Calm, warm afternoon deserves fly-fishing trip

An angler can only take so much before he or she has to go.

One of nine or ten bass caught on a three-inch streamer fly-fished Friday afternoon.The fish were very shallow and ranged from about 12 to 19 inches.

Seriously, Friday’s temperature was perfect to be outdoors. The rare lack of gale-force winds sealed the deal for me. I had to get my fly rod out for the first time this year.

The column I thought I could finish in two hours Friday afternoon took four, sending me to a friend’s watershed at about 5 p.m.

My gut reaction was that the fish would be in the shallows along the north shoreline, soaking up as much heat as possible from the sun-warmed waters.  My laziness got me to waste 45 minutes on the south shore, where I’d parked.  I got just one hard strike and a swirl.

As soon as I slogged my way around the pond’s mucky western end I started getting into fish. The first was a foot-long bass that came from less than a foot of water 30 feet from shore.

Fish #2 was a day-maker, pushing 19 inches and four pounds, I saw the swirl when it took a three-inch chartreuse streamer near shore. Another bass about 15 inches took the same fly, in the same basic area, two casts later.

The fish were indeed right up next to the shore. Hank spooked some when we walked within a few yards of the water’s edge. I had to watch my shadow as I walked east, too.

Several times I saw wakes coming before bass struck within a yard or so of shore. I landed nine or ten and had three or four come unhooked after several seconds of a good fight. Most were bigger than two pounds and at least three topped three pounds, including one that raised it’s head partially out of the water to take the fly as it skimmed the surface.

The fish were still working the shallows when dusk, and a KU basketball game on the radio, sent us to the truck.

It was a pretty good start for my fly-fishing year. Hopefully days with fishable winds will become more common.