Sometimes you're not just trying to catch a fish. You are trying to catch thee fish. I've been chasing Roanoke Bass for quite some time now. They are fairly rare but people do occasionally catch them on the Eno River. What I could never understand was how beginners seem to always have luck when it came to catching them. I hit he river yesterday with some friends. The water seemed to have even more hydrilla then the last time. The green weeds choked the water and only provided one small lane that was free of debris. The fish were few and far in between. I did find a sunfish here and there but the fishing was really poor for the Eno. There was one section in particular that looked dead and void of life. The bottom was covered in a thin blanket of silt. While wading I never even saw the shadow or movement of fish being spooked. I started to wonder if some sort of fish kill happened. I decided to try one more spot that was good to me about 2yrs ago. It is a large pool that has a rock you can get on top of and use as a casting platform. It gives a great view into the water and with good casts you can almost cover the whole pool. I cast my fly near a submerged boulder and watched as it disappeared into the murky water. Then I felt a tap. I set the hook and had the familiar feeling of a sunfish. While bringing the fish to the surface I noticed it didn't have the orange belly of a sunfish. I knew better then to get my hopes up that it might be a Roanoke. I kept bringing the fish in and finally when I had it in hand I did an inspection.
I have been chasing these fish for so long that I was in denial that this fish was an actual Roanoke Bass. I took several pictures and wondered if maybe it was just a green colored Warmouth. Then I noticed the gill plate. There were no lines on it what so ever. The coloring was also too green to be a Warmouth. This had to be a Roanoke. I was elated. As a bonus it was caught with a crayfish type pattern that I tied. I have a theory about why so many beginners seem to have luck catching these fish. When the fish hit I provided zero action to the fly. It was just dead drifting. That makes sense because most beginners do not twitch and try to practice with different retrieves when they are learning. I will have to experiment more. Until then I can check off another species on the list.