I've been slacking with the posts lately, but I should have some more writing time freed up, so let's get back to it.
About a month or so ago, I took the fly rod out after some bass. Working my way far downstream, I passed four other anglers. None of them admitted to catching a fish, which was a little troubling, and my day started off slowly. I was looking for a big bass and was sticking mostly to the bottom. I didn't have a single hit.
Finally, I figured it was time to just catch some 'gills, and hope the bass might show up. I tied on a small popper with a new fly I'd been meaning to try out, Bully's Bluegill Spider. I don't know if if was the fly switch of the sun suddenly coming out, but the hits started. I took a number of fair-sized panfish, mostly on the spider.
Finally, a bass hit. He wasn't a monster, but he was 12 or 13 inches. I hung on through three jumps, and then he burrowed deep. I saw him angle for a boulder and I tried to lead him past it. No luck. I felt the line stick, but could feel a slight throb. The line was snagged on the boulder, but the fish was still on. I've caught fish like this before. I plucked the line, and when that didn't work, I waded out to him. I saw him come loose just before I reached him.
That was my only bass encounter of the day, but I did see a pretty large smallie take a swipe at bluegill I was bringing in. That happened at least once last summer, only a hundred yards or so from this spot. I've got to start throwing some of those bluegill patterns...
Anyway, I couldn't complain. The fishing died completely after maybe an hour, but I had kept plenty busy on a day when no one else seemed to be doing anything. I was optimistic about tying into some bass over 15 inches on that outing, but changing expectations and plans made for a fun day even without the big ones.
If you're interested in the Bully's Bluegill Spider pattern, I recommend (again) Bluegill Fly Fishing and Flies by the Wilsons. You'll get a good pattern, pics, and the story behind the fly, as well as tons of great info on bluegill fly fishing in general.