Category: Lakes Ponds and Reservoirs
Court Dates, Hospital Visits, Long Work Days, the list goes on and on.
That sentence to preface the fact that I’ve been holding onto this great Urban fly Venturing story without the opportunity to actually sit down and get to write about it.
So here goes nothing.
About a month ago in between all that was swirling around me, I found myself with a Monday Morning free from anything on my calendar. It was just waiting there with a big empty circled space, waiting for me to write FISHING in all capital letters.
So guess what it did, that’s right I went FISHING.
Now my only regret is that I cannot share this location with you guys, due to a secret fishing spot swap. All that I’m aloud to say is that it’s a reservoir up in North Orange County, California.
This place definitely lived up to all the hype, and the back and forth emails about how big the Bluegills and Red Ear Sunfish are.
As I backed my truck up to the dead end dirt road. I pulled out my Okuma Guide Series 5 Weight Rod and SLV Fly reel. I laced them up with fly line and grabbed my streamer box.
That’s right I said streamers! Accord to the email bragging, my Hopper Dropper set up was better left in the truck.
I slid down the steep embankment of gravel onto an old cement boat launch, and cast out about 30 feet in front of me. Slowly stripping in line, checking the clear water for any signs of movement.
Strip, Strip, Strip, and all of the sudden I could see a striking flash right by my Minnow imitation. But for some reason there was no strike. This happened about 5 times, and I finally begrudgingly decide to change flies.
I pulled out a Rust colored Bead Head Flash-A-Bugger and started working the fly a little slower letting it sink farther to the bottom with a sudden jerk to imitate a Crayfish or leech moving across the gravel.
This time the flash went straight for my fly, and I was hooked into what I thought was a decent sized Largemouth Bass. But after getting the line within about 15 feet where I was standing, I could see that I was hooked into one of the largest Panfish that I’ve ever caught.
I pulled out my measuring net to land the fish, and picked it up to admire my catch.
Believe it or not (I have the pictures to prove it). I had just caught a 14 inch Red Ear Sunfish! That’s Right, 14 INCHES!
I sat there for a moment with a silly grin on my face, and then snapped back to reality. I still had the fish in hand, so back into the water he went.
Without skipping a beat I moved 10 feet down the bank and cast out. Smack another fish on the line. Then another, and another, and another.
When it was all said and done, I had caught about 13 Sunfish over 11 Inches.
Now that’s a good day fishing. I don’t care who you are, or where you live.
My Time for fishing was up.
So away I went. Back to the meetings, Hospital Visits, and Court Dates. But for a moment, just a moment. I was able to get away from it all, and focus my mind on only one thing.
And that’s why we call it Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!
Smallmouth Bass have, over the past year become my favorite fish to catch on a fly rod.
Unfortunately Southern California is not really known for it’s Smallie destinations.
So the majority of my time is filled with Urban Fly Fishing for Largemouth Bass. They’re fun, they’re, ferocious, and they’re a very interesting fish in their own right.
But, there’s just something about catching their closely related cousin on the other end of a fly line , that makes my heart beat just a little faster!
Now there are a couple Smallmouth opportunities within 2-3 hours of where I live, and when I’m in the area you had better believe that I’m taking the opportunity to fish these waters.
I recently had one such day up on Big Bear Lake.
It was hot, windy, and in the afternoon. Which aren’t really the best conditions to be fishing.
We had just missed the spawn and the fish were coming off their beds, beginning a slow decent back to the deep water that they normally reside in.
So we put on the Sinking tip Fly Line and got into our kayaks to scope out any fish that were still holding in less than 10 feet of water.
It was slim pickins with only a few in sight, so we decided to change direction for the shoreline near a small drop off.
After about 5-10 minutes, I spotted a large Bass holding at the back end of a weed line in about 7 feet of water. It was skimming the bottom with it’s tail up and nose combing the vegetation.
So I tied on a Rust Colored Weighted Bead Head size 10 Flash-A-Bugger and after two casts and a couple of nervous twitches from the fish, he turned on my fly and I set the hook!
The fight was on, and this Bronzeback wasn’t about to give up anytime soon. With 5x Tippet on, I was careful not to put too much pressure on him. I have had my line snapped by a good shake of the head by many decent sized Bass.
After about 10 minutes of my reel screaming and a few jumps that made me think I was going to loose this beautiful fish, he was in my (measuring) net, all 19 & 1/2 inches of him.
The Lip Scale weighed him in at just under 4 pounds. That right there was the largest Smallmouth Bass I had ever, and probably will ever catch!
Which is a very good Smallie considering that the lake record is just over 5 pounds.
It doesn’t get much better than that, and that’s why we call it
Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!
For me Urban Fly Fishing has never really been about catching fish.
