September 20th, 2004

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Urban Fishing

By W.E. Endicott

Well withdrawals had set in. Not a chance to get out fishing for weeks. I needed to get out, but here I am living in the city in Arizona. A long drive to the fishing I desire so I go out to the "Urban Lake." Now mind you the "Urban Lake" is a bit different - you see it's not really a lake. Granted yes it used to be a lake but it has been modified. We don't want anything natural in the city because that might hurt the fishing. I mean anything like plants or insects might bother the fisherman. It's like, who wants to lose their bobber to a bobber-eating reed?

It is better to eliminate all plant life. So we introduced specialized Carp to eat anything that wants to grow. I mean if we allowed plants and insects in our lake something natural might happen like a food chain. Then we would have to deal with real fish - Heaven forbid! What we want is a mud-bottom bathtub so we can stock "Planted Trout," "Planted Catfish," and "Hybrids." We wouldn't want a population to grow in our lake. We only want "Put & Take" fishing here. A natural system would require more than what could be managed.

Now my quarry here is the "Hybrid." You see it's the middle of summer here and it's predicted to hit 109 degrees today. The artificial trout and catfish don't get planted this time of year because they'd die. Without a natural environment the only species that can live here are the hybrids. Nothing else but the Hybrid can live in these lakes this time of year. Now this hybrid is an interesting fish. I'm not really sure what it is. Our Game and Fish department plants them in these lakes for the local kids and munchkins to fish for. I understand they combined a Bluegill, Green Sunfish, Piranha, Pacu, and a few other oddities including some kind of sterile species so these things won't repopulate.

You will have to contact our Game & Fish department to get the specifications on how to build one of these fish. The thing is they are really kind of neat. The Bluegill in these lakes never reach more than two inches due to the lack of food in the lake. A 3-inch Bluegill is a true trophy to be mounted over your tying bench. However the hybrid can reach as large as a pound or so. Perfect for the Pan Fishing I love to do - Not that I would eat one of these things.

I reached the lake to fish the afternoon bite. The weather is cooling off. It's only about 104 now down from 111. I locate the shade of a nearby tree and adjust my casting to flow just under the branches. My little Bead-Head Fuzzy-Wuzzy (a local fly pattern) just doesn't attract anything yet. Things are a little slow. It hasn't cooled off enough yet. So I move along the bank casting here and there as I go.

Pretty soon I come upon a Bass Fisherman Flipping a plastic worm hoping for a Bass. I figure he is suffering from withdrawals just as bad as I am. This man is desperate! I suppose it's possible a Bass or two survived. We exchange the standard greetings: "How's the fishing? - "Slow" - "Yeh, hopefully it'll pick up when the weather cools off." Then his daughter asks me "Are you Fishing?" I answer yes that I am Fly Fishing and I turn to show her the fly. She jumps about six foot in the air and lands about five feet away. I explain it's not a real fly just a hook with some rabbit fur on it and she's OK with that.

She stands right next to me to see what I'm doing so I show her what the fly looks like in the water and how it imitates an insect. As I do that a couple Bluegills follow the fly. Now she wants me to catch one. As I am explaining that this fly is probably too large for these fish (after all it was a size 18) one of the fish take the fly. I lift the fish up - a Bluegill of about 1/2 inch then look down at the girl. All I see are two shoes. Now, I have heard the phrase "Scared out of their shoes" but I've never seen it actually happen before! I look up the bank and see she's jumped clean out of her shoes about eight feet up the bank. Normally it's the fish that are skittish but this gal jumps at anything. She comes down and puts her shoes back on and I gave her the fish. She put it in a paper cup to keep as a pet.

I move along around the lake stopping every 100 yards or so to throw a line hoping for a hybrid. The fishing is slow and I pick up a few more Bluegill of about two inches and move along.

Soon I approach some guys sitting on a bench near the lake. The big boots, chain for a belt, and headscarves tell me they're not fishing. One of them comments, "I don't see any stringers." So I commented back "You don't see a net either because these fish are too small." I made another cast - a few strips of the line and boom the line tightens up big time. The fish gives a good fight and soon I bring the hybrid to hand. I can tell by the hushed comments my friends on the bench are impressed.

It's a fish of about a pound or so. I take the time to examine it as I am always trying to figure out what it is. I can't help but think if fish had TV this would definitely be the "Couch Potato Bluegill." It looks like a Bluegill but it's kind of soft and fat. The colors and fins look a bit different too but still something like my beloved Bluegill. I move along to fish some more. My withdrawals cured by some kind of strange deranged species of some sort. Maybe next week I will head for the White Mountains. ~ W.E. Endicott (PanFisher)

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