4:30 AM, the lake is calm, and the eastern sky is just starting to turn pink. I ease the boat up onto plane and make a 25 minute run. It's late June on Lake Champlain and this flat I've chosen is as close to a guarantee as you can find in Smallmouth Bass fishing. As I get near the small point I kill the motor and deploy the bow mounted troller. Its just before 5 am now and there is plenty of light, as I silently angle the boat to the south of the point I see the first big swirl in the bay, then another. Stripping line from the reel, bass popper in hand, I watch the depth finder go from 15 to 4 feet pretty quickly. Just about to make a blind cast into shallows I notice some baitfish 15 feet in front of the boat. Suddenly a smallmouth slashes through the school, back out of the water coming right at the boat. I flick the popper at the swirl and instantly the fish rolls on the fly then goes airborne as I set the hook. These bass are street fighters, and in shallow water, the only place to go is up. Minutes later I finally am able to horse the roughly 5 pound fish into the net. For me, few things in fly fishing are more exciting to me then rolling up on a smallmouth flat at day break or just before sunset.
As many of you know I am laid up this summer after undergoing foot and ankle reconstruction after years of injuries from playing high level soccer.
So, for the moment I have a bit of time to do some writing for the site. I have been slacking, but enjoy doing re caps of fly fishing tournaments as there are always lessons I learn that are more easily stored in my memory banks if I can write them down. They also provide a lot of insights for the casual reader when it comes to how I go about catching fish in a river or lake that I am not familiar with.
The Nine Mile Mini Comp was held back in mid June down in NY, about a 4.5 hour drive for me. I got up early Saturday morning and arrived at the river to meet my teammates Sean Crocker and Ken Krane along with a couple of other friends for a fun little practice session. These mini comps are not real serious and its a good time just getting out fishing and learning from one another.