Friday, June 29, 2012

24" Catfish on Fly Rod, 6-28-2012

I didn't get out fishing until pretty late last night.  Left the house at 8:45pm!  Since it was fast getting dark, I just visited a nearby public pond.  It was mostly overcast and had lightly rained earlier in the evening.  Almost no wind when I arrived at the pond, but then the wind kicked up to about 10mph, and then slowly settled down again as darkness deepened.  Air temp was low 90's...pretty hot for so late in the evening, especially since that followed and afternoon of clouds and rain.

When I arrived at the waters edge, it was obvious the City had been here recently to chemically kill the aquatic weeds that had been growing thickly along the entire shoreline.  The weeds hadn't been completely knocked back yet, but were mostly dead/dying.  I think this is fascinating, because it changes the dynamics of the pond.  What are the Grass Carp going to eat now? of my flies!! :)

I briefly tried a Bass Gurgler, had one strike.  It was getting dark, FAST.  No time to waste.

I walked around the pond to where I would have the wind at my back, and tossed some bread in to the water.  Yep.  I will "chum" for Grass Carp and Catfish.  Hasn't really worked for the Grass Carp yet, but it has worked for catfish at least 1/2 the time.  I tied a white woolly bugger on my line.  I'm tossing an artificial, so I'm still "fooling" the fish rather than feeding them.  Its no different really than tossing a baitfish imitation near a school of baitfish that are being worked by gamefish, or tossing a dry fly during a "hatch".  I am, however, artificially creating a situation that (hopefully) brings the fish to me.  Doesn't always work, but it improves my chances.  Even when it draws in bigger fish, they don't always go for my artificial fly pattern.  At least when the bigger fish show up, its exciting to watch.

It had gotten so dark I couldn't see my line well.  So, I was fishing by "feel" at this point.  And believe me, you will FEEL a catfish!  I was slowly retrieving.  It tightened my line, I set the hook, and it jumped CLEAR out of the water!  Nice fish, back-and-forth give-and-take battle for awhile, then it just wanted to stay deep. Finally got it back up to the surface of the pond and in to shore.  24" Channel Catfish, estimated weight 6.3 pounds.

Chucked out the last pieces of my remaining two slices of bread.  A couple big fish were still around out farther from shore, but I wasn't able to entice them into striking.  Probably those DARN Grass Carp!

I did catch a couple small bluegills, and also a 10.5" Bullhead....only the second one I've ever caught on a fly rod.

Lots of fish activity on the surface, I'm sure I could have caught a lot more fish on a topwater pattern.  But sticking with the white Woolly Bugger had paid its dividend for the evening.


  1. I don't chum but hypocritically let others do it for me. At a local pond guck feeders (geese+ducks) throw bread and popcorn and you name it and the carp are inches under paddling feet. Some on top, 90% below, but only inches. My boys and I throw SUNKEN bread flies 6-12" below an indicator and the action can be carp easy. Unseen fish, they are there. Also suckers, pike minnows, and several 3lb. trout from some far away drain. No catfish here but bullheads and those we take while they bubble like carp on almost any carp fly. A 14" fish ,my largest, I tried to swing up like smaller BH, big mistake, almost broke an Orvis T3 rod. No grass carp in this pond and it seems this year there is no chumming for carp, way too few. That is a big catfish and bullhead, good you got out when you could and did!


  2. I started chumming last summer in an attempt to catch MORE Grass Carp on flies. I was THAT desperate for more Grassie action! I really thought (hoped) it would work on Grassies, but it hasn't for me yet. But that is how I inadvertantly discovered it worked pretty well for catfish, at least on one pond that the "duck-feeders" visit often. I've caught 6 catfish on flies by accident (without chumming) so far this year, compared to just 3 on flies while chumming. Chumming can work (at this one particular pond at least), but it definitely isn't the only way to catch catfish on flies.

  3. I've nothing against it Dave, it is just done for me. I have thought about grass clippings for grass carp, they too drive me that crazy, but some people have so much success in the normal fashion I just can not do it, yet.

  4. I use chum when I know carp are present in brown water in urban ponds or lakes. It doesn't always work. But it helps to level the playing field by making carp feed. they still are able to refuse my flies. It is better to see carp feeding than to see no carp.

  5. Nice Kitty!! I've got a small lake that has fish feeders on it that I need to get out and check , should be some cats hanging around there I would think.

  6. Jeff @ HighPlainsFlyfisher: I see you've tried to comment on this blog post. I received email notices, but for some reason your comments aren't showing up here. Based on what I've heard, it could (possibly) be because you are sending the comments from and iPhone or something like that? Not sure what is going on exactly...but I wanted you to know I did see them and definitely appreciate your comments! :)

  7. @ William Henry:
    I'm all for "leveling the playing field" when the fish can be as tough to catch as carp, grass carp...even big catfish! The fly pattern I'm using is completely artificial, and as you said, the fish can still refuse my flies...and often DO! :) It is pretty cool to see big fish come to the surface to feed, even if I don't catch them.