Fairfax County, Virginia, September 1, 2012
It was spur-of-the-moment fishing.
I woke up around 6am and realized I had a three hour window of fishing opportunity so I quickly grabbed some gear and in 20 minutes I was standing in heavy fog fly fishing for bass on a nearby body of water.
There were baitfish swimming near the surface and every couple of minutes there would be a huge splash as something big blasted the school from below. Panicked fish scattered and jumped as they attempted to elude the predator, making a noise like a handful of pebbles hitting the water. I started off with a small black over white Clouser minnow around size 8 and when that didn’t work I downsized to an all black size 12 but neither fly worked. All I managed to do was get one of them stuck on an underwater obstruction and wound up breaking it off.
I continued to fish around the perimeter but the action was slow. I caught several bluegill, but I wanted bass. As I turned around to fish back towards the car I switched to a large subsurface worm fly and began dredging the bottom.
I used a slow retrieve. Think worm. I am the worm, therefore I will move the fly like a worm. It worked. On the second cast it felt like I snagged bottom but it was followed by the bass head shake and the line took off for deeper water. I quickly landed and released the fish then cast back in the general area and began the slow strip action. A couple of casts later I had another bass in hand.
It was almost time to leave and I was down to my last couple of casts when I got a very solid strike close to shore. I could tell this was a large bass because it took all the fly line in the stripping basket and pulled drag on the reel. For some reason the fish never charged for deeper water and I fought it close to shore. The bass jumped a couple of times and I could see that it was a very decent fish but on his fourth jump it threw the fly and I had to duck as it came zinging back at me. After untangling the mess from the bushes and grass I wanted to throw a few more casts but it was really time to leave. I wanted to do the old ‘just one more cast’ routine, but I knew if I wasn’t home in time that would be the end of fishing for awhile.
EQUIPMENT: I used a 5 weight rod overlined with a 6 weight line to get the rod loaded in tight quarters. The line has an extra long head which allows for roll casting heavy flies when there is no backcast room. I use a selection of reject and experimental flies--tpond and impoundment fish aren’t too picky about what they eat. I’ve caught some of the biggest bass on hot pink Crazy Charlies.