Today’s trip was going after the Spot with the yellow and black dotted # 6 poppers. Well everything work to perfection until daybreak and all of the popper action went out the window. I decided today we were going to fish the huge levee of Smith Dam and place the big popper in and around the big boulders that were put in place when the lake was created. So with the boat launched we proceeded to the east end of the levee where the depth finder was reading between 100 ft. to 110 ft. off the edge of a steep rock back. With the lake being low we could see the shelf bank that the low water reveled. I started with my 5wt. and made a long shoot cast right to the edge of the rock bank and let the popper sit idle for a few seconds and started a short jerk hop motion for about a 6 ft. run. This was the presentation I used throughout the early morning until the sun over took the banks. With the levee being only 200 yards in length we had to make every cast count. The water was extremely clear and at times we could see the fish before we ever made the cast. The only problem was if you could see the fish then they could see you. So we made all the cast seated in the Bass Tracker. We found if we stood up the fish would spook and head for deeper water. The levee produced 3 nice spots for me all over the 12” mark using the idle jerk pop presentation. The hits today were vicious. I really like to fish this fly when the fish are really after it and this morning they meant to kill.
On the 3rd cast he inhaled it
Popper Almost Gone
Strong Little Tippet There
At the end of the levee we debated weather to go back and fish it again or go to another area that I had fish last year. The other area got the vote and we work that area the same way with the poppers but with no success, not because the sun was on the bank but because the top water hit was over. You only have about an hour to fish the top before the fish turn off. So I switched to a fly that looks somewhat like a streamer but on a smaller scale called the Bouface Brown. Little did I know that this little # 6 fly was going to give me the best nymphing experience I have ever had with a fly rod. By the way my fishing buddy didn’t have any of these flies and he decided to fish his green nymph. I positioned the boat so we could fish this long gravel point. I made a long cast across the point and starting striping the fly back to me when I got a hit and landed a nice spot.
Just give out after a good fight
From the gavel bar the hits got slow and nothing was really happening so we left and make a run to another spot, as we were making the run up the lake we spotted large numbers of fish feeding on top in the middle of the channel. I stop the boat and trolled near the pods of fish chasing the shad and saw that this was not bass but white bass and strips. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing there was over an area of fish going crazy after shad just under the surface and they were all around us and best of all they were in casting distance with the fly rod and my Bouface fly. First cast I made was a long cast into one of the pods, I made a fast strip a couple of times and bam a 2 ½ lb strip nailed the Bouface and the fight was on.
Small mouth but big appetite
I was glad I was using the 5 wt. because it gave me that extra backbone I needed to fight the fish and land it. This activity lasted for about 20 minutes and in that time I landed one of the largest strip bass I have ever caught on the fly which was a 3.3 lb strip bass again with the Bouface.
Using the fly rod on schooling strips who would have thought
I started the day with 3 Bouface flies in the box and ended the day with none. I lost all three on break offs on fish I never turned round. I may still have one if my fishing buddy had only taken one when I offered it to him. He never caught a fish out of the pods during the 20 minute feeding frenzy with the green nymph he was using. Some fisherman will continue to fish their lure even when they know and see that their fishing buddy’s lure is catching the fish. Today that was the case. I got to do something today I had never done using the fly rod and it is something I will never forget. Today’s trip shows me that there are so many ways to enjoy this great sport.