Presque Isle Mixed Bag Pilgrimage – Part 2
So we awoke early on Saturday to the kind of day that most fly fishers dread. Post front, high winds, and water that more resembled a cup of Starbuck’s finest than anything else. Like most of you, we did not have the luxury of fishing when it is perfect but rather fishing when we can and today was one of those days so we had to get creative. To be honest, I love days like these. Anyone can produce fish when all of the conditions align. But how good are you when they don’t?
We found sheltered areas behind reeds. We found shorelines sheltered by tall trees. We fished slower and more deliberately knowing that visibility was flat out poor. Some days fish are gifted to you and some days you earn them. Today we earned each and every fish. I drew first blood with a pair of solid LMB on clousers just off of a weed bed. The takes were vicious and surprising considering the conditions.
I was so relieved that we got the doughnuts off the board early that I had to offer up the obligatory kiss. Despite my bassing success, the day truly belonged to CW. We both had a few goals for the trip that included Pike, Bowfin, and jumbo Carp. CW nearly had the grand slam. As he was anchored up next to a channel, he heard a fish crashing bait in the reeds. CW tossed a black backstabber in front of the fish, gave it a twitch and a few minutes later he landed his first ever Bowfin on the fly! Check out the beautiful green belly on this fish….
So after landing 4lbs of angry Bowfin, CW switched over to an olive over white Clouser and was hoping for some bass action. Out of nowhere a rather large carp (20lbs to be exact) cruised in front of him. Half messing around, he threw the size 2 Clouser in front of the carp which promptly ate the fly and headed off to Mexico as I watched CW’s backing start to streak across the bay. The sound and sight was nothing short of beautiful. I have never seen a fish kick the crap out of a fly fisherman quite like this but it was a site to behold. By the time she was landed, CW’s gear was scattered, he almost fell out of the boat, and he completely bent the handle on his net….. and it was all totally worth every damn minute!
The only thing missing was the Pike which CW had on and lost at the side of the boat as it chewed through his tippet before he could bring it to hand. It was not to be….. So as mid-day set in the fishing shut down so we did exactly what two self respecting brown liners would do…. we went fishing for Gar! We drifted back into the stagnant swam in the back of the bay and found a bunch of juvenile gar feeding. CW had tied up some gar flies from the same rope as our anchor lines. I had never thrown a fly without a hook before so this was a first. No shit…. it worked! We both landed multiple fish and had a blast as we waited out the mid-day lull with some cooperative fish with teeth a plenty.
As evening fell, we awaited that magical hour of top water mayhem that we had become accustomed. I had a brief flurry of action with 3 willing contestants, but things were pretty shut down. Despite our best efforts, the conditions seemed to have gotten the better of us for the night.
All and all, I could not have been any more pleased with how we fished today and what we were able to produce under some pretty adverse conditions. Mad props to CW on his largest carp to date and one more fish scratched off the species list. One more day…..