Fly fishing is one of the outdoor adventures that I enjoy most with my brother. It provides excellent opportunities for us to explore and experience nature. It also allows us to compete, which I’m told is a popular method of interaction amongst siblings. To his credit, he typically out-fishes me; however, regardless of who has more success, we both always have a blast on the water, sharing time together doing something we love. Fishing Minnesota provided us with another chance to experience new waters together. We spent the day on the Mississippi river with Kip Vieth near Monticello, targeting smallmouth bass. The weather was a bit unfavorable as it was overcast and slightly chilly, but that didn’t keep the fish from eating!
As usual, Parker caught the first fish. The goal’s requirement to actually catch a fish always seems to drift over me until I finally land the first one; it’s incredible how the pressure just instantly lets off and the mood eases. After a few missed fish, I gratefully felt this relief once I finally put my first Minnesota smallie in the boat, a nice 17-inch fish. Shortly thereafter, I was able to catch a pike for the first time ever. That was a neat experience!
Since we had officially achieved the goal, we decided to put on a popper to see if we could get some excitement on a top water bug. I made my first cast and let it drift over a slow section and then snagged an Oreo and a cherry (eating is one of the best parts of fishing...good luck of course). I looked up and noticed a rather enticing shadow beneath an overhanging willow. Seeing this as a possible home for a hungry fish, I casually picked up my line, made a false cast, and glided it into the middle of the shadow. WHAM! A wave of water pushed from two feet away, and before I had even gathered up the line to make my first pop, an eager hunter hammered the electric yellow popper. I managed to get hold of my line and lift my rod into the air for a set. Kip and I went ballistic over the epic eat as the fish zipped out some line and battled like a bonefish. I really underestimated the brute strength of these fish, which put a full bend in the 8 wt. I was using.
We eventually landed a few of these knuckle knockers. They were incredible! Getting to watch any fish smash a bug on top is one of the most exciting parts of fly fishing; an eat that gets the heart pounding is hard to beat, especially when you get to be out with your brother or a friend, sharing a passion for such incredible creatures and experiencing their diverse habitats in God’s awesome outdoors.
And of course, a little compeitition does make for a fun day. For the record, that was the first and only time I have ever out-fished the little bro. Tight lines, Parker.