks like a Bluegill. It is nearly concocted and I'll take a pic of it and post it and if I get lucky the end result after I fish it.
Afterwards, I thought that if I had let the big fish take the gill for a longer time it could have possibly swallowed it completely and then could have fought the fish to hand that way but it didn't happen. Oh well, that's fishing.

10-14-2005, 05:55 PM
Awesome! I've had that happen a few times while using spinning gear but haven't done it on the flyrod yet. Seldom land the fish but it's fun to play around with them.


Wee Hooker
10-17-2005, 08:47 AM
Nice story Fishhead. I've had the exact same thing happen to me on at least 5 occasions that I can recall ( all in same location). In my case it was always a 5#+ bass doing the feeding. In all but one case they grabbed the gill tail first so I could still see my spider sticking out of both their mouths as the bass swam away. In any case, it's REAL hard to hook one in this situation. You'd have to wait and let the bass turn the gill then: a) rip the spider out of the gill or b) let the bass swallow the gill. In the latter case you'd be in danger of gut hooking the big girl so I usually opt ( and fail) at the first method :hihi:
Of course, I generally fish 2 wts for gills so there isn't allot of backbone for hooksetting .
In any case, it's ALWAYS exciting :eek:
FWIW, I think a 7.5'-8.5' 2 or 3 wt is about perfect for messin with gills. It's amazing how much the amplify the fight of those spunky little critters. In the right situations, they will still land big bass too as they really protect that tippet. ( My biggest flyrod bass to date was taken on a 2wt while that bass was chaseing gills!)

10-18-2005, 02:28 PM
Well, believe it or not, it happened again! I stopped again yesterday, same pond was going to try out my newly created Peacock Bluegill fly. I had a black and white spider already tied on and fished it a couple times and on the first bluegill......WHAM! the mystery monster smashes again! This time I let it have some slack and it just cruised around in the deep water in front of me and either was scaling the fish or turning it around to swallow it. Twice the gill escapes and twice the big fish gulped it down. At one point I saw a dorsal fin in the dark pond waters and thought it was a big cat but no after a minute or so I see the bass roll and ID the telltale spotted flanks of Mr. Largemouth. After another few seconds I decide to end the bluegill torture or land the Bass or both and double hand the rod and give it a big heave ho to beach the beast. I filled a bucket and took the bass home for photo-op then took it back to release it. In between the pix and the release it completely swallowed the gill with my spider inside the bluegill. I'm hoping it will disolve with the fishbones and not be the demise of the Bass. I had cut the tippet short and next time will just yank the bluegill away and replace the current fly with my panfish imitation and try to get the bass the RIGHT way. I'm now shopping furiously for a 3/4 weight both for the panfish and because my tiptop snapped during the big adventure.....wahhh! I put a graphite sleeve over the repair but that's just to have something til I get it replaced ASAP. I told my wife and she said just get a NEW one. I will I say and she says what does a nice one cost $1K? CHOKE! uhhh...not quite THAT m-m-m-mmuch I stammer back but this old cheapie could use an upgrade to a lifetime warrantied rod.....boy do I have a great partner!

THE BASS with bluegill tail and tippet hanging out.

The Peacock Bluegill fly intended to use on LM Bass.

10-18-2005, 08:51 PM
Well done! Got a nice bass and an upgrade on the fly rod! So . . . how big was the bass???

Cool fly too. I'll be interested to learn the results of the field tests. It would be a nice addition to the archives if you get a chance to post the pic and recipe there.


10-19-2005, 11:06 AM
The bass was only about 3.5 pounds and was greedier than he should have been as the bluegill it ate was around 6 inches long and at least 4 inches tall making it a good size meal for the hungry Bass.