Monday, July 30, 2012

Fishing With Dad

The other day I did something that I haven't had a chance to do in a while. I went fishing with my Dad. We have been talking about going fishing for a while, but since Dad retired at the end of June, he's had a little extra time to be able to go. I was even more excited than usual about this fishing trip, because my Dad is the reason that I love the outdoors now. He introduced me to fishing when I was young, and from an early age I was hooked.

We finally got a plan together the night before and decided to try smallmouth fishing at the Broad River. Dad had never been fishing here before, and I hadn't been down there myself for about a month. The last time I was there, the smallmouth were biting pretty good and I was hoping for a repeat performance. Dad decided he wanted to give fly fishing a try on this trip, and I figured the river would be a good place to let him learn since it is nice and wide, with plenty of casting room. Also, the bream down there usually go absolutely nuts for small poppers. I figured Dad would be into fish in no time.
Dad looking for his next spot to fish

Of course what I hadn't taken into consideration was all the heat that we have had lately. I had attempted to fish down here once between this trip and the last, but it didn't work out due to high water. This time the USGS gauge showed the river at a reasonable level and dropping, so I figured we would be ok. When we got there the water level was low enough to wade comfortably, but the river was still pretty stained, probably from all the thunderstorms that we recently had. We decided to give it a try since we were there, and I figured that the stained water might help our chances since the fish wouldn't be able to see us quite as easily. Dad jumped right in and started fishing with a popping bug, while I tied on my favorite smallmouth fly for this river, a blue, purple, and white Triple Threat.

My go-to smallmouth fly
I missed a couple of strikes early on, from either eager bream or small bass. Dad was fishing below me with the popper, but wasn't having much luck. We both fished for an hour or so with no strikes, and like fishermen do we began to speculate on why the fishing was off. My guess was the dirty water, and Dad figured that all the heat we had been having had the fish hunkered down in deeper water trying to stay cool. If I had to guess, I'd say the answer is probably a combination of those two factors, along with that mysterious way a river has of just turning off. We stuck with it though, and I could tell Dad was starting to get the hang of fly casting. I kept hoping for a fish to hit his fly, and I kept on fishing with the Triple Threat for a little while.
Dad fly fishing

 As time went by with no more strikes, I decided to change it up and throw a popper for a while to see if the bream were in a biting mood. I must have fooled the only one that felt like eating, because I did have one come up and smack a yellow popper.
Only bream of the day
These bream are usually my fall back plan on this river when the smallmouth aren't wanting to bite, but for some reason today even the bream were in a funk. I hoped that they would turn on and give Dad some action, but the one I caught turned out to be the only one for the day. I switched back to the Triple Threat thinking maybe the fish would eat something subsurface, and kept on trying to find a bass willing to bite. Eventually I did manage to find one little smallmouth that wanted to eat.
This fish turned out to be the last one of the day, but we fished a while longer hoping for another bite. As I was working a pool that is usually good for a bass, Dad headed downstream to the next deeper hole. He hadn't gone far when I heard him say "Look at that deer!".
Deer in the river
A deer had come off of one of the downstream islands and was taking a drink at the edge of the water. I moved to where I could see it and snapped a few pictures, and then we just stood there watching as it waded the river. It stopped about halfway across and looked toward us, almost as if it was saying "Don't you guys know it's too dang hot for the fish to bite?!".

Checking us out
We fished a little while longer, but with the sun getting hotter and the fishing getting slower, we decided to call it a day around 12:30pm and go get lunch. We decided to stop in at a local Chinese restaurant, and as we were eating I looked out the window and there were four more deer across the street in someone's yard! It appeared to be a doe and her three fawns that had come out to graze. 

Deer In Town

We debated for a little while on whether or not to go back and give the fishing another try, but in the end we decided with the temperature already in the mid 90's it would probably be wise to call it a day. We did make some future plans involving a trip to a new smallmouth stream I had heard about, and possibly doing some trout fishing. I'm looking forward to those trips, but most of all I'm looking forward to another day fishing with Dad.

Thanks for stopping by!

- Joseph

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