I love watching fish eat on top, whether it’s a trout rising daintily to a dry fly or a carp eating in a chum line of butter and bread from the bar. Fish don’t eat on top every hour of every day, but like much of life, timing is everything. When you spend days upon days throwing flies with nothing in return, only to realize your mistake when you see guys getting on the water when you’re leaving, you learn to appreciate timing. Nowhere does this rule apply more so than the wide wonderful world of bass. Stripers are an early morning or late night deal. The same applies with bucket mouths and my favorite of the entire surface munching micropterus — small jaws.
So let’s go ahead and dispense with the pleasantries and get right to the point. Smallmouth bass don’t eat topwater for shit during the hottest, brightest middle part of the day. There I said it, now we can all move on with our lives. If your buddy calls and says he wants to go fish poppers and claims you should meet on the river at 1:30, you should punch him right in the face. He is not your friend. If awoken from an afternoon nap riverside by a passerby with the inevitable question, “Catching anything?” The proper response is, “No you idiot I’m taking a nap, also they don’t eat at 2:30,” then punch him in the face. Alternatively, if you’re fishing an urban river late in the evening and someone of questionable sexual identity asks you if you want to party, politely decline and run. Then punch your buddy in the face for telling you that was a good hole to go fishing in.
I used to have clients that would book smallmouth floats in July. When I would beg them to start their trip at 5am or 5pm, they would balk with excuses of family, partying, and sleep. Now that I no longer guide these miserable excuses for human beings I’m not afraid to say that all of you (you now know who you are) ruined most of my drinking/napping time for a good five seasons of my life that I will never get back. And guess what? You are why our trip sucked. I should line all of you up and punch you in the face individually.
I know these rules are harsh, as is my will to rule. I’ll no longer tolerate any fishing of any surface flies for smallmouth bass in the middle of the day. These hours will be reserved for more productive activities like, I don’t know, maybe starting that stupid stamp collection you’ve always been talking about. This is no joke people — fishing stupidity must be repressed at its roots, and the stupid ones must no longer be allowed to breed. Otherwise we’ll be a society of fishing morons, like the Canadians. So, in order to stop us from becoming Canadian, no topwater smallmouth fishing will be allowed from the hours of 10am to 4pm. Any transgressors will be immediately (you guessed it) punched directly in the face hole. That is all.
Your Benevolent Ruler,
Wes Hodges will be my Sergeant of Arms in this moral battle. Check out his website, at wesleyhodgesflyfishing.com if you’re ready to suffer under his boot…he wears a 14d…and poops standing up like all proper Virginians.