This is going to be a “recap” style post, to look back over my fishing trips throughout the year, document the best catches, most effective flies, methods, and equipment used, etc. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the blog in its first year, and I’m looking forward to making it even better in 2023!
2022 was definitely “the year of the bass” for me. I spent alot of time creek and river fishing this year, way more than in prior years, and I caught some of my best Spotted Bass and some new species such as Shadow Bass and various shiners, as well as my first Smallmouth Bass in Arkansas. I attribute my spending more time on moving water this year to the dry spring and summer we had in Louisiana, conditions were just too good to pass up compared to other still-water opportunities. Consequently, with more time on the water, I was able to try out a variety of new flies and techniques, most of which worked because Spotted Bass are just that aggressive.
My top four flies were: Poppers, Chubby Chernobyls, Small White streamers with an Orange Bead Head, and bigger articulated streamers similar to a Flugenzombie. Poppers are fun because you get really aggressive strikes, but I caught my biggest fish on size 10 purple Chubby Chernobyls. I also tend to fish the Chubby in more of a dead drift, with an occasional twitch, and maybe a popper would be more effective fished that way, but I tend to pop them pretty frequently. The small white hot-head streamer, roughly sizes 8 to 12, is great if you are fishing a smaller rod, and want to have fun with sunfish, or maybe find a Shadow Bass. I definitely rule out catching any sunfish when I fish the articulated streamer, which is about 4 inches long, although I did catch two Shadow Bass with it.
My main takeaway from the trips in Louisiana and Arkansas is, most river bass act the same way, and anything you read or hear about fishing for Smallmouth Bass will apply to Spotted Bass. Below are some photos with captions that are some highlights from 2022.
I didn’t make as many trips down to the marsh this year, and as of writing this in Mid-December 2022, its been a pretty mild winter so far, so I think early 2023 will include many more trips. Even with limited outings, I was able to land some absolute monsters. I caught my first Black Drum in the spring, and my personal best Redfish in late November.
I ended the RSFF Jambalaya Challenge with 38 species, good for 2nd place behind Chris Williams’ monumental number of 55! Out of the 38, 22 were new species to me, and while 38 is a good number, there were so many local species that I didn’t catch, notably: gar, carp, and bowfin. There were also several “ones that got away,” I hooked dozens of small spotted gar throughout the year, but could never land one. I also hooked a grass carp, fought it to shore with a 4 weight rod, but then foolishly grabbed the leader to drag it up the final couple feet of bank and it popped off. It should be pretty easy to catch alot of the same 2022 fish in Louisiana next year, so I need to spend more time targeting the ones that got away, and hopefully I can get over 40 in 2023.
Flies and Flights
An off-the-water highlight was the monthly fly-tying night we started. Named “Flies and Flights” we’ve met every month since April at Rally Cap Brewery in Baton Rouge. It’s definitely something I look forward to every month. Many fish stories have been swapped, I’ve learned about some new flies and techniques I never would have thought to try on my own, and the beer is good too! We’re going to keep in going in 2023, and I’m looking forward to heading to Lafayette and New Orleans for some fly tying nights that have popped up in those cities this year as well. These events and the local Red Stick Fly Fishers Club meetings have allowed me to meet some really great people! Thanks to all who have attended!