Such was the scene the other night. I skipped out on the Clearwater Jazz Holiday (which is one of my favorite events of the year) and went fishing.
We launched right at dark, the water temperature 77F with wind 9-12 knots. Keith was trying out his new ride (Old Town Vapor 10) which is quite a bit lighter than his Cobra.
We paddled to our first set of docks and found feeding fish and darting prey….but that’s about as normal as it was the rest of the night.
I started tossing my standard Clear/Red Flake DOA Shrimp and had a few chases, but after a few casts, I didn’t even get so much as a lean. Changed to a White DOA Shrimp….same treatment – a few chases and a mouth but no takers. Changed to a Root Beer DOA Shrimp…no thanks. I then got out the ole buggy whip and even my EP Shrimp was rejected….tough crowd because that fly looks EXACTLY like a real shrimp.
We were at this same dock with only one fish. Keith had both of his rigs on the dock so we were going to have to blow out the spot anyway. I sat and observed small fry sized bait fish around 2 inches long swimming lazily around….not in a swarm or a school, but in good numbers. The game fish lurking below, looking for a quick meal.
After watching this behavior for about 15 minutes, I switched to a Storm Wild Eyed Shad in Black and Silver that was around the same size and color as the prey and paddled to the next dock. This spot had the same thing going on – feeding fish and skipping bait fish. Had a few hits but no takers. I managed to wrap my fly line around my 2 spinning rods in the holders behind me and spent 15 minutes getting it untangled.
Finally, at the 3rd dock, I picked up a nice 15 inch trout….but on the next cast, wrapped my shad around a post Batman style….Grrrrrrr!
We paddled our way out to the main channel to find another dock and….there…behold….out of the darkness – a light on that was pointing down. I cast my mini – greenback fly over and it gets destroyed by a 25 inch trout! My personal best trout on fly! Of course, in the jumble of trying to juggle fish, fly rod and get the camera out, it came unbuttoned and flopped into the water. (What did I say in my dock fishing article about docks and moving water?)
After catching a few nice trout at this feeding station, we paddled into another inlet and found the same scenario happening. These little fry looked like juvenile snook darting around. A few of these docks were so well lit, we had to change lures on about every 2 casts…and they were wanting to chase it, so a fast, darting retrieve was required.
So a frustrating night with gear problems and tough fish and my personal best trout on fly rod…or the Jazz Holiday? Easy answer! You decide…..
Read more of Rob's Inane Musings HERE