I started early Sunday morning with several Kayaks and a Canoe ahead of me. In a near by cattail labyrinth where I had recently caught a big pike and seen a very big bowfin. I got mostly nothing, near the large opening I caught that big pike, a cast with a 3/0 HookUp Popper to adjacent pocket got blasted by a very big pike who took it deep and instantly cut through my 40Lb bite leader. About the time I finished retying I saw a bubble trail from some fish moving through the submerged weeds from that area to the big opening. A cast there got blasted by a very big pike that bolted across that opening heading into the next one, I pressured her hard and was cut off. 2 casts, 2 big pike, two 3/0 Hookup Poppers cut off. More about this fly pattern at the end of the post.
Spots I usually try were too overgrown with submerged weeds to hold fish.
Down the long Dyke, the wind was at a difficult angle, moving me along faster than I wanted.
I only hooked one good bass casting a flashy size #2 bead head jiggy and striping it back. He quickly tangled up in a clump of weeds. As I went to net the weeds and the bass, he got off and I just got the weeds.
I went back to fishing the big 3/0 White HookUp Poppper in the cattail Islands looking for the very nice spots I found last time. Only got a few bass around 14 inches. I am always hearing this loud, elusive bird that sounds more like a monkey. I suspect they are coots. This pair seems to have seen me here often enough not to be concerned. The coot chicks have left their nest and boy can they scoot across the water.
I got about 6 medium sized pike, they hit all 3 fly patterns I describe here.
After a lunch break and some rain I headed farther back and found a spot I will call the corner office. A cast next to nice looking cover over deep water got savagely hit by what was probably a big pike the line came tight on her long enough for us both to feel it then the fly came free. I cast right back and immediately another huge hit. This time I caught a glimpse of what looked like a huge bass, but can't be sure. The hook again only held for a second. With more averaged sized fish I have found both a pike and a bass both holding in the same pocket with the pike hitting first and the bass soon after.
I found the Cattail Island with the big open pocket with lily pads in the center and stayed with the 3/0 White HookUp Popper. In a normal sized pocket, I landed the first decent bass. In the big pocket I just got a few hits. After numerous cast a huge pike hit, on the first hard run my whole leader broke off on what was probably a wind knot in the heavy leader butt. On my other rod, was my 4/0 Chaos Agent prototype. This got hit by good fish on about 8 of the next 10 cast, lots of those got off, I lost track.
Finally a medium pike took it deep and by then it was pretty battered and the action wasn't as good. It took a few fish before I retied with a similar fly, a 3/0 Bullet Dog Which took fish the rest of the evening. It took fish out of that same pocket and other spots I tried.
Both of these erratically diving darting flies can be fished tearing up the surface film or subsurface with a quicker retrieve. The bass were often hitting the retrieve very close to the rod tip. The bass right after the first smaller crappie came for the fly only 3 feet from the rod tip. He perhaps meant to miss it but got hooked on the outside of the gill plate. Both of these flies are more work and more expensive than what is practical to throw at a bunch of fly shredding pike.
Development or the wider flatter Chaos Agent lead to the more slender refined Bullet Dog pattern. The bullet dog does a great looking walk the dog, gliding about 4 inches to each side with very sharp short strips at either a slower or quicker rhythm. Its sleek shape cast easily.
The Chaos Agent wider flatter head and skirt turn much sharper and more erratically. and also push more water. If you need line speed for difficult cast into the wind the Chaos agent won't go where you aim it on either the fore cast or the back cast. On the retrieve, just the right oomph and rhythm can string together a few tight walk the dog turns. Never mind walk the dog, both patterns draw fish better fished with very sharp short hard strips either ripping through the surface film with audible popping noise or darting subsurface. This seems to work better because the more violent movements stimulate the the fishes lateral line sense which I believe is a powerful trigger for predatory game fish. Poppers do this with each pop. I think as it got dark, or in muddier water, a flashy White Marabou Banger get more fish by being easier to locate.
Today these darting divers were attacked by so many fish in water that had partially been fished over with the my HookUp Poppers. They also got hit amazingly close to the rod tip and the kayak. I think the bass may have perceived them a very energetic and difficult targets to capture and were intensely focused on the attack.
I have been working for decades on walk the dog action topwater flies and I'm very happy with both these patterns. I have one more tweak to try on the bullet dog. Also I just stumbled on a 5/0 Dive Banger tie that does a nice 45 degree side to side as it pops and ducks its head. There are some modifications I need to try as a followup on that.