Pulling double duty in one day hen it's hot can really where you out. First part of the day was dedicated to using my Hydros 7wt slinging a hair bug popper creation generously given to me by kayakfish. I saw some top water swirls and figured it might be a good choice. I hadn't pulled out the fly rod in over 2 years and figured it was high time I made a more diligent effort. I spent half the time with the Hydros and was pleased that I was able to make accurate casts, relatively proper loads on the back casts and lay the line out with a soft landing of the fly. I was making casts of 40-50 feet with relative ease. Having not cast in over two years, I was pleased.
I landed 9 fish total in 3 hours - most were cookie cutter spunks measuring in at 14". Two measured in at 15" with some shoulders to them and the largest barely ticked 16", but at least I had 1 fish that was Kayak Wars eligible :D . About time too. I had been out on three previous occasions with no recordable fish to contribute to our team's totals, so I was more than a little anxious to contribute.
The second part of the day was dedicated to the HOW outing at Bear Creek State Park. The winds were blowing pretty strong and constantly shifting which made positioning the kayak a tad more difficult. I kept working the same pattern while waiting for the heroes to arrive, since the water temps were similar. It was working somewhat, plus I only had a little less than an hour to pre-fish so to speak to try and find a reliable pattern for the heroes to use.
Typically, I switch to a moving bait when the wind is up and creates a little chop, but the fish activity was just off from what I could tell. There were the obligatory sunfish surface boils on the bugs, but no top water hits from feeding bass. I had a paddle tail shad tied on as a search bait, but couldn't get a hit. I later switched it out for ole' faithful - the 3" white curly tail grub but had no takers still. The slow retrieve and small profile presentation seemed to be the only thing working for the bass.
I started with the June Bug pattern and was getting some bites but no real firm strikes like earlier in the day, so I switched to an orange/pumpkin pattern and still had bites but they were still subtle. I finally figured out the retrieve pattern that produced the four fish for the afternoon portion of the day, albeit discovered by accident. The small profile approach was correct, just not the retrieve pattern I had been using to that point. I made a cast to some structure on the edge of a shaded area, but I laid the rod down momentarily to re-apply some sun block lip balm. When I lifted the rod, I felt some weight, so I reeled down and slowly applied pressure until I felt movement, then a slight lift of the rod tip and the hook was set. Ended up with 4 more fish using that retrieve pattern. Total catch of 13 fish on the day after a total of 8 hours of fishing.
A long day for sure but productive nonetheless. The one down side to the day was not being able to get my veteran on fish during his time on the water. He is a frequent participant at these outings, so I know he'll have more chances in the future, but it was still a bummer for me personally. We ended the day with a cook out style dinner with burgers, cole slaw, potato salad, chips and drinks. A great way to spend the day, but we all left wanting another day on the water.