Thursday, March 10, 2016

Yesterday I Drowned A Worm...

And I Liked It!

   There was no malice involved, but the drowning was intentional. My fly boxes are overflowing with proven and new patterns and here I am fishing with live bait. To a lot of you this doesn't make a whole lot of sense but the bottom line is that I needed to feel a good tug on my line and the only way to accomplish that was to dangle a worm below a float. Word on the street suggests he had it coming.

  The abbreviated winter of  2016 is in it's final stages, and with daily highs of 10C or more all week long ( that's 50F for those of you who use the Foreignheat scale) it was time to reacquaint myself with my backyard. Ice fishing is over for the year and trout season is still 5 weeks away so the only game to be played was at my local carp ponds.

  I loaded the saddlebags of my mountain bike with my ultralite, a small box of terminal tackle, a folding camp chair, and lest we forget...a box of 24 potential drowning victims. Funny...I don't recall ever hearing PETA protesting for the ethical treatment of bait. Throughout the 15 minute ride I envisioned casting to basking carp along the pond's weedy fringes.
   This pic is from 2014
  The reality I faced at my destination was that winter hadn't completely give up.

.   My third stop looked much the same but after 5 minutes of bush whacking waist high weeds I managed to find some open water.
    I spent half the afternoon comfortably basking in the spring sun, watching the ice sheet recede and sloughing off large rafts of floating scum that collected at my feet, all the while keeping a lookout for activity on the margins. After 3 hours of no action it was time to pack it in and as I retrieved the line one last time, it stopped dead at my feet.
  Definitely not what I expected to catch but welcome all the same. As it turned out the worm didn't really drown... it expired from massive trauma inflicted by a tiny, yet very hungry largemouth bass. The other 23 survived for another day.

  As I loaded up for the ride home it occurred to me that, although I can't legally fish it, I should check out the Rouge River, just a few blocks away. To my surprise it was running a little higher than last fall and crystal clear. Every time I'm there it amazes me how little this area is used recreationally! I've spent days down there without seeing anyone.



  1. Wow John, it sure doesn't look like Canada in mid-March.
    Your mini-bass is the same size as the brookies I caught yesterday.

  2. Thanks Alan.
    Just another case of a tiny fish making your day.

  3. That's a much quicker death for the worm than drowning at least. The ice should be all gone soon enough.

    1. Thanks Ben
      The alternative was drowning some of the Green Giants nibblets.

  4. That ice surely is gone by now. I've been tempted to drown a worm every ice out in years past, but I've been lucky enough to catch fish using very small flies, and just basically working it super duper slow. I'll catch bluegill, crappie, and the occasional bass. Not a bad first fish to start the year!

    1. Thanks Justin
      I've got a brand new 3wt glass rod and tied hundreds of tiny flies in anticipation of open water, but realistically, it's still mid March and I'd normally still be hitting the ice.

  5. Thanks John! What for you ask? I just met up with my old fishing partner from before I started to fly fish. We drowned a lot of worms back in the day. If he isn't fly fishing, I'm going to drown some more. No Shame!

    1. Thanks Howard
      I'm totally without shame, but would prefer the greater activity of hunting by chucking fluff as opposed to sedate bushwhacking with a worm