With a day off and perfect L.A. winter fishing weather, my son and I hoped to follow up on a thread that’s been going around and around on this blog — the bread fly — so we headed down to the rio, armed with a freshly baked and newly purchased loaf. That’s really the first rub of this story. Wonder Bread will now set you back $4.50!
Our strategy was simple: chum one, chum all.
L.A. River carp are tough to catch, period, so why not chum for them? Previous comments here have shown that our comrades in other states will fish their bread flies while bird fanciers are carbo-loading ducks, geese and other waterfowl on the water. The idea is carp swim under the feeding fowl to munch their fair share of the treats, while the feathers on top continue feasting. Sounded like stealthy fun.
That mid-morning, armed with “classic white,” we approached the most likely fishing hole, one where the current doesn’t drag the bread toward Long Beach in a few seconds. We set up the rods and started rolling gummy bread balls.
After a few misfires, our aim got better as we tossed the white morsels away from the constant current in the pool. Excited as schoolboys with a snow day, we waited for the inevitable rise, the inevitable feeding frenzy. Carp enjoying a free meal, and one that would allow us to place our newly tied bread flies right in front of them.
Problem: Nothing happened, or rather what did happened wasn’t what we wanted, the story of so many science experiments.
After a few minutes of Wonder Bread chumming, lots of creatures did show up, eating the sandwich morsels kids used to love. Unfortunately, they were winged, instead of finned.
Watching sea gulls hover, then swoop down on a tasty inch-round ball gave me new respect for them. Not quite eagles zeroing in on mice, but their aim from 10 feet up was dead on.
Not to be outdone, the thin line of mallard ducks flapped up as well, and about that time, we did see two suspicious water circles, hugging the bank, too funky for a decent cast. That was it …
Cursing the fact that we were landlocked, having left the waders at home, we tried chumming three different spots with even worse results: no fish, no birds, no nada.
No bread-induced chum boil of carp.
No big fish bending rods to the water.
No spinning reels with whining line chasing a fast shadow.
Which brings me to my New Year’s fly fishing resolution: Spend more time on the three above points.
See you on the river, Jim Burns