By Bradford Wade
Under the bright lights of the city, the panfish are the heroes. Their tolerance of chemicals and muddy water allow them to live in some of the toughest of conditions. In the concrete jungle, the rural noise of birds and crickets are replaced with the sound of horns and the rumbling of tires. From the canals of Miami to the creeks of Knoxville, anyone with a bus fare can catch a limit. However, fishing in the city has some unique challenges that require a different approach.
Hell or High Water
Rains can ruin a river for a couple of days. Most bodies of water that run through cities don’t have very large buffer zones. The lack of buffer zones results in runoff that can turn a river muddy for days. It’s silly even to try to fish in these waters. Fish will hunker down til the waters calm and start to clear up. Your best bet to catch some city fish is to wait a day or two, when the fish begin to feed. The water might still be murky, so throw a slightly larger fly. Chartreuse colored flies work well in dirty water. My other color choice is black, as its high contrast allows fish to easily spot it in murky water.
Shopping for Cover
Fish can be found within many strange structures in urban waters. Always target the areas around water culverts. The constant flow of water is like a conveyor belt of food for the fish. Bass like to feed on the inflow of these while bluegill can be found on the spillway side. My favorite cover would probably be shopping carts. These unusual forms of cover provide an excellent hideout for small baitfish. Often, a large bluegill or two can be caught off one. If you’re lucky enough, you might even catch a trophy bass.
Get Out and Explore
Urban fishing is about getting out there and finding interesting fishing spots around the city. You never know what a body of water might hold. Park ponds have been known to contain monster bluegill, carp are often spotted cruising near city boardwalks along the rivers, and that creek behind your local shopping center has fish that probably have never seen a lure before. After all, exploration is the essence of the human spirit.