Peninsula Fly Fishers

Wilms Ponds 2008

by Dennis Kellet

April 2008

One of the Wilms Ponds

One of the Wilms Ponds
Jim Johnston shared a nice fishing hole with me. Since his first reports on the fishing there, I'd been tempted to try it. I had a great time being out on such a beautiful day in such a pastorally scenic and peaceful spot. The travel to and from passed through lovely country, which I was able to enjoy because Mike did the driving.

I thought the fishing was above average. The pond was interestingly devised, so there were lots of holding spots for the bass. The size of the fish was satisfying, too. Rich Holubek claimed to have landed a really large one, but I'm waiting for the photographic proof (as he demands of others). Ha, ha.

My float tube let me down, literally, and fortunately slowly so that I was able to get to shore without resorting to swimming. Rich Holubek offered me the use of a spare tube, but I was doing well wading the shallows, and never needed it. The pond bottom was never too soft, except at the mouth of the creek inlet, which I crossed to save myself a walk all the way around. I wish Rich C. and Larry M. had tried wading that pond. Their luck would surely have improved.

I was able to get action fishing my newest hair frog popper tie until about noon. Curiously, not a single take of the popper was the violent, splashy, exciting type. The bass just sucked my popper down in a surface swirl. I could see the lunge in several instances. That was fun. They readily hooked themselves and put up a sporting battle. Most of them jumped a time or two. The strike at a popper on Kistler Ranch's ponds has been a sudden, splashy attack that takes the bass right out of the water. This usually has happened at the first twitch after the popper rested for a minute where it had landed on the surface. At Wilms, every take was while the popper was being swum quietly and slowly back.

After a period of no more strikes on the popper, I chose an olive woolly bugger with yellow grizzly hackle. This color combination has worked for me often on largemouth bass. It started producing strikes in no time. The successful technique was to strip very slowly, with pauses, keeping the fly a foot or two beneath the surface. The secret was to set quickly on the squidgy bite. Unlike their take of the popper, this was subtle, and the hook had to be set by the fisherman.

Bass jumped through the day. I concluded they must be going after the damselflies, but perhaps not the blue, flying adults. I'm pretty sure that the bass were targeting the tan immature adults clinging to the sedges that protruded above the water's surface. The sub-surface swirls I witnessed in the shallows may have been attacks on swimming damsel nymphs. I had no decent imitation of any stage of the damselfly with me, but that didn't hurt my success.

If you were to host a fishout there again, I would recommend it to our club's members. It is a good example of farm pond fishing (which I really like). I'd like a crack at those trout, the next time. I can still picture the bulges they were making when Mike and I arrived.

For those who are interested in the tackle, I used a 7 weight rod from LLBean's bargin bin--it was so cheap that I think of it as a good deal on a rod tube and sock, with a fly rod thrown in. It has the cheapest reel foot you ever saw and teeny tiny guides. Their size was a bit of a problem when the line picked up weed. I paired it with a 6 weight line from Cortland--their weight forward, long body style. This rod was a bit slow compared to my other rods. (That doesn't seem to be an undesirable quality when casting poppers.) That slow action and my lack of recent practice produced inconsistent loops until I got the stroke right. Then Super Cheapo cast a nice tight loop, even when the breeze gusted, proving once again that it is seldom equipment failure and often operator error at the root of our problems. For a reel, I chose my STH graphite plastic cassette. In terms of price-point, it is a perfect match for the almost cost-free rod. In terms of resonating the noise produced by the click pawl, it can't be beat. Really. People turn and look when I strip line; some move farther away, Dave Kruss won't fish with me anymore. Envy is an ugly thing, don't you think? Anyway, it did a superb job of holding my fly line. I hear FlyFisherman wants to do a story about me, titled "The Gasoline Cost More Than His Tackle".
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