Fly Fishing for Panfish

May 26, 2012

I heard it all the time in the fly shop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Now I hear the statement frequently during the winter when speaking about fly fishing at shows, “There’s no fly fishing where I come from”.  Actually, unless you live on the moon, that declaration is the biggest bunch of bologna in fly fishing.  Even if you live in the heart of a city, a filthy sector of city for that matter, I guarantee you at least have some warmwater fly fishing near you.  It could be for carp, bass or some specie of panfish.  So what if they aren’t trout?  Personally, I treat all fish the same and I always find fly fishing no matter where I’m at on the planet.

All my cousins arrived at camp last night here in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.  My cousins and I grew up together like brothers and sisters.  We did all the holidays together at the grandparents house and fished and played together all summer.  I haven’t seen any of them in years so as you might expect, last night was a late one catching up on the screen porch.  I did my best to throw some flies for smallmouth bass from the canoe around camp at 6 AM today but was unsuccessful.

I planned on paddling to Back Bay with one of my cousins, but at 11 AM, still not one cuz was awake yet.  I may have stayed up late last night but I can’t sleep past about 7.  Therefore, before noon I grabbed my sister Becky and we took off for Back Bay in hopes for a good afternoon of fishing similar to what Greg and I experienced yesterday morning.

Let’s just say there are good fishing days and bad ones.  It’s true, sometimes the fish just aren’t biting.  Usually mid day under hot sun is slow, but you may remember Becky and I went to Back Bay on Wednesday at mid day and fishing was decent.  Today it simply wasn’t.  However, when fishing is bad you make the best of it.  I do what I can to catch a few fish, so today Becky and I targeted some panfish.  Panfish are always cooperative.

I instructed Becky to start tossing a Chernobyl ant around the weeds, under docks and even in open boat houses and twitch it.  A big bass or pickerel wouldn’t likely nail it but rock bass, perch and various sunfish will.  Sure enough the panfish fish came.

First Becky caught this yellow perch.  The beautifully striped fish was a welcome sight because Lake Winnipesaukee doesn’t have nearly the numbers of perch it did when I was growing up.  Then she caught numerous rock bass, one after another.  As she was reeling those neat looking red-eyes in, I noticed a constant commotion deep amongst the lily pads.  I asked Becky to land the Chernobyl as close as possible to the disturbance.  Two seconds later she was tangled up in the lily pads with this spectacular pumpkinseed sunfish.  I say spectacular because here in NH they rarely get much bigger than three inches.

Take advantage of your fly fishing opportunities.  If trout fishing is what you love best but it’s far away and you only go once a year, then you need to find a fish specie near home.  Whether it’s grass carp or sunfish, it’s essential to keep your casting, knot tying and over all fishy feelings and skills sharp.  And the only way to stay sharp is to go fishing.  If it makes you feel any better, I only have trout fishing where I come from, and that makes me crave many of the fantastic warmwater fish!

Tomorrow expect an early morning report from Back Bay – time in NH is running out.
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