Monday, February 28, 2011

Being Called a Purist

Being Called a Purist
Sunday, February 13th

 We were to meet Dan on the Little J for some February trout fishing. Jim picked me up at 7:00 am for this excursion. Jim brought a friend who had never fished the Little J but was anxious to give it a try. During the near 2 hour drive we discussed fly fishing, techniques, and patterns which I always turned the conversation to dry fly patterns and dry fly action. Off the Woodland exit we stopped at a little store to take a break. I had been tying dry midge patterns for the past few weeks for Montana fishing in April. Dan had said that there may be some midge activity on the water surface so I decided to take some along. I didn’t bother putting them in a fly box and just carried them in small bead boxes I had kept them in as I was tying. When we sat down in the small store I showed the black midges, Bivisibles, and cluster midges to Mark.

 On the way towards Phillipsburg Mark pulled out a fly box approximately 7”x 4” that was double sided filled with nymph patterns. They were neatly bunched together, side by side, like Sunday pews on Christmas day. There had to be 250 nymphs at the least. Maybe 10 to 12 of each pattern. He took a few out and shown me some with neatly woven bodies. I couldn’t imagine how long it took to tie just one let alone a whole bunch of them. I realized then that he was a dedicated nymph fisherman. I’m not sure how many nymphs one goes through in an outing but that sure is a lot of underwater bugs.
 Nearer to Tyrone Mark took out another fly box of the same dimensions. Again nymph patterns were side by side. With these I seen a few rubber legged foam sandwich hoppers he said he used for indicators with a dropper. The nymphs were a little more colorful and plenty with beads. It reminded me of the ladies at Easter morning mass displaying their new spring collection. They looked so pretty I’d be worried about getting the darn things too dirty if they were mine!

 We parked along route 453 and stood for a while, looking over the water, waiting for Dan to show up. I took out my only nymph box, a #66 Perrine, and opened it up to show Mark my nymph collection. I should have been embarrassed but I wasn’t. When I opened it, it looked like the guys were having a drunken party. They were in no such order and a few of them were just lying around unattached from the hidden springs. If they could talk I’m sure they would have been hollering, whooping it up not like Mark’s which would have been as solemn as an opening prayer. I told Mark this was the only nymph fly box I had. This is when he called me a purist!!!

 After Dan showed up we followed him downstream a piece and parked along the river. While the others were assembling their rods Dan handed me the 9’ 4wt. ’Big Sky’ rod. It felt very light in my hand. I attached an LLBean #1 reel to the reel seat with 444DT line. I went upstream to test the rod while the others went downstream. From the rocky shore I roll cast the line, quite easily, out into the open water. I worked my drifts, high-sticking, and followed my indicator with the rod tip. I wasn’t paying as much attention of my nymph fishing as I was searching the water for risers. When I looked down for the indicator it was being pulled downstream below the surface. I hurriedly lifted the rod to set the hook and only felt a slight resistance before the line went slack. I got a glimpse of the shiny side of a rainbow as it rolled and disappeared. This got me to pay more attention to my nymph fishing the rest of the day.
 I glanced downstream and Jim was nymphing in a run of water just below where we parked while Dan and Mark were down further fishing a riffled run. It didn’t take very long before I connected with a brown trout so I pretty much stayed put trying to coax another. After a bit I looked downstream again and noticed Dan pulling trout out where Jim had just vacated. When Dan came up to where I was, Mark started to fish in the area Dan vacated and he too connected with a couple of trout. I eventually ventured downstream for some new scenery and hopefully to find some risers. Around a bend I caught sight of two subtle rises. One was in the shallows near the shore line in gin clear water just below me while the other was beneath a tall overhanging branched tree in a tricky current flow. I tried for both but they failed to be tricked by my dry midge. I ended up catching one more brown trout on a nymph before heading back up stream for lunch.

 We ate a sandwich while passing on some stream info and giving micro beer reviews. I had a few cans of beer I’ve wanted to get rid of and passed them out to the guys. Dan passed around a bottle of Basil Hayden’s and I shared my flask of Goldschlager. Needless to say it was the best lunch I’ve had in a long time.

