Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gills, Pumpkinseed, and Crappie on a Dry-Dropper

I am still in awe at that panfish are still on dries this late in the year. It's awesome. I can go out in late November and still catch pond fish on Bombers, Stimulators, and Mosquitoes. This afternoon I fished my favorite panfish pond in Essex. I did not think the fish there would be willing to eat on the surface like they were when my dad and I fished it two weeks ago. For a couple of hours I was right. They came up for dries but not very willingly. Takes were few and far between, and I got more refusals than good eats (remember, these are bluegills we are talking about). I had a hard time of it and was honestly getting frustrated. I landed a couple of fish on a Blonde Bomber and a Mosquito, but not enough to get excited.





By chance I looked out along the shoreline. On the far side of the pond was a patch of small bits of weed, midge husks, and other such small debris. In the air above it some insects were flying, and I could see dimples and small splashes in and around the patch that told me fish were feeding there. The sun had enough time to warm the water and it had reached the perfect temperature. I re-rigged. I lengthened my leader, tied on a 26 inch length of 4x, tied a size 14 Irresistible Adams on halfway up and a size 18 BH Zebra Midge on the bottom. It only took a few casts before the Irresistible went under. I brought the rod tip up and a nice bluegill came to hand. 

I must say it was satisfying to set the hook after watching the dry twitch a couple times before going under and have the water boil as the fish realized what was happening. It was almost as satisfying as when one came up for the IA. Every once in a while one would even take the midge without me noticing, then come up and take the dry! I know this because more that once I set the hook on a dry take and the fish cane in with the pupa in its jaws, and one had both flies in its mouth when I got it to hand. Another possibility when using a dry-dropper rig is a double hookup. I had one of those:

The best fish of the day was another unexpected crappie, and quite a nice one! This one at least ate the subsurface fly, but a crappie on a midge pupa is still pretty crazy. It pulled the Irresistible under without hesitation and as soon as I set the hook and felt the 3 wgt. pulsing I knew it was a good fish. Crappies a gorgeous. I love the colors on their fins.



I don't know how long this crazy bite is going to last, but if I can I'm going to follow it all the way into December!

12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you!
      I've had the good fortune to catch a bunch of slab crappies this year and with the fall and early winter bit being very good in these parts (last year I was still fly fishing for crappies in December) I may run into a few more big un's.

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  2. You still have my attention, too. I guess I am just jealous of your unique opportunity.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      I am just glad it's still happening!

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  3. You have some rather hefty blue gills and crappie there. Nice job!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you,
      Some people just don't realize how awesome panfish are... who cares about them, more fun for us, right?

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  4. The photo of the post is the first one....that sunnie is beautiful.
    Good to see the dry bringing them up.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you,
      It was almost silvery! They all have such unique patterns and colors.

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  5. I'm amazed to see those guys hitting the surface flies so late in the year. Regardless, good going.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      Same! Maybe we are all just too careful when it comes to changing seasons?

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  6. Great photos! I love the color and patterns on the panfish. They know just where to feed.
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      Of course they do, and it follows that anybody that knows exactly where and when the fish feed and what they feed on they will be damned good at fishing... nobody I know is that good though.

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