Saturday, July 6, 2013

Double Fun for Fly Rod Bluegills

Nymph or popper?

I carried two fly rods during a recent pond outing and had a terrible time deciding which to pick up to cast to any given spot. Yesterday, as Nathaniel and I prepared to hit the pond for an afternoon outing between the rains, I looked at the same two flies and fly rods and thought, "Why am I not fishing those flies together?"

Lacking any good answer to my own question, I snipped the Tellico Nymph off one leader and grabbed the fly rod that was already rigged with a Sneaky Pete. I then tied a foot and a half of 4-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon to the surface fly's hook and tied the nymph to the end of my newly created leader. "Doubling" is actually one of my favorite ways to rig for warm-water fish, but for some reason the notion had never struck me the other day.

The tandem rig performed wonderfully, producing a dozen or so bream in about an hour and saving me from having to decide whether to throw a surface fly or a nymph. I caught all except three on the nymph, but I don't think I would have found the same success fishing it alone or even fishing it together with another subsurface fly. The Sneaky Pete gets their attention when you twitch it on the top, and then they see that little yellow nymph, which looks like such an easy meal, dancing or dangling beneath it. Most fish hit a moment or two after a series of twitches, about the time the nymph settles beneath the top fly. (Of course the Sneaky Pete also serves nicely as a strike indicator, which is a fly-fisherman's fancy term for a bobber.)

A Sneaky Pete is not a true popper because of its pointed nose, but you fish it the same way, with quick little twitches that cause it to dart on top like a misguided terrestrial insect and to create a bit of sound. It's one of my favorite flies for bluegill and bass. A Tellico Nymph, compact, seriously buggy and easy for fish to see with it's bright little body, simply looks like dinner to fish, whether you're talking about trout or warm-water pond fish.

Other poppers or floating terrestrial flies and other nymphs or wet ant patterns would work nicely as well. Those flies have just been very good to me over the years so I am quick to grab them when I look into my fly boxes. Take whatever combination you own, and give this approach a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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