Saturday, September 19, 2009

How To Salvage a Fishing Trip

The best laid fishing plans can go awry in a and stream flow are the usual offending suspects. The best way to deal with these is the be prepared with contingency plans. Be sure to take proper flies and rods for fish species other than what you had intended to target. But, more importantly, be EMOTIONALLY prepared to bail on the primary body of water, or fish species, if things have not worked out! I recently had to heed my own advice...

The plans began when TK Connor found some great online reports about wiper fishing just across the border in Nebraska. So, late Sunday night the two of us geared up for an extended "wild wiper chase"...which is usually slightly more futile than a wild goose chase. TK and I swung by a 24-hour Wal-Mart in McCook late at night to get our out-of-state fishing licences...the process took well over an hour and was painful to watch. I got the feeling computer technology was a fairly recent integration into the culture of McCook, Nebraska. So, it was quite late that night before we pulled up to the boat ramp at Red Willow Reservoir. TK slept in the bed of his truck and I claimed some flat real estate under the boat trailer. First light came surprisingly early...and we got the boat in the water before the sun was up. Our sole task was to learn the lake as fast as we could and figure out the wiper. And hope the cold front the night before hadn't put the fish in a funk. Ten hours of hard fishing later, we came to the forced realization that the hot wiper reports were definitely pre cold front...all we had to show for our efforts: two white bass, two largemouth bass and two small wiper (and I do mean 4 or 5 inches!).
We spent another night on the ground and got back at it in the morning. A couple hours into the second day the conditions had not improved... So, now it was well past time to reconsider our options. We could throw in the towel and head back to Colorado with our rods and tails tucked bashfully between our legs...or diversify! Our heavy sink-tip wiper rigs got reeled in and stowed and out came our 6 weight carp rods! TK motored us over to some good looking flats exposed by the low water and we anchored the boat and jumped out into the knee deep water. For the next several hours we stalked and sight cast to 15 to 30 pound carp aggressively tailing in shallow water. They were wise, but not wise enough to resist a well-placed Backstabber carp fly! Every fish took us deep into our backing and we quickly forgot all the futile hours chasing the phantom wipers!
But then it all came a back cove we stumbled into some large pods of shad. These shad were not swimming around content and relaxed like the ones we had been seeing for the last day and a half...they were spastic and scurrying for their lives! WIPER! TK and I raced back to the boat, pulled anchor, switched out fly rods and entered the fray! At long last we were into some wiper! Nothing huge, but the trip was a success...

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