This past week I headed west into the Texas Hill Country to get wet on the Llano River. My friend Andy and I were meeting up with another fly fishing friend, Rob. We all meet up at Cooper’s BBQ in the town of Llano. We had gotten a late start but it was still a bit early for lunch, although Cooper’s was already getting busy. We had fish to catch and lunches were already packed, but the aroma that encircles Cooper’s sure was enticing.
We arrived at our destination which was a private ranch out in Mason County, TX. The water looked great and we found the fish happy. Rob has really taken to the sport of Fly Fishing as well as Fly Tying.
When a fly tier goes fishing with another tier, there is a good chance that flies will be swapped. And of course fly boxes will be opened and everyone will stand and stare in to them pulling out flies that looked like the secret weapon for the day. Rob had a couple flies that he wanted me to fish that day, one being the Pan Fish Pole Cat and the other called Plan “B” . Yes, Plan “B” is a name of a fly. I guess it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan “B”, especially when fishing.
The fish where hungry and very willing to take the fly, not just any fly, but the Pan Fish Pole Cat. When I first looked at the Pan Fish Pole Cat I thought to myself, a yellow tail. I was a bit hesitant about a fly with a yellow tail. But, Plan “B” was actually looking ok.
I asked Rob how the Pan Fish Pole Cat fished, he said that it has a slow sink and when twitched it would rise towards the surface of the water. However, if you let it be, then it would descend to the river bottom. Back to the yellow tail, the yellow tail just was not grabbing me like it had with Rob. But, after watching Rob pull fish after fish out of the river, I said, ok time to put that Pan Fish Pole Cat on and give it a try.
As I was slowly walking upstream I started to see Grasshoppers in the grasses that lined the bank of the Llano River. They were all bright yellow, yes I said yellow! Maybe this yellow tail, rubber legged fly might be what is on the menu for today. Mason County had a decent amount of rain this past spring and early summer causing the vegetation to be almost too thick along the shore.
I was surprised, but this Pole Cat sure did not go unnoticed while in the water. Redbreast Sunfish, Largemouth Bass and Guadalupe Bass found this one very hard to resist.
We had ventured a couple miles upstream and it was starting to get late into the afternoon. We still had to turn around and head back. Plan “B”, what about Plan “B”, I sure could not go home without trying Plan “B”. So I snipped off a fly that was catching fish at a decent rate to give Plan “B” a try.
Plan “B” is basically a Wooly Bugger variant that was all black, with lead wraps, bead chain eyes and white rubber legs. Rob, had told me this was the fly if you wanted to fish deep. I was standing looking into a hole in the river that was well over my head.
I casted Plan “B” across the hole and let it slowly fall to the bottom. Nothing, not even a look, that was hard to believe. Surely there is a big ole’ Bass in the depths just waiting for Plan “B”. I hear Andy yell over that we better start heading back to the truck. I said, just one more cast. We all know that one more cast really means ten more casts. Not even a bump, nibble, nothing for Plan “B”. I clipped it off and put the Pan Fish Pole Cat back on. Yes, you guessed it, fish on once again.
So, there are times that it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan “B”, but when Plan “A” is working, you better not change up.
Keep Austin Fly Fishing!