June 9, 2009

SMB... What does SMB stand for?

My right foot hasn't been the same since that hard tackle in my last soccer game. Who would've guessed that a guy weighing no more than about a buck-10, maybe a buck-20 soaking wet, could smash my ankle so hard. Didn't think much of it after the game, except that it hurt a little when I ran, but with work the next day, who's gonna need to run, right?

Needless to say, I could barely walk the next morning. That was Friday; it was two Thursdays after and I finally went to get some X-rays taken. It was funny to hear the X-ray tech laugh when she read my chart, "You did this two weeks ago?!" She said.
I corrected, "Actually, it was 15 days ago to be exact."
That's when the laughter ensued, but not because it was funny.
"You're such a guy," she said shortly.

I took it as a compliment, but regardless, it still doesn't help my foot feel any better.
"How am I going to fish with a busted foot?"
She laughed again, opened the door and left.

I'm guessing nothing was broken (although it sure feels like it) because I haven't heard from my doctor's office since the X-rays were taken last week... or should I be expecting a call from the other office where I was referred to have the x-rays taken?... Who cares, it's all just a bunch of copays anyway.

As I limped back to my truck from the exam room I made a quick call to the old man who was already lined-up to go wine tasting with mom and some of her friends and their husbands on Sunday... It didn't take much persuasion to get him in on a lake trip that Sunday instead. If the doctor says not to walk on it, fine. I'll keep my feet totally stationary... on a boat.

It was about 2:00 pm when we launched the boat, a little chilly with broken clouds overhead, and hardly any people on the water (which is not normal on this lake for a Sunday in June). As long as you were in the sun it was warm, but when the sun left it sure didn't seem like summer was less than two weeks away.

I won't claim that this lake has excellent bass fishing, but I will claim that you won't find small-mouthed bass... exscuse me... "SMB"... this big in any lakes this high in elevation. After fishing this lake with conventional gear for nearly 25 years I began this year to fish for SMB with my fly rod. The last few trips have been very productive so I had high hopes for this trip.

Fishing for SMB with a fly rod is just fine on small ponds, because there simply isn't a whole lot of room for the fish to hole-up. On a 1 to 2 acre pond, everywhere you cast your fly is right above a fish. On this lake, we're fishing (on average) in about 15 plus feet of water. The lake holds over 40,000 acre-feet of "high quality" water, so I didn't know what to expect using little poppers and wooley buggers. But, that's all I had, so too bad if none of it worked. I can always just reach down into the rod locker and pull out one of my dad's spinning rods with a "fugley" fat gets-it jig tied on the end of 10,000 yards of mono. The fugley never fails.

After about 30 minutes on the water we had our first fish to the boat, and much to my surprise it was hooked to the popper on the end of my tapered leader. First fish belonged to me and my dad wasn't surprised.

The buzz didn't last long though. We went about three hours without a fish before dad hauled in a nice red-eyed SMB on the good ol' fugley. This second fish was probably a good 2 maybe three times bigger than mine, but I still had first fish and I was hoping that it wasn't my last for the day.

It was probably about 6:00 when my dad pulled in his 4th fish, and there I was trying to fly cast in gale force winds with 300 grain shooting head and a clouser minnow that weighed about 5 lbs. I was quickly reminded why it's so important to wear sunglasses while fly fishing as that 5 lb fly bounced off my hat at around 40 mph. I took it as a sign and sat down to regroup with the dog who had been patiently sitting at my dad's feet for the last 4 hours. After consulting with the dog for 10 minutes, I decided it was more important to me to catch a fish right now than to try and perfect my cast in a simulated catagory 3 hurricane, so I picked up the spinning rod and had at it.

The fugley I was casting turned-out four fish in about an hour with the biggest at about 18 lbs. or was that 18 inches?... Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. It was a big fish and a lot of fun to catch. We usually don't take any pictures of the bass on this lake, primarily becasue hardly any of them are picture worthy, but this one would've made the front page of the local paper, along with the meth lab fire and upcoming antique sale. Man I love fishing!

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