Archive for October 2012

October 25, 2012 : Drum on the Rocks

Rock n’ Roll

fly fishing caught drum glow in the dark fly in mouth



My 1992 edition of “The Fishes of Missouri” states that freshwater drum are the 2nd most abundant species in the lower Missouri River.  When considering species to target in the Missouri, Freshwater Drum and grass carp must considered two of  the best opportunities for a fly fishermen for several reasons.   Visibility is one.   Grass Carp are the obvious target when water is cloudy/muddy, as it usually is, because of their tendency to cruise just beneath the surface.  If you can’t find or see Grass Carp, your next best bet is to tie on something weedless and get to the bottom in 5-30ft of water in search of Drum…mainly around rocks or gravely area’s where the fish root around on the bottom and overturn rocks looking for insects, invertebrates, and bait fish.   The reason this works (in my opinion) is #1 this is where these fish feed, #2 fish are very sensitive to sound and a fly with eyes will tap tap tap as you drag bottom sending out a calling card to any fish in the area even if the fish have no chance in hell of “seeing” the fly visually.  As you drag bottom you will see and feel every rock as a “tap” both through your line and in the rod tip.  Watch your tip as you slow strip…. feel the tap tap tap and watch the twitch twitch twitch of the tip as you slowly strip you fly, pause, tap tap tap.  Drum will almost always hit in the pause between strips and it looks and feels exactly like when you tap a rock, only your not moving your fly so…. FISH ON! Set the hook and find out what sort of little, or big, monster you got!   What makes this exciting to me is the possibility of something bigger than big, ie. a Flathead or a Blue cat.  Be prepared to lose flies…an average day will see anywhere from 2-6 flies lost to the bottom.  Search out areas where your cast is down current in a moderate flow.  Eddies can swirl and cause all sorts of trouble for you but these are prime areas providing a feeding ground for many species, find a way to cast that you can get the depth you need but your line won’t be getting swung or dragged over or into the rocks or you will be frustrated quickly.  A “straight” line with minimal swing is always best…casting upstream in slow current can sometimes work but you will lose 2x the # of flies, as your line and fly will be pushed into the rocks and you will lose at least your fly if not the end of your line.

Maybe 2012 Isn’t Over Yet!

I’ve got some serious fish on the brain!  I will hit the water again…  This time its small weedless creepies and glow in the dark bait fish.  I love how this first nymph came out, and weedless!  Here’s the nymph more to come…










































and the glow in the dark clan…

I’ve got a couple theme’s here…but it’s mostly small bait fish with a couple bigger ones thrown in.






Now I need to get on the water after dark or before sun up…Hopefully I get the chance and a couple bites.

As fate would have it, the boss man isn’t answering his phone, so that meeting today might be off…I going tonight!

Here monster catfish…..

The End of 2012….



Time really got away from me this year.   Time is a funny thing.   I wake early and fish till dark,  the time rushing bye almost in the blink of an eye. More time is what I need and yet there is never enough.  All the things I wanted to do and learn, and somehow, its too much.  Beyond my reach.  2012?  The fishing year is almost at an end for me.  In 9 days I take to the roof tops once again to hang Christmas lights in the west St. Louis area.  Fishing will not resume until mid December.  If I can stand the weather I will have a couple prime opportunities, maybe.  There are a couple power plant discharges around…for the hybrids on both the Missouri and the Mississippi.   And of course blue cats are supposed to be just as active in the winter as they are in warm water….I’ve gone all year  and not caught a blue catfish!  Today was lucky for me…

blue catfish caught on a fly rod



I tied up over sized black leeches with silver crystal flash in the tail last night, lots of legs, extra bead eyes for rattle and weed guards.  This pattern produces well(!) Get rid of the legs tie it on a size 4 and you’ve got a killer pattern for any species…go enven smaller and use turkey for the tail and you ‘ve my best grass carp fly! Here she is…. Silver seems to be a hot flash color on the Missouri.


I had on full sink.  I made a 30 ft cast straight out.  I slowly stripped until I had about 15 ft left out.  The line was tight going almost straight down but was not on bottom.  I let the line just sit and slowly drift between stripping.  With about 12 ft out  I saw the tell tail “tap” hit my line. I set the hook, nothing much to note about the fight…typical sorta catch for me I guess, but not typical at all!

One thing to note…I may be overdoing the size of my flies….Check out this blue cat I caught a few years back… and the fly I caught him on



This fly was fished about 8 ft under an indicator…thrown up tight to submerged brush in “my” creek, no current!  I can’t stand to fish like that but I was…I was actually looking off over my shoulder when I turned back to see my indicator just under the surface…I did the mental calculus real quick and decided I should set the hook.  I set and nothing really happened but I knew it was a late set so I hit it about three more times and then held. It slowly started to move then took off! I think I only had 10 lb test on, but the Konic took care of him no problem.  Awesome fish!


Maybe I should be drifting one of these more often out in the main river???tappin bottom and all might be good with something like this… I think so. …Take note the tail of this bead head cadis is fly line, and it has rubber legs too.  Blue cats may like the smell or feel of rubber and or plastic.  Check out how long that fishes whiskers are in the first photo…those things must come into play no?   I have no idea how a fish 8 ft deep in chocolate milk can “see” a fly.

Well, I also got a nice unseen grass carp yesterday! I was throwing a little headstand backstabber/creek stabber to some fish I had disturbed while slowly walking…  I figured there might be more fish around and carp often circle back….to see what scared them (at least when is a fly they will).  There was some comotion, I think I scared a grassie then another came outa nowhere and took me for a ride.  Sweet!



















Heres the fly I got the blue cat on...



























and….one more drum.  Peace out 2012!








big drum caught on a fly rod missouri river St. louis, MO

The other day I put all my gear in a backpack, loaded up my bike and headed out to the Research Park Katy Trail access.  I had a great time exploring and fishing and finally found the best spot around dark, I made one cast that seemed to hang up a little too quick….I felt the fly snag up thinking I was on a rock  so I gently lifted the tip to free the fly, it released but I also saw big big ripples like I actually had a bite from a 100 lb cat.  Despite it raining all night, I had a feeling about today producing something big.  The weather was atrocious  with 20mph sustained-35mph gusts at least, water rising and off color.  Mostly the fishing sucked, hucking lead on sinking line in a gale, I even took a Crayfish to the face, and had my nose “pierced”. There is nothing like having a giant crayfish stuck in your face!  The damage was only minor, as fly embed  just shy of the jagged broken off barb…yikes!    I was imagining the looks I was going to get riding my bike back to my car with a big fly stuck in my nose…blood dripping as I try to act casual.  Well, I did get a couple of fish.

big hybrid bass on a fly rod missouri river

Drum have been the staple species for me lately. They seem to be quite plentiful, and the only fish I can seem to locate with any regularity.  Crayfish type flies on the bottom in 25-12 ft of water seems to be the ticket.  This hybrid bass was a nice surprise!.   Grass and Common Carp are still available for a little bit longer. Get out while you can!