Posts tagged: Bass
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!
I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting!
Okay let me back up a little here. I’ve been fishing in the San Gabriel Mountains since I was a little kid, and one of the places that I used to love to hike up to was Crystal Lake. The lake has been on lock down since late 2005 due to fires, then rain, then road damage, and now it’s open.
This place holds a special place in my heart. It’s where I caught my first Largemouth Bass as a young boy, and has always made me feel so far away from everything going on in the world.
So enough reminiscing, the point I’m trying to make is that I finally had the chance to make it back up there a couple of weeks ago.
I arrived early in the morning and the parking lot was still closed. So I parked on the side of the road, put my Adventure Pass in the rear view mirror, picked up my Okuma 9′ 5 weight and off I went to relive my childhood.
After about a 1/4 mile uphill hike, I arrived heart racing to see if it still looked the same. As I turned the corner it was like 14 years just rolled back, and there I was 10 years old with fishing gear in hand.
After a couple minutes I remembered that I was there to fish. I tied on a size 12 Beadhead Olive Flash-A-Bugger and after about three casts I was on a fish. I set the hook, the fish fought for a second, and then it came off.
I stood there in shock were there still Bass in here? Plus it fought like a really good one. I sharpened my hook and made sure I had completely mashed down the barb. After my next cast, another hit and another fish off.
I repeated this process about 5 more times with 2 more flies. What was going on? Do these fish have holes in their mouths?
By this time the sun had started to come up, and I decided to switch to a Hopper Dropper Rig.
One cast and I had a decent sized Green Sunfish in hand. This thing fought like a fish 3 times it’s size, and I couldn’t believe the girth for the length of the fish. Well at least the fish were healthy and abundant.
After about 5 Small Bass, 15 Green Sunfish and 1 missed Catfish, I decided to call it a day. People were starting to show up with their dogs and kids. Throwing rocks in the water and scaring away all the fish.
I packed up my rod and reel and started to head out, and as I turned the corner I heard a rustling in the trees and decided to investigate!
There was a small Pack (that’s probably not the right word) of deer, eating acorns (the deer were eating the acorns not the other way around) and moving toward the lake to get a drink of water.
What a day. I am so excited to see this little Lake in such great condition and please if any of you make it up there, pick up your trash and practice catch and release only!
I want nothing more than if I have children, for them to someday be able to enjoy this great little piece of my childhood.
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