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The Dog Days

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Am I the only one lately who has been discouraged from fishing by this heat-wave? I mean, when temperatures are getting up to 100 degrees on a regular basis, and not dropping below 85 or so until late at night, I can find it somewhat difficult to get myself out of the door and go fishing. I know it'll be hot, the mosquitos will be out in force, and the water will be warm enough that the fishing probably won't be very good. I haven't been fishing this week nearly as much as I usually do in the warm months (today was only my second evening out this week). I keep thinking to myself that if things go as planned, in ten days or so I'll be in the Colorado high country, and out there I will be able to do all the fishing I want without this darned heat. I really had to convince myself not to just sit around home this evening, but I was sure glad I did.

I got down to the lake that lies just a quarter mile or so from my home a little after 8 P.M. The water in this particular arm of the lake was very weedy and warm. It was a pretty night, but conditions didn't look good. I had an Olive Woolly tied on, and I was half-heartedly casting in the shallow water, working the fly pretty quickly to keep it above weeds. I hooked into a couple of small sunfish, about par for the course on this water this time of year. I keep working this water for quite awhile, and no more results. I was just getting ready to try somewhere else when I got another take. For a moment I thought it was just another 5 inch sunny, but when I set up, I realize that isn't the case at all. I was tight to a heavy fish, and before I had much clue what was going on, my five weight was bent double, and that was when I realized that I had something pretty special on the end of the line. The fish stayed out of sight and headed down into the weeds, and I was forced to put some pressure on to avoid him getting buried in the muck. I was just about all the 4 pound test I was using for tippet could stand, but I managed to keep him out of the worst of the weeds, and a little bit later I saw the fish. I knew all along this was a good fish, but when I saw it blew my mind. This fish was one of the biggest largemouth bass that I had ever been tied into, and easily the biggest that I had hooked on a fly rod. 21, 22 inches of fat, mean largemouth, connected to me with nothing more than four pound tippet and a #10 Woolly, and plenty of weeds for him to get buried in. If that isn't a recipe for disaster, then I don't know what is. But I was able to bring him in to the dock, so close, the largest fly rod bass of my life. He was tired out, ready for the net, and I reached down to close the deal. But as so often happens, this fish decided that he still had a little bit of starch left in him, and took a hard run at the last second. And then just like that he was gone. After the initial shock (and maybe an expletive or two) I have to admit that I just started laughing. I mean, here it was a night when by all rights I shouldn't have hooked into anything more substantial than a few small sunfish, and I just had a look at one of the largest bass I have ever seen on the end of my line. Who cares if he didn't make it the extra few inches to the net? He would have ended up back in the water after a short interval anyway.

After that I figured I had all the excitement I needed for the evening, and it was almost completely dark. So I decided to finish off with a little bit of dry fly fishing which is always fun on late evenings like this during the summer. In this type of situation I often like to skate a Marabou Muddler across the surface, and that's what I did this time. I had a great time until after dark catching small bass and panfish on the surface. To say that I was surprised at the results of this evening would be an understatement. But more than that, isn't fly fishing (or any kind of fishing for that matter) just such a great excuse to just be outside and watch the sunset? Sometimes it's possible to get so caught up in the catching or the lack of catching that it's possible to forget why you're really out there, but there's nothing like a nice evening fishing familiar water to put things back in perspective.

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Nice job and sounds like a great evening. I have been on a smallmouth research mission the last month with the heat and wading in cooler water has been nice. Sorry to hear the bass got away and I feel a bit of your pain, but glad you enjoyed the evening. I had a toad smallie swim up and literally kiss my slumpbuster last weekend. Couldn't have been any closer than he was. I was completely floored to see the size of the fish in the water we were fishing. It was a true trophy....couldn't believe he didn't take...ugh!

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I know what you're saying. It's those big fish that we just see or hook and don't land that make for good stories though, aren't they?

Yep, seems like we remember that ones that got away as much if not more than the ones we land.

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I was throwing a white 1/16 ounce marabou jig with a float on taneycomo after the flood in outlet one when i had a 4-5 pound large mouth hit it in the thick of the outlet 1 mess of rainbow trout waiting for pellet wash.

jagermeister anyone?

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Great story! Sorry you couldn't remove the hook yourself. But still it was a great battle between man and fish!

Chief Grey Bear

Living is dangerous to your health

Owner Ozark Fishing Expeditions

Co-Owner, Chief Executive Product Development Team Jerm Werm

Executive Pro Staff Team Agnew

Executive Pro Staff Paul Dallas Productions

Executive Pro Staff Team Heddon, River Division

Chief Primary Consultant Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Executive Vice President Ronnie Moore Outdoors

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Commonly people refer to the heat of July and August as "Dog Days" but how many of you know from whence the term originated?

Okay class, listen up and I'll educate you.

Sirius is the Dog Star. During the months of July and August Sirius rises and sets with the sun. During this period we obtain the term: "Dog Days".

BTW, I'm 83 today and I feel like a young pup.


Fishing is the chance to wash one's soul with pure air. It brings meekness and inspiration, reduces our egotism, soothes our troubles and shames our wickedness. Besides, it's a lotta fun!...

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