Bear River Tackle – August 2020 Adventure
Sometimes Less is More
A couple of friends invited me to their secret spot where they catch big channel catfish on flies. This was a good opportunity to test the new Bear River Tackle patterns in a different environment, so I readily agreed.
We arrived at 8:00 PM to get set up and do a little fishing before dark when the real action was supposed to start. My rods were rigged with 6-7 foot leaders and I was fishing a dropper fly about 18 inches above the trailing fly.
Before long I had a hit and landed a 2-pound bass, quickly followed by a 3-pound catfish. The other guys did not have anything at that point except for one small sunfish.
Based on these early results I was doing a bit of premature trash-talking and victory dancing, sure of continued success. However, within a few minutes it got completely dark, and everything changed.
The other guys had their flies suspended 8-10 inches below the strike indicator which was an insanely short distance and I said so. They just smiled and reminded me “we fish here all the time and know what works”, but I still thought it was crazy and left my leader unchanged. They were also drifting the fly without imparting any action except to keep the line tight, which also did not seem like the best idea.
However, before long they were catching big catfish and I could not buy a bite. Different retrieved, different flies, nothing worked.
Rather than continuing my quest to nothingness, I decided to follow their lead and modified my rod, so the fly was suspended about 10 inches below the strike indicator. In addition, I left the fly in place after the cast rather than stripping it back. Within a few minutes I had a strong hit, set the hook and the fight was on. The channel cat weighed 5 1/2 pounds.
When fishing in a new environment, listen to the locals who know the water. They understand the location and may have a great idea. Who would have guessed that the optimum distance from the strike indicator to the fly was only 8-10 inches when fishing after dark?
Also, don't be afraid to discard conventional wisdom and try a different fly fishing technique; you may discover an entirely new way to catch a lot more fish.
Sometimes less is more.
Bear River Tackle