April 21st, 2015: Dragging Bottom for Freshwater Drum

Its that time of year again… time to sample the Freshwater Drum population in your local creek or river.  Get yourself an appropriate sink tip or long leader and a couple weedless lead eyed Hammerhead Missouri Buggers/ roughdubs/ or HH sculpins and its on like donkey kong… I’m using a 16 ft fast sink tip, 6ft leader and lead eyed, weedless fly. Tap bottom till something taps back. Likely spots are around boulders, rock piles, gravel bottoms, heads and tails of pools, water outlets, and tail-waters.




2015…. Here we go!

I can feel the excitement in the air.

freshwater drum

First fish of 2015! A healthy Freshwater Drum

and more drum…

Freshwater drum fly fishing

Drum on the fly


catfish, channel catfish

Oh yeah.. on the weedless wooly fished deep just as the rain started for real

Day 2 was a windy cold bummer, but did yield several fish… This was my favorite of the day


catfish on the fly

An Olive Hammerhead Sculpin drew an immediate big hit in shallow water by this Channel Catfish on the muddy windblown side of the lake.


2014 saw me employed full time with the old carpentry crew, and when I’m working its really all I have energy for.  The fly shop section of Missouriflies got shut down, and I quit posting…. Depressing I know. Long story short, I’m not done with Missouriflies, or fishing just yet.   As many of you already know Dan Frasier’s new book “The Orvis Beginner’s Guide to Carp Flies: 101 Patterns & How and When to Use Them” featuring many of my flies and flies from other top carp fisherman is out! get your copy here! I know Dan put in a lot of hard work and has something to be really proud of.  Surprisingly enough, despite my almost complete abandonment of my blog and fly shop for nearly a full year…. Missouriflies.com facebooks likes are starting to rack up pretty darn fast and I have a sneaking suspicion Dan’s book has a lot to do with that! so don’t hesitate, the book has good reviews, and flies from the best guys in the carp world.

Don’t let me forget another Carp fly book by one of the biggest names in fly fishing, Jay Zimmerman’s “The Best Carp Flies”.  get your copy here! Jays been at the fishing game a lil while…  both books are a valuable resource for anyone looking to get into carp on the fly, and even the full fledged pro.  I highly recommend both.

I got out the other day for the first fishing of the year and it wasn’t bad. I hit my favorite creek and went upstream the first day… fish were definitely stacking up high in the creek.  I took the most fish from the the uppermost pool i can access, where there’s an abrupt rocky riffle, often serving as a fish barrier.  I used weedless bead/lead eyed wooly buggers dragged on bottom with a 15ft sink tip (fast sinking).  If you can’t feel the fly on bottom… your not in the zone. Freshwater drum have acute hearing/vibration sensitivity, so actually touching bottom is a virtual must.  I don’t even bother with this style of fishing without weedless flies… in which case i will lose only 2 or 3 flies if Im lucky, vs the 5-10 I would lose without it.  I even ran into a couple channel catfish.  Two were taken while bottom bouncing for drum, and one i got the following day over at the lake, using a big hammerhead sculpin in Olive… my favorite.  That fish was on the downwind side of the lake about 15 ft from shore in the shollow turned up muddy water, and hit like a tun of bricks.  I really really like catfish…they are just too hard to find in any numbers consistently, though hitting a connected oxbow lake May into June would be a really good bet. cast to shoreline structure with a size 4 white/silver/ and or yellow rabbit strip zonker with lead eyes and you should get into plenty. I like to strip immediately and as fast as i can. hits come fast…hardly ever past strip #4 or 5.  There were also plenty of Grass carp roaming and a couple of Commons, but i largely didn’t care… i guess i know when to throw at them and when not to… its still too early, or they just weren’t feeling it…sometimes you just know, and when the drum are feeding…. i just go with the drum because they are the earliest arrivals and the most consistent bite of the the fish in the area.  Next comes the hybrid bass and everything else… culminating with the the Mulberry drop. The Most epic fishing of the year…

My Weapon of Choice for Grass Carp, Catfish, and Bluegill: Dubbing and Tie.

Here’s a how to piece on a simple fly that outperforms almost everything else where I fish.   Throw on a Marabou tail and boom, another killer pattern, though geared more towards catfish and bass.  Do a hackle with that and get a hook point up wooly bugger!  Really though, I’ve barely tied on anything else the last month.  Did I mention how simple it is? You don’t need anything special just some black dubbing, eye’s, turkey feather in black or similar, and a hook.  Mix your own dubbing and you’ll have endless fun with this pattern… The flies below are all on size 4, which is good for bigger fish during the berry drop, maybe year round? Its a step up in size for me, but just barely.  Deadly effective, no matter what you fish for.  Have fun with it! Change the colors up and do whatever, but black and brown are my favorites.

top warm water fly

Fly Fishing for Carp and Catfish Missouri Style: June 2014

Come mid May and early June its all about getting on the backwaters and creeks of the lower Missouri River, or perhaps any lake or waterway. Once there, you need to hunt down  surface activity along the banks and under the tress. If your lucky you will see and hear berries dropping in the water.  If all else fails cast towards overhanging tree’s, shady areas, root wads and cutbanks, the closer the better usually…putting all 3 or 4 components together will yield your best opportunities. I like to use a small black fly…. like this.

the best mullbery fly

Black Ops on size 4 Gamakatsu sl45


I’d say I catch 5x more fish with a sinking fly than a floating…. i don’t even mess with the floating flies anymore period.

Fish hit anywhere from immediately to 7 strips in, but most fish will hit on splashdown or the first strip while the remainder hit within 3 or 4 strips. Larger flies and fishing deeper  starts to put you into exclusive catfish territory…so i always throw a Black Ops…  it takes all the fish species and  its the best thing i got going period, hands down for mulberry season.Is it a bait-fish? a leech, a nymph, or a mulberry? thats why this fly rocks… its whatever the fish wants and hopes it to be… and its no brain surgery to tie either.

and check out the damage

black ops fly fishing for carp

Grass Carp



Blue catfish on a black ops fly by Missouriflies.com

1 of 3 nice blues




Nice Channel cat


common carp


common carp on a black ops fly Missouriflies.com



here’s a couple vids. more coming soon..




All on this…