Friday, September 9, 2011

45 Minute Evening Outing, 9-8-2011

I had a 45-minute window after supper in which to squeeze in some fly-fishing.  All necessary gear was already loaded in the, I jumped in and headed for one of the local public ponds.  I chose a pond that has a few nice bluegills in it, but they can be hard to locate when they aren't spawning.

I had a #6 Jumpin' Catfish Nymph tied on my line already.  I didn't change, since the big bluegills in this pond could certainly fit that in their mouths.  Here's a link to the pattern...

This was only the 2nd time I've used this nymph pattern, and I like it already!  I worked about a 70' section of shoreline.  I tried casting parallel to the first dropoff near shore.  I cast out towards the middle...I was searching for fish.  One 10" bass.  A second.  A third.  They were all surprisingly strong for their size!  Next I finally landed a bluegill.  Then a fourth bass.

Fishing wasn't fast by any means.  The water right next to shore seemed decently clear, but beyond that first drop-off the water looked rather turbid.  Anyway, I was running out of time.  I walked about 3/4 of the shoreline back towards the parking lot and decided to make a few "last casts" from here.

The surface of the water was starting to calm down a bit, so I cast out and then started looking around for signs of surface activity.  The line tugged against my hand, and my automatic reflexes set the hook.  OH MY!  I immediately knew this was a big fish.  You can't know how much I was HOPING it was a grass carp, since I haven't caught one yet this year.

Line peeled off my reel.  I could see the backing, but there were still a few wraps of line over it when I got the fish stopped.  It seemed like a good 5 or 10 minutes passed before I was able to get a glimpse of what was on the line.  Channel Catfish, and a good one!

Nautilus FW 5 (Black)I was using 9' 5wt custom TFO BVK rod I recently purchased from a very talented rodbuilder who goes by the moniker of "ApacheTrout" on the Fly Anglers On-Line bulletin boards.  Its a heckuva nice rod!  And I was also using a used Nautilus FW-5 fly reel I also recently purchased and mounted on the rod.

I had attached about 2' of 6 lb test mono to the end of the tippet.  And I knew when I attached it to the tippet that I had "stressed" a short section of the mono, and this was on my mind all during the battle with this fish.  Could I let it run, but put enough pressure on the fish to coax it unwillingly into the shallows without breaking the tippet at that weak spot?  The drag on the reel did its job perfectly during the half-dozen or so powerful runs.

The rod did its job in putting the right amount of pressure on the fish, yet still giving the right amount when the fish shook its head.

I landed the beast, which I felt was quite the accomplishment considering I was alone and didn't have a net with me.
I put a tape measure to it.  The length was 27".  According to a website I found (, the weight would be estimated at 9.4 lbs.  I don't typically concern myself much with weight, but I wondered what kind of strain that "stressed" 6 lb mono tippet was up against.

Chunky fish!
What a mug!
After taking the pictures, I released the fish. Although catfish are quite hardy, I spent a couple minutes gently reviving him until he swam away as if he was late for a meeting.  I made a few more casts and caught a couple more bluegills before heading for the parking lot.

This was my 2nd outing with this rod/reel combo.  I think I can now say it is "broken in". :)  I like it very much and look forward to putting that Jumpin' Catfish Nymph in front of some more big catfish!


  1. Very nice. I wonder what makes that nymph work so well for catfish? It looks pretty simple, but it obviously works.

  2. Good question, Jay! Size is probably somewhat important. Almost all my catfish have come on size 8 or larger patterns. I also think patterns with palmered hackle work well...maybe the vibrations they create in the water is something the sensory-loaded catfish find appealing? Not that catfish can't be caught without hackle, but it may help on nymph patterns.