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  • Writer's pictureBear River Tackle

The Fish that Got Away.....Twice!

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

The fish pulled like a freight train and jumped like a tarpon … but was just a medium sized largemouth bass. Such were the challenges of fishing in flooded rivers and streams this month.

However, even in the midst of all the rain, there was one trip to a stream in Kansas that was notable. The purpose of the trip was to prove out the Ash Special flies on bass, crappie and catfish.

The stream bank was choked with high brush and trees which made using a flyrod next to impossible, but it was still very accessible using a spinning rod with a bubble.

During the early morning the Ash Special had already caught about 20 bass, crappie and bluegills when there was a solid strike and the rod bent double. At first, I thought it was a large bass but as the fish got close to shore a monster catfish flashed in the water. As I eased it up to the shore and tried dragging it up on the bank for a picture, the 10 pound leader broke.

So, what to do? Jump in the water of course, and wrestle it up on shore. Then as I was holding it up for a picture, the beast started thrashing around and escaped a second time. So back in the water again to wrestle it up on the bank. Got the picture this time.

Channel catfish, 25 inches long (as long as your outstretched arm) caught on an Ash Special Red.

Fishing Techniques

Bear River flies mimic the swimming action of baitfish and crawfish. To take advantage of this they need to be fished fast and deep; in fact, it is nearly impossible to fish them too fast. This is different from how you might retrieve a typical fly, but these are not typical flies. An example of the recommended retrieve is shown on the web site.

A fast retrieve is very important (make a small splash with the bubble and reel quickly). Also place a heavy split shot 12-18 inches above the fly. For a flyrod, strip in fast short bursts and use a sink tip or sinking line.

If the fish are deep, try substituting a bullet sinker in place of the bubble and use the same fast retrieve (raise and lower your rod tip 12-18 inches and reel quickly). This is the technique that was used to catch the Pyramid Lake trout in the Trophy Gallery.

You can also troll from a boat or float tube with a sinking fly line, so long as you raise and lower the rod tip 6-12 inches so the fly will swim between tight and slack line.

If you are not getting hits, try speeding up your retrieve and adding a heavier weight. Also, if a dark color fly isn’t working try a lighter color. If still nothing, consider a different time or location.

You will have the most action during the first two hours after dawn or the last two hours before dark. Fishing before dawn and after dark can also be good but check the regulations.

Be sure to send pictures if you would like to be part of the Trophy Gallery. Any fish caught on a Bear River Tackle fly is a trophy!

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