I went out Saturday morning to try my luck. I got
out later for two reasons. I had several things to
do in the early morning and the fact that a warm
front was going to come through about 9:00 a.m.
and take the temperature up about 15 degrees. Having
it around 50 is better than 35 for getting the fish
Just as I got out onto the pond the front came through
and the wind picked up. I am getting smarter in my old
age. I ran the rope for the anchor through the hand hold
at the front of the canoe. I could then set in the back
of the canoe and be facing into the wind. Makes it much
I tried several flies without much happening. I then
tied on a fly called the Gilly;
Thi has worked very well for me at times. I have tied
some of them with bead heads so that they will get a
Hook: size 8 to 12.
Tail: green mallard wing feather fibers.
Body: Rear 2/3 gold floss, front 1/3 red floss.
Wings: Blue peacock neck feather fibers.
I had a size 8, bead head Gilly on and cast it about
six feet from shore and brought it out over a break
line. It drops down about 4 to 6 feet deeper along
this lip. I had not moved the fly very far when I
saw the line twitch. I was too slow on setting the
hook. This pattern repeated itself more times than
I am willing to admit. Fish were hitting the fly but
I was not hooking any of them.
It was time to try to figure out what was going on.
I decided to make a short cast toward the shore and
retrieve the fly where I could watch it all of the
time. I might be able to see what was happening when
the fish were hitting.
Did I ever get an education! This fly had not even
moved a foot when it disappeared. I resisted the
temptation to set the hook and continued to retrieve
the fly. I had moved the fly about eight feet before
I saw the line twitch. It was at this point that I
also saw the fly again. I was not getting any indication
of a hit until the fish were spitting the fly out. Now
it was time to experiment.
I cast to the shore again and watched the fly as I
retrieved it. It again disappeared without any
indication that the fish had it. When I saw the fly
again, I saw the line twitch. I did this seven or
eight times and then decided that I was going to
try to catch them.
I cast toward the shore again and when I saw the fly
disappear I set the hook and had a nice bluegill on
the line. Cast out again but nothing happened. I think
that fight of getting the first one in put all of the
I decided to make a little longer cast up the break line
and see how far away the fish might have been spooked.
I started with a cast of about 10 feet. When I saw the
fly disappear I set the hook.
I had another nice gill on the line. My next cast was
about 12 feet up the shore, but nothing took the fly.
I found that I had to make the casts about five feet
apart and then I would get a fish. I was getting
bluegills and bass as I went up the shore.
I tried to cast behind me, with the wind, but nothing
would take the flies. One of my casts with the wind
went a little wayward and ended up about 15 feet from
the shore. As I was retrieving the fly I decided to
see if I could pick it up and recast without bringing
it in as far as I normally do. When I did this, I was
into a nice crappie. I had no idea that this fish had
hit the fly.
My next cast was facing into the wind but out from the
shore again. Nothing happened on the first few casts.
I was letting the fly drop a little deeper each time.
On my third cast I decided that I might as well set
the hook to see if there was something on the line.
I had another crappie, but this one flipped off as
the hook was in the thin tissue on the side of the
I then started casting and setting the hook about
every five feet as a matter of course. On the average
about every third time I set the hook I would have a
fish on. Most of the gills and bass I managed to land.
Many of the crappie got off, but I was hooking them.
I ended up with 16 gills and 9 crappie for the day.
I tossed back in about two dozen bass from six inches
to three pounds. I know that I lost about 30 crappie
before I got them in.
This whole experience makes me wonder how often I
have had fish take the fly and I knew nothing about
it. I know that as the waters continue to cool I am
going to be false hook setting, i.e., no indication,
more often just to see if it was a fluke or if there
is a pattern in what happened. If you have any ideas,
or similar experiences about, or like, this please
let me know.
Hope you can get out on the water.