April Bank Fishing

Now, lets get practical. We have decided to fish the windward bank. If it's really blowing hell and all, then the water is going to be very muddy due to the increased wave action, and the fish will not be there. So what we must do is to find a place on the downwind side of the lake which is clear and fish there. Spurs (points of land sticking out into the lake) are the best places to be. Fish tend to stay away from the bays. But try them just in case, if you find fish sport can be great.

In April it is worth knowing that the fish are likely to be tightly shoaled. Ten yards can make the difference between lots of fish and fishless. It pays to move. I perhaps err on the side of mobility. Ten minutes without a take and I get restless, twenty and I'm gone. I always expect to find fish just around the corner.

However, it can pay, if you know there have been fish in a specific area, to stay put for a little longer, but don't overdo it. Hot spots tend to attract anglers like bees to a honey pot (or flies to a rotting sheep, depending on your opinion of such routine sport). Before you join them count how many fish are being caught by how many anglers. If there are two fish caught every hour between ten anglers, it is the equivalent of one fish per angler every five hours, which doesn't impress me to any great extent.

It helps flies and methods simple:

  1. Intermediate line and leaded point fly. Try black lures on cloudy days, White ones on bright days. A touch of fluorescence can help. I like tadpoles simply because they are different to other anglers lures. I like to offer the fish something new, if at all possible.

    If the fish are feeding it is likely to be on one of three things; buzzers, fry, caddis larvae and corixae. That's four.

    Try putting buzzers on the droppers. The retrieve is thus, the flies are cast out and allowed to sink to the required depth, time it watching for takes on the drop. Then figure of eight with plenty of pauses, expect takes on the pause.

  2. Floating line, leaded point fly and buzzers on droppers. Fishing with a floater allows you to fish slower, which is what the fish expect (and want - they are lazy creatures, a state of mind I fully understand). It's a sort of compromise thing, between a floater and an intermediate, on the one hand a floater can be left pretty much to its own devices, where as an intermediate is going to sink to the bottom and hook your flies somewhere down there.

    If there is wind and wave action it might be the case that your floater drifts around too quickly keeping your flies high in the water away from the fish, assuming they are not just beneath the surface, and that's a pretty fair assumption for April.

    Also, due to the properties of the flylines, floaters are thicker, so more wind resistant and harder to cast into the wind. If I can, I will fish the floater.

    Other flies to fish on the point are cased caddis imitations and alder larvae. Figure of eight or do nothing.

    Another way to fish the floater is two leaded lures cast out and left static for long periods and pulled in short bursts every once in a while. The point lure is sacrificial, that is, it is fished such that it hooks onto weeds etc, and assuming the line is kept fairly taught the remaining lure is kept weed free.

  3. HiD line and boobies. Every few seasons or so, a cold crunch in the weather is going to send the fish hard on the bottom. Booby fishing offers the only practical way to offer a static fly near the bottom.

    Now it must be said boobies are frowned upon by some. However the method can be extremely subtle, and really very enjoyable. Try floating fry patterns on the point and foam-back corixae and suspender buzzers on the droppers. Occasionally a booby lure is needed, often an orange job. Also you may have to fish small black boobies (size 16).

    Keep leaders short, fish static and every once in a while give a little pull.

    Fish will go off this method, perhaps because they begin to associate downward fly movement with trouble. Try the two leaded lure method.

    Sometimes you get fish on the drop, the first thing you know about this is a fish leaping somewhere in the distance. The next is a savage pull of a hooked fish. Depending on when about's during the drop it happens you are probably fishing too deep.

    Boobies can, like suspenders and floating fry, hook fish very deep in the mouth, I assume it is because they are virtually weightless. The answer is to detect your takes and hook the fish before they hook themselves.

    Incidentally, there is the theory knocking around that fish take boobies because they smell of women (pheromones and that sort of thing; they are tied with female stockings after all). I don't know how much truth there is to this, but I make sure the stockings have been well worn. Just in case.

Depth is probably the most important ingredient to succuss during the early part of the season. All good anglers know what depth they are fishing the flies. Ask a good angler how deep he is fishing and he will tell you to within six inches or so. Ask a novice and he will either shrug his shoulders and take on a blank facial expression or he will guess. The guess is usually much deeper than the reality.

To understand all this sort of stuff get fishing in a swimming pool, but make sure you are alone.

It can be good news to know some of the bottom contours. Have a look sround the lake at the end of summer and memorise.

Fish are not always deep early season. In my experience they are far more likely to be within two and three feet of the surface, and often in shallow water sometimes within inches of the bank.

It pays off in April to have a flexible approach. During snow-storms I have seen good general rises and have caught fish on dries. One never knows. No two Aprils are the same. I think the key to this month is to roam the banks, vary your depths and not to take things too seriously. The serious fishing starts next month.


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