Being a self taught fly fisherman, I’ll have to admit that it was never my cup of tea. Having purchased an outfit in 1957, using it sparingly for several years, only once in Colorado and then for the last time in 1969, I never really gave fly fishing a chance. And yes, I have excuses. One, most of the places that I fished for bass on had real brushy banks and rolling a cast up under the brush wasn’t the easiest thing for me. Two, not many folks in Texas were salt water, fly fishermen. Three, fly fishing from a boat was iffy at best. And, four, I never became a proficient caster.
But, gearing up for some serious top water, bass fishing, in May of 1957 I used some of my hard earned money and purchased me a fly rod, direct drive, reel and loaded the reel with a floating line. Adding leader material along with some small poppers with one small hook, decorated with little feathers, I was ready to go after ‘em.
From my reading I knew that the line was cast out and there was no “slinging” out of a plug, so hieing down to a near by school ground for some practice, I flailed the air, finally gaining a slight degree of proficiency. Being young, it never dawned on me that plenty of room was needed behind the caster and this fact didn’t show itself until after tying on a little, popper and making a failed, back cast.
Ralph Foster, a college buddy, and I drove up to the gravel pits outside of Romayer and seeing some bream beds along the sides of a pit beside the road, I decided to try out my new gear right there. Attaching a small, yellow popper, I attacked the little fish. My first cast in anger, resulted in the line and little popper hanging up on a low bush behind me. Rearranging myself, with no back cast foul up, my second cast was a flopper with all the line “globbing” on the water in front of me. Amused at my antics, Ralph said, “Jon, you look kinda’ silly with that line all wrapped around you!” Back to the drawing board!
Finally, after a successfully presented cast, the little popper dropped quietly on to the water. The rings of the displaced water quieted and with a slight tug on the line that I was holding in my left hand, the small plug twitched once. Nothing. Another twitch and the popper was engulfed by a small fish, type unknown. After a spirited battle I slid the little, hand sized, bream up on to the bank and admired my first catch on a fly rod. Throwing it back, while adding several more hand sizers, that also went back, I switched plugs, tying on a chartreuse, popper.
My first cast with the “glo” bait was met with a different kind of strike. This one hit going away, and cleared the water, a keeper bass! This bass actually pulled line from my left hand and jumped several more times. It definitely put a bend in my rod, but the rod and pressure of the line were too much and it became too much for the fish.
Adding a big bream, I guessed its weight was a pound and a half, I called it a day. Catching them on this light stuff was fun, but casting was a problem for me!
Ralph caught four nice, bass while I was fumbling around!