Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First outing at the "Land of the Nuclear Sunfish"

Every year I look forward to my first day on a local farm pond my brother calls "The land of the Nuclear Sunfish".  That's because the sunfish are very large here, especially for New England.

On this first outing of the year I caught more small ones than usual, but nevertheless most measured an honest 8.5" to 9.5" in length.  The largemouth bass here are big too, and I do catch a fair bunch of smaller ones (under 14"); but mostly the big ones are there for the baitcasters who can stand in their boats and yank them out of the weeds.  We're all helped by the fact that this is a catch-and-release fishery.

This is a float tube pond.  Wetlands surround the pond and the lily pads around the circumference is dense.  Fortunately there's a dock that I can use to get myself in and out of the water.  From here I usually take about 3 hours to circle the pond once, in counterclockwise fashion, then I go home.

The yellow gurgle-pop popper has always been my favorite for surface play.  These sunfish like big flies, so I tie my foam poppers on a size 6 barbless (Cabela's) dry fly hook.  The size of the hook may be one reason I catch the bigger sunfish (and why I catch generally the smaller bass). I often fish an entire outing with nothing but this size 6 yellow foam popper.

But this day I had a new experience.  Half way through my morning I lost the third and last guggle-pop in my box, when a very large (I presume) bass broke me off around lily pads. 

Searching my box for anything foam, I spied in the corner two samples of a foam hopper pattern I had first tied when "razor foam" was a new product. I hadn't fished this pattern for a while.  And, when I last used it, it was probably on a smallmouth river.

Long story short, the fished loved this fly.  It's thinner than my poppers and due to the bullet head it will not "pop".  Maybe this, or the black body, are the features the fish were attracted to!  The sad news is that I lost both of these foam hoppers before I finished fishing; but the good news is that the second one was lost just minutes before reaching the dock to go home!

It's been a while since I have tied flies, but now I will have to: Gurgle-pops and foam hoppers!


Additional Image

Not caught with a foam popper or hopper, I did catch a few on a streamer early in the day when the water was coolest.  This bluegill is nearly 10" long.  It was the catch of the day.

No comments: