Disappointing and not


Today was free fishing day in Oregon so the trout lakes would be packed. I decided to try for bass at a farm pond I've never tried before. This meant I installed my fish/depth finder so I could map the lake and find the fish. BTW: those who have mentioned that the Cabela's holder for the Fishin Buddy is a piece of crap jinxed me. I didn't have a problem with the thing until you mentioned it. The holder is a piece of crap and I'll need to modify it before hitting the lake again.

The lake:


The lake was much larger than I thought. It went around a bend. I put in at the worst possible spot and it was far too shallow and choked with weeds.

Once I found the deeper section of the lake, my fish finder was marking a lot of fish. I don't know if they were crappie, gills or bass... but there were a lot of them.

I tried my bait fish patterns and was bummed. I'd get pecks (most likely from gills) but not hits from a bass. Finally, I gave up on the subsurface and started using poppers as I normally do. After a lot of casts this dude hit the popper. It wasn't a large, splashy take so I figured it was a small LMB... it grew as I reeled it in.

To my dismay, I had forgotten to attach the stripping apron to the SuperCat so I had nowhere to place the fish for a photo. Soooo.... while I was fighting the bass with one hand, I installed the stripping apron with the other. Fortunately, the bass had eaten the bug and short of breaking the leader, it was not getting off.

Here's the bass and the well-used, simple black popper that did the trick. One thing about hard body poppers... they normally last for years and that's how long I've used this one.

bass and fly.jpg

This is where I needed a fishing buddy to help with the shots... I tried the classic lip bit but it's danged difficult trying to take the photo yourself (I have no idea what that blue cast is all about... there was no blue on the fish).


The disappointing part of the trip is that this is the only fish I caught. Eventually, the bursitis in my casting arm started killing me and the wind came up... so I bailed.

But I do now know where to fish and I did catch one fat ol' LMB so it was a mixed blessing trip.


Active Member
I dont know besides the arm hurting it seems like a pretty good trip!

I havent picked up any big bass in washington yet, this morning I picked up a couple of little guys while casting for cutts in the weeds (they were abusing damselfly nymphs). I need to quit being lazy and spend some quality time out there with a popper, just hard to do when the trout fishing is so good right now.


Damselfly nymphs wear crawling on my pontoon boat. Adults were everywhere. I considered trying a damselfly nymph but figured I'd use my dedicated bass patterns instead.

Most likely, I could have picked up some gills with a damselfly nymph. But I was after LMB.


Topwater and tying.
The blue was probably a reflection from your 'toon.
I managed to accidently hook up with a little (8 in) bass today while I was checking out a local lake. No skunk today, even if I was targeting trout. The little guy inhaled a black micro leech.


I bet you're right. I've never had a problem with a reflection like that before. It was a wide fish.

The lake temps are finally starting to stabilize in The Valley. Yesterday, the water temp was 70 so I knew the popper had a chance but it was the middle of the day and by now, we're probably past the spawn. I did locate some great looking spawning areas but no one was home. Most likely, if I go out there in the evening, the popper action would be good. I heard a lot of frogs and that is always a good sign. Gills were also hitting the popper so that is also a good sign.

I kept all my warmwater fly boxes in the pontoon boat and will try to hit a different lake at a different farm after work this week. The one I tried on Saturday requires a phone call to the farmer before I'm allowed to fish and that is a hassle if I suddenly decide to go fishing.

Surprisingly, this lake is much more clear than the others on the farm. I did see a couple of carp so you could sight fish for the critters if you're into that.

This bursitis stuff is something new. There really isn't much you can do about it other than specific stretching exercises and I tried those before I headed to the lake. It certainly puts a cramp on casting large, heavy poppers. I also managed to grab an older 5wt Sage rod when I loaded up instead of the one I normally use and the thing is as heavy as a 2X4.

I've found a slower action, lighter, 5wt works as well as any for casting poppers from my pontoon and isn't as hard on my arm. Long casts are not required where I fish with poppers. The bass ignore the small pontoon boat and I've caught LMB with poppers 5 feet from my boat.

Guess I wasn't into bass mode yesterday. I made some mistakes... forgetting to install the stripping skirt is something I've never done before and I didn't notice until I hooked the bass. Getting old is a bitch.
All I can say is that the slow, soft action of a 9 foot 5 wt is good therapy for sore arms. The problem comes into play when you attach the leader to a large fish that wants to play elsewhere. It can become painful, or so I am told. I try at all cost to avoid that. I do enjoy my 9 ft, 5 weight however.


Normally, I use a Orvis Clearwater 9 foot 5wt because it has no problem tossing the bugs and is much lighter than that old Sage. When I first started casting poppers I used a 7wt... then went down to a 6wt. Eventually figured out that a slow action 5wt works fine for the short casts I make and isn't so damned heavy.

Landing the bass wasn't the problem... well, other than trying to land it while installing my stripping skirt... it was the continual casting that did in my arm. The bass did head for the weeds while I was messing around with the skirt so I figured I'd lose it. I didn't remember what size tippet material I had tied on so I was concerned the tippet would break. Normally, I use 10lb clear Maxima for bass fishing with my bass taper line and hoped that's what I still had on... it was. I was able to pull the bass out of the weeds.

As I mentioned, it ate the bug and it was hooked far down the throat so it wasn't about to come off. That's one advantage to unhooking a LMB... their mouths are so large it's easy to reach in and retrieve the bug.

I've probably had that black popper for 10 years. Instead of feathers, I tied black buck tail for the legs. I need to try that with my yellow and black poppers. I think the buck tail gives the bug more of a V shape that doesn't collapse when wet so you maintain the kick movement when you pop it.

Over the years, I've found black poppers work on specific bass but not a lot of bass. Normally, the yellow and black popper catches more bass so I tried it first. The gills hit that one but no bass.
While I lived in NJ all I could do was catch bass on the fly. Now that I'm back in WA I've only had a few lucky days with FF for bass. Last week on cottage I was playing a few bass with green poppers but most were down below the pads. I think we are still a month away before we really start seeing the warmwater guys

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