The kids have been tying black foam ant patterns and having success catching bluegill and black crappie at the lake near our house. We fished every non-little league baseball night after school last week. Once homework was taken care of, snacks were packed, and we walked down to the lake. However, we were having a bit too much fun, and we tended to stay a bit too long and arrive late for dinner.
By Thursday, I was warned by teachers and a concerned Mom that the kids were dragging in the morning, so we have had to tone down the late outings. 😉
Having the lake nearby is key for fly testing, as my son’s black foam ants with a wrap of black hackle are simple ties. They have been effective, but he realizes he needs to add some more foam to get them floating higher to increase the catch rate.
For my daughter’s part, she is mostly working through casting and managing line all on here own and undoing her own tangles.
I think this is a key fly-fishing skill, and one of the barriers for new fly anglers. When there are fish in front of you and wind knots and bird’s nests are the only things you can catch, it is really easy to get frustrated.
She had one hot streak where she caught about 10 bluegill in 15 minutes. Successes like that are important to building confidence and providing hope for the slow periods.
We also discovered that her small “Diving Queen” streamer is proving to be a versatile fish catcher.
One of my side goals is to see how many different species I catch on that fly. So far this spring, a motley mix of brown trout, brook trout, black crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, and pickerel have been taken on that fly!
We even got my wife into the act on Mother’s Day. My wife has a talent for cherry picking the best times and the best places to wet a line, and as a result she has more success for her time spent on the water than any angler I know.
I haven’t fished much on my own lately. On my way home from work, I did land a spry smallmouth bass from Wachusett Reservoir that took to the air several times. He nailed a black Woolly Bugger. No mystery there. You just need to put a fly near those fish, and they will crush it. The key is putting in your time to find fishy spots. Key in on coves and areas with drop offs close to shore that can be reached with a fly.