2009 was not a bad year for fishing. I started fishing more local waters to fish for bass. In one small bass lake, my fishing buddy, Scott, and I found a small cove with about 20 largemouth bass cruising around it. They seemed to all be in the 3 to 5 pound range. I think we spooked them before we ever started casting. These beautiful bass ignored our offerings for the better part of 2 hours. I think they must have been in the spawning or post-spawn stage. This year I'll hit the same lake a litter earlier, and I'll approach the fish more tactfully. You live; you learn.
In another lake, around 500 Acres, just over the hill from the previous lake, I enjoyed several good outings. This lake has a healthy population of smallmouth bass. I know that some of these fish run up to 5 to 7 pounds, but I never landed anything over 4.
I caught the fish above on John Barr's pattern, the Top Cat. Scott and I met a friendly gear fisherman who told us that he had seen several nice bass on a flat that extends from a point. He had had no luck on this flat, but I managed to entice one fish. I have yet to see another angler fly fishing for bass in Washington, but I have benefited from the friendly advice of many a spin/cast fisherman. My advice to fly fisherman: befriend the gear guys, find out how they present their lures, ask them what depth they are fishing, offer them a beer. Talking to gear guys can be a pleasant surprise if you have experienced the snobbery of some fly fishermen.
Speaking of advice from gear fisherman, lately I have been recording some fishing shows on my DVR. Bill Dance is still around! And he still wears his Tennesse ball cap on every episode. This guy catches some huge bass. Meanwhile, I have also recorded "Seasons on the Fly," a fly fishing show usually features waters in Alaska, Washington, or Oregon. While Bill Dance never tells the viewer where he is fishing, he gives detailed descriptions of how he is fishing. He includes depth, lure choice, barometric pressure, air temperature, and water temperature in each episode. He provides graphics to show the viewer the structure he fishes during different times of the year.
Meanwhile, "Seasons on the Fly" is more about the destination and less about the methods. In each episode, the narrator and his buddies fish with a guide from a different lodge. Based on the music and production, you would think that these guys are fighting a war or climbing K2. "Seasons on the Fly" is more of an advertorial than an instructive fishing show.
So, if you are a poor chump like me who wants to be a master angler, watch Bill Dance, but if you have plenty of money and want to go to an exotic location to catch some real hawgs, watch "Seasons on the Fly."