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September 25, 2013

It seems we Minnesotans all joke about having two seasons: winter and road construction.  Lately, HWY 35 has been undergoing major work with regular weekend shutdowns, which of course wreaks havoc upon anyone traveling south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul region.  Fortunately, my travels to those parts on the weekends are generally limited.  However, my son was invited to a birthday party at MN Pro Paintball in Lakeville, MN that unfortunately necessitated a trip down Hwy 35.  Close to 40 minutes away I was looking at the unappealing prospect of a little more than two and a half hours of windshield time if dropped him off and headed for home.   What to do?

By way of nature/habit, I much prefer hitting the water at the crack of dawn.  Not only does it work best with my household schedule it is also an obvious “prime” time for fishing.   Weekend afternoons tend to be good for naps, mowing the lawn, naps, chores, and more naps.  Fishing in the middle of the day?  Only if I’m forced.  Two and a half hours of windshield time?  Sounds like a fishing trip to me.  Besides, the conditions were fair, i.e., humid, partly cloudy, SSE wind at about 10 mph, and were only going to get better with clouds and rain forecast for later in the day.

I enjoy fishing in the rain so my only concern when dropping my son off was: what happens if it rains?  They keep right on playing I was told.  Awesome I thought.  I’ll keep right on fishing then.  See you at 3:30 my boy.  I’m off to Lake Marion.  Conveniently located just fifteen minutes away I’ve fished Lake Marion one time about 20 years ago.  It has a good reputation as a largemouth bass lake and is regularly stocked with walleyes.  Fairly shallow, it contains an abundance of slop and vegetation to challenge anglers.

After last weekend, my goal was to continue fly fishing for bass.  Once on the water the biggest hurdle was finding a spot out of the wind. After a short little trip down the shoreline I tucked the Pelican Bass Raider behind a point and began casting a frog patterned Dahlberg Diver.  With it being windy my options were limited but this spot just had the look and feel of being prime bass habitat.  Surprisingly, the banks and first row of pads were void of any action.  Moving out to the edges in a little deeper water I was rewarded with a jolting strike from a largemouth bass that immediately headed for the weeds and broke me off.  Darn it I thought.  Reeling up my line I pondered my options and then thought about what a client had told me just the day before.  Seems he was fishing for smallmouth bass on a river in Wisconsin with a top-water popper when he was sawed off by an eager musky.  Walking downstream, as he always does when he gets broke off by a fish, he was able to find his lure floating on the surface.  Maybe I could do the same thing I thought.  Sure enough, I slid down wind to where I broke off and there was my fly, floating on the surface.  Retying I started casting to likely looking spots and soon had another explosive strike.   This one too buried itself in a clump of weeds as the eight weight fly rod I was setting had enough back bone to set the hook but my hands couldn’t strip line in fast enough to keep up with the fish.  As I hovered over the spot where it was hunkered down I could feel it thumping away.  Soon enough the weeds started to give way rising to the surface from which I netted a mass of weeds and this beauty.



Had I not listened to my client’s fish tale I would have just give up the fly for lost.  Since I only had one of these flies I was lucky to have remembered his story, as I didn’t have another fly in my box to replicate this one.  Without it I may not have caught this fish or the following two.  Although neither was as big as the first the third fish is memorable for its strike, which was reminiscent of a trout sipping a fly from a surface.  Note however how it devoured the bait.


Better get those weeds out of the boat or I’ll be in trouble with the law!


That is what I call hungry.

– Hats

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 26, 2013 3:14 am

    You have a very nice blog, I live in minnesota to and would appreciate it if you would check my blog out you can find it at:

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