Last November I had a good day casting Great Lakes Jiggys and Top Water Marabou Bangers. I finally got back out on Point Mouilllee State Game Area to try for Bass and Pike. Two boats were ahead of me fishing nearby Cattail Labyrinths. I wound up paddling east in the lee of the Long Dyke. At a good spot, first cast to open water with a 1/0 White-Chartreuse Great Lakes Jiggy got a better than average Pike. The next cast hooked and lost some small fish.
Further down the dyke I started getting small Pike. Then in open water I began to see small pods of 3 inch bait jumping in areas the size of a bedroom or living room. Their broad sides flashed bright silver in the low sun. Soon small predators, then heavier predator began crashing the surface chasing the fast moving schools. Casting to or toward or where this feeding activity had recently erupted produced small to average pike and bass.
When that action died, I headed in to some cattail labyrinths with no luck. Back along the long dyke I saw the usual bait along the shore and started casting toward shore and began catching Pike and Bass but now with bigger ones thrown in.
I finished with 16 Pike and 8 bass landed on a couple of 1/0 White-Chartreuse Jiggys.
The last 2 hours of daylight brought faster and faster action. For the day I lost many smallish fish, but with small pike, that is a blessing. I also lost a heavy fish that could have been one of the big bass that live here. Almost all the pike were easy to release because they had most of the hook outside their mouths. Still, the 2 Jiggy flies I used all day got their Body Flash thoroughly shredded and lost most of their Flashabou, wing bucktail and Chartreuse Flash Wing topping.
Tungsten 4.6mm, Silver Brass 4.8mm For Lake Trout, Pike and Bass in deep or shallow water.
Lessons Learned: I got few fish in areas where I saw no bait fish activity. While I was seeing an catching nothing, I saw terns diving in the distance. Seeing Bait Fish is a tip to try that area.
I have thought that retrieving flashy flies perpendicular to the angle of the light from a low sun would make more flash that would bring fish from farther away and could trigger more strikes. This seemed to be true today.
A rip and fall retrieve brings out the jig action for weight forward flies. My retrieve style have evolved from when I fish water with fewer, more pressured fish. Then I used a series of 3 strips followed by a longer pause to trigger a hit on the fall. Now in salt water and better fresh water spots with more fish feeding competitively, I like a steady rhythm sharp medium length strips, each followed by a pause for the fall to trigger the strike. In today's shallow cold water, a count down of 3 seconds followed by 10 inch sharp strips with a 3/4 second pause after each was effective. For the shallow water here, the big flashy Jiggy I used had a 3/16 brass bead for a slower turn and fall that kept the fly mostly above the weeds.
When the fishing is easy, fish easy. In the spots I fish from a kayak with poppers now, I only occasionally need to finesse the retrieve with pauses of subtle twitches. I mostly use a brisk steady cadence of medium pops, sometimes stopping about 12 feet from the kayak to pause and give any following fish a different look and a last chance to eat the popper.
In the places I caught fish, when I brought up weeds they were bright green. Green weeds are better than dead weeds.
Once today I hooked some deep weeds about 12 feet out. I ripped the fly loose and brought it up next to the nose of the kayak and a good fish rushed it and turned away with a big splash. I anchored and after 6 cast got a bigger than average pike in close.