Met with Prowler around 10:30am to fish a medium river and its smaller trib. Everything up north was partially frozen. As we were gearing up, a local came out and asked what we were up to.
We basically told him we were complete smallmouth nutjobs. We got to chatting about fishing, kayaks, and I asked him if there were any good campgrounds on the river. Dude was pretty cool about it after 15 minutes had sized us up and offered to use his property to camp some time. Gave him an INSA business card and got his cell number for later use. He mentioned one of his hobbies was collecting Indian artifacts and proceeded to show us his arrowheads, grind stones, tommahawks, spear heads. I never realized I was potentially stepping past all this cool stuff. As much as I'm on the water, I'll keep my eyes open. Some of it is quite valuable. Neat.
We went fishing and I put on a demonstration of how not to cast float and fly most of the day. After about an hour, we hit a right angle bend. I finally hooked a 14-15" that lightly nibbled down the float or was it more of a sputter? One fish from that hole that usually produces many. At least smallmouth were going to participate.
We hit a side eddie in a long deeper pool at even higher pool helped by a beaver dam. It was mostly covered in ice. Matt got 2 smallies 11-12" on the float and fly. The action was slow. Fish didn't want the float moving much.
We moved on fishing a small trib, it was a waste of an hour. The river was all frozen up with a 1/4" thin sheet of ice. Tantalizingly thin. We walked back to the car and motored up to another hole I like.
When we finally got there, we caught a double almost immediatley. Matt's was 15-16" and mine was about 14". We sat on that hole and fished it for at least an hour. I got one looked 17"+, slipped out of my hand without a picture. Next cast, I pulled the fly free from a smaller fish. Float barely jumped. Like we were fishing crappie.
Smallmouth bass slowly plow the heavy winter water with an exaggerated snaking body during the fight. Matt was getting bit, his hook pulled free several times. We were both dumbfounded because it is rare to lose any fish on FnF. In our defence, I have never seen smallies hit the fly so wimpy. The didn't submerge the float. The float kind of rocked differently. Twice, I saw fish come off Matt's hook after a solid bend in the rod, I lost one this way too.
Were the fish grabbing the end of the fly beyond the hook? Strange. We did catch a few at the end for all our walking.
3-3 mostly nice fish, which this small river always seems to produce. Too much walking probably cost us some fish.