 Our next stop the guys headed downstream to fish more flowing water where as I went upstream to the slower water. I had my G2 Scott rod in my hands now in hopes of finding some risers beneath the afternoon sun. I wasn’t seeing any so I continued to nymph my way upstream. The other fellows soon joined me but the fish just weren’t cooperating so we got into the vehicles and drove to another section of water that I just so happen to be more familiar with.

This put us in a section that gets a lot of fishing pressure but the section is wide and deep so I was sure we’d find some takers. I crossed the river while the other three worked from the near side. It wasn’t long before Dan started hooking up with those bubble lipped scaly browns. He’d bounce his secret fly along the bottom; the rod would bend downward as he would set the hook. The tip didn’t dance about like a hooked trout. It was just a tug and a pull thing that eventually got a bubble lip landed with few escapes. Mark even joined in a few times and netted the scaly things trying to make the whole ordeal look more prestigious.
 After some time Mark eventually ventured downstream for faster water. I hooked into a nice female rainbow, with a nymph, but because of the cold conditions it wasn’t much of a fight. Meantime Dan was still hooking into those bubble lips. After he cleared some of them out of the way he started to hook into some real brown trout now and then. When Mark came back upstream to join us is when I noticed a couple of bats darting about above the flat section down from where we were standing. This was my cue and besides that it seemed like the right time to enjoy a cigar. I slipped the Helix Maduro from the tube and, cupping my hand to avoid the breeze, lit the end. The tightly wrapped cigar tasted a little stale at first but I got used to it quickly and it wasn’t so bad after all.
 I crossed the creek and slowly waded my way down towards the flat water while nymph fishing. The two bats were diving sharply towards the water, gliding just above the surface and than tap the water before rising up into the air again. They’d leave an expanding swirl upon the water that was hard to tell if a fish rose if I weren’t looking. I was continuing my nymph fishing half-hazardly while searching the water for any surface rise. The setting sun’s rays glazed off the smooth water surface and a gentle riffle ¾ the way across the river. Snow covered the streamside banks while tree shadows lay upon the water surface. At one point I seen a swirl and didn’t notice the bats presence near by. I got a chill down my spine as I nipped off the nymph and knotted on a piece of 7x tippet to the 6x tippet and about 8 feet of tapered leader. I took out one of my bead boxes and tied on one of my #22 Para-black midge patterns. The Scott G2 easily and gracefully looped the 5WF line and leader forward. It laid the line upon the water with smoothness. I continued to softly lay a slack line down letting the midge drift, drag free, downstream. It was hard to see my fly because of the glare but I kept my vision within the vicinity where I figured my fly to be.
Than it happened!
 I saw a trout nose break the glass surface of water. I wasn’t sure how much slack was in my leader, and with the #22 midge, I didn’t want to force the hook set back too harshly. I lifted the rod quickly and, as the fly line lifted off the water, I wristed back on the cork grip. I felt the resistance and felt the soft rod tip flex towards the diving fish.
“Oh ya, got one” I hollered out to the others.
“Got’m on a dry” I added cheerfully
 With the rod held high I brought in the tight line with my left hand until the 10” brown trout shook near my waders. I lifted him and detached the hook from the tip of his mouth and than released him back into the cold water.
 After that, for the next 5 minutes or so, I cast aimlessly hoping for another rise. Surprisingly another trout sprung out of the water attacking my midge as if it was going to emerge from the surface. I wrist back but failed to hook up with the air born fish. I wasn’t too upset because I knew it was harder to hook an active, aggressive trout on a #22 midge pattern. I find it a lot easier to hook ones that are sipping instead.

 It’s been a long day and I could see Jim and Mark were ready to head back. Mark was standing just behind Dan who was continuing to bottom feed the bottom feeders. Jim was drifting nymphs upstream without success. There wasn’t anymore risers I could find and besides that my cigar was smoked out.

 Back at the vehicles Dan got out a few other sample rods and Mark and I cast a couple with a new Cortland series of line. Dan demonstrated how well the line shoots out of the guides by casting the full length out of the rod tip. I got a look at the new Diamondglass 6’6” glass rod and when I seen the new, precious looking, Flawless rod I knew I better turn and walk away before I started to pull out bills.

 It was a great break to trout fish with a few friends. Nice fish, nice water and nice sampling a few new series of rods. Not without mentioning, this purist, catching a trout on the dry in February!

