We often catch ourselves dreaming and scheming about our next Bonefish safari, a Boundary Waters smallmouth junket, or maybe catching the Stonefly hatch on the Big Hole; these musings surely get us through the ebb and flow of daily life.
An hour on your local lake or pond is often the best medicine for relieving life's everyday pressures.
However, it's far too easy to forget the simple relief that can be had from a couple hours at a nearby pond or city lake. Bluegill aren't steelhead, but as world-famous sunfish-junkie Mike Verduin once said, "A Steelhead ain't no bluegill either."
In fact, many of the fly-fishing skills you employ on your expensive trips can be put to work at your local waters. (Use it or lose it, as they say.) On the casual end, almost anyone can tie on a little popper and clomp around the shoreline and luck into a couple poker-chip sized pumpkinseeds. That's not where I'm going this time.
A Redear sunfish over a pound or a 3-pound bass on your favorite 3-weight spring-creek outfit is scary, world-class fun. Verduin once had a 12-pound grass carp hoover up his damselfly nymph. His 2-weight Orvis Far & Fine was creaking into the handle, and he said the fight far surpassed his unrecorded world-record Alaskan Silver Salmon.
Special techniques are in order here. Poppers are traditional, but in late summer when real food is plentiful, you'll fool more fish with a grasshopper imitation. Not many big sunfish will come all the way to the surface for a fly during hot mid-morning conditions. Go to a hopper/dropper rig. Tie a 2- to 3-foot section of 4-pound tippet to the hook bend of the hopper with a weighted nymph at the end.
Big shellcrackers (Redear) feed almost exclusively in deeper water. Beadhead rubber-leg nymphs can be deadly when allowed to sink deep and then fished with a slow, steady retrieve. Watch the tip of your fly line for signs of life.
This type of fishing is best enjoyed with a friend when possible. New stories almost always result. Fishing from a tube, canoe or small boat will open more water, but don't let that keep you from doing the simple program. Just spontaneously grabbing a rod and going for an hour is often the best medicine for relieving life's everyday pressures.