Madtown Wader Fishing

     It started with an email...well actually a series of emails.  While searching for shore fishing spots in Wisconsin they stumbled upon ShoreboundHero.com.  They had limited funds available and just wanted to drop a line to see if the prices I had listed on the site were for real.  I quickly assured them that those were in fact my prices and that I still had Sunday morning open.  Plans were made to chase pike and bass on the fly while wading some of the Madison lakes.
A wonderful place to enjoy nature and it's right in the middle of town.
     I left work Sunday morning (3rd shifter), stopped for a Redbull, and headed over to the meeting point on beautiful Lake Waubesa.  I was greeted by two gentleman that were a little tired from the drive and a little nervous about wading an unknown body of water.  "So you actually wade lakes?" he asked, "All the time" I replied.  "Just along the shoreline?" his friend asked, "Nope you can wade a good 50 yards or more out into the water."  The look on their faces said it all.  They had for the most part entirely written off the ability to wade lakes.  This always puzzles me because it has been my experience that on many bodies of water you can wade out and fish the same drop offs and weed lines that the boaters are fishing.  Just, you can do it a lot cheaper in a set of waders.  I started putting on my Orvis Silver Sonics and went over basic wader safety and fly pattern choices.  As we made our way across the park towards the beach I got asked a common question.  "Where's your fly rod?"  I politely explained that, "When I'm guiding I don't fish."  You're paying me for my knowledge of the fishery, not to go fishing.  He looked puzzled at first, then his buddy piped up and said, "Good! I would be pissed if the guide caught fish on my dime."  "My thoughts exactly I told him," "Lets start casting."  We worked our way up and down the shallow weed line.  It took some prompting, but soon they were comfortable leaving the shallow water to cast towards deeper water and hopefully bigger fish.
Lots of water, not a lot fish.
     It didn't take me to long to realize that the fish weren't around.  Between the crazy winds, the cold front, and it being their first time to throw 8-10 weight fly rods, things weren't going well.  "You guys ready to do a little Urban Run and Gun?" I asked.  "What do you mean?" they replied.  "This is Madison" I said, "We can jump in my truck and be knee deep in another lake in 10 minutes."  "You don't even need to  take your waders off."  They agreed and we made our way back to the beach and headed out in search of more productive water.
     The wind was wiping wildly across Lake Monona as we made our way into the water.  "I can't cast in this much wind yet" one of them said, "Not a problem, I can't cast worth a crap in the wind either."  They found my comment humorous to say the least.  I readily admit that I'm no expert when it comes to fly fishing, so I recommended the use of some Echotails and Mepps spinners on conventional tackle.  "We will have to cover a lot of water, but the fish are here." I told them.  They asked how I knew the fish would be here and I started explaining how the weed beds worked on this side of the lake.  It was when I started telling them about the different depths of the wed beds that I got that look people give you when they think you're full of shit.  So I pulled out my phone and showed them the depth contours on my Navionics App.  They couldn't believe what they were seeing.  They had no idea that something like this was readily available to the shorebound angler.  Seriously, if you don't have that app downloaded on your phone stop reading and do it now...I'll wait for you.
Little bass were everywhere!
     Once we left the beach the action started fast.  Just a few casts in and the bass started banging the baits.  What had started that morning as a slow march through empty water quickly turned into lots of laughing and hollering.  "I can't believe how good the fishing is here" one of them exclaimed.  "This is a nasty cold front" I told them, "Give it a few more days and I promise the fishing will improve."  After a belly busting laugh fest we continued working our way down the shoreline.  I helped with knot tying, color selection, and the landing of fish.  I had my Lucid Fishing Grips working double time both subduing pike and checking knot strength.  The best part was being constantly on the run trying to get pictures of all the fish.
Another northern takes the bait.
     Then it happened, one of the guys hooked into a nice fish.  It started to peel drag and I said, "It's pulling like a largemouth."  "No way" he said, "Couldn't be a bass."  Sure enough it started jumping, and they went nuts!  A lot of "Don't mess this up," and "Why don't you carry a net!" were tossed around.  I told them "You don't need a net to land bass" (I really should buy one though because that crazy fish ran all over the place).  Once we had it in hand he asked, "How much does it weigh?" I put it on the Lucid Fishing Grips, and saw that it was just shy of 5 pounds.  He was ecstatic!!!  Lots of high fives and a few pictures later and that bass swam away no worse for wear.  
     Later back at the truck they thanked me for introducing them to the idea of wading in lakes.  As they loaded up the car to head for home one of them leaned over and said, "Thank you not fishing today."  "Not a problem" I said, "Thank you for catching a big fish!"  He smiled and you could see the whole fight replaying in his eyes.  It was a fish he'll never forget, and I was lucky enough to be there when he caught it.
A beautiful Madtown largemouth bass. 
     Tight Lines.
     

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