|I love wade fishing the river in the summer. We had gin clear water and bluebird skies to deal with, but the fish cooperated for us. I had a great time.|
I started off in the morning with a Heddon Baby Torpedo and after about thirty casts or so, decided to switch to a more finesse approach. My buddy Rodger started out finesse fishing by tossing a small plastic worm and already had several fish under his belt by the time that I adapted. Following his lead, I opted for the finesse approach and offered them the same four inch plastic worm, a lure that even skittish smallies will bite in our local river with such tough conditions.
My first spot fishing the worm was stacked with bass, so it didn't take long for my numbers to catch up. At one point, I was able to catch them within a rods length of me and actually watch my worm bounce along the bottom and see the bass swim up and gobble it up. The water was so clear that the fish would close in from about ten feet away on my lure!
It is amazing at how good their senses are. As soon as the lure made the splash, their lateral line combined with keen eyesight allowed them to hone in for the attack from quite a distance away.
|The river bottom, picture taken underwater from about waist deep. The water was gin clear.|
|Here is the same spot with the picture taken above my waist with the camera out of the water. Notice how clear the water is. The only blur coming from water drops on my camera lens.|
|This darter posed for me briefly before I spooked it. I'm not sure what kind of darter this is.|
|Here's a closer look at the darter from above. I can't identify it from this picture. Greenside, tessellated, and rainbow darters live in this watershed. What do you think?|
|Here's a closeup of a greenside darter from yesterday's trip.|
|I was able to snap a picture of this juvenile redbreast sunnie holding in the current, waiting for the current to deliver a tasty meal.|
|As the same sunfish turned down river, a school of minnows moved in to feed. I'm not sure of the ID of these minnows. Anyone know?|
While the sun was still up high, Rodger and I found some worthy holes down river and let the plastic worm do its thing, tempting bass to bite consistently. The problem was that the river was so low, that finding spots deep enough to hold fish was tough. They weren't normally where you'd find them. But, when you found a good hole, the fish were stacked in there. When wading, it takes time to find those holes, not like in a boat when you can run and gun to them. It takes time for old farts like us to wade from one spot to another. I tried topwater off and on with only a couple slurping hits, but no fish hanging on. While the sun was high, the plastic worm was the ticket for the majority of the time.
|Here's Rodger with a willing smallmouth that inhaled his plastic worm. Underwater photography is great, but remember to do what I didn't do, wipe off the water from the lens before taking a picture of your friend with a fish!|
Wading up against the current takes time, and on that day, it proved to be taxing on my old aching legs. For some reason, the fish stopped biting my plastic worm. Either Rodger and I sore-mouthed the fish in those productive holes or the fish wanted something else. I decided to make things easier on my bones by wading to the other side of the river to very shallow ankle deep water and wade back. I tied on a buzzbait to cover more water and maybe catch a few fish along the way.
While working that ankle deep water with the buzzer, I had a hit and a fish on briefly, but it spit the hook. I thought that was encourage, so I kept casting. A few casts later, as the lure hit the water, I saw a wake heading from about twenty feet away toward my bait and became very excited. The fish nailed my buzzbait and took off. I thought it might be a big fish, but after I turned it, I realized that the fish was a little bigger than the average for the day, but not by much. It wasn't the size of the fish that got me fired up, but how far it came to hit my lure. Prior to that, I can't recall a bass charging in from that far away! It was an exciting moment though and I realized that the topwater bite was on, finally.
|Here's a picture of the bass that made the wake in shallow water, charging from about twenty feet away to attack the buzzbait.|
All in all, we had a really fun day. Even though it wasn't the topwater bite that I've been craving, I was able to accomplish two things with this trip, some topwater action and getting a few good underwater photographs. I can't wait to do it again. Good fishing, cool underwater wildlife to observe, good cheap food and drink, and sharing it with a good friend. That makes for a memorable day!