High Water Dabbling

Years ago I used to do high water dabbling all the time. Now it seems to have lost some of it’s charm. The best place to do it is urban areas, but urban areas mean people which means I can’t relax.

People make me tense.

If I wanted to fish this weekend, I had no choice. The creeks, besides being barren, were all blown out.

The river was just high enough that I didn’t feel like wandering around in 3200 CFS current. I can do it, but why?

So I walked an old familiar wall with 8-10 feet of line out and dabbled a lure vertically along the wall.

There is something to be said for this. Tying into a 16 inch smallie with so little line out gives you one option, lift it out of the water and lip it. This is really why even when casting I keep the casts short. It’s also why I switched to braid years ago.

I don’t play fish to exhaustion and then bring the poor defeated creature to hand.

I get them up next to me as quickly as possible, lip them and let them show all their fury.

These are extremely muscular creatures after all and I want to feel that muscle. Plus, they are pissed and want you to know it.

There’s something about looking a pissed off smallie in the eye. They give it right back. If fish could talk I imagine… okay you sonuvabitch, you won this one, NOW PUT ME BACK IN THE WATER!!!

And I oblige, quickly and efficiently. Kind of. I keep them lipped and put them in the water. What little strength they lost comes back quickly and I release their lip when they’ve had enough of this game.

I usually get a going away bath for my troubles. Which I deserve.


The edge of a wall, amongst all the garbage, if you have eggs in you that have to come out, I guess that will do. I gave her the distance she deserved.


I thought this was funny.


Then, of course, under clear blue skies, the play of light on moving water. This made the wall walking a little precarious. I almost walked off the wall twice after staring at the water too long.



11 thoughts on “High Water Dabbling

  1. Roy Harsch

    I was thinking of doing some wading today but I did not get my projects done in time. Say some one walking the Geneva Island wall with a hat and a cigar. Did you stop there as well? Did not recognize the wall for caught the fish from and where the goose was laying. Glad the water did not rise anymore so as to flood the goose and duck nests. Roy

    1. Ken G Post author

      That was me Roy and I heard you making a racket on the other side of the river. Thought you were trying to burn down your house at one point. The fish came a little further down by the playground and on the way home I did a quick stop in Batavia, that’s where the goose was.

      Didn’t feel like dealing with the current today, water is still a little cold and I knew the fishing wouldn’t be hot and heavy yet.

  2. JustinCarf

    Very nice! I really need to start fishing the Fox more. Very nice post and outing. I’ve come to learn with fly fishing, long distance casts aren’t always necessary. Sometimes the fish you’re looking for are pretty much at your feet. The same goes for presentation, the size of the lure/fly really doesn’t matter. My biggest smallie came on a size 6 black bugger.

    I have often wondered what fish would say after being caught, and what you said was 1 of my thoughts. A lot of cursing. Then I like to think that there’s some sophisticated fish that would speak in a proper tongue like – “It’s been a few months since I’ve been fooled by one of contraption, bravo, bravo, a tip of the hat to you good sir. Cheerio!”

    1. Ken G Post author

      That’s especially true with smallies Justin. The clearer the water, the longer the casts, but even that doesn’t always hold true. With standard Fox clarity they can be at your feet and not wanting to move out of the way.

      All my fish come from the wrong side of the tracks, I don’t think there’s a refined one in the bunch.

        1. Ken G Post author

          At least on rivers Dick I’m 99.999% catch and release. Pond bass, gills and crappie need to worry though. I make a mean baked bass.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Thanks Howard, that’s pretty much how I think of your writing and wandering. The fishing part is easy, at least for smallies. Once the lure is in the water, there’s not much there to pay attention to. Either they’re going to hit it or they’re not. Gives plenty of time to look around at other things. I do have to remember not to do that so much while walking on that wall.

  3. Jim McClellan

    I don’t like to think about what the fish might be thinking when I pull them out of the water. (For many, things will soon be much worse!) You were wise to give Mother Goose her ground there. That’s as ornery a creature as you’re likely to find wearing feathers.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I’ve learned my lesson too many times with geese Jim. Once I disentangled a gosling from some chicken wire and what did I get as a thanks, nearly pecked to death by all the adults around. Damn little thing wouldn’t shut up and just let me get the job done without making a big deal out of it.


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