Didn’t fish much this weekend, even though the weather was amazing. I did spend a few minutes at the edge of a local pond, but I don’t have any fish pictures to show for it. I did fill a quart-size ziplock bag of goose feathers though…
I figured yesterday might be one of the last warm days of the year, so I planned a very short fishing trip at lunch.
A few months ago Claire and I got a long crappie rod, but have basically hated using it. The tip is super floppy, we can’t cast anything, and it’s just tough to fish with. I wondered what would happen if I took off the spinning reel it came with and put my fly reel on it. Turns out, it works pretty well as a fly rod! My “real” fly rod is a 6 wt; based on my time spent in stores picking up other rods and playing with them, I would guess the crappie rod would be about an 8 wt. A little thick for what I usually fish for, but it’s nice to get some use out of that rod.

Spinning rod + fly reel = yeah it totally works!

I headed to the creek and tied on one of my “guinea and orange” flies. The same fly that caught that nice creek brown in Michigan a few weeks ago. Although I’ve been tying lots of flie, I think this one is my favorite. It’s simple to tie, but not too simple. I tie it with orange floss, super cheap feathers from Michael’s, drier lint and regular old sewing thread. Oh yeah, and some gold string stuff I actually bought at Bass Pro. I’ve tied it on a few different size hooks, but I find the best all-around size is a #10 nymph hook. When it’s dry it will float for a while, then ride in the surface film, then sink. If I cast far enough upstream, I can let it sink into the strike zone. I love tying it and I love fishing it.
First cast, a fish. Second cast, a fish. A few casts later, my third fish of the day. I was catching greenie after greenie; I let the unweighted fly sink, sometimes they hit it right away. Other times I had to twitch it. Once that soft hackle started moving they attacked it with reckless abandon. I was surprised how eagerly they took my fly, especially considering how late in the year it was. I noticed the fish were warm to the touch, especially the ones that seemed to be deeper in the water. Seems like that stretch of warm weather really warmed up the water. It was certainly warmer than the air temperature.
I was having a great time catching a whole bunch of fish in December. Once I got up to 12 fish I realized I was close to my record of the most fish I’d ever caught in one outing. My personal record was set in the Flint River earlier this year, when I caught 17 fish in a couple hours. Maybe I could beat my record!
Most of the fish were this size or smaller. Most of them fought like much bigger fish.

Pretty soon that record was shattered as I unhooked fish number 18 and released it back into the water. Fish 19 was harder to catch- I was excited, I jumped the gun on a few hooksets.
A few fish later, I pulled out fish number 22. The 22nd fish to be caught on that same fly that day; not counting the other sunfish and trout I’d caught on that one fly. If I didn’t have a favorite fly before, this guinea and orange was definitely my favorite now.
I let the fish go and headed back to my car, completely satisfied.
Later I realized that 22nd fish was actually my 500th fish of the year! I thought about all the great fishing adventures I’d had throughout the year and decided I would be fine if I didn’t get to fish again this year. But that is unlikely. Hopefully I’ll be uploading pictures of fish # 501 pretty soon.
I love green sunfish, and they love my fly

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