_____________________Make‘m rise ~doubletaper

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beasts of the Dark Waters

Beasts of the Dark Waters
Feb. 19th, 2011

 It was as if I was entering the world of mythical adventure. Though I was in the open arena of earth the wind blew across the tree top mountains and conveyed a haunting sound. It was the sound as heard when the wind blows through air passages in a winding tunnel. The air was stale, void of smell, and cold, flesh stinging at times. Crusted snow laid upon the forest ground and mountainous hillside. I dressed boldly to fear off the elements. As if with my own mythical weapon, a Hardy 7’ Demon, we crossed the ice covered lane and entered the Realm of the Black Moshannon.

 The water flows along over fallen logs, rocks and pebbled shallows, like any small creek known to man, but it runs dark. Yes dark, like Godiva liqueur, with the streambed only visible in the very shallows. Laurel, from the bank sides, branch outward with thick limbs and leaves waiting to take a hold of any air born object that draws near. Drooping pine boughs create cover for any holdover aquatic life. Sun rays bleed through the hovering gray clouds lighting my presence as if in a cavern lit by flickering torches. All the while snow flakes fall softly like white ash from the aftermath of an active volcano.
 I enter the dark water cautiously as my cleated boots grip the uneven stony bottom. I look downstream and the heavy canopy encloses the creek like an underground cistern guarded by living plant walls. I attach a brown hare’s ear to my 6x tippet below an indicator. I roll cast and the line falls, unrolling softly, upon the slow flow of water. Each cast is deliberately further out towards the opposite bank. My fourth drift and my indicator dips swiftly and I raise my weapon, the tip section bows downward. I feel the pull of the creature below and the rod shaft flexes into the mid section with force, I must let tensioned line slip through my finger tips. The creature now swims towards the cover near the opposite bank. Its agility is minimized by the coldness of the water from the past few months, none-the-less, it fights with rebelling force. My three weight Demon is wicked in its own strength and calms the beast. I watch as the creature rises, just subsurface, and I see his radiant colorful sides. A fourteen inch, heavy body, brook trout comes to my net. His burnt orange underside indicates he’s been lurking this cistern for some time now. The worm like upper body pattern is of olive and grays to camouflage him from flying prey. The creature’s sides displays vibrant blue halos and spots of orange and yellow upon his bluish-olive skin. A sharp creamy white streak underlines his bright orange lower fins. I attempt to take a picture of this fine specimen but the battery, as if cursed by the elements, fail to operate the camera. I unattached the hook and release the beautiful creature back into his dark waters.
 I continue, slowly fishing my way down creek in water no higher than my knees. Casting out and drifting my offering in slower runs and pocket waters. Guiding it underneath low overhangs and holding it back some in choppy water. My indicator stops its drift midstream and I lift the Demon and hook another water creature. A small brown fights its way to my waiting net. Further down I catch another brown about the same length.
 An hour, maybe two, has passed and I decide to go back to the vehicle to quench my thirst. The hot cinnamon liqueur of Goldschlager warms my innards as I sip from the small flask. I lick my lips in final appreciation.

 Back in the dark water I change patterns often giving my earlier presence a new look. A wintry breeze awakens my senses with the inhaling of each breath. The sharpness of the sun’s rays is now a dim glow upon the valley. Snow flakes appear than disappear like a midge hatch upon fertile cold water. I take more time to observe my surroundings through the open forest. I relax a bit more as I survey the water before me. I remove the indicator and now depend on my knowledge and understanding of line control and current flow. I come upon a section I am sure there to be a creature below so I concentrate on my offering presentation. Near the end of the drift, as it begins to enter more shallow water, my line gently veers away from the intended direction of flow. I quickly raise my weapon and instantly the rod tip flexes downward. My wrist locks and my hand grips the cork handle tightly. A surge away from my position and deeper bending of the rod shaft leaves me no choice but to give line to the beast beneath. Instantly I know I have come in conflict with the keeper of this corridor. He has the energy, even on this frigid day, to flex his body and the might to put on a good duel. Even if he escapes during our melee I can still be thankful just to have the opportunity to due battle. Once he realizes I have the upper hand he tries to release himself of my hold. I watch as his long body and wide girth comes to my net reluctantly. As he lies in my hand I can feel, let alone, see his healthiness. Unlike the beautiful brook I caught earlier this lighter shade of brown trout gives a more boldness appeal than beauty. His kype jaw is obvious at first glance. His yellowish body shimmers in the dim light as sharp red spots dot his skin below the dark brownish spots upon his upper body. I let the seventeen inch brown slip through my loose grip and watch him return into the darkness to his lair.
  I stand in the cistern of water and hold my head high in great achievement. I feel I have succeeded in battling the two biggest creatures that roam this section of water. Even though the fights weren’t as aggressive as would be in warmer conditions I feel the conflicts were evenly matched with the use of my 3 weight Demon Rod. I decide to return home earlier than planned as I am well satisfied with my encounters of the day.

