Sunday, July 27, 2014

Brookies and bowfin

Katlyn and I spent the afternoon a few weeks back scoping out the Smuggs campground for our upcoming camping trip, and I figured it'd be a great opportunity to check out some brookie water nearby.  We packed a lunch in our bags and headed out Sat morning.  I picked one of the "easier" to get to streams(thanks, Google Maps!), so after checking out the campsites, we headed towards it, parked the car on the road and trekked into the woods to the stream.  The simplicity of brookie fishing can be the most relaxing thing on a hot Summer day.  It was mid-80's back in Town, but barely over 70 in the mountains.  The thermometer barely hit 57, and the fish were as active as could be.  The stream was beautiful, and had plenty of cover.  A sign of a great brookie stream.

Within minutes of getting on the stream, I could just sense how fishy this stream was.  As we approached the first fishy looking water, it took no more than 2 drifts of a dry before a little wild brookie zealously chased the fly down, splashing twice while attempting to eat it. 

After the 20th brookie, I offered the fly rod to Katlyn, showing her how simple it was to high-stick a dry through this small of water.

The look of determination!
She really enjoyed watching these brookies chase down and hit these dries!  I know I'll be bringing another rod and reel next time!  She managed to trick half a dozen brookies, and loved it.  After a while, we found a spot to eat lunch, fished for another hour or so and then bushwhacked our way back to the road and then back to the car.  It was an awesome day, and couldn't have been any better (well, a 15" brookie would have been nice)

The next day, I talked her into checking out what fishing for bowfin on flies was all about.  We arrived at where I'd landed my biggest bowfin to date, and immediately spotted a small male bowfin (still in spawning color) actively cruising around, chasing the panfish that were still guarding their nests.  She was amazed to see a fish of that size in very low, and crystal clear water.  Not too long after, I noticed a large bowfin laying on bottom with her head lodged underneath a log.   The male was too busy chasing panfish, so I had Katlyn stand at a higher vantage point to let me know where my casts needed to go.  My casts were accurate, dropping right in front of its nose, but it showed no interest whatsoever.  I quickly changed flies, and put the bright orange crayfish pattern with foam claws back in the box and tied on an olive rubber legged large carp fly that has great action.  She made quick work of this fly, doing a 180 after it was stripped past her line of vision.  Even at a bad angle, I could see the wake behind her as she chased the fly down and grabbed it.  I straight-set it and she missed the hook, bummer....!  It didn't take long before she was back near her log, and chasing the fly again.  This time, the hook connected, and she exploded!  She headed right for a downed log, that crafty fish

She didnt hang me up on the log, but did a good job of changing the direction of the line pull by going under the log.  Shortly after, she was off, bummer...she was one of the biggest bowfin I'd tangled with too, probably 7-8 lbs, twice as big as the smaller male cruising around. 

Since we were on a time limit, we had to leave right after, so I didn't get a third chance (she went and hid in the weeds about 40 yards away anyway) but Katlyn thought it was the coolest thing that such big fish were right out in the open.  Next, it'll be her turn to get one on a fly!

No comments:

Post a Comment