Monday, September 2, 2013
First Cast Creek
Dave and I try to go fishing every Sunday. Schedules don't always permit but this Sunday we decided we wanted to wade. I haven't been wading much this year. This would be the third time out to walk in water and I wanted to check on a body of water I hadn't fished yet this year.
The creek looked inviting. I'd never waded this stretch but it looked promising from the word go. In the photo above see how you can see the brown bottom in the foreground that is about a foot to a foot and a half deep. Notice how the water takes on a blue-green color as you move closer to the far bank. That's at least three feet deep. I know because I set my float at least three feet down while I fished this spot from shore. This is where we'd enter the creek.
Unless the spot where you enter a moving body of water is exceedingly shallow it's a good idea to fish it from the bank before you walk through it. Dave was faster getting baited up and pulled off a first cast fish; a nice, clean channel catfish.
I'm encouraged by the sign of life and quickly finish setting up my split-shot weights and nose hook a fathead minnow. My first cast didn't go where I wanted it to. Not close enough to the far side of the creek. Adjustments were made to the float and my stance and by my third cast I hooked a big rock bass.
Full of hope we step into the creek and begin working our way upstream. Dave has always been quite the bluegill angler where creeks are concerned. He can always seem to find them. Today was no different.
Any bluegill you can lip is a good bluegill. We'd catch bluegills and catfish until about 8:30 AM. Every time I fish this creek it takes until about 8:30 before the smallmouth start biting. I guess they enjoy sleeping in. No matter, four ate my minnows in four successive casts.
The average size was 10 inches or so. Not huge but fun to catch. Dave caught a smallmouth with a beautiful color pattern.
Very white belly, dark bronze spots and bars by the eye; a gorgeous example of a juvenile smallmouth. It, and all other fish caught today were released to grow larger. I'll come back and catch them in a year or two. They can have time to fatten up and grow.
When all was said and done Dave caught six species of fish and I got five, missing only the venerable creek chub. We could have caught many more depending on what species had come up the creek to spawn and decided to stay.
We finally decided to call it a day and began our walk back to our entry point and car. In total Dave and I each landed a dozen smallmouth, a largemouth or two, some channel catfish, a handfull of bluegills, different sized rock bass, and Dave bested me by catching a sixth species; a creek chub.
It was a good Sunday walk in the water. A good time out with an old friend. This creek is a good one. I've fished other stretches and it can produce some excellent sized fish. Today nothing over 12" was caught but we enjoyed every minute of it.
A creek doesn't have to be a small body of water but most around here are. We have to walk and cross many yards of unproductive water to get to the deeper holes that the fish live in. Once we find the holes we sometimes have to work them from many angles and drift our bait past many times before we get bit.
Today we knew it was going to be a good day early on because Dave caught first cast. It doesn't always happen that way but of any place I've fished I'd bet this creek to produce a first cast fish before most others. It's a special place away from the stresses of our lives. Surrounded by the beauty of nature we bait, cast, catch, release, snag, break off, retie, and adjust our floats. These motions become fluid and practiced and routine with time. What doesn't become routine is the creek; it's natural beauty and ever changing landscape make it a challenge to wade and a challenge to fish.
To call it my happy place is an understatement. To call it by name is forbidden. From now on I may call it by my own made up name; I may start calling it First Cast Creek. Today it was, and may it stay that way!