With the early spring I had a hankering for some bass and decided to take the Diablo Chupacabra out to see if I could catch my first of the year. After a long drive, I was faced with a nice portage to the water over rocks, branches, and a nice long mud patch. Even more difficult, was lifting the yak over a mill dam by myself with gear (the take out was even harder). Once on the water, the difficulties were in the rear view mirror and were well worth it. I had the place to myself and was only accompanied by a few bad eagles, osprey, and heron.
I started with a reliable topwater frog that has produced for me over the years. My first bass came in front of beaver lodge. From there, I caught pickerel after pickerel with the largest in the upper twenty inch range. They were fat and aggressive from the approaching spawn. One particular fish, ate six inches of articulated streamer before shredding through my tippet on the landing. Ten minutes later, he took another six inches of articulation and I got my fly back. Crazy.
I returned to the topwater game and tied on a pole dancer. Last year I got into a habit of carving popper heads and constructing my own version of Charlie Bisharat's Pole Dancer. They worked, but had a few problems. I couldn't bring myself to spend 25 dollars on a single fly to see the actual components. A company came out with a DC Dodger kit to make a close replica. Bingo. For sixteen bucks I could tie a few flies and simultaneously work out the kinks of my previous design. They ended up working really well. They zigged and zagged and enticed my two largest bass of the day on ferocious takes. Both fish came from deeper water near structure. Their takes broke the calmness of my day of solitude.