Something I have set my sights on, is Breamfest at Providence Hill Farm May 21st.
I recently made a visit to Providence Hill Farm to meet the fly fishing manager, Chris Haddad and check out the fly shop and the lakes. Providence Hill Farms is a beautiful horse farm and sporting club on approximately 1,250 acres in central Mississippi north of Clinton and just west of Pocahontas. It’s really an unexpected sight, such a magnificent piece of property, its hard to describe it in sufficient terms. Let’s just say, if I was a horse, I would like to be staying in the stables there and if I was a horse’s owner, I would love to stay in one of the penthouses at the top!
After a little confusion on the location of the fly shop on the large property, (not saying I was lost but I was confused as to where I was a few times) and a few phone calls to Chris for directions, Chris met me at in the parking area in front of the shop, which had a terrific view of one of the lakes.
Inside the shop I was pleased to find a wide selection of fly fishing tackle, including a well-stocked display of flies.
The rods I saw were, Thomas and Thomas, Sage and Redington, along with Sage and Ross reels and Rio fly lines.
There was a wide selection of accessories, bags, nets etc, all quality goods. I saw Filson and Howler brands of clothing.
Between the larger of the lakes and the fly shop there is a great outdoor pavilion to handle large groups. I understand from Chris that Sage will have a trailer at the event as well as other vendors. There is certainly plenty of room on the spacious grounds for an event.
The $150 entrance fee ($50 youth) includes a T-shirt and lunch will be catered by The Gathering Restaurant from Livingston.
One pond will be just for kids and I understand it’s full of fish. All proceeds will go to charity, so please make plans to participate in Breamfest on May 21, 2016.
The pdf below has detailed information on prizes, registration etc. Please get phone numbers and email addresses for registration from the PDF.
Breamfest Sign Up form and rules sheet
Google link to Map for Providence Hill Farm
Of course its for charity, and fun, but then there is that competitive spirit thing which makes it interesting. After all, 1st place is a $1,000 and a Sage One Fly Rod, 2nd place is $500 and an Abel II Fly Reel, 3rd place is $250 and a Reddington Butter Stick Fly Rod.
So, to get ready for Breamfest, I have been practicing in subdivision lakes and tuning up what may seem an unlikely pattern for bream, tiny Muddlers tied on stout number 6 offset bead hooks, leftover from Alaska. I know, it doesn’t sound like a typical bream pattern, but I have my “rationalizations”, as one of my friends calls them. Plus I had several hundred bead hooks from an Alaska trip that were just laying around, they were too expensive to not be catching anything!
One day about a month ago I was in the hunt for a heavy short-shank hook that wouldn’t need added weight when I spotted the Alaskan bead hooks from a trip a couple of years ago. I was already thinking about a bream fly that wouldn’t need added weight to sink slowly when I spied those hooks. I got the idea that a little deer hair muddler head on a short shank might provide enough buoyancy to turn the hook up. I wanted something that wouldn’t fall over on its side or dip and dive when retrieved like microjigs. I often use tiny 1/100 or 1/80 micro-jigs and they catch fish and are good about not hanging up, but they retrieve differently than what I had in mind. I wanted something that would retrieve really slowly and kind of bump along, without the jerky retrieve and casting action of a lead head micro-jig. And of course, I needed a way to use up all those bead hooks as fishing for rainbows feeding on eggs under rafts of salmon is just not something we do a lot of here in Mississippi!
Anyway, I got the idea and tied a few on the bead hooks and they worked great. I found that I could cast the Tiny Muddler into the shallows where bream are staging and work the fly very slowly with a tight line retrieve, rod tip in the water, just creeping it along the bottom in long, slow pulls. Bream can have a very light bite when not spawning and the tight line and rod tip in the water help me to detect them. I don’t have the “Jedi bite detection” capabilities of some of my friends. Sometimes I don’t feel the bite but just a change in the line tension which is, I think, the fish taking the fly while swimming toward me. When that happens I just slightly speed up the retrieve by moving my rod hand until I feel some weight and then just lift up in a trout set. The offset point of the bead hook seems to help improve the hook-up rate too. It won’t lay flat to slide out of a fish’s mouth, it will grab. An unexpected bonus was that I started picking up crappie, which are notorious light biters usually best caught not by fly fishing but by jig fishermen vertically jigging with a heavy jig on a tight line. Apparently my tight line approach approximates the jig technique of crappie fisherman, but horizontally, helping me to pick up crappie which I usually have a difficult time with.
Either way, playing with patterns and playing with the fish is just fun, but I have been pretty successful with the fly and the technique. See you at Breamfest at Providence Hill Farm on May 21st!