Continuing on with the “catching up” saga, we come to a trip I took a few weekends ago. Did a five mile float with a fellow Coosa Kayak owner. We both fly fished the whole trip and had a great day. We ended up with 20 smallies between the two of us. My partner and I tangled with many smallies in the 12-14 inch range. I was lucky enough to catch three smallies that were real beauties:
The two pics below are of the biggest fish of the trip…................just a shade under 19 inches:
And here is a funny picture. I am always looking for ways to take different camera shots. This shot just came to me, so we gave it a shot:
All of my largest fish came on these two flies. The first is a streamer that I make to imitate the gizzard shad that live in the river. The fly looks a little tore up in the picture as it has caught quite a few fish the last few trips to the river.
The second fly that caught two of my largest fish is a topwater fly made by stacking deer hair to create a bulbous head that pops on the surface:
Looks like it is going to be a hot weekend. Usually, high heat on the river turns into an incredible amount of smallie action. High heat does not bother me on the river. I just bring plenty of water and also, when I get too hot, I just take a swim…..............works wonders.
AS ALWAYS….................HAIL TO THE SMALLIE
A few weeks ago I guided Pat McKinley and Ken Black. They chose to take one of my “trophy trips”. My trophy trips take place on a different river where the bronzebacks run much larger than those typically found on the Vermilion.
We floated about 4 miles. Water was low and very, very clear. Our game plan was simple…...............be very stealthy (staying a ways back from fish-holding areas) and throw large baits that would appeal to larger smallies. After a few hours of trying different baits and catching a few fish here and there, I tied on a Zoom Fluke for Ken and the fish began to respond. The Fluke caught fish, but the larger smallies were proving elusive. We could see the big boys come out of their lair and chase the fluke, but they would not close the deal.
Ken and Pat were able to hook some smaller fish in and around 14 inch mark, but we wanted the big ones. Finally, Ken had his chance. A big smallie crushed the fluke and the fight was on. The big bronzie immediately came out of the water and then bull-dogged his way into an old rusty pipe that was laying on the bottom of the river. We had no idea that the pipe was open on one end. We could see the pipe on the bottom, but never imagined that it was open and a hooked smallie would head right for it. Sure enough, this fish went right inside the pipe and upon getting inside the pipe, Ken’s line rubbed up against the rim of the pipe and you know the rest of the story. After the break-off, we watched the fish swim out of the pipe, jump, and eject the fluke. Though he did not land the fish, the whole ordeal was quite exciting.
Ken did manage to catch this fish…...............not too shabby:
Ken and Pat ended up with 21 smallies landed. The fluke did most of the damage. While we saw quite a few big, big smallies, it was really tough to talk them big boys into striking. Those big bruisers are just like big Whitetail bucks….........they are very cautious in low, clear water conditions.
AS ALWAYS…..................HAIL TO THE SMALLIE
Back in early August I booked a trip with Austin Adduci on the Kankakee River. My buddy, Jim, was supposed to go with, but prior commitments reared their ugly head, so I went by myself. Austin has a drift boat and specializes in fly fishing for river bronze. His guiding service is called Grab Your Fly Charters. http://www.grabyourflycharters.com .
Austin and I floated about five miles and I beat the water to a froth with my six weight and seven weight fly rod. Early on I missed a few fish and mis-casted to a few others. Then, around lunch time, I got it together and began to connect with some fish:
Then this bad boy came calling…..........................19 inches of pure bronze fury:
This fish was hooked in fairly fast water and put up a great fight on the six weight fly rod.
All toll, I landed about ten smallies on my trip with Austin. We saw many, many more smallies, but often those fish were spooky and would not commit. The fly of choice was one of Austin’s craft hair minnows.
Definitely plan to fish with Austin again next season.
AS ALWAYS….......................HAIL TO THE SMALLIE