Banks Lake Smallmouth and More

Fished Banks Lake for a couple days in May. I was primarily there for smallmouth but encountered a few other fish of interest along the way.

The first day, Vance B. met me over there around mid-morning. Earlier in the day, before he arrived, I was messing around with carp on a large, shallow flat. It was loaded with carp! I tried to sneak in there as best you can with a 20-foot boat, and managed to find a few fish that appeared to be feeding. One of our customers is a carp fanatic and has been incredibly helpful in providing information on just how to fool these difficult fish. He also armed me with some of his favorite carp flies!

In a total period of about half an hour, I spotted hundreds of fish, but only about three appeared to be feeding. Of those three, two were tough to spot and/or cast to so I didn’t get the presentation right. The third, however, was pretty close to the boat and definitely feeding with his head down. A short cast and a little patience to wait for the fly to sink, and I was in the ballgame.

The fly settled on the bottom and a couple short strips and it was on the carp’s dinner plate. Then, in almost startling fashion, he actually ate it! I set the hook and off he ran. My 7-weight was perfectly suited to this fish that was around 10-pounds. The tiny hook was easily removed without taking the fish out of the water and I was off to find another feeder.

It was time to meet Vance shortly after my carp fun, so I didn’t have any shots at more of them. But soon, Vance and I were cruising across the lake in search of warm water for Mr. Bronzeback.

Just as soon as we started figuring out where the fish were located, Vance began hooking fish left and right on a favorite leech pattern of his. I changed flies feverishly to try and find something the smallmouth would eat. Eventually, I landed on an old favorite that I can’t believe it took me that long to put on. It was the good ol’ Crazy Dad. Soon after, Vance was throwing the Crazy Dad quite a bit too and we hammered the fish pretty good that day, landing around 20 I think. Most of the smallmouth were pretty small but great fun on our fly rods.

For me at least, the most exciting fish of the day was fish Vance caught. It was a GIANT crappie! If I could catch crappie like that all day, man, I’d go crappie fishing all summer long. It was a beast as far as crappie go and it ate the Crazy Dad as well.

Vance took off that evening and I fished the next day by myself. I caught decent numbers of smallmouth but was having problems getting bigger fish so I decided to look for largemouth. I found one that was probably around four pounds in a weed pile at the end of a shallow, wind-blown lagoon. But then the wind took over. I called it a day and headed back home. Overall, it was a great trip and one I wish could have lasted a few more days.

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