Saturday evening gave us high winds that knocked over utility poles, snapped trees, and blew over road signs. Winds were 39mph with gusts to 56mph. And rain. HEAVY rain. From Saturday evening to Sunday morning we got between 2.84" and 3.43" of rain. A couple public ponds I drove by showed evidence that they had gone up nearly 2' above normal, and had since receded but were still high. Water clarity had gone from relatively clear (~2.5') to MUDDY (4").
I headed out to fish after supper for a couple hours...from 5:45pm-7:30pm. Winds were still high...and gusting. Horrible conditions for fishing, and probably the main reason I decided to go...because nobody else would be! Full disclosure...another reason to go was because with all the influx of water into the ponds, I hoped the catfish would be actively feeding in the shallows.
I drove to a nearby public pond and headed to the most wind-protected spot to start fishing. I started with an unweighted black woolly bugger. I caught several nice bluegills on it.
...and then broke it off on a submerged log.
I tied on a microjig under an indicator, but didn't catch anything. I removed the indicator and put on another black woolly bugger. I caught some more bluegills and a largemouth bass. By this time I had worked my way around to the side of the pond that the wind was blowing into. I had a great strike and had a nice fish on for about 7 seconds. It took my fly with it. BUMMER!
The wind was really strong here. I had 2 or 3 casts that didn't reach the water! I put on an indicator again, and tied on a Black Ops fly http://missouriflies.com/all-products/carp-flies/black-ops-carp-fly .
I caught a bluegill or two on this, and then BAM! Another nice fish on. This felt bigger than the one that got off. As usual, I was hoping for a Grass Carp, but several minutes later when I finally got my first glimpse of the fish, I could see it was a good-sized Channel Catfish. The battle raged quite a long time. We strolled together back and forth along the shoreline. It didn't want to come in! With the water high, there was no good place to land it. After several failed attempts, I finally did get it to come into the shallows, and as I reached down for it with one hand, my line broke. Fortunately as the fish turned, it paused for a second and I was able to drop the rod and jam both hands into the muddy water and I luckily found its pectoral fins to grab onto, and lifted it onto shore. WHEW!
It stayed still in the grass as I took a quick measurement (24") and a couple pictures. 2 websites I found suggested this fish weighed 6.3 pounds. As thick as this fish was, I'm sure it was ALL of that!
I released her back to the water, and she swam away immediately. I resumed my fishing, and caught another dozen or so bluegills before I called it quits. Man...that wind can beat you up!