 On the way home I reward myself with a fine cigar of unknown origin.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cortland "Big Sky' Review

Cortland ‘Big Sky’ Review

 I had the pleasure of field testing the Cortland ‘Big Sky’ fly rod last Sunday. First off I’m not affiliated with any Angling outfitters or Product manufactures. Before I buy a fly fishing product I do research such as read reviews, read about the product from the manufacturer’s point of view and if I can try it out, such as this rod, I give it my best shot. I don’t feel I’m an expert but I get the fly where I want it to be placed and have been told my casting style is very good and admirable. I started fly fishing some 20 years ago and practically taught myself. In another words I wasn’t handed a rod and reel and showed how to fly fish. Through practice, educating myself and the love of the sport, I feel I became well acquainted with fly fishing and tying. I own rods from fast action to the newer medium progressive fiberglass rods. I fish modern day rods, I have a couple of those expensive ones, bamboo, older fiberglass rods and some old favorite graphite rods I wouldn’t even consider trading. I feel I’m pretty well rounded in fly rod casting.
 I’m not partial to any manufacture so I feel I can give a good review in what I have experienced. I am a general fly guy that is active in the sport, likes to conserve money but will pay the price if I feel quality and endurance is worth it.

 Last Sunday Jim and I met with a Cortland rep. to fish the Little Juniata in Pennsylvania. Dan, the Cortland Rep., knows I fish practically every weekend and that I like to fish different rods for different streams. I plan on fishing the Big Horn in Montana in April. There I will be nymph fishing as well as swinging streamers and casting midge type flies to sipping trout. When Dan said he would hook me up with the new ‘Big Sky’ 9’ 4 weight rod I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and give it a whirl. Truthfully I was kind of skeptical that it was considered a fast action 4 wt. Usually when I think of four weights I think of short small stream rods with a soft medium to medium/fast action. Not too stiff that I might not be able to feel it load with little line out. I only think this way because I fish many a small streams in Pennsylvania. When I fish rivers or wider waters I general take a 5 weight or even a 6 weight when I know I might end up fishing for smallmouth. So the 9’ 4wt would be something different in all respects.

Dan handed me the 9’ rod. Instantly I noticed the Burled wood insert. It really set the complete reel seat off within the nickel silver double locking rings and matching hardware. The chrome stainless steel snake guides shined like any top notched expensive rod. The blank has a smooth translucent finish and the primary wraps looked perfect to me. The cork grip was smooth and felt just right in my stubby short finger hand. I couldn’t tell what the rod was worth just by looking at it but it looked sweet, as we say, long but sweet!

 I fitted a small mid-arbor reel to it with 444DT line. I had a weight forward line but since this was a Cortland rod, and I love the 444 Classic lines, I figure it would do well with the rod.

 Out on the Little J I started fishing off the bank-side rocky shore. There was a tree behind me so my first test would be my roll casts. With ease I was able to roll cast the line out onto the open water with accuracy, dead on accuracy and the 444 line laid out smooth. I was truly amazed how easy it was to roll cast and the distance I got with the ’Big Sky’! Things were looking and feeling good.

 Usually 9 foot rods as well as my 8 ½ foot rod would start to feel heavy nymphing for long periods of time from extending my arm to follow the drift. The ‘Big Sky’ not only felt very light in the hand but I didn’t feel fatigued after using it nymph fishing as I would with my other rods. My reel was a little light to balance the rod correctly but was close enough it felt fine.

