Big Bass Bite Part 3 – Think Top Water Even When Nobody Else Does

| July 1, 2014

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INTRODUCTORY NOTEBig bass can bite on topwater flies whenever the heck they want to. Of course, they have to be shallower, and they have to be chock full of aggression, but if you’ve been waiting to read about topwater bass fly fishing action, you might consider doing it even when the tea leaves aren’t even reading that way. The last two posts related to this one, were about a surprisingly good topwater bite I was onto last week. Part one was pretty much the setup, and as you recall in Part 2 I was shot down, and left lying in the dusty street.

Continued from Big Bass Bite Part 2

Now, by the time I arrived at the same spot the next morning, you could say I was feeling a little … edgy? There was this feeling of a feud about to break out, kind of like defending my honor against a fish. Have you ever been there? It’s like going from a wide angle lens to a 400mm 2.8 – extremely narrow, extremely sharp and extremely shallow depth of field.

Straight out to the “spot” where it all went down the night before, I marched through the weeds, waded out to the edge going as fast as I dared. Perhaps ten hours had gone by, but for all I knew this fish (these fish) were sick of being hounded and pounded.

The smaller one to two-and-a-half pound bass were definitely on, and giving themselves away. Hit a pop or a swirl (with a froggy green home grown popper) and they would not refuse dessert. I even caught one really nice bass that probably went between 4.5 and 5 pounds, but for some reason this fish didn’t have the notches on it’s gun belt. It just wasn’t THE KILLER I thought had taught me a lesson the night before.

Based on my estimates, I would have to rank THE KILLER in the eight pound range, which would blow away the Ray Roberts Lake record for largemouth bass on fly.

The day was sunny, and just like Rob Woodruff said (in the article I ran last week), the bite is a trailing one instead of a building one. It was pretty obvious when they decided to turn off, so I called it quits, but kept the grudge. Although the bass I caught was a fly fishing trophy largemouth bass in my world, it just wasn’t THE KILLER.

FRIDAY was my day to regroup, actually do some work at the day job, and luckily find myself at Tailwaters Fly Shop in Dallas, Texas, where they have … the fly. I bought all they had left, and wasn’t surprised that totaled two of these kdkdkdkkdk flies, but I felt rearmed … with silver bullets. It was also a day to prepare for an epic trip Saturday, with my friend JH out to an island that was showing up on the new Google Earth satellite images (more on all that soon). We had an entire armada of kayaks going out on Saturday, and this place looked like it would be epic.

By SATURDAY I was ready, but thought it unlikely that I would have a chance to visit the OK Corral for another showdown.

But I was still gunning for THE KILLER, like a sweaty kid with a fast draw, but no chance against the old guy with all the notches on the gun belt. We fished, rested, fished and fished all day Saturday, even as the weather ran a couple of the others off prematurely, and our carp bite was less than expected. Sand bass were everywhere, but were running at about 20-1, with the 1 being a keeper. Tiring, but a good fix for JH who definitely needs to get out from behind the desk more.

As we were wrapping it all up and closing out the day, JH wanted to hit the spot I had talked about earlier which just happened to be the spot near where THE KILLER hung out along with a bevy of sizable sand bass.

“Here’s where the sand bass come in, but I’m going over there. I have a score to settle from the other day,” I said, knowing that would be a jinx, but not hoping for this story go on forever. I gracelessly dismounted from the kayak, in line with the post. Just to check my accuracy, and since all weather conditions had shifted drastically, I halfheartedly threw a Torpedo toward the structure. Bang! A pound-and-a-half bass on first cast. Put away the spinning rod. Pull out the Sage Xi2 seven weight with the newly tied leader, and that ugly topwater fly.

I worked to get my cast to agree with the fly a couple of times, with half hearted retrieves just to get the fly in quick and get real about casting at the target. The third cast came back off the milfoil about three feet and about fifteen feet away, and a shot rang out. This fish did the same as (I think it did) last time, but was out of the tangled vegetation and out of structure. So there was no choice but to run. Drag tight, line still ripped off the Lamson to the tune of about fifty feet.

That’s what it took to begin to knurl its way into the vegetation again. I momentarily broke through the weeds, and felt them weigh on the line. I hollered at JH to come over quick and at least maybe see the killer before it disappeared again, maybe forever this time.

By the time JH got there, I was deadlocked. It felt like the fish was still on, but definitely had me into, up against, or wrapped around something. I gave in. The rod was bent to the handle, and I was standing too deep to get any weight into a straight-line breakoff. “Can you just go to the end of my line and pull it free? This is over,” I said. “He’s gone.”

JH gave a pull on the fly line a few feet from the leader, and up churns a thick milfoil salad on the leader. “Nope. I see him! He’s still on,” JH said. I saw one last huge tail swirl as he tried to go back down, but I put all the backbone of the Sage Xi2 and the leader on him this time, and JH lipped him.

This was as good a bass as I have caught on Ray Roberts. As I admired the bass, and JH took a couple of pictures, I began to quickly wrestle way down for the fly. It was a now small fly, a snack in this bass’ big fist-sized mouth. I kept him as fresh as possible, and finally got the fly loose. I couldn’t help but stand over him a second or two longer, like a gunslinger. As I looked at the huge mouth, I noticed something on the bottom side in the soft area behind the lip. A round hole, coagulated red, just big enough to get my pinky finger through. It was a bullet wound, winged in a recent gunfight. That was enough for me. THE KILLER was caught, and gently released.

big lake bass on fly rod

END NOTES – Was that really the fish that damaged me personally? I believe so – based on those extra few seconds finding that single hole in the bottom of his mouth. Did he weigh as much as eight pounds? No this guy equalled the lake record for Lake Ray Roberts, Texas. For a moment I even wondered if it was the same fish I caught a couple days earlier, but photographs showed me they are different fish. Will I keep going out to the OK Corral to fish that particular spot? Oh yes, at least until I’m satisfied there are no more fish to catch there, and since our weather patterns are so off, that could be awhile!

REMEMBER THE MORAL OF THE STORY – THINK TOPWATER ALL THE TIME, AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!

Thanks for riding along on this story. It’s all true, but the names were changed to protect the guilty. I would be glad to take you out for some of this evening bass action while it lasts, and it could last awhile. Feel free to contact me about sundowner rates. You will need a heavy seven or heavy eight weight to turn these largemouth bass, and be sure to check your fly assortment for big ugly flies from Tailwaters Dallas, Texas!

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Equipment, Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing for Largemouth Bass, Fly Tying, Kayak, North Texas, TECHNICAL, Technique

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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