When you have the privilege of sharing a boat with a San Luis fly fishing legend like Dan Blanton, it’s difficult to imagine having a truly disappointing day on the lake. Between the two of us, we boast nearly 100 years of combined experience on these waters. My expectations for today were set high, hoping for an all-out fishing extravaganza in the Bay of Pigs, especially after last week’s success. However, reality didn’t quite align with the script I had in mind.
Instead of effortlessly pulling in two dozen fish from the Bay of Pigs, we managed to coax only six substantial catches into the boat, a stark contrast to the 25 I reeled in the previous week. We decided to change our approach and made our way down to the guardrail, where we snagged another six before heading to the racks to fish during the solonar peak at 11:30. Upon inspecting the racks and noting the conspicuous absence of fish, I couldn’t help but be baffled by how much conditions had transformed in just a week. The lake’s water level had dropped by about five feet, which likely contributed to the shift in fish behavior. While scanning the waters, I did spot a couple of small schools of decent fish in the Bay of Pigs, though there were undoubtedly fewer than in weeks past.
Feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to try my luck at Monument, a spot I hadn’t visited in a year. There, we caught another six fish before making our way to the old closed Basalt launch, where Dan took a lunch break and I managed to snag three more.
Our next move was to give Mouse Ears, or “Bongo” as Dan affectionately calls it, a shot. As fate would have it, Portuguese Cove is where the fish seemed to have congregated. We carefully combed the shoreline in search of them, and suddenly, we found ourselves right in the midst of a feeding frenzy. Although we only managed to land one fish from the fast-moving school, we decided to stick around the bay and see if we could intercept them again. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on our side, and we never did locate that school.
Our next stop was Lone Oak, where we planned to fish the flats. The wind had picked up slightly, creating a mud line about three feet off the shoreline on the downwind side of Lone Oak. To our amazement, we found both bait and fish in just two feet of water along these mudlines. We systematically worked our way around the cove, using livescope technology to spot bait and fish. The fish we encountered at Lone Oak were far from small fry; in fact, many of them measured over 18 inches, and they began chasing bait on the surface around 4:00 in various parts of the bay just before we called it a day.
When all was said and done, Dan and I had tallied up an impressive count of 40 to 50 landed fish, with just as many bites and lost opportunities. Considering our initial disappointment at the Bay of Pigs and the dam, it turned out to be a remarkable day on the water. At the end of the day, Channeling “Top Gun,” I said to Dan, “You can be my wingman anytime,” to which he responded, “And you can be mine.”