SIX INCHES OR LESS
We were in the middle of a heat wave so I loaded the canoe and everything else the night before and went out early in the morning. I wanted to beat the heat. I had a 3 and a 5 weight rod with me. Both were eight feet long. I get everything into the canoe and the canoe down near the shore. It was 5:45 am. I couldn't see well enough to tie any flies on but had a Goldie Jr and a black fur tailed mohair leech on the two rods. Those are always good flies to start with.
I cast out several times and had no success with either fly. I went back to the truck and change flies on both rods. Using the overhead light in the truck I could see what I was doing. I put on an olive damsel marabou pattern and an emerger pattern. Dragon flies had started to fly, so the marabou damsel pattern.
I went back to the shore and made several casts, picking up a crappie on the damsel pattern. That was the only fish on several casts. It was starting to get lighter, dawn was coming. I got the canoe out on the pond and keep casting. I could see fish making rings on the surface and I caught another fish, but nothing like what I expected. It was light enough so that I could see to change my flies. I put on a midge and a PTN and tried those. I cast them so they stayed just under the surface and let them drop deeper. I tried lift and drop retrieves. I did strip and pause retrieves. I managed to get one bluegill and another crappie. This was driving me nuts. I changed flies to a hare's ear and rubber legged bug. I cast these several times and got one more fish. I could still see fish making swirls all over the place. I change to a purple fly and an orange fly. This resulted in no fish. At this point the sun was up and starting to shine on the west side of the pond.
As the sun hit's the water the swirls stopped. Where the trees shaded the water there are still fish swirling. I changed flies again. I went with a wire bodied fly and fly with a hair wing. I got no fish on these.
At that point the wind began to blow. It started out as a gentle breeze that was barely rippling the water, but got stronger as the sun came up. At that point I could no longer tell if the fish were taking anything near the surface. I looked at my watch and it was 7:45 am. I looked in the fish basket and saw seven fish.
I decide that it was time to go back to some flies that have worked in this pond and fish the break lines and see what would happen. I figured it could not be any worse that what has been going on. I made a few casts and got no results. I made a little longer cast and overshoot where I wanted to put the fly. My casting inability shows up again.
The fly landed just inches from the shore. I started to retrieve the line to get the fly away from shore, and suddenly there is a fish on the line. It turned out there was a nice crappie on the line. What was a crappie doing 6 inches from shore in warm water when the sun is up? I still had no answer to that, but since it worked once then it was time to try again. I cast near the shore again and got another crappie. I made another cast and got another fish.
I pulled on the anchor rope and moved a couple of feet. By leaving it in the water, the canoe moved along the shore slowly. I continued to cast toward the shore, and continued to catch fish as long as the fly landed within 6 inches of shore. If I dropped the fly 9 inches from shore and nothing, but anytime the fly was 6 inches or less from the shore there was a strike. I didn't t hook all those fish, but got many of them. They were all along the west side of the pond where the sun was shining.
I decided to move to the east side and see if the fish were tucked in on the shore there. It turned out that they were, and I kept getting fish to strike on almost every cast. I got many of those into the canoe.
Finally I looked at the fish basket and decided that it was time to head home and take care of the fish. I don't want to have the fish set out to long when it gets hot. I was certain that I did not want to be out on the water when it got real hot.
As I was leaving the pond a friend of mine stopped and asked if I had caught any fish. I showed him my catch and he was amazed that I had done so well. He had a bucket with him so I gave him enough fish for a meal. Then I went home and cleaned the remaining fish.
I was curious as to how many I had caught in the last hour or so when I was on the pond. I counted 72 fish. It was almost a fish a minute during the last hour or so. Not sure why the fish were so close to shore, but it was fun to catch them.
Hope you can get out on the water.