Sunday, March 3, 2013

Early warmwater fishing-figuring things out

       I have not been on the water much lately,admittedly from a lack of trying,but also because less than ideal steelhead conditions.So after taking a look at the 10 day forecast for here in town i noticed a very unusually warm 63 degree day.I had that thought in the back of my mind that maybe some bluegill will be taking advantage of the warm weather to come up into the shallows and feed; but i was unsure because in years past,i have never been successful targeting warm water species until the end of April.I was bored and caught up on school work;and i really wanted to give it a go so Friday evening after i had everything done i made the trip to a small local pond.I expected it to end in a skunk,but i still tried to remain confident.
     Upon arrival i noticed the sun did not break through the clouds,kind of scared me along with the very very murky water that seemed so was way over its banks but made for good wading opportunities
Searching for winter gills

I was rigged up with my go to spring setup for bluegill, my 8'6" 4wt rod with a 5wt line,and a 9ft 5x custom built leader with a size 12 possie bugger nymph tied to the end of it.Simple rig,easy to cast,and very effective.The technique is just a very slow pull type strip,just to keep tension on the line;this makes it easier to detect any small strikes that are common when warm water fish are not very active.After 15minutes of fishing it became obvious to me that the fish are up in the shallows feeding,and probably have been for some time now,this is probably due to the unusually dry and warm winter we have had this year.
Winter bluegill caught on a possie bugger

      I was successful at catching many fish,including a bass that didn't want his picture taken.I was shocked at how consistent the action was,even though the bites were lite.I fished for about 3 hours and ended on a high note with 24 gills and one bass landed.Most of the fish were pale and lean,but a few like the one below were starting to look more like the bluegill in flats/coves in april and may.Big,fat,and colorful.

One of  the many healthy gills that put a large bend in my 4wt

Though i hate picking weeds off of my gear and cleaning all of my stuff after getting home (which is common when fishing warm water ponds) i think the prize outweighs the time i sacrifice into cleaning my gear; in fact, i had so much fun i decided to bring my cousin down and meet a friend for another day of fishing to see if the fishing held up in colder conditions; how cold? about 7-9 degrees cooler than the previous day,enough to make me bite my nails and only hope it doesn't kill the bite.
Wading on a cool later winter day for pesky bluegill
Many things were different from the previous day besides the temp,we arrived 3.5 hours earlier than i had before,there was more cloud cover,and it had rained overnight;But soon after arrival the fish once again assured me they were in shallow water,they were hungry,and the cooler weather was not forcing them into deeper water,i even had a few fish take my fly like the water was above 60 degrees! there were a few less fish,and we had to work harder for them,but they were still active and shallow.
At one point we had made it all the way around the pond and returned to our starting point.We all hooked up at least twice;and once again i ended up with a small bass.This fish was about half the size of the one i had caught the day before,but in the same exact spot;this fish didn't mind being posted on my blog unlike the other one
Small bass on a possie bugger
It was an excellent two days;this fishery might keep me occupied for most of april,the time i call "down time" because it is in between steelhead and trout season..figuring things out has been easier than i thought.

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