Today I fished with a party of five including 2 adults (chaperoning) and 3 kids (fishing). At 6:40am I welcomed aboard two cute, but terribly sleepy little girls — Ellie (6 yrs.) and her sister, Julia (4 yrs.). The girls’ cousin, Creighton, age 11, joined us, as did his dad, Todd, and his uncle (the girls’ dad), Adam. Adam hails from Deerfield, IL, and Todd lives in Leander, TX.
Creighton O. of Leander, TX, with a new fly fishing lake record — a 0.25 pound, 5.75 inch green sunfish.
Uncle Adam and Creighton with our best 4 whites taken on downrigged spoons this morning.
Adam contacted me early last week and had a couple objectives. First and foremost he wanted to put the kids on some fish. He also has a personal interest in fly fishing and recently bought nephew Creighton a fly fishing outfit and hoped I could introduce him, and possibly 6 yr. old Ellie to the arts of flycasting and flyfishing.
Well, here’s how things panned out… first, both the weather and the fish cooperated. We got on the downriggers over suspended fish early and often and boated 15 fish (12 white bass and 3 largemouth) with 3 more lost by around 9:00am. This took place between Area 658 and 040 (12 fish), than to the N and W of Area 644 (3 fish). The girls, neither of them morning-people, then snuggled into daddy’s lap for an on-the-water nap while Creighton stayed on high-alert status soaking in every ounce of the angling experience he could. He really caught on quickly to the various techniques we used and understood why we were doing what we were doing. As the fishing slowed a bit early this morning, right around the 9:00am timeframe, we decided to head back to the dock, get the girls stretched out in the A/C, and continue the battle on the water with just Creighton and Uncle Adam aboard.
I worked with Creighton, handing him my favorite 2 weight flyrod (a TFO Pro Series rod) and getting him into the rhythm of keeping the flyline aerialized. Once he got the hang of that, we added a stop to the motion so as to land the fly on the water. We took these two skills and put him on top of some rip-rap and in no time he was fast to a nice green sunfish. As he continued, the aiming and fly placement became more and more natural, so we added a stripping retrieve to his repertoire, followed by a correct hookset motion, and, finally, a roll cast for times when a backcast is not possible.
Then it happened … Creighton made a nicely placed cast right to the far edge of a large rock. As soon as the fly landed, a large green sunfish darted out, engulfed the fly, and headed back to the rock from whence he came. Creighton instinctively reacted, hooked the fish, stripped it in nicely and boated what is now the pending Stillhouse Hollow Jr. Angler Fly Fishing record fish for that species, going one-quarter of a pound and measuring 5.75 inches. We boated this fish at Area 239
Needless to say, Uncle Adam was ecstatic (…and the girls were still sleeping soundly in the truck with Uncle Todd!!).
Creighton boated one more smaller green sunfish, and Uncle Adam took 3 greenies, putting our tally now at 21 fish on the morning.
We decided to move a bit and give a floating hopper pattern a try over a hydrilla bed. We had 4 or 5 takes, but none of the bluegill doing the taking had mouths large enough to swallow the hopper, so, we came up dry on that effort at Area 200.
As we wound down our trip at around 10:30, I reminded Creighton of the analogy I’d described earlier — that flyfishing is to fishing what bowhunting is to hunting — it’s intentionally handicapping yourself by choosing a method that demands more skill and offers less productivity, but which, because of those very things, can be very satisfying.
By way of comparison, at trip’s end, I helped Creighton bait up a bream rod with a slip float and in a matter of minutes he boated 9 fish (bluegill and green sunfish) where (at Area 239), just a little while earlier, he couldn’t buy a strike on his fly.
As it heated up quickly around 10:30, we took all the necessary photos and measurements for Creighton’s record application and said our goodbyes.
I don’t know who got hooked more deeply today, Creighton or the fish!!
TALLY = 30 FISH, all caught and released