Pickerel and Pickles

While water temperature has dropped, AGAIN, this last week, I was able to get into some decent pickerel action with the 4 and 6wt fly rods.and a fly I created myself I call Gus's Pickle.

On a clouser!

Friday Night: Cloudy, cold, 20mph NW gusts.  I peddled over to my new favorite spot, trying not to get wet as the waves broke against the bow as I cut across the "pond".  Casting the 4wt with anything was a challenging (especially with the crap airflo line I bought- never again).  I stuck it out with my little black ghost for about 20 minutes, catching a few sunnies and a crappie.  BIG crappie are fun, but the novelty of catching small one after small one was wearing off.  So I switched to my 6wt and was able to double-haul my way through the wind with a small double bunny.  It only took about 5 minutes, and I was into my first real rod bending fish.  A beautiful ~20" pickerel.  Photographed, kissed, and released.  I worked the area, catching a few more.  I switched to my home made fly, Gus's Pickle (a combination of my dog's name and pickerel?  I don't know, Carly and I just laughed about it and it stuck) and caught another two pickerel, all about the same size in the 18-20" range.  The fly is pictured below, basically the rabbit strip, cone head, and hackle are the key.  The chenille and flash tail just help round it out.  While I was working a submerged tree, I hooked into a very large pickerel that rolled and I saw the white of its belly.  This was a 3-4Lb fish definitely, and possibly bigger than that (I have seen a picture a claimed 7.5lb pickerel taken from this pond).  It pulled very hard, and then I got disconnected, somehow it threw the hook.  I went home that night happy to have put a real bend in the rod.

The rabbit strip is a bit dried out now, but you can get the idea.  Gus's Pickle.

Saturday morning: So cold.  39 when I put in at the launch, at 9:00am.  But extremely sunny out. I fished the same bay as the night before with only 1 pickerel to show for it.  Gus's Pickle strikes again.  Then I went on to work the western bank of the pond for a while, catching at least another ½ dozen pickerel, now on a white and polar flash clouser I made.  The white hair is actually from some fake hair extensions I bought at a thrift store for $2 for this exact purpose.  It's super tough and works great!  Much cheaper than super hair or something like that.  After a few hours of catching only a couple more pickerel and a crappie, I came upon a huge calm area where sunfish were rising to very small bugs emerging on the surface.  I practiced my dry fly technique on them for the next thirty minutes with a size #14 bug.  It was fun, and a good warm up for some trout fishing later this month.

Average Small-Medium Pickerel
Sunday Night:  Things really heated up.  The water was back up above 55, and I was finding pickerel all over the bay on the clouser.  I had at least 25 follows and hits, and lost about a dozen, and caught about a dozen.  I had a really nice, 3lber on the line that put a serious bend in the rod.  She jumped right at the side of the yak after being on for about a minute and a half, and threw the clouser right back into my face!  NO!  The heavy head allows them to really swing that sucker and get off I think.  No matter, I had a blast anyways.  I returned to the launch with a headache from too much coffee and running over the weekend, but content to have really started to get into some fun pickerel action.  Spring is here my friends!

Mangled, but you can see the fake hair extension on the top.  I like it as a cheap material!