Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Fly Fish with Mel: Bass of Three - Part 3


Heading off together in two cars, we flowed with the current along separate winding asphalt streams as we crossed the island from the West and took a turn up North. A little less than twenty minutes later, we were staring at the reflection of the evening sun, glistening on the surface of one of our favourite playgrounds, 7 Tree.

Even with a near-blinding glare from the water, the tell-tale signs of a weed overgrowth were evident from where we stood. Walking over to the water's edge revealed the true scale of the weed problem. A carpet of Hydrilla and a moss-like weed stretched along the shore; a carpet so thick you could literally walk on it. Following the green blanket, we walked towards a drain outlet and there found a little glimmer of hope. A small stretch of water, not more than 40 feet; with only pockets of weed.

Fanning out, we gave each other the choice of real estate and then, "Flies Away!".

Back in the shop a couple of days before, out of sheer boredom, I started meddling with the box of fly materials and found a hen cape with lots of unused Semi-plume. Having seen an article on a 'Mrs Simpson' fly recently, I proceeded to modify the design using the Semi-plume; topping it off with a strip of Burnt-Orange Zonker.

Having used the White Woolly Bugger so often today and having caught so many Peacock Bass on it, I toyed with the idea of testing my Ugly Fly. Taking it out, I tied it on with the Orvis Knot. With a steady wind blowing against me, I was just able to place the fly beyond the furthest edge of the weed bed. As the fly dove and fluttered through the tangle of weeds, I waited; ready to strike.

The soft fibers of the Semi-plume pulsated hypnotically, like a belly dancer's writhing body.

Unable to resist such an alluring tease, I had not long to wait to set the point of my barbless hook home. As if awoken from a hypnotic spell, the PB suddenly sprang to life and lunged back into the weeds. My 4X tippet held at the first dash and I was then able to manoeuvre and lead the fish through the narrow paths between the hydrilla forest. The fight over, I lipped a beautiful golden-green body that glowed brilliantly in the evening sun.

Walking a little further on, I made probing casts in-between the thick mats of weeds. Mending my line to fall along the narrow straits of water, I worked my fly back through what was probably a canyon of weeds. However, from somewhere, in one of the many dark crevices, came a colossal mouth that engulfed my fly.

With one easy flick of it's wide tail, it powered through the columns of weed. My efforts to keep clear of the weed only made it worse as the fish, feeling the pressure from my rod, pulled all the harder. Not just having to deal with fish, now I had a tangled mess of weed in tow. However, applying steady pressure and giving line at the right time, I managed to ensure that my tippet held. Emerging like a 'Swamp Thing', this peacock bass wore a wig of green moss.

Removing the weed, a beauty appeared and I called Michael over to help with a quick shot before I released the fish back safely into the water. A moment's rest and then off it shot, back into the weeds.

A great day of fishing for three fishing buddies.