Aug 21 2008 11:18 am
On my favorite little creek about 20 minutes from my house in spring and early summer I do pretty well with a bunny-leech type pattern. In June I manage some fish on a Dahlburg Diver. But upon my return to this river in the late summer and early fall, things change dramatically. Much like last year, lower water and later season means less bulky flies produce and the fish are hot for the top. Meaty looking rabbit strip patterns rarely draw a strike while sparsely dressed, almost needle-like #8 and #10 Clouser Minnows pull them in like Flynn. And loud, hard, white plastic poppers call the fish to the surface the second they hit the water and the thuggish smallmouth strike and miss and strike again until they finally cram the thing in their piggy little mouths.
They’re fat fucks they are.
I’ve fished my favorite little creek quite a bit, but it’s always the same couple miles of water. Why wouldn’t I fish these same few miles of water? I know what to expect. This water is beautiful, far from roads and houses, and has quite a few long, deep, boulder strewn holes that hold many large bass. Though access is a problem. There’s pretty much one place you can get in then it’s wade up the river or the weed and tree choked banks to see more. But that’s what makes it nice I suppose.
I met Brandon Butler the other day. He’s the new fly shop manager at the local outfitters, JL Waters. He also runs Driftwood Outdoors, the headquarters for his outdoors writing and seminars. He seems to be an accomplished hunter and fisherman. He recommended a new stretch of my favorite little creek, one much farther upstream than my usual haunts. Which also means it’s about 10 minutes closer. So I went and fished it yesterday. And did pretty well.
A road runs along much of this reach, but that’s ok. It makes access much easier. I’ll definitely be back to explore some of the holes I found without slogging through the river for half an hour. It’s still mostly wooded with some fallow fields along the banks. And an old car. The water is smaller, with the holes shorter and not as deep as farther downstream. Similarly, I didn’t catch any “large” fish, nothing approaching 18”. In my usual water I almost always catch at least one pig when things are on. Though I did break a fish off yesterday on the hook set. On 8.5lb tippet. So that fish must have been large. Or my knot broke. Couldn’t tell. I did catch fewer Kentucky Spotted Bass here, but just as many Sunfish. Though I managed a picture for Dr. Chandler at the Trout Underground because the Kentucky Spotted Bass is his favorite fish
Either way, the shallower, shorter holes mean large fish hold in more places. I caught a lot of fish at the heads of riffles, just off to the side in eddies created by stumps, boulders, and logs in maybe 6-10” of water. Plop the popper down and WHAM! No need to pop it.
It’s my favorite little creek for a reason.