Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bass on the Fly (On the Golf Course)

It occurred to me that I had not broke out the fly gear since last fall. More importantly, it also occurred to me that I had never caught a respectable bass on the fly rod. Today was a day to amend that. Hot, muggy, windless Sunday evening. Perfect. I grabbed my box of poppers and paleolithic-looking flies. 

On the way there, I came across an interesting phenomenon: A line of dead plants advancing on fresh, green ones. Everything on the dead side was completely dead, while the other side had the very opposite. Odd... perhaps a disease?

 A couple casts in and I picked up a little bass. Funny story,actually. I had popped the fly all the way back, swung my rod back, and there was a little largemouth on the end, who just went along on the ride of his life!

After that, I saw a big bass (NJ standards), probably about 2-3 lbs looking at my fly. I twitched it and the bass crushed it. It's an epic experience, watching a fish come up and smash a topwater lure right at your feet. The fly couldn't have been more than 2 yards away from me. Unfortunately, after a lengthy fight, the fish dove into the weeds and I hauled up 5 lbs of weeds instead of 3 lbs of bass...

I caught a few more small bass (but still bigger than the first), all putting up great fights on the 5 wt.

After a flurry of little bass , I decided to try my luck at bluegills. Using a homemade cricket fly, I put a beating on some nice bull bluegills. The fly is actually quite rudimentary, but It leaves a nice silhouette in the water and the big gills crushed it with reckless abandon. 

After a smattering of nice bluegills, I decided to try my luck on a rocky flat On the other side of the pond. The sun was setting, and I figured the golfers would be long gone. I walked over, tied on a bass popper to my tippet, and set upon casting. Let me tell you, those poppers are far from aerodynamic and required some muscle in the casting. My arm was quite tired when I returned home. 

Almost immediately a big bluegill inhaled my fly. I have no idea how he ever fit that in his mouth.. :)

There were a lot of bass on this flat, and I was immediately getting big splashes and bites, but one of the hardest things for me to do in fly fishing is set the hook. I missed much more fish than I would like to admit, but I did land around 5 at the flat. 


A decent NJ golf course Largemouth

Right in the corner

A pretty nice bass

Another one

And a fat belly, too!

After a few more missed strikes, there was an enormous SPLOOSH and my fly disappeared. I set the hook and a battle was on. It was atcually quite a lengthy fight, these things do pull on a 5 wt!

It was getting dark, the crickets were chirping, and bullfrogs started their mating calls creating a chorus in the last rays of the sun. The mosquitoes were out in full force, and satisfied with the outing, decided to call it a day.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Neshaminy Creek Microfishing

NEWS UPDATE: My family will be moving to Bucks County, PA in August, so prepare to see more reports from there. I will also be going to a Private College Prep school, so there will be less reports in total for the next 4 years.  

Today my family and I headed over to visit our new house in Bucks County. After looking around and dropping off some things, we headed to the nearby (and popular) Tyler State Park. It has great facilities, and best of all, Neshaminy Creek runs right through it.

While most of my family went canoeing, my grandpa and I went fishing in Neshaminy Creek, in the pool directly downstream of the pedestrian bridge. With some size 10 hooks and redworms, I immediately caught plenty of small fish.

Green Sunfish, Creek Chubs, Redbreast Sunfish, and Rock Bass were among those caught. There were also some nice smallmouth in this creek, but I didn't bother with them, giving my more limited time. Anyways, I would have plenty of opportunities once I move!

I switched to a tanago hook with a tiny nub of worm to try microfishing. By the way, If you want to try Microfishing, Chris at tenkarabum is your guy. It is the only place in the US with specialized microfishing gear, (from japan) and the service is excellent. My stuff arrives in 2 days with a free sample of fly tying yarn!

The first fish I caught, after some research, was deemed as a Swallowtail Shiner. (species #45)

I caught tons of what I thought were also the same species, so I only took photos of one other, which also turned out to be another lifer, the spottail shiner! (species #46) In hindsight, I should have examined each one carefully, they could have been bridled, ironcolor, comely, or another tiny, hard to identify shiner.

The spottail:

I also landed a lot of unidentified Cyprinella (either satinfin or spotfin shiner), that I didn't bother to ID because they were juveniles. Luckily, I didn't need too, as you find out shortly.

The highlight of the trip was some larger micros that were darting around in the small pool. There was only about 8-12 of them, but they had brilliant white fins and blue-purple iridescence. I thought that these were all satinfin shiners, and I got really exited, having never had the opportunity to catch colorful/ spawning micros. They were not especially in feeding mode, unlike the hordes of smaller shiners, and they would often attack the split shot. So I put a larger nub of worm to try to catch one, with a group of excited six year-olds with dipnets shouting that they saw a "white fin shark" at my back. I hooked some 3 times, but they fell off the hook each time as I was lifting it up. On the fourth try, I finally landed one!!!

The pictures really do not capture the iridescence of the fish. It positively glowed with purple, blue, silver, and turquoise. Also it you look closely, you can see small tubercles on its head - it felt like sandpaper when I touched it!

Upon further investigation at home, I counted 8 anal fin rays, making this a Spotfin Shiner!!! (species #47). I spent the rest of the time targeting the white-fins, and landed one more. This one had more white fins and a stronger blue hue. Counting the anal fin rays, (9) I determined this one was a Satinfin Shiner!!! (species #48)

These Shiners ere absolute beauts in the hand. I got both Cyprinella species in the Delaware River drainage, so I didn't have to bother with identifying the tiny juveniles. Now, when I move, catching all the fish in PA instead of NJ may be impossible... :)

Meanwhile, My gramps was putting a beating on sunfish and chubs, catching more than 50! Other micro species caught but not photographed were banded killifish and common shiner.

In between tiny micros, I felt a tug and set the tanago hook, and after a lengthy fight, I landed the largest fish I have caught with a tanago hook; a redbreast sunfish. I'm still amazed that the tiny hook held!!!

If you look closely (and click the pic to biggenize), you'll see a microscopic hook and .75 lb test.

Where I fished the Neshaminy... God I love summer!!!

I'm getting awfully close to 50 species...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Another Hour Logged on the Golf Course

Whilst I was waiting for an hour while the realtor was showing our house to potential buyers, I decided to take my little sister and my grandparents (visiting from china) to the golf course.

First I set up a worm and bobber for my sister, and gave a few casts to make sure everything was working fine. Because of my good intentions, I got rewarded with a nice pumpkinseed. This one was had a triple red ear spot!
It looked almost like a ring buoy!

I decided to tie on a large chatterbait that I got a while ago but never actually tried. The first time a saw a chatterbait fished was with Al, and the thing was loud!!! I thought it would attract bass, but then I didn't use it. After only half a dozen casts, the thing got smashed by a decent bass. And it was a BIG chatterbait!

My sister wasn't feeling too well, and left to sit in the shade before she caught any fish. My grandpa also caught a pumpkinseed, and I left with a tiny bass that bit a senko its length, as well as a nice bluegill.

I also finally got a good picture of the giant 30 lb+ koi that lives in the golf course pond. There is only one, probably released when a pet got too big. No one has ever been able to catch it...