Ever see something that makes you heart race???
I did today.
I stopped at the pond at work for a few minutes before going home. I was slowly walking towards the pond, trying not to make loud footsteps, to avoid spooking the fish, as they've been really shallow lately. I get over the rise, so that my head is now looking at the water, but the rest of my body is concealed. I stopped here, and started the process of tying on a foam hopper with a Scud hanging below it.
As I was trying to get these tied together, I glanced at the water, trying to get a read on current conditions, since it's been several days since I've been here. We've had some rain recently, and the water was crystal-clear. I could see sunfish beds. There was some matted algae hung up on the shoreline, blown in from the prevailing winds several days ago. I could also see a turtle sunning itself just off the weeds.
Wait a second. What......is......that???? Just a couple feet from the turtle. Is that.....a....fish?? Good grief, it's huge! Probably 3' long! I've never seen, or heard of, Carp being in this pond. I could see a dark, torpedo-shaped silhouette, with light-colored lips. I wasn't totally sure if it was fish, a figment of my imagination, or something else entirely. I decided to finish tying my bugs on, and quickly. Got the last knot on the hook, looked up, and YES, IT'S A FISH! IT MOVED! Cinch the last knot down, and get ready. What direction is it moving? Across my direction, moving from my left-to-right, angled slightly away from me, following the curve of the bank. Can I get a cast off in front of it without spooking it???
I try as best I can. I never saw a huge swirl and plume of dirty water that would indicate a spooked fish. However, nothing hit my hopper-dropper rig.
I moved over to the corner of the dike holding the pond in, made a quick cast over near the weedline, and my foam hopper was immediately sucked down. A nice, healthy, male Bluegill decided to eat my bug. Excellent! I've been fishing Deer-Hair Caddis bugs with a Scud hanging below it. Now I know the 'gills are aggressive enough to inhale my size 8 hoppers, which are bigger and more visible than my DHC bugs.
I only got one fish from that spot (I can usually catch fish after fish here, but not today). I decided to walk to the west side and see if anything over there wants to eat some foam.
You have to be careful approaching this spot, as there is a sunfish nesting colony right on the bank, in inches of water. I stopped a good 40' away from the spot, and started stripping line to make a cast. I SLOWLY started walking down, while false-casting. To noisy! Several wakes headed for deep water, and nothing took my offering when the bugs landed just two feet from the shoreline.
I went ahead and walked down to the shoreline, and made a cast out towards deeper water. NOTHING.
Then, it happened again. I saw a BIG wake, and part of a tail fin, slowly cruising along. I tried to put my offering out in front of it, but just couldn't get it out there. Maybe if I had my 8wt instead of my 5 wt..... But, my 5 wt is what I had in my hand, and no time to get back to my vehicle to switch rods. The fish, whatever it was, was slowly headed up the little cove of the brook that feeds this small pond. I knew that it would have to turn around and leave. I was hoping and praying that it would turn and parallel the bank I was standing on. I made a cast, then started walking to my left, to be concealed by the cattails. I also kneeled down to further hide my presence. Sure enough, a few minutes later, I see the wake and protruding tail fin as the big fish made it's egress from the little cove. Realizing that my bugs weren't out far enough, I quickly lifted my bugs off the water and tried to make another cast to intercept the fish, but again, I just couldn't get it out there.
I only have a few minutes left before I needed to leave. I decided to cut my rig off, remove the tippet from my furled leader, and tie on a longer tippet, as I felt I didn't have enough tippet between the bug and the leader, spooking the fish. I also decided that since the fish had been spooked by my presence on the bank, I would tie on a Wooly Bugger that I haven't yet had a chance to fish, in a rusty-brown color. I made a cast out, let it sink for a bit, then s-l-o-w-l-y started stripping it in. I got it within 15' of shore, then THUMP! I quickly set the hook, and got to listen to the sweet sound of my leader cutting through the water. I quickly realized I had caught LMB, about 2 1/2 lbs, which is pretty good for that pond.
Unfortunately, I didn't have either of my cameras with me, so no pics or video. Of the BIG fish I saw, I'm thinking it was a Channel Cat probably about 8 lbs or so. I know there are Channels stocked in that pond, although I've never caught one. I've never heard of Carp, Drum, or Buffalo being in that pond, nor have I ever see signs of those kinds of fish.