Monday February 13, 2023. Its been two weeks since I fished the Big Lake and caught the first stripers of the year. I’ve been gone for two weeks just returning from South Carolina where I gave away my daughter at her wedding. Turns out my daughters father in law who I met for the first time, is a big offshore fisherman with houses on the water in the Keys and in Pensacola. We broke the ice taking fishing and by the end of the week we had already gone though our personal bests pics.
I had my eye on the forebay and lake reports. My last trip out was a tough one with only three hooked fish. It seems that most of the fly fishermen were concentrating on the clear water in the lake vs the forebay and having pretty slow days. Like me two weeks ago, it was looking for a moving school of fish on the dam and trying to stay with them. Most of the fish I saw two weeks ago were at 90 feet and despite the rising water and increase in shore structure, the fish hadn’t moved into the shallows where fly fishermen could get them. The deep trollers have been getting them fishing with downriggers. I decided to try the Forebay since the shallow water and smaller size would make it easier to find the fish and I had hoped that if I could find them, I could get them but that was not meant to be.
With the water temps in the high 40’s and the visibility less than 2 feet I knew it would be a tough day. I was surprised to find the forebay very low as well – at least ten feet lower than the last time I fished it. I spent a long time looking for larger concentrations of fish and when I found them I threw the kitchen sink at them to get them to eat. . I tried to Float and Fly them as well. In past Februarys, under similar conditions, I’ve had luck with small lightly weighted craft fur and marabou clouser just bounced on the bottom or stripped slow and short along the bottom with t14s. But today, no matter how slow I retrieved, I could see on the livescope that these fish were in a coma. No follows, no spooks, no bites and no hookups. The wind came up around 2 with white caps on the forebay. Sometimes my luck changes under those conditions. One sure way to catch a fish is to position your self up wind or a school, make a long cast into the winds and drift and jig the fly all across the forebay till you hook up and then motor back upwind and do it again. It almost never fails but it did today. I left around three and it was white capping in the lake .
Ill try the lake next week since Brian got three fish out of the lake today. I was going to wait toll the water started to reach the trees in Honker bay but its got another ten feet to go and who know if they will completely fill the lake this year while working on the dam. Things definitely change once there are trees in the water for fly fishermen. I saw lots of fish today on the livescope but they just weren’t eating.
I fished my new Echo Stillwater 10 ft 6 wgt with float and fly today. I have a long belly 6 wgt on it that I think is too light for the rig. Those small Jadycators really mess up a 6 wgt fly long belly fly line. I think Im going tot try a seven weight Weight Forward or a 7 wgt double taper line next. It important to cast the bobber when testing lines. I tried 1/32 and 1/16th flies today in dark and light colors with no success. With the small Jaydacator, the long belly switch line did not have enough power in it to load the rod fast enough in my opinion. I think a WF 7wgt indicator line would be better. Ill have to try that next time.
I had a chance to visit some fly shops in Charleston and found some fly tying stuff I needed. as well as played with rods and reels in the the store. I really love the Brick and Mortar Fly shops in Charleston because its all about 8-9 wgt equipment which is the gear of choice for Lowcountry Redfish. I haven’t seen a collection of 8wgt reels as good as this in a long time. They had a variety of Mako Fly reals as well as some Siegler Reels. I’m enamored by the lever drag control on Seigler Reels and I’m sure at some point Ill buy one. At the River and Glen Fly Shop in Mount Pleasent South Carolina, I picked up 8wgt Sage, Loomis, Redington, and Orvis 8wgts to compare weight and swing weight. I’m looking for the lightest swing weight made and I still think its Helios 3f in the contemporary rods and the Helos II one piece in legacy rods.
in January, I lost one of three favorite Helios 2 one piece fly rods out of the boat. I found out from Orvis that they no longer repair them and that they no longer make that blank. I’m so addicted to what I think is the lightest and strongest 8 wgts in the world that I’ve started looking for used ones to buy with no luck. The next lightest 8 wgt (swing weight ) in the world according to my cousin Wayne is the Helios ZG (Zero Gravity or Helios One), Im working on acquiring a Helios ZG at the moment.
At the River and Glen Fly Shop in Mount Pleasant South Carolina, I picked up 8wgt Sage, Loomis, Redington, and Orvis 8wgts to compare weight and swing weight. I’m looking for the lightest swing weight made and I still think its Helios 3f in the contemporary rods and the Helios II one piece in legacy rods.
The Finest Reels in the World
Just take a look at the VR reels instagram if you are searching for some incredible fly reels. Almost a year ago, I ordered one of Vlad’s reels and on the day it was shipped, the war in Ukraine began with the bombing of the Fed Ex where my package was leaving from . I thought that Vlad might be dead until he re emerged in Germany. Im so grateful that he remembered my order and built me one of my now favorite reels. I cant wait to use it this Salmon Season and it will complement my Sage X 7 wgt switch rod that Im using for topwater silver come this September.