Great Bass & Pike Fly Fishing in Small Places 6/27/24

This is the latest fishing report on great Bass and Pike fly fishing top water in a Lake Erie adjacent backwater AND an argument for simple, small kayak fishing as the better way in tight shallow waters.

This photo was taken in one of maybe 100 Cattail Labyrinths in this shallow 1.5 square mile marsh area.  This and similar weed edges is where the big bass and pike are.  It is the best place to be out of any wind is blowing, no tress anywhere here.  Is there a path out or to another "room" ahead to the left or right?  I Can't tell you, after 10 minutes bouncing around inside these places it all look the same.  When I finally come out the other side, "isn't this where I came in"?  The "room" to the left was very similar.  Here, it's a 40 foot cast to the cattail edges and crannies  ahead to the right where the big ones lay.  There is safety from the Ospreys an Eagles and the water in effect is made deeper by blocking some sun and depriving nutrients from submerged vegetation. 

In the middle you can fish right through that floating duck weed and most of the weed tops where clumps of duck weed is stuck on.  Where you see s straight line of duckweed that is a fallen cattail reed that will snag a down hook popper.

From down low in a sit in kayak you can't see the submerged weed cover or much less the fish, but they can't see you and you can catch them closer to the kayak, perhaps ahead to the left. 

I took the a the above scenery photos from where I wound up after fighting this above average Pike.  Late towards dusk the pike came on strong and I got 5 more similar or smaller. I also pretty quickly got 3 bass from 16 to 18 inches.

Being down low in small short, narrow, lighter more agile kayak is an advantage fighting strong fish.  I can switch the fly rod to the left hand grab my paddle with right and quickly reorient, reposition and back tow it away from cover the fish is fighting toward.

There were 2 boat trailers and lots of cars in the launch parking lot.  Lots of people were fishing the nearby good cover so I head for the middle of the cat tail labyrinths.  There was a family of 4 there, two in a boat, mom and a kid in big wide high seat fishing kayaks.  Mom was an inexperienced paddler and she was crashing around in the nearby margins of the neighboring labyrinth.  The big boat had so much inertia and momentum.  I really had an epiphany how easy it is to do it in my little boat. 

Getting close to dark, the wind blew up very strong and I had to hunt for the larger cattail patches to block more of it.  It was easy to let the wind to move me while I covered more water when that was working, or quickly duck behind a cattail wall to avoid the wind long enough to get a cast or two into flat sheltered water.

Back to mid afternoon, for a time the Chartreuse popper was getting rushed, some times hit by good fish but I didn't hook up.  I was hooking some but in a couple cases they got off while I was pulling maybe harder than needed.  I switched to the white version of the same 2/0 Dive Banger.  I usually start with white and think it is the better choice for when it get darker and the fishing gets really hot for bigger fish.   It was off center where the hook eye was placed on the face and it turned to one side on each pop.  It started hooking good fish and I was landing them.



I finished at dark with a total of 8 bass 16 to 19 inches and 6 pike about average  or below average sized.  Only one pike was actually small enough for it not to be a hard fight to keep them under control. 

One time while dead sticking the popper after a retrieve, leaving it still 12 feet from the kayak to give any following fish one last chance to eat it.  As I began to lift it off the water it was rushed by some huge fish that I thought must be a bass by the mass of water it moved without the super speedy violence of a pike strike.  I lowered the rod but thought I had already pulled the fly away from the fish.  My popper was out of sight.  When I tightened up he was there but only for a second before he let go.

Once I rod struck on a strike without any grip on the line, slack line flying everywhere, didn't get it under control until 6 seconds later and the 14 inch bass was still on and I landed him.  I only got about 6 bass between 12 to 14 inches and no smaller ones so for some reason, the smaller ones were in short supply today.

During the near dark frenzy, I jerked the fly away from something and splatted it on the water behind me, I heard the strike and i figured out, "oh, that was a hit".  I set the hook with a fore cast motion but couldn't do a decent job of fighting the fish behind me and he quickly got off.


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