Week of 02/25/19
Surface Temp: 65f
Clarity: Slightly Tannic 18-24-inches
Let us know what you are catching-or not catching-Send your pics of fish, beautiful places, or some of the flies that you have tied. We love to post them on our fishing report! Send to Allen@andythornal.com
Fishing a topwater popper up shallow has been a good bet early in the day. Whenever your fishing this way try to drop a wooly bugger off the back of the popper. This will allow you to keep the trailing fly in the strike zone. Still be on the lookout for schooling fish in slightly deeper water, and also bass beds up closer to shore. A good number of bass will be locked on their beds, and will behave aggressively towards any threat in/near their beds.
David Brooks Hooked another beautiful tilapia.
The bluegill will continue to patrol around the bedding bass and are eager to strike. Utilizing a heavier nymph pattern such as a tungsten Copper John will keep the fly closer to the bottom. This is necessary when they won't commit to a topwater pattern like a Sprog. The color of the topwater has varied from chartreuse to electric blue, but either is a good starting place. A slow retrieve along grasslines near docks have put a few nice bluegill in the boat. The popper dropper rig continues to be the ticket as far as consistency goes. They haven't been too picky when it comes to the trailer fly. Some local favorites are Hare's Ear nymphs, Copper Johns, and Dave's Lion. These patterns do a good job emulating several of our aquatic insects, and aren't too heavy to drag the point fly down. The bass bite has been good and the lakes are continuing to stay busy as the weather keeps staying warm. Bluegill pattern streamers have still been the ticket for the bass. Some lakes have been pressured pretty hard and the bass are settling in slightly deeper water. They aren't necessarily eating the fly, they are more so picking it up and moving it away from the nest. Lately the topwater bite has picked up for bass too. A good tactic has been throwing around a chartreuse or orange popper searching for the more active fish. Then switch to a streamer and dissect the water around that area. That one two punch is your best bet at success as you can quickly pattern the fish. Try using a shorter leader with your topwater as it will help turn over wind resistant flies in the higher winds. Keep your flies a little deeper than usual and focus on submerged grasslines. Have a few larger streamers tied with either rabbit fur or marabou in case the bass are feeling more aggressive. The added movement in these materials can create some violent strikes. When throwing baitfish patterns the best place to cast is parallel to the shoreline. This allows you to cover more water. Try varying the depth during the retrieve if they aren't responding to a steady retrieve. They are typically schooling on the windblown side of the lake. Specs(Crappie) have pushed up shallow as well and are hanging out in the pads or in thicker grasslines. Use baitfish patterns in white, or bright colors such as chartreuse in sizes 6, or 8. The crappie have been caught midday, suspended near shore on heavy, small clousers. When retrieving the fly long slow strips have been the best. This keeps the fly deeper in the water column and closer to the fish.
Some early week rain leads to sunny days. The winds will cooperate for once this week and stay fairly light. We feel like the Bass fishing will improve on the beds, as it warms; and the bluegill fishing will become excellent. The lake levels are continuing to drop slowly and clearing in clarity. The fishing will keep improving with the warm trend. The Peace, Econ, Hillsborough, Myakka, Withlacoochee, and Kissimmee Rivers are all at above average, but falling water and flow levels.
Fly Tying is regularly at Andy Thornal Company on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, 6pm-7:30pm. We usually tie two patterns including Bass, Saltwater, and small flies, too! This club atmosphere is friendly for beginners and experts, ages 10-70. Bring your tying tools or borrow some of ours. The class is free, but we ask that everyone make a $10 purchase to offset costs. Next club meeting is March 6th.