Indian Summer…

The string of nasty, cold, rainy, overcast, and generally depressing weather finally broke yesterday – a beginning to what may be the shortest Indian Summer on record. The forecast shows another string of cold rainy weather beginning on Tuesday and lasting a good week, but we’ll take what we can get this year.

It dawned clear and cool yesterday with fog in the river valley but a glowing fall sun helped us hit a high in the mid to upper 60’s under mostly bluebird skies with a few fair weather cumulus clouds skirting by.  The autumn colors are just starting to turn on…

The view from STFF corporate headquarters...

The view from STFF corporate headquarters...

For the most part, the rivers are showing a little uptick in flows, most likely due to the rain we had on Thursday and Friday.  Best bets for fishing might be the upper Susquehanna – as it’s the only river that seems to continue to settle – and although the West Branch is flowing at a nice wadeable level, the report from West Branch Angler and Catskill Flies is that it has some murk to it.  They’re recommending streamers, so if you’re not into chucking meat, and you’re gunning for trout, you may need to hit the headwaters.

I decided to spend the day putting some fly fishing cash deposits into the madre’s “emotional bank account”.  For those of you who may be wondering what the hell I’m talking about, days like these that are great weather-wise, but suck riverwise, are the days you want to be extra helpful around the house.  You get to enjoy the nice weather and you’re pumping the madre up with payback points.

So work I did.  The lawn needed cutting, the yard needed tending, and there was this post in the front yard that had to be removed.  But all the while, the backyard pond was calling to me…

Fall on Grippen Pond.

Indian Summer on Grippen Pond.

I finished my work around 5 pm, and quickly strung up my 7 1/2 foot St Croix 5 weight.  Then it was off to the pond – a trip of about 100 steps – and into my Old Towne kayak.  I paddled around to the deep end of the pond.  Here there is plenty of cover for light-shy bass…

Good cover for bass - and the wood ducks like it too...

Good cover for bass - and the wood ducks like it too...

I popped a froggy-looking deer hair bug around all that good-looking wood but the dinner bell didn’t bring the bass out.  I tried a few other spots that were shady and weedy and had a few boils but no takes.  The deer hair bug I used has a weed guard, and I generally despise the things because I believe they lower hook-up percentages, which this outing seemed to validate.  I use them only because our pond gets real weedy once July rolls around.

I paddled over to the sunny shallow side of the pond and with a few casts against to shallow bank water, spooked a few nice bass.  Checking the water temp by hand, I realized the fallacy of my earlier ways.  Bass are generally light-shy and cover-happy, but when the water is cool in the spring and fall, they tend to forgo their fears to bask in warmer water.  And that’s exactly why they were here…

I moved on down the pond shore to a stand of cattail on our end of the pond where I had observed some swirling and splashing.

Thick as sugar cane...

Thick as sugar cane...

I cast my bug as near to all those nooks and crannies as I dare and saw a big bow wave come out from the cover.  It surged towards my innocent popper – I tried to keep my nerves under control – and then it disappeared in a little “sip” of a surface boil.  I strip-set the hook into solid weight.  The fish didn’t do much at first – just sulking in the shallows – then jumped and tail-walked and generally went berserk, which is a big part of what bass do so well.  Even by the kayak, this guy ducked and weaved and danced away, splashing me a few times to boot.

No hawg, but great fun on a 5 weight...

No hawg, but great fun on a 5 weight...

I fished into the early evening, enjoying the warmth of the fading day, the start of fall colors, the mallards and wood ducks, and the kingfishers.  The bass were still pretty spooky – I know this because I got good at flushing them with my false casts.  The wakes on a few of them were impressive – and some exploded like depth charges when I spooked them – so I’m guessing my babies must be putting on the weight.  I also finally saw the grass carp my neighbor added early this year – veggie eating submarines – enjoying the last warmth of the year.  Grazing on all the weeds in this fertile old pond, they should be getting gargantuan in size in no time.  I left the pond planning another shot at some bigger bass, and a future post on fly fishing for grass carp, hoping to hang on to Indian Summer just a little longer…

Tight lines…

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2 Responses to “Indian Summer…”

  1. […] is the original post: Indian Summer… AKPC_IDS += "1508,";Popularity: unranked […]

  2. Grippen Pond is mighty fine looking! That’s a decent-sized fish. Good luck with the Indian summer (raining out my study window right now, snow expected tonight with some possible tomorrow). It should warm back up for the next couple of weeks though. One nice thing about our rain is that when it comes, it rarely affects the river’s height or color except on the smallest waters, and then not for more than about 24 hours. Spring snowmelt? Now that’s another story!

    Take care.

    -scott c

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