 Out in the open water I tested it casting dries from #16’s to #22 midges. I’m not sure if it was the DT line but something just didn’t seem as comfortable as with other rods I’ve used. Take in mind that this was something new to me so don’t let me judge the rod for you. I just couldn’t feel the stiffer upper section load the rod as I thought that I might. I did find it cast better for me into the slight breeze than with the wind at my back. Not sure how the scientific study would explain this but I felt I had more control of placing the fly on long casts into the light breeze. I started to get used to how the rod performed the more I cast out with it but felt I had to concentrate a little more in feeling the rod load and placing it where I wanted the fly to fall. It did lay out the line smooth and when I wanted to get slack in my line just a little wrist back was needed and the tip reacted as the line fell. Like I said, I was using a double taper line and maybe with a weight forward it would have felt more natural and performed more to my liking.

 Overall, hearing the price, I felt it is well worth the money. If I felt I would have a need for a 9’ 4weight this would be on the top of my list. I wouldn’t be surprised if I couldn’t find another rod in this price range for the quality. I also wouldn’t be too surprised finding this rod to perform just as good as more expensive rods. I always felt Cortland was synonymous with great, superb fly lines. I felt their rods are good beginning and intermediate quality rods that are well suited for people to get into fly fishing. I have a more positive opinion of their rods now in the experience catagory for a fair price. I still have my first “motorcycle” multi-piece fly rod, a GRF 1000 Cortland. I still take it out now and then and it caught my biggest brook trout to date at 19”!
 With the ’Big Sky’ I don’t think a person can go wrong with the price and quality one will receive.
 Oh, and I did catch trout on nymphs with the rod that day.
Now if I can borrow it for Montana and a few more days with it, I’m sure it will become part of my arsenal as a gift to myself in the near future!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday below Freezing

Saturday below Freezing

It was ice blue sky cold
It was wintry tree branch rattling cold
It was frozen rod eye cold
It was dam cold

 Jeff didn’t drive all the way from Pittsburgh to talk about fishing and I didn’t drive all the way from Clarion just to visit with him. When he arrived at the parking area we put on our fishing gear and strung up our fly rods in the chilling breeze. We walked down the snowy uncleaned gated roadway aside the guardrails. We carefully descended the uneven snowy hillside to the Shenango River. Jeff cautiously waded across the current towards the opposite bank. I followed giving him back-casting room when he decided to pitch a nymph. He settled down around 2/3 across while I worked the near side.

Four gates gushed water out in an inverted ‘V’ pattern, spilling gallons of water, bubbling below, from the bottom of the Dam wall. The sound was like a never ending emptying of limestone upon dry pavement. After awhile it got to be common place and not distractible except when we were trying to communicate with each other. The wind wasn’t as strong as it was above but the frigid air made exposed skin, red and tingling downright cold.

We stood fishing in thigh high, somewhere near 32 degree, water for near 3 1/2 hours straight. We were withstanding the elements causing tightening muscles and stiffening joints. Tying knots with almost frigid numbing fingers while trying to forget about how cold our feet were getting. We chipped ice from the rod eyes and then tried to warm our fingers with our own breath. When we felt we were challenged enough, we waded out, climbed the hillside and made it back to our cold vehicles. After a beer, chips and good conversation, Jeff headed back towards Pittsburgh and I took towards Clarion.

On I80 I lit up a Fuente Candela wrapped cigar. I had caught my first walleye on the fly rod along with a double digit length rainbow. Jeff caught 2, one being a thick girthed bow of holdover colors. We both missed a few in the wavy uncontrolled river water, while casting towards the dam wall and fishing back towards us.

Was it worth it? You betcha!!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Latonka Experience

The Latonka Experience

 Lake Latonka is a place some have heard of yet I found few know exactly where it is. The ones that know about it think it’s for the rich and local famous or at least rich folks who could afford to have a summer home there. Well I wasn’t rich back when I lived there so that rumor’s debunked.
 Like all private developments there are good and bad things that go along with living in a private development. I won’t dwell on the bad but will story tell about the good things. FISHING!
 The small confined lake is big enough for all the residents to enjoy. You have to be a member or a lot owner and pay the dues to launch a boat. There was not a horse power restriction when I lived there so fishing during the weekends weren’t the quietest easiest going. Once the yuppies, speedboaters, jet skis were on the water, well, enough of the inconvenient things. Even during a warm weekday after 3:00pm the water was disturbed enough by boaters the fishing was rough.
 There was a fish club when I lived there. We raised money through events that we were able to stock the lake with bass and walleye. Along with the bass and walleye, perch and nice size crappies lurked within the waters. It was a fishing paradise on a small scale.

