The weather is hot around here lately. Temps have been in the upper 80's and the humidity is brutal. As the water heats up the carp go deep and my musky fishing stops. Not being much of a panfisherman until the ice freezes, the only logical thing to do is chase some largemouths. I snatched up my 8 weight fly rod and headed out to some residential ponds. Fishing in these urban waters is always a good time and I love throwing topwater poppers to hungry little bass. I heaved cast after cast and came up empty handed. After a while I was spent so I stopped for a drink of coffee (I know not the most hydrating drink). I had to figure out what the bass were hitting on. Normally chugging a foam popper across the glassy surface will create chaos in these ponds, but today the fish weren't going for it. As I sipped my coffee I happened to look down at the rod.
Well what do you know I thought a Caelifera, that's a grasshopper for those that don't have Google handy. I took a step and the grass was alive with them. Tons of little grasshoppers scattering in every direction. As the wind picked up I thought, "maybe these tiny guys are getting blown into the pond?" So into the fly box I went checking my terrestrials for a close match. After a bit of digging I settled on a foam grasshopper pattern. The one I picked was a little bigger than the grasshoppers I was seeing beneath my feet, but I love a large lure. Big lures for big fish I always say, you know relatively speaking.
My first cast was pretty uneventful, the second cast yielded a nice sized bluegill. Then I stumbled onto something pretty neat. I noticed that if I didn't set the hook when the gills attacked it that a bass would move in and crush it. After a few missed hooksets (they're free), I strip set into a nice little largemouth. The keyword here is little, don't tell him that though, he had the heart of a lion!
Working my way around the pond I caught quite a few little bass one right after another. I was having a riot and even let another fly fisherman on the shoreline in on my discovery. So what's the message in this story? Take the time to figure out what is going on when you fish. Don't always be in a rush to fire off cast after cast. See if you can discover what the fish are feeding on. Matching the hatch might take a little time, but the rewards are worth it.