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Catfish on Fly Rod

by: Lloyd Tackitt 11/7/2012

When I first started fly fishing in the Brazos I had visions of bass and sunfish.  Small mouth bass to be exact, and giant red belly sunfish.  It didn't dawn on me that I was going to be catching every kind of fish in the river.

I have caught small mouths, large mouths, stipers, sand bass, and several kinds of hybrid bass.  I've caught four or five kinds of sun fish.  I've caught gar, drum, buffalo, and carp. I even caught a turtle.  And I have caught catfish, channel and blue and yellow cats.

The first cat I caught was a channel.  Most of the cats I've caught have been channel cats.  Generally on a black wooly booger or a hellrammite imitation fished on the bottom, letting the fly bump along with the current while using a strike indicator and doing a lot of line mending. 

That first cat was a complete surprise.  In the past I've caught a lot of cats, but always on gear tackle.  They fight pretty good on gear, they fight way way better on a fly rod.  They make a strong strike, then they head strong and hard for the nearest cover they can get to, and they pull strong and constant.  These aren't flashy fighters, they're more like a fast tractor with plenty of horse power and torque.

They will run side to side and make the occasional run right straight at you.  They don't come up to the surface much and they don't come out of the water at all.  These fish are strong and motivated and scrappy.  They take quite awhile to bring in as they have strong muscles and lots of them.  Average I have been catching is about six pounds.  Biggest was about eight pounds.  This on a fairly light weight rod.  This is rodeo fishing.

If you live near a warm water river that you can access, I recommend that you give the river a try with a fly rod.   You never know what species you'll hang a hook in, but they will all be strong fighters, they've been fighting that river current all their lives and are athletes.

Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
Member comments
Flyrodn, CO   11/7/2012 12:08:18 PM
Cats on the fly are a kick and I agree, strong fighters. Three species to my name, channel, yellow bullhead, and saltwater cats (Port Aransas area).
tracks, CO   11/7/2012 1:32:08 PM
Nice bit of writing!!! I have to admit everything on a fly rod is more exciting!!
tbblom, CO   11/8/2012 6:58:08 AM
Caught one going for bass a few years ago, took for ever to bring in, then it was only about 15" long! I've hoped to hook one at Boulder res, but usually end up with small mouth and walleye. Nice blog, now I have to try for more catfish...
troutmobile, CO   11/8/2012 7:52:27 PM
While fishing a local pond from my kayak chasing bass, I had to put my fly rod down for a bit to deal with an issue in the 'yak. When I picked up the rod, I had a fish on! Surprised the hecck out of me when I finally brought in a channel cat!
aaron lee, CO   11/9/2012 11:54:57 AM
When I lived in Nebraska, we had a little honey hole for cats on the fly. It was a catch and release only lake for catfish, and they would pellet feed them. We made flies that looked like the pellets, and would fish from float tubes to get to where the feeder was. Nothing like catching 3-4 20+ pound catfish on an 8 weight in a float tube in one outing. They would usually take you for a ride around the lake before you could get to shore and land them. So much fun!
Lloyd Tackitt
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