So, I’m primarily a fly fisherman.
I enjoy the challenge and “skill” sometimes required to pursue my quarry. I love stalking fish in local gin-clear creeks and rivers with a fiberglass rod. Heck, I’ll even break out the big guns and sling flies the size of small children on my 6, 7, and 8 weights for some bigger fish on lakes and larger rivers. I like to think I’m not a snob when it comes to fly techniques; I’m usually willing to try pretty much anything to catch some fish.
Even before I became I die-hard fly guy though, I was a weekend warrior bass angler, usually in the company of my dad, who taught me pretty much everything I know about fishing. We’d spend nearly every weekend on the local reservoir near our house in southwestern Louisiana trying to fill up the freezer with bass fillets. I’ve picked out baitcasting reel bird’s nests the size of softballs, bailed water out of a swamped bass boat in a storm, and thrown myself overboard when my Zara Spook hung itself in a hornet nest, inciting the natives.
I’ve mentioned it before. but we’re in the middle of pretty much the worst drought in Texas history. Creeks and rivers are bone-dry. Lake levels are at all-time lows. It’s a tough place to be not just a fly chucker, but an angler in general. I went for a walk one evening last week, and noticed the local neighborhood lake had dropped probably 3′-4′ additional in about a month, which killed most of the vegetation where most of the big boys hung out. The fish had moved to the opposite corners of the lake, way out of reach of my subpar fly cast.
If I wanted to catch fish, it was time to get serious.
After a couple visits to some of the local big-box stores, I’d re accumulated enough gear to do some damage. I reoiled and relined my baitcasting and spinning reels, who haven’t seen the light of day in a good five years or so. I cleaned out my old tackle box, throwing away melted amalgamations of soft plastics that looked like they had come out of the Creepy Crawler machines (seriously if you grew up in the ’90s, you know what I’m talking about). I was back in business.
After a few visits back to the local lake, it was clear that I hadn’t really forgotten much. I still remembered how to feather the spool on my baitcaster, how to detect a bite on a Texas-rigged soft plastic, and how to set the hook Bill Dance-style, if I so desired. Despite the fact that my fly-purist buddies had busted out their pitchforks and torches, and were leading an angry fly-fishing mob to my doorstep, I was having a grand ole time.
I guess the main point I want to make is that sometimes different situations require different tactics. For you hardcore fly guys out there, you may a learn a thing or two if you pick up some conventional tackle and give it a shot. Joe Cornwall over at Fly Fish Ohio has a great article regarding creek fishing with spinning rods, geared towards primarily fly anglers. That goes for you conventional guys too, pick up a fly rod (or two) and give the other side of the sport a shot. The results may surprise you.
I’ll leave you guys with a quote from Joe Cornwall’s article.
“Break out of the box, and learn some new skills while you’re at it. If you want to fish more often, or don’t want to lose precious fishing time because conditions are sub-optimal, embrace the inclusion of a spinning rod into your repertoire. It’s a fascinating sport in its own right, and it’s a great way to learn more about the species you target and the waters you fish. Angling is a big sport. It’s a great sport. And it’s too important to our health, our peace of mind and our relationship with the natural world to suffer less of it.”
As for me, I’ll keep heading down to the local lake until we get enough rain to fill back up the rivers, with a my 7 wt. Fenwick in one hand, and my G. Loomis Baitcaster in the other. It never hurts to be prepared, and I want to see if I can land another 10 lb. grass carp on a Chug Bug. Seriously, he just demolished it yesterday.