September 29, 2016

Wipers On The Fly-The Elusive White Meat

To give a little context into my obsession with Wipers I'll include an excerpt for a post I made in August 2008 on a now abandoned blog (even more abandoned than this one has been)...

"I grew up fishing for White Bass with my friends in Orem. We would ride out bikes to the Geneva Steel cooling ponds and catch bass to our hearts content. I always enjoyed fishing as a kid, but this was the start of my obsession with fishing. I went every chance I could get to pursue those spunky fish in the nasty water. I looked forward to late May, not only because it was the end of school, but that White Bass would spawn in the river running into Utah Lake. My friends and I would ride our bikes down every day to catch fish after fish. Its been a long time since I caught a White Bass. But the other day, I went fishing for a species of fish that is a tweeked out White Bass on steroids! It brought back memories of times past and all the fun I had with friends fishing for White Bass. Wipers are a cross between a White Bass and a Striped Bass. "

My very first Wiper

Nice Smallie that fought just as hard as the wipers
Wiper a few days later. Met another fly angler rippin' lips with his 7.5' #4 bent to the cork!

This image was ganked from Google images; but this is the exact same boat

Since purchasing a 1983 Phantom I again began to frequent a lake near my house in the persuit of Wipers as often as I can get out. In the spring they move in shallow during their false spawn and can be more assesable by fly and I've heard the fall they again move in shallow and can be taken on topwater flies/lures. A few years ago I found success with white crystal buggers and Clousers early in the morning (see beginning of this post). The fish have grown much larger and it seems much more difficult for me to catch...I've only caught ONE in the past 2 years; and it wasn't even out of my boat!

Sam, the boys, and I were set for an evening run to the lake in search of the elusive Wiper. Last minute Sam boned out due to still being sick and the boys decided Skylanders was more important than fishing.

When I purchased the boat it had a 150 hp outboard that sat like a brick on the back and an old bow-mount trolling motor that appeared to be born before I was. I've since dropped the brick and replaced the trolling motor with a Minn Kota that I can run from a remote. I've become quite proficiant at launching and trailering my boat solo. Todays was to be one of those "solo missions" so when I arrived at the ramp I quickly began to prepare my gear and the boat; leaving the bow hooked to the trailer with the plan of connecting my "leash" rope when I disconnect the boat from the trailer. But things got complicated since some ass-monkey decided to park their trailer half-way accross the ramp after launching their boat. After I was ready to go I carefully backed the boat past the impediment and dipped the transome in the water. After un-hooking the trailer I quickly jumped into my Jeep and backed the boat the rest of the way into the water...only to realize all too late I forgot to connect the leash...
For a moment I considered stripping down and swimming after it. But I've heard too many stories about boats blowing away and people drownding in the chase for them. I yelled, waved, and honked at the other two boats on the water for help (one of them being the ass-clown barge) to no avail. I watched helplessly as my boat floated further towards the opposite shoreline. Finally one of the boats moved into a position close enough to my side of the lake to hear my cries for help; except they were still 150 yards down the shoreline. With breathless cries I reached them and was happily ferried to my floating vessle luckily aground on the sandy beach just adjacent to the rocky shoreline. The couple of golden years puttered away in their aluminum trolling platform while I manuvered my boat to a nearby spot I've had luck at before (luck at catching smallies that is...)
This lake at one time (back when I was actuaslly catching Wipers) was completely over-run by golden shiners. I think the primary bait the fish consume are crayfish. I've had great success this year on trout and bass using a pattern that employees a home-made version of the Fish-Skull crawbodies. I reclaimed some microfiber from our worn out couch (kids+couch=broken trampoline-couch) and cut out some bodies. My other go to flies have been poppers of various construction and color. 

I have to include the disclamier that given my lack of success at catching Wipers on the fly, I've also resorted to throwing some topwater lures and soft-plastics with a spinning rod to close the gap. Although I didn't catch a Wiper that night (and the following weekend) I was able to feel the tug of a few smallies with the hope of catching lightnig in a bottle some other time. Some of these were caught on a fly and others were taken on top with a spinning rod. 

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