It’s about the challenge. The Casting, The presentation, and well I guess it’s a little about catching fish.
Urban Fly Fishing has been the one activity in my life that has allowed my brain to completely focus in on what is going on at that exact moment.
It’s Peaceful, Serene, Relaxing. It’s just simply Fly Fishing, and that’s what makes it so special for me.
Every moment anticipating the next strike. Trying to figure out what the fish wants. It’s like a Chess Match that takes me outside the world that I currently reside in.
I had such a moment in Big Bear over Memorial Day Weekend with my fishing buddy Dan.
We had a chance to get away from the wives to get in a few casts over at Boulder Bay.
The Sun was starting to set over the mountains and the water glistening, as fish unloading on bugs skimming the surface.
Every cast produced a fish, and many to our surprise were decent sized Black Crappies. Or as a buddy of mine so affectionately refers to them “Stubbies”.
Beautiful fish, Beautiful Surroundings, and a Fly Rod. What more could a fisherman ask for.
It was truly one of those great life experiences.
I just pray that my next Fly Fishing “Adventure” is filled with such excitement.
That’s why we call it Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!
Most of you already know that Big Bear Lake is where my beautiful bride and I escape to when we are short on time but long on needing to get away fast.
Big Bear fills the bill in a whole lotta ways as far as being a true source of re-creation for us with the schedule we generally have to keep.
But, we don’t get up there as much during the winter because we’ve gotten snowed in a couple of times and things get a little testy when we have to call our clients and try to explain that we have to re-schedule their appointments because we are hunkered down in the cabin (…with the fireplace roaring away…and hot chocolate simmering on the stove … and the radio playing softly in the background…) trapped behind glistening snow drifts which won’t be plowed until at least the next day.
Anyway, the weather has been kinda wet and crummy the last few days and the streets are filled with insane holiday shoppers zipping about from mall to mall and the fishing has been just plain lousy so I’ve been spending a little time hunkered down in the “man cave” cleaning up some of the files on my computer. While looking through some picture files, I came across some shots I had taken a couple of months back during one of our get-aways to Big Bear.
The last time I wrote about Big Bear Lake, it was to let you know that there is a new fly fishing shop up there on the Fawnskin side. And while I was waxing poetic about being able to walk into a shop and instantly revert to “kid in a candy store” status, I forgot to mention that there have been some big changes up there on the lake itself.
The biggest change is, of course, the building of the new dam. The venerable and aesthetically pleasing arched dam that has served so well for so long just doesn’t meet current seismic or traffic load requirements so a new dam is being built just downstream.
(As an aside: There is nothing like the sound of solid granite being dynamited to get your heart beat into the aerobic workout range really quickly – especially when you forgot what time it was scheduled to happen.)
When completed sometime next year, the dam and re-routed road way will have improved traffic flow for motorists driving the “front way” into Big Bear and better water regulation capabilities for water users down the hill.
Since the area immediately adjacent to the dam is already closed to boat traffic, I’m not sure what effect it will have on fishing. I suspect that the shoreline around the dam will become much more pleasant to fish as you will not have vehicles rumbling past quite so close to your head.
Another change to the Lake is at the park over in Boulder Bay.
I like Boulder Bay. I have spent many a pleasant early morning flyfishing there while enjoying my morning coffee and watching the sunlight play on the rocks as it rises in the sky.
If you position yourself just right, “the modern world” sort of melts away and there is an ageless beauty to the Bay that can be described well enough but can really only be experienced to fully understand it.
Apparently, lots of people like Boulder Bay as it is rumored to be the most photographed place on the Lake. In any event, the park there has been upgraded with new picnic tables, a gazebo, improved walking paths and…a fishing pier.
Now, I’m not so sure how I feel about a utilitarian metal and recycled plastic structure jutting out into the middle of this beautiful Bay but the last time we drove over there, there it was.
It will most certainly up the number of photographs taken of the Bay as it allows you to get out and away from the shoreline and closer to those picturesque boulders that every kid wants to climb on and every tourist wants to photograph.
There are signs posted on the pier warning against overhead casting but, then again, there are signs on every pier I have ever been on that warn against overhead casting. Officially, that pretty much puts a damper on fly fishing unless you happen to be an exceptional roll caster or maybe a spey caster.
But, as with most such things related to the urban fishing mindset, a careful consideration of the situation may find me out there some early morning in the not-too-distant future testing heretofore unreachable sections of the Bay with a nice black or olive wooly bugger… I’ll even have a level place to set my coffee cup down should I hook on to a nice, fat trout.
Hmmm, I guess I just took a little mental trip up to my favorite get-away.
I feel better already.
I love this addiction called urban fly-fishin’.
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