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Prepare for the Invasion

221 years ago was the last time it happened..the Invasion!

The cicada hatch of the 13 and 17 year cycle, a co-emergence of the cicadas. With black bodies, redeyes and orange tinted wings the emergence is triggered by the soil temperature reaching 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Cicada numbers estimated in the billions will swarm 15 states. While feed on the sap from various plant life more importantly if you’re an angler fish will feed on them! In the past I’ve caught almost every fresh water species during the hatches. Certainly bass, bluegill, carp, catfish and almost anything will surface to suck in these buzzing bugs. Others joining in the feast are squirrels, turkeys, other birds and even dogs.

The cicadas are very active for several weeks, and their mating buzz can reach and annoying 80-00 decibels. The good news is there are several baits that will mimic the sound of these bugs as they hit the water’s surface. A highly effective tactic is to cruise the shoreline try to spot a few cicadas and know more will soon follow. If you’re a fan of topwater fishing / catching, try the family of prop baits and buzzbaits. *see photos. Cicada imitation fly patterns have also been very effective for the fly-fishing crowd this is historic event. Bass, bluegill and fish will school up to compete for the surface feeing opportunities.

Many presentations will work but the best I have found is a cast to an active group of cicadas that have fallen into the water and let the bait sit momentarily and then a gentle pop of the rod tip creating a “zzz, zzz” sound, let the bait rest (if it hasn’t already gotten smacked) and repeat. As with any topwater presentation find a retrieve speed, a tempo that draws strikes and be prepared. Because there’s always a competition for food sources this can be some of the best summer fishing of the year. Once the bite slows move to the next likely spot and continue to experiment with the retrieve speed and presentations. My biggest (and purely accidental) catch was a 28 pound carp that charged past a school of feeding bluegills to take a cicada fly presented on a five weight fly rod! I chased, paddle feverishly after the fish and eventually was able to beach it to retrieve my fly and unhook this monster mistake.

I would recommend a few spare baits; color doesn’t seem to matter but size might. Smaller lures are more readily swallowed and undersized buzzbaits can be kept on the surface with less effort. I might be worthwhile to customize your baits by adding a little red paint or nail polish to the eye area or underside of your plugs. This is also a time when the addition of a red treble hook to your hard baits would pay off. Match the size of the existing treble with the original hook to keep the bait on balance. www.Daiichi

My Jackson Kayak takes my quietly right into the middle of the action. I can easily glide into an area and cast to the action. As far as my set up I still prefer a baitcasting outfit, medium action 7 foot Lew’s rod with a low profile Lew’s reel spooled with 12 pound test monofilament line, if open face spinning is your preference go with a 6 ½ foot medium action rod, a medium size reel spooled with K9 braid and a six foot 6 pound test K9 fluorocarbon leader. The fly rod is fun and an option, and for the new angler or littles a spincast combo will work just as well. www.lews

Take advantage of this phenomenon, it’ll be at least 2038 before the next cicada hatch. BBZZZZZ!