My son had a cancelled extracurricular activity, but I didn't get confirmation of that until I drove him 1/2 hour to get there. Long story about horrible communication skills by certain people, which I won't detail here.
By the time I got back home, it was 8pm. I grabbed some mosquito repellant (a.k.a. "cigar"), a few recently tied flies, camera, and headed out the door.
I arrived at the pond to find a couple other folks fishing with spinning gear. I'm not sure if they ever did catch anything. I started out with the Bass Gurgler I recently posted about. Once again it was a fish-catcher. No biggies this time...but I did land 2 largemouth bass on it, lost a third one near shore, and had a handful of missed strikes. In that short amount of time, a tot on a Razor scooter stopped behind me to watch. He no sooner went on his way, when a Dad and son stopped by to watch. They followed me around 1/3 of the pond, during which time I caught zero fish. I know, impressive, right? But I had spotted a grass carp back, and had begun stalking it. Cast after cast with a deer hair "pellet" fly. I may have actually gotten one strike on this, but no hookup. Then I switched to an unweighted white woolly bugger.
When I had arrived at the pond, I noticed a woman on the opposite side of the pond chucking some bread into the water for the ducks. I actually like to see this, since it often gets the catfish active, and it should get the grass carp active. But those darn grass carp...frustrate me to no end, and I want to catch more of them SO MUCH!
Anyway, I worked my way around to where the bread was. Some smaller fish were playing with it. The grass carp I was stalking was hanging out near it, but about 30 feet further away from shore from the bread. As I was casting to this grassie, a couple other large fish that I suspect were also grass carp that were slightly deeper, showed their locations with some large rings at the surface. Eventually (and after my audience finally gave up on me), one or two large fish started coming in closer to shore for the bread.
I cast a bit beyond the floating bits of bread and slowly brought the white woolly bugger back through it. Sooner than I expected, my line tightened...FAST. Big fish on! I didn't want my hooked fish to disturb any other fish in the area more than it needed to, so I immediately started walking the fish down the shoreline away from the area. This was a strong fish, but mostly slow. I could walk it around like a dog on a leash, but it would simply parallel shore. Whenever I leveraged the 6wt to try to get the fish to the surface, it would turn and make a powerful run for deeper water again. The happened repeatedly, and I still hadn't gotten a visual on the fish. Plus, it was getting dark. From the way it was fighting, I was SO SURE it was a grass carp. I was so happy! FINALLY hooked another one, after a hiatus of over a year!
I finally got the fish up into the shallows near shore, and it made one more short run before I was able to get my hands on it. Hands. I pinned it down with one hand, but couldn't secure a grip across its back (by this time, I realized it was a nice channel catfish instead of a grass carp, and was sort of bummed....but I love catching catfish on the fly rod too). I set my rod down and got on my knees and put two hands around the fish's midsection, with fingers on either side of its pectoral fins. With this grip, I was able to lift it onto shore.
This was a really nice male channel catfish. I measured it at 27", which would put it in the 9-pound range. I snapped some photos and released it.
|I love it when a fish makes my gear look small!|
|See the beat up white woolly bugger hanging from its lip?|
|Here I'm holding the fish down so I can hold it still while I photograph it. Looks like I could have picked it up with one hand...but I really couldn't get an adequate grip with just one hand.|
I returned to the breaded area. A couple nice fish showed up on it, but nothing was feeding quite as aggressively as before. I switched to a fresh white woolly bugger that was bit larger, since the catfish had beat up the first one pretty good. I caught at least a dozen crappies on it before I left. I also caught a couple bluegills, but found it very odd that I foul-hooked almost 10 bluegills! Its very rare that I foul-hook a bluegill EVER...and to snag that many from one spot was bizarre! All I can figure is the fish were pecking away at the bread and were either slapping at the fly to break it into smaller pieces, or were oblivious to my line/fly passing near them while they were distracted by the bread?
Anyway, its always a great night when one can land a big fish on a fly rod!