Editor's Notes

Editor's Notes

I grew up on a lake in Central New York, Oneida Lake, known as one of the Northeast's top walleye waters. I took my share of that brand of perch-we

  • By: Joe Healy
joe
I grew up on a lake in Central New York, Oneida Lake, known as one of the Northeast's top walleye waters. I took my share of that brand of perch-we always said "pike" in CNY, but walleyes are of the perch family, and calling them pike is similar lazy usage as saying that brookies are trout when in point of fact they are char; a shout out to the print readers who reminded me that walleyes are indeed perch, something I knew but skimmed over-on conventional tackle and jigs, and developed a fleeting infatuation with targeting walleyes on flies (another topic, for another time), but my favorite fishing was wading the shallows with a 6-weight and throwing fly-rod poppers for bass.

My family lived on the shore of a shallow bay in which bass thrived. Those were my first flats-hard sand with patches of eel grass, much like the turtle-grass saltwater flats I began to fish years later. In mornings and evenings, I would wet-wade, looking for surface wakes or sight-fishing for the dark forms of bass passing over sandbars. Mainly, I caught largemouths; but once in a while a sow smallie would leave the rocky shoals in the middle of the bay and come up on the flats, looking for food or maybe having just quit a spawning bed. These were the fish-jumping hookups you don't forget.

My 6-weight was a fast-action trout rod (G. Loomis, as I recall). I used a weight-forward floating line, a 3X leader and hard-bodied poppers or really unkempt hair bugs that I tied myself. I didn't have specialized bass tackle because there wasn't much sold as such. My leaders were dotted with wind knots due to my imperfect strokes casting the big flies. I lost fish because I didn't have the leverage with a 9-foot rod to land them efficiently. Times have changed.

In our new "Bass& Panfish" department, Buzz Bryson looks at the purpose-specific bass rods offered this year from Sage and Scott-rods designed to cast bulky bass flies quickly and accurately. A few models measure less than 8 feet-a magic number if you happen to fish according to bass-tournament rules capping rod length at 8 feet. Will the rods show up on the bassin' tournament circuit or in bass boats nationwide? Interesting questions…

In this issue we introduce a second new department, which we're calling "All About…" simply because it drills down into one subject or product category, in detail. This time, we offer guidance on choosing personal watercraft; next issue, we'll examine fly flotants. In each "All About…" department, we'll bring you in-depth information to help answer the questions: How does that work?; what do I need to know?

When the bass season opens in New York this June, I may need to head back to my flats with a new bass rod and, for reaching the deep weed lines, a pontoon boat. Not a bad combo.