Earlier this summer, while runoff was still in full swing in Colorado and the rivers were blown out, I visited my friend in the suburbs just north of Chicago. Although it wasn’t meant to be a fishing trip, he decided to teach me a little about bass fishing. He spin fishes so I was trying to translate everything I could from his technique and lures to fly fishing. Most of the spots were small ponds in the middle of suburbs, except for one golf course pond, and Independence grove, a much bigger lake. I had OK luck at the lake and a couple of the small ponds, managing to catch catfish, a few largemouths, and a lot of bluegills and sunfish. On the pursuit of some true bucketmouths, we threw on our collard shirts, khakis, and topsiders and drove down to his fancy country club. We had to wait till most of the golfers were gone, so it was dusk, which seemed to be the perfect time. The pond wasn’t huge, maybe 100 feet long and 50 wide, but within a few minutes we heard a massive splash along one bank. Working opposite directions around the pond, by the time we got all the way around the pond we each had gotten a couple small bass, and both had some strikes from what seemed like some pretty big bass. There was one corner of the pond left between us, and we heard something big hit right up near the bank. I had a red and white Flashtail Whistler on, I threw it in about of foot from the bank, let it sink, then on the second short strip, right after the pause, I felt a giant tug and instantly the fish was flying threw the air. I’m not sure if all bass are like this, but he probably jumped clear out of the water at least 4 times. He measured up at 21 inches and exactly 5 pounds, a pretty good start for only my third day bass fishing. We packed up our rods, and walked the green back to the car. I would have never thought golf courses had this good of fishing.
Now that I’m in Indonesia for the rest of the summer with my parents, I’ve been tying a LOT of flies. We went to a local fishing shop and set up a trip to drive up north to a small town, with a big bay, like the picture below, and chase an extremely rare fish. It’s called a Papua New Guinea Black Bass, or Lutjanus goldiei. These fish are only found in 2 places, Papua New Guinea, and where I am, on the East side of Borneo. They are one of the top 3 pound for pound toughest fish and it doesn’t seem uncommon at all to catch a 30 pounder, or like this one below, 46 pounds. A potential record caught by Jason Yip. There has also been some 70 pound Barramundi caught around the same spots. Here’s some of the streamers and baitfish that I’ve been tying up for the trip.