Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Damsel in Distress

If I didn’t have a job there may not be the same level of anxiety and trepidation in planning the fishing for an upcoming day off. Two days a week off the clock is often just enough time to track down some really shitty fishing. Sunburned, dehydrated and fishless…and don’t dare utter the phrase “It’s just good to get out.” We won’t be friends.
The last time I ventured out to one of our local bass ponds I knew that I was probably setting myself up for failure, as I was getting to the pond at noon (mid-day being maybe the worst time of day for Largemouth Bass). As I cleared the final stand of tall grass blocking my path to the bass pond I was greeted by the sight of possibly the most actively feeding body of water I have ever seen. There were dragonflies and damsels zipping around everywhere…and every bass in the pond was going berserker! They were jumping out of the water at every chance. Never, at any given time were there any less than three fish out of the water. I was stoked beyond belief! But, after a dozen casts into the fray and three fly changes with not even a bump…I knew weirdness was afoot. I had cast a baitfish streamer in first just ‘cause I already had it on and figured it wouldn’t matter. Bass this crazy would eat whatever. Wrong. So I quick tied on a big, blue top water dragonfly. Twitch. Twitch. Nothing. Wrong again. Fish still catapulting out of the water all around me. So, I switch to a damsel dry fly. A small bass zips up to it in shallow water…eyeballs my fly for a second…then darts away. What the fuck? Fourth fly I tie on is a tiny (by bass fishing standards) light olive damsel nymph. I make a long cast out onto the pond and see three separate wakes making a b-line for the end of my fly line. But no strike. Screw it. I strip the fly once, fast…BANG! Fish on!
I repeat this for over an hour. Every cast. I go through a half-dozen of the only damsel nymphs I have on me. Either loosing them to fish, or getting them shredded off the hook shank.
Lesson learned. Sometimes you have to fish to the fish, not to the hatch. The damsel flies were not hatching, so there were none of the nymphs in the area…and the bass were attempting to eat them either off the surface, or out of the air. But a super realistic damsel dry fly on the surface did not appear panicked enough to draw the strike. Interesting…

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