Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Elusive Roanoke Bass

It's been over a year since I was at the Eno River. At the last Trout Unlimited meeting I had the chance to met Sam who lives on the river. He told me about some locations where he caught Roanoke Bass. I've been trying to catch one of these fish for awhile. I was pleasantly surprised when Sam invited me to fish with him. I jumped at the chance and looked forward to it all week. We headed out on an overcast morning and the weather was great for August. The temperature wasn't that bad, maybe in the mid 80's. The Eno looked just how I remembered, pretty similar to a mountain stream but has a style all its own
Sam gave me coordinates to where the Roanoke's were supposed to be. We decided to try some water he hadn't fished much first. We worked pockets here and there and it wasn't long until we caught probably the most prevalent fish in the Eno.. Sunfish never get boring, when you think you've seen the prettiest one you'll catch one even better looking on the next cast. This river has to be the best sunfish river in North Carolina. It is great for beginners. The fish are feisty and they almost always hit top water poppers. The action is exciting. We found one pool were I found a pod of sunfish under a tree. I caught a fish on almost every cast. The strikes varied from a sip, inhaling, to a rocket launch accompanied by water and a glimpse of fins as your fly disappears. As we waded there were tons of dragon and damsel flies. Minnows jumped here and there, probably escaping roaming bass. While working some of the pockets that Sam recommended I wasn't able to catch a Roanoke. I decided to take some pics of him fishing because often when you go fishing you never get pictures of yourself.I went to tell him do some false casts so I could get some pics and in the middle of my comment....Fish On! After a few seconds Sam says "It's a Roanoke!". I couldn't believe it, I was just fishing in that same spot 5minutes before he got there. He was able to land the fish and show me what the fish looks like.This was a nice fish and you could tell it had been eating well. The fish looked just like the rock bass I've seen in Virginia. I was really excited and eager to catch my first Roanoke but it was not in the cards for me. I was still happy to catch sunfish. The experience made me eager to get back and go for the Roanoke again. Sam is great fishing partner and I look forward to fishing with him again. On the hike back upstream, Sam almost stepped on a moving rock.A good size snapping turtle. About the diameter of a basketball. Not something you'd want to annoy. That's the fun part about fishing you'll always see other wildlife, turtles, insects, birds you rarely see anywhere else. It's hard to come off the water after days like this.

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