Since the early weekdays were the best, no nonsense, quietest times to fish, I’ll tell my story about one of these typical outings.

 Waking early on Wednesday I look out the kitchen window. I see a light foggy mist engulfing the lake and I just know the water surface is as smooth as glass. I throw on some fishing cloth and put on a sweatshirt for the cool early morn. I wake the ol’ lady and tell her what I’m doing for the day. Down in the garage I grab the necessary fishing gear and put them in the van. I put a few drinks and leftovers in a cooler, enough for a full day of fishing. Down at the dock I load the fishing gear on the ‘APRIL FOOL’, My 20 foot pontoon. It came complete with live well, hard top, radio and 4 stroke motor.
 I mount the foot operated minn-kota in the hinged base, on the front of the boat, and lower it into the water. I lay my Country Mile rod and my spinning outfit against the rail beside the swivel fishing seat. Knowing the lake well only 1 tackle box is all I will need.
 The moist droplets of mist are cool upon my bare hands and cheeks as I look out over the glass smooth water. Aside from a car’s engine and the distant honk of geese, somewhere out in the fog, all is calm and peaceful. Not wanting to shatter my surroundings with noise I leave the 4 stroke boat motor up out of the water. I untie the ropes and drift out into the lake using the trolling motor.
 With little pressure on the foot control I attach a Mr. Twister to the swivel on the Country Mile rod. On the open face reel I attach a floating perch Rapala. Just near the first island, which leads to an inlet of a creek, I stop the motor and let the pontoon drift in the breezeless moist air. I pitch the white twister and it plops down just before the stacked railroad ties against the shore line of the $200,000 house’s yard. The third cast I hook into a black crappie. He tries to fight his way to freedom to no avail. I still swear they fight more aggressively than the white crappies. After catching 2 others I’m ready for a largemouth.
 Drifting back behind the island I cast the Rapala underneath the willow tree. This usually produces small largemouth that hang out near the creek inlet. I feel a few hits on the retrieve but no pick ups.
 Backing the ’APRIL FOOL’ into the gap between the island and a boat dock I drop the orange mushroom anchor, quietly. I sip the last of my hot tea and put in a quid of Levi Garret. Time to get serious! With a quick flip of my wrist the light Rapala dangles through the rising foggy mist. About a foot from the dock the ’Rap’ splashes down. Letting the ’Rap’ lay upon the flat surface water a few seconds I twitch it twice like a dieing perch on it’s last breath. A couple more twitches and I reel the ’Rap’ in fast like an escaping bait fish. The ’Rapala’ dives underneath the water away from the dock cover. The rod bends and I set the hook hard seeing a swirl beneath the water surface. The bass fights for leverage to take me under the dock. I move the rod to my right, parallel to the water, and coax him out. The bass swims out into the open bay. I reel in the medium size bass to the side of the boat and lift him on the deck. With a smile on my face, I spit a wad of tabacco juice into the lake and release the hook from the largemouth’s lips. 1 down!
 By now the ’ol lady should have called my work and gave them a legitimate excuse why I won’t be in today. I chuckle to myself.
 I sidearm my next cast just under the dock. Letting the ‘Rap’ settle like before and reeling it in I get no takers. Flipping the ’Rap’ towards the island results in nothing also. I pick up the Country Mile rod and zip the white twister just beyond my reach of the ’Rap’. The instant the twister disappears I notice the line start to slack as if the twister quits its decent. Setting the hook the big mouth top waters. My eyes open wide as the 10lb. test line gives. ’SNAP’, darn it!! I forgot to reset the drag. I know I must have hooked this big guy at least two other times without ever getting to bring him in. After a few more casts I pick up the anchor. Trolling the pontoon slowly around the island I cast out with a fresh Mr. Twister. Off the point of the island I catch a few white crappies in the 12” range. Fighting for dear life they have no escape from my pressence.

