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6-20-04 - Bluegill Orgy!

Grandma's Bluegills were not to be messed with!

First fish of the day, a respectable Rock Bass.

We got out on the paddleboat and found the weeds.

Renee probably wishes I didn't share this picture with you...fishin' before breakfast and a shower. But this is her first pike on the fly; heck it's her first fish EVER. She beat me to it!

The resident Loon was doing some fishing too.


If you couldn't tell how small it was, here's a better look!
(Copyright "Renee" 2004)

Finally I get that fish I'm happy with, the one that makes the trip...a fair sized Largemouth!
(Copyright "Renee" 2004)

6-20-04 - First Northern Pike ON THE FLY!

Waters Fished: Sugar Lake
Fish Caught: 2.5
Outing Date: 6-20-04
Weather: PERFECT
Air Temp: 70's
Water Temp: didn't bother
Water Level: up
Water Color: clear and slightly stained, easily 7-8 feet visibility
Fish Species: Bluegill, Rock Bass, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass
Pattern Fished: Flying bunnies
Pattern Color: black & olive; tan and white
Fishing Quality: I'm happy

How about this; let's start off with the most recent Minnesota DNR survey of Sugar Lake! This is all I knew going into the trip...I was relatively jazzed. Some folks on the WFF message board (Wisconsin Fly Fishing) had given me last minute tips for Pike fishin' and I was ALL SET to do this. I had heard about Pike Fishing with a Fly Rod, heck we tried to chase Musky a few weeks back. Time to stop TRYING and start DOING.

I got up LATE and right away got on the water...first fish to come in was a Rock Bass. While waiting around I got some great picks of the orgy that was the bluegills at the end of the pier. Man there were nests everywhere.

Renee is up and about and it's time to take a ride in the Paddleboat. Grandma will ring the bill when breakfast is ready. Well we get out and there's just a slight breeze....maybe a couple feet from shore the silty/sandy bottom gives way to weed growth. THIS IS IT, this is what I was told to look for.

I spend a lot of time flogging the water with a black & olive flying bunny. Nothing is happening. Well, I did see a couple smaller bluegills give chase, but that was about it. Even if we weren't catching anything we were still having a good time enjoying the morning on the lake.

So then it happened...these guys in a boat pull up, make ONE cast and hit a northern the length of my arm. What is it with fishermen showing off right in front of me this weekend?!?!!?! I noted that it looked like a silver spoon on the end of his line; mental note..change flies....

After a quick change to a lighter color (Tan with White Tail) we got back to fishin. The wind wasn't heading from any particular direction, so for the most part we simply drifted about and fished. Every couple casts I'd had Renee the line, showed her how to hold the rod and how to strip in. Well, we're getting blown out kinda far, so I decide it's time to back us up a bit closer to shore. I hand the rod to Renee.

"OH MY GOD THERE'S SOMETHING ON THE END OF THIS!" shouts Renee as the line goes tight in her hands and starts cutting to the left. SWEET this is sooooo cool. I'm trying to explain to hold on but I really hadn't explained at all what she should do when a fish hit...heck I hadn't been that optimistic. I noticed a lot of slack in her lap...I started to reel in but the reel jammed up on the line...great.

And this all happens in like 2 seconds...Renee looks at me, says "I have no clue what to do" and hands me the rod. Since the reel is still jammed up with line I strip retrieve. All too quickly the fight is done and there we are with the first Northern Pike on the Fly. 1/2 hers, 1/2 mine, ALL smiles.

I wasn't about to be the only one who DIDN'T catch a northern that morning, so we paddled in closer to shore where Grandma had noted that "folks tend to fish a lot over there". As we got there I could see why...the bottom here was much steeper...weeds were in much closer to shore. NICE....maybe here I'd get lucky.

Well of course, I too did end up getting lucky. My line went tight and I set the problem bringing in my DINKER SNAKE HAMMERHANDLE whatever you want to call it...a cute little Pike that'd look nice in a 20 gallon aquarium LOL! But it was my first northern on the fly, and that was what I set out to do. Mission Accomplished!

And shortly thereafter the breakfast bell rang. We turned around (not an easy thing to do in a Paddleboat) and headed for Grandma's. As we approached, I was watching the bottom looking at the weeds, structure, whatever we might see along the way.

"STOP" I shouted! "I'm gonna catch that bass!".

"What Bass?" Renee queried?

"Just give me a couple casts..." as I started hauling line. As we had passed a submerged log I had noticed a bass moving for cover. I figured I had a good shot if we hadn't spooked him.

The first cast resulted in nothing. I think Renee was kinda thinking "um, it's breakfast Matt, time to stop fishing"...but I laid out my second cast right where it should've been...I was confident. As the fly sank, a form moved upwards, a white circle appeared behind my fly, and then disappeared and my fly was now gone too.....Man I if I didn't SET THAT HOOK!

This was actually a fun fight, even though I was still totally outmatched using my 9wt. In no time a nice Largemouth Bass came to hand...Renee snapped a few pics while I was fighting and landing and well, there you have it. I was very happy to leave with a respectable fish to show for our 45 MINUTES of effort.

I am so glad Renee convinced me to go. Everyone I met was simply wonderful. It was a nice wedding, my best wishes for a long and happy marriage to Brad and Martha, but during that ceremony I think you ALL know where I really wanted to be ;) Heck, not to mention there was yet another lake sitting just outside the reception....



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