Made it on my favorite flow for a wade only trip about 10 am Tuesday morning. With the early start, early for this time of year as it turns out, I was on the water before the fog lifted. Wanting to work the runs and flats and started on one my favorite spots with these features. Since I knew an early bite was unlikely this time of year, I started out with an unweighted Brown Bugger on a drop shot rig. I was trying this in hopes of suspending my fly just off the bottom so I could work slow and deep without all the hang ups of fishing a weighted pattern. It pretty much worked as advertised, allowed me to scrape bottom very methodically, (once I figured out too much shot still caused all the hangups) and I caught a hard-fighting 12" smallie and a large rock bass in the first hole.
As the sun started to break through I was hoping an all day bite was about to occur, but nothing doing. Fished that area until about 1:30 and only caught another 4" dink and had a huge trout chase my Clouser. I wasn't too discouraged at this point, as I usually expect a 2:00 bite. I took a quick break and moved to my favorite spot that always produces for me.
I waded out into my favorite hole, with water being perfect with just a slight stain. This hole is a large flat with some nice pockets, all with great cover and a rocky bottom. After fishing it for an hour or so, I was beginning to get concerned that theory was right about the fish population being lost during the hurricanes. I was fishing a Brown Bugger again and I usually catch a bunch of rock bass in this hole and I wasn't even getting a nibble. Finally at the head of the pool, I went to a Pearl Bugger, which imitates a pearl grub and always catches something on the LT. I was letting it swing down river and finally got another smallie of about 10". It was about 3:30 and I had planned on heading downriver to the next good set of holes.
As I looked down that way I saw a smallie bust in the tail out of the pool I was on. I also noticed it was like someone had switched on a light because the river started to look more alive. Damsel flies were starting to appear as well as some caddis and mayflies. As waded into position I began to notice more baitfish and carp, which didn't seem to be around in the same numbers earlier. I then proceeded to catch what I believe to be the smallie that busted and 6-7 more in the last 2 hours, with a couple going 12-14." The largest one even had a partner following him that was a bit bigger, but didn't want to bite after seeing me. Swinging the Pearl Bugger downriver did the trick and I even ended the day catching a few juvenile fish off the bank with a topwater pattern. Lesson learned, late summer don't go too early as there is obviously a late day bite only. If I could have stayed later, I'm sure I would have increased my numbers for the day and even caught a few more of those fiesty 1.5 lbers. I love. I'm a little concerned still, not catching many rock bass worries me a bit. But, I was fishing a crawfish pattern and the theory goes that bass become weary of crawfish late in the season because of their fresh, hard shells. Even though, if there's anything to the migrating fish legend, the fishing next spring should be good as always. I like the theory that with the juvenile population being down, bigger fish will be caught.
Sorry to be so long-winded, but I just haven't had the opportunity to report a decent smallie outing in quite a while. . .
Nice report and thanks for sharing it with us.
sounds like a winner to me.... nice report, thanks for sharing...