Friday, November 23, 2012

Fall Fishing: The Mighty Sunfish

video
A little video treat, an otter swimming in the last of the Fall colors while I was fishing.

I have caught 897 fish since August 1st, a rate of about 200 fish per month, some bass but mostly sunfish, all on wet flies in one lake in North Georgia, fishing from the bank into shallow water -- shoals.

I have been using a 9-foot medium action fly rod, 7 weight floating fly line (it sinks anyway) Scientific Angler Lefty Kreh in willow color, a 12-foot tapering leader and tippet in clear or invisible green, and various nymphs in sizes 12, 14 and 16.  The flies have been wired olive caddis, something called a lightning bug or a flashback in blue tint or green or copper wire (I got all three at various places), a yellow stonefly that is really hairy with loose thread, zug bugs, and ants.

The main fish I've been catching is the sunfish, longear, redbreast, yellow, pumpkinseed, warmouth, shellcracker, you name it.  They have been biting all the way through Thanksgiving Day, fighting as hard as any fish, and they seem to be getting bigger.
The biggest ones and the hardest fighting have been yellow.
In August they were mostly bluegill, but as Autumn has progressed the orange bellied bluegill have gone and the pink-bellied speckled shellcrackers, longears and redbreasts have dominated.  They are nice big fish and hard fighters!

Every now and then a nice spotted bass will strike the same fly that the sunfish have been biting.

Approaching fronts seem to turn them on before and afterward.  Sunsets have been best.

Fishermen have done well going after these with crickets, but a fly rod can cast 40 feet to 60 feet out and get some fish that aren't going to come in close enough for crickets.  For a guy on foot, limited to a few acres of bank, a fly rod has been essential.