Evan Howard 23/04/2016 | Posted in Fishing, Fishing Subjects, Fly Fishing, Internationalisation, United States
One of the reoccurring goals on my fishing New Year’s resolution list is a striped bass over 30 inches on the fly rod. I have caught striped bass on the fly rod in the past, but haven’t been able to land a fish of any magnitude. There have been many, many close calls, but that large fish has always seemed to elude me. My typical striper locations do not begin to heat up until warmer weather and early season striper are very, very hard to pattern: hung somewhere between the spawning run and the summer run. I have been following reports of a certain location over the last few years, but have never seen the need to fish there over my typical striper locations because it had, to me, much less attractive water. Obviously, I was soon to be proven wrong. I launched and paddled up to the largest set of shoals and began working the large eddies below. After a half an hour with no luck in the calmer water, I pushed up into the turbulent edges of the rocks themselves and anchored down with my Power Pole. I drifted my fly through all the rock chutes and boils on the far side of the shoal complex with no luck. I decided to make my way into a small eddy directly below the largest boil in the shoal complex. In skinny water, big striped bass often will push themselves up into incredibly small chutes of water between rocks to feed on any prey item drifting downstream. I was rewarded with a subtle show of tail fin in the boiling water confirming that my hunch was correct. I then back paddled myself into the eddy and lowered my Power Pole. With repetitive casts I began an continuous barrage of that small chute, drifting a baitfish pattern through the feeding zone. It is a numbers game in turbulent, stained water because you have to get your fly in front of a fishes face in one, perfect moment that allows them to chomp down on your fly. The first take came from a very healthy 8-10 pound class fish that turned immediately downstream, ripping line off the reel. I pull up my anchor and followed her downstream where I was able to anchor up in an a large eddy and wrangler her on board for a photo opp. After the release, I pulled back up to that magic eddy and began another barrage of casts and drifts through the turbulent kill zone. Some 20 drifts later my wrist took a line drive shot from a huge fish that engulfed the fly and tried to rip the rod from my grasp. This fish didn’t seem to even realize she was hooked as she ran straight back up into the whitewater and a brutal melee ensued of man versus fish as I attempted to keep her from running under rock shelves and into logjams. Finally, I was able to bring her to hand and onboard for a very difficult photo session. Mission accomplished after 3 years of trying. Now, I just need to shatter that personal record in my Coosa HD many, many times!