Monday, September 12, 2011

Breaded Catfish a la Fly Rod!

(No, this isn't a blog entry about a recipe for cooking catfish.  Its about a technique I've used a couple of times now on a certain public pond I fly-fish where the catfish have developed a taste for bread, thanks to a host of folks who visit the pond to feed the ducks.)

Headed to a different local pond tonight than the one posted previously (about the big catfish I caught on the Jumpin' Catfish Nymph).

Arrived at the pond fairly 7:15pm or so.  This is the pond Ben and I had used bread to chum up some catfish, which we then enticed to hit bread flies.  I hoped to do something similar tonight.

I had fished the pond a couple times since fishing with Ben, but kept forgetting to bring some bread along.  So, all I caught on those trips were bluegills and crappies. Tonight, I brought some hot dog buns!

Waiting for another angler to clear out, I tied on a white kiptail streamer that I had tied on a #6 hook. I had hits and follows from bluegills, but no takers.  Also while waiting, a young family came down on the opposite side of the pond to toss bread to the ducks.  No wonder the catfish here have such a fondness for bread!

When the time was right, I tossed out some hot dog bun chunks.  Bluegills started attacking it immediately, like a swarm of pirhanas!  It was only a few minutes before the BIG swirls showed up.  I brought my streamer through the activity a half dozen times before THE HIT.  I had a nice fish on, and since I didn't see the take, I was once again HOPING it was a grass carp.  The fish went on some nice runs, and before I knew it, I was into my backing!  How awesome is that?!?!
When the fish wanted to run, I let it, but kept the pressure on.  When it slowed, I worked it back towards me.  It was one of those see-saw battles of give-and-take.  I started taking more, and after 5 minutes or so, I got the fish into the shallows and up next to shore.  I reached down and got my hand on it.  The fish was too wide for me to get a lifting grip on, so I had to set my rod down and grab the fish with both hands to lift it up onto the grass.

BEAUTIFUL Channel Catfish!  It was a solid, chunky fish that measured 27"...definitely the biggest catfish I've caught from this at least 3.5 inches!  Picture time:

I will say I've caught a fair number of catfish from the pond on a variety of fly patterns over the past several years.  Everything from bass-sized poppers to small nymphs and streamers when fishing for crappies and bluegills.  Tossing bread out seems a bit like "cheating" to me.  I admit I feel a little "weird" about doing it.  But its exciting to see these big fish swirling right in front of you.  I'm not using bread as bait, but as chum.  I'm not feeding fish, I'm still fooling them.  I'm stacking the odds in my favor, by bringing the fish to me and getting them in the feeding mood.

I've read an article or two recently about guys doing something similar when fly-fishing for sharks in saltwater....they'll chum the water to bring the sharks to them, then use giant bright-colored hackle-flies
to toss out.  The sharks will then attack the flies.  Its efficient.

If you have public ponds near you where folks have taken to tossing bread to the ducks/ might want to give this technique a try!  It can work on carp and catfish...and it should work on grass carp too.  But those grassies seem ultra-wary of humans!


  1. Awesome. That is a nice fat cat. You can chum grass carp. I haven't tried it but the story goes -- a guy in Iowa likes to take grassies this way. He gets them in with grass clippings and then tosses a grass fly. He has the State record grassie @ 54lbs, has it mounted on his wall.

    I'll take a big cat over big grassie. Can't beat the cat-fight.

  2. I have chummed bread for grass carp on 3 ponds...but it has only worked in one pond so far, even though almost all the public ponds I fish have grass carp in them. That pond is probably the most food-starved from a grass carp's perspective, and also had the benefit of few waterfowl, and folks were regularly throwing out their stale bread into the water anyway.

    I've always loved catching catfish. They are extra-fun on a fly rod. Its somewhat top 3 biggest Channel Cats have been caught on fly gear!