Monday, March 2, 2009

Kayak out of drydock- smallmouth bass nuts for fly jigs 3-2-09

I have been obsessing about one particular pool on my favorite small river. The pool has a riffle upstream and one side is rock cliff with a residence up top. Now the stream is navigable. However, sometimes I just get the feeling I'm in someones backyard. Last thing I want to do is surprise someone on foot. Being in the boat makes me feel better about this. Plus, the pool is really hard to fish without a boat.

I have never hit this pool in the winter until today. Sunny, 24F with 10-15 mph winds. I could see down 3-4' but could not make out much detail.

I decided to kayak down to the hole and maybe a couple below. The flow was just right to be an easy, safe float. Still brought a change of clothes and heat packs in a dry bag just in case. I would drag/wade back up to the car.

Fly bite was off when I arrived at 12:30. Managed a smallmouth bass dragging the black tube. Left and floated down to the target pool. The pool is 75 yards long by 30-35 yards wide. Riffles above and below. Bedrock bottom and gets down 4-5' deep in spots with plenty of large, round river rock. Current generally flows by the cliff face side. I tried this side first as there were eddies caused by sycamores. Nothing there. Took the opportunity to eye up the bottom along there.

Drifted over to the larger eddied side caused by the rock at the head of the pool pushing the flow up against the cliffs on the left. In the middle of the drift I lobbed a long cast to some slack and the float dunked. Fish. To say they were on, would be an understatement. In the next 2 hours, I caught 21 smallmouth bass and 3 rock bass drifting the fly 3-4' down through slow current. My camera battery crapped out so I didn't photo the nicest fish. The largest was 18.5" with 5 more 16.5-17.5". Bass zigged and zagged everywhere, floats dunked again and again.

It was really cold. I finally gave up and had to leave. The bass had splashed water on my fleece gloves so my hands were cold. My rod guides had been freezing up. Ice was forming on my line. Wind was right in my face the whole time. My anchor line froze to the cam cleat when deployed for a long period of time. The anchor wouldn't stick to the cam cleat once ice formed in the ridges. Smallies made up for all the hassles.

On the drag back, I hit the first spot, catching 2 more smallmouth bass on the fly jig. Then 2 more in the hole above the bridge.

In 4.5 hours, I landed 26 smallmouth bass (18.5, 2 17-17.5", 3 16.5"-16.99", about a dozen from 14-15") 3 rock bass.

Must have looked silly to people with a orange kayak on top my car in 24F temps.

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