Monday, November 21, 2011

A few of my favorite things...

Went out this morning with a new fly reel spooled with sinking line. This was my first time using a sinking line so there was a bit of a learning curve. An olive colored wooly bugger variation that I tied was the ticket today. I managed to snap a photo that captured the kayak, my fly rod, and hand a sized bluegill, three things that make for a good morning no matter where you are.

The tally for the day was 15 bluegill to 8.5 inches, one small largemouth bass that hardly pushed 5 inches, and I added a new species to my fly rod catch list with a 4 inch spotted sunfish. I enjoyed using the sinking fly line and am very excited to try it in various applications in the future.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Myakka Morning

I set out yesterday morning to fish and drift the Myakka river. I put in at the Carlton Reserve kayak launch which is located on Border Rd. in Venice. This was the first time I have fished this section of the river. My plan was to paddle up river and fish and drift my way back to the launch. I brought my fly rod with intentions of targeting bream and bass.

I made it about 3/4 of a mile before I decided I wanted to start fishing. The current was slow if not non existent, but I still did manage to catch a few fish. I found this one cruising a rocky edge along the west side of the river bank.

I paddled on picking off bream here and there from fishy looking spots. There wasn't much surface action as far as boils or bait movement so I had to rely on intuition as to where to cast. Being in the kayak forces me to be more thorough in each spot as the ability to rapidly motor on to the next spot is non-existent. I had to pick and choose my spots. I found that most of the fish I caught were hanging out in the shade under overhanging branches. The biggest fish came where there was cover over the river as well as submerged branches. I did manage two small bass today. The larger of the two struck my bug ferociously along a weedy stretch of shoreline.

It wasn't a large fish but did manage to startle me by striking right as I looked the other way towards a mullet splash. All of the fish except for one were caught on a #10 BoogleBug popper. These are rapidly becoming my favorite topwater fly. The fish are rough on them but they hold up very impressively. I purchased two to test out, and I will definitely be buying more.

Most of the bluegill were in the 6-8 inch range with about six of them over the 8 inch benchmark. The bass liked a faster popper retrieve while the bream seemed to prefer a motionless popper twitched on about a 10 count.

I really enjoyed this stretch of river and spent just as much time enjoying scenery as I did fishing. I saw turtles, pileated woodpeckers, many species of wading birds, and a few raccoons. I surprisingly did not see a single alligator, likely due to the colder weather. Overall I managed two small bass to go with around two dozen bluegill in 4 hours of fishing/sightseeing. 

Babcock/Webb WMA

I recently made a trip to the Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area with my brother to fish Webb Lake for bass and panfish. While it is more touted for its hunting grounds and shooting range, this Wildlife Management Area is home to a very productive lake that holds bass and panfish among other species. Three boat ramps speckle the west side of this 395 acre lake, which east to west is no wider than 1500 feet at any point. We launched our kayaks (no gasoline motors allowed) at the middle ramp and had luck with bass 1-2 pounds early on topwater plugs. The water level was very high so good shorelines to fish were hard to find. I also had luck with my fly rod, casting a #10 BoogleBug popper I managed two bass to two pounds and a half dozen or so bluegill. I only managed to snap a picture of the first bass of the day before we had camera issues...

This is definitely an area I would visit again. For those interested, the park requires a daily use permit for access, which is paid at the entrance of the park. Fees and other info can be found on the link I included in this post to FWC's WMA page.

Catching Up

I haven't had too many memorable fishing trips of late, a lot of catching but nothing unique or unexpected. Mainly smaller trout from 13-17 inches with a few touching 20. The trout are easy to target this time of year, soft plastics fished in 4-6 feet of water with grassy bottom in the vicinity will keep a rod bent most mornings. Otherwise I haven't had a great deal of success in my saltwater excursions, mainly because I have been focusing on flyrodding for bass and panfish mostly of late. I did manage my first snook in a few months however.