Afternoon, mesmerised

Jim Hendrick bass fishing

There are times when the things you see you sometimes doubt they are actually happening. I’ve seen a lot of things when bass fishing but today’s events were a little new to me. I stood at the edge of a reef with white water breaking in front of me, waves running maybe to a metre high, a little off from crystal clear. The wind was gusting five to six and at times touching seven, rising tide, arriving weather front, the conditions I often seek to flyfish in at any opportunity.

Running through the reef were gulleys that I was intimately familiar with having been in one or two before! At my feet one ran left and to right about two metres deep and half a metre wide, exiting to the sea and deeper water. As I stood unloading line into my tray, my fly, (a large all white sloopy droopy) dangled about 30 cms below the surface of the gulley, I continued to load line and it was  then  I noticed a large fish simply ‘pectoraling’ a centimeter from the fly. Micro currents entering the gulley caused by waves pushed the fly forward towards the fish, it backed up, its bright blue fins back pedaling, when the fly moved away from the fish it followed closely. The range of movement was perhaps only two meters – the fish behaved as if mesmerised by the fly but did not want to eat it, remaining within a centimeter of the fly as it moved back and forth. The fish was, I guess, perhaps 65 cm’s. I moved the fly with my rod tip and the fish spooked, immediately another larger fish swam up the gulley, seemed to impact with the smaller one, pushed it out of its way and then ate the fly – all hell broke loose as I fought to snap out of my own mesmerised state – bass can move really fast across reefs of shallow water and this one fizzed the line out of the tray really quickly (thank god) and was on the reel in a few seconds.

It went back at close to 72 cms about five minutes later, a nice fish. I had an experience this afternoon, several fish to medium white deceivers and a large fish to a sloopy droopy – combined with witnessing behavioral activity related to the fly that I can seldom see.

I continue to believe as I have done for many years that big bass are strongly attracted to large flies whilst they are moving slowly, very slowly and horizontally, often in places where we least expect to catch them.

The sloopy droopy is an old favourite of mine from around 2008 – Original tied by Joesph Manette – it remains consistently successful when targeting big fish under specific conditions – first tied in Ireland for me by Andy Elliott

Bass fishing Jim Hendrick

Bass fishing Jim Hendrick

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