 The lake is actually a flooded field that they dammed to keep the lower reaches of Coolspring from flooding towards Mercer. There is no underbrush so the crappies just swim around the lake in schools and can be anywhere at any time. The dock areas are good spots where the bass hang out. The walleye can be caught trolling deep throughout the lake. Other than the submerged power line that crosses the lake, I can drag the bottom for walleye all day without a snag.

 Out in the deeper open water I troll the pontoon within casting distance of the shore line. I switch back and forth between the ’Rap’ and twister as I control the boat with my foot. Above the weedy section I get some hang ups but catch a small walleye along the edge of the seaweed towards the deep drop off.
 Getting near the boathouse I switch to a sinking Rapala. I toss it against the side of the boathouse and it drops into the water. After letting it sink I retreive it with constant even reel speed. Something grabs the ’Rap’ and takes me deep. With the rod bent he takes line off the reel as I try to keep him away from the dock posts. Not being able to coax him out I move the boat towards him, with rod bent, while not letting him take more line to wrap me up. The line tightens than slingshots the lure up out of the water back towards me. With hooks dangling I dodge to my left just avoiding being wounded in action.
 By noon I’m in my sleeveless shirt under the warm sun. Drifting around in the deeper part of the lake I check the depth finder to see how deep the thermocline is. I cast out a twister and count down to get the twister in the thermocline range before reeling in. My scouting eyes see air bubbles surface out a ways and to my right. I move within casting distance and cast the Country Mile to the outskirts of the bubbles. The white twister drops and I start to reel in. A sharp pull and I hook into a crappie. I know I’ll have some constant fun if I can keep up with the moving school. As long as I don’t cast into the middle of the school or they don’t go deep I can pass the time until the sun shades the other shoreline.
 In the afternoon I work the docks on the other side of the lake. The perch ‘Rap’ and combonation of other floating and diving lures account for a few more tense catches and misses.
 Early evening I head for the back shallows where the main stream enters the lake. I take it easy as the pontoon drifts just above the shallow bottom. I anchor in the mouth of the inlet and wait until the water surface turns smooth again. I attach a frog jitterbug to the spinning outfit and with force wing it out into the tree lined channel. Smoothly reeling the surface frog towards me I can faintly hear the gurgle as I watch the ‘V’ wake behind it. I catch a swirl from the corner of my eye along the right bank shallows. In anticipation, holding my breath, I try to keep an even smooth reel speed. WHAM, a largemouth rips out of the water and engulfs the lure. I yank back the rod and set the hook deep. The reel drag lets line out as I keep the rod bent high. The big boy heads for the shady underbrush taking line. I angle the rod in the opposite direction to keep my line from getting tangled in the overhanging branches. The tug of war is heart pumping exciting. My short rod with 10lb test line gives me no clear advantage against this hawg. The fight continues with congested waves surfacing every time the big boy turns in the few feet of water. Crossing the channel he rises and tries to spit the lure. Relentless he fights but my experience and patience pays off. Winning the war I get the big bass near the boat. Reaching down I thumb it and bring him to the deck. What a big boy! Its solid body and fat belly tells me it’s been eating well. I unhook the jitterbug and release him back into the shallows. I take a few deep breaths and take a drink to relax a little after that exciting battle. I cast a few more times to cover the area completely before pulling up anchor.
 Trolling around through the back waters I cast here and there against the banks. I finally anchor within casting distance of the long green grown up island. I tie on a sparkle tube bait to the Country Mile and reset the drag. The tube bait arcs through the air and plops a foot or so from the island shore. The tube should disturb the silthy bottom enough in hopes of attracting a largemouth. I pull the tip of the rod up and let the tube fall back down. Letting it sit a bit I start to lift the rod again when I noticed the slack in the line slowly pulling away. I grin and wait for the right moment.

By now the crest moon is high in the navy blue sky. The sun casts its last rays of light that reflects off the cotton clouds above me. Softly out of the speakers a Lynyrd Skynyrd ballad plays from the cassette deck. I can now feel the cool evening air on my bare arms. I spit….Yank and set the hook!!!

Oh, the secrets I’d tell for another day on that lake?!
Only with my fly rod next time……………..