Archive for the Hybrid Stripped Bass Category

Paydirt

 

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!

Alton Lock and Dam Fall 2012

 

Freshwater drum caught on a crayfish bottom bounced St. louis, MO

Wow… I hit up Alton Lock and Dam again.  Water temps are starting to cool and at least some fish are feeding.  As has been the case all year, water levels are low and clear!  I ran into all sorts of fish this time, but the action was hit and miss requiring lots of treacherous hiking over worn rip rap walls.   Day 1 I started with a drum followed by a smallmouth, both on the big crayfish pictured later.

 

That is my first ever St. Louis smallmouth!

 

I hiked back a side channel branch and landed a bunch of grass carp, some drum, a few gar, and even a bowfin! That doesn’t happen every day.  In the evening I ran into a bunch of Hybrid Bass landing about 6 of them, and then they were gone.

 

Bowfin on a tiny carp fly (same as below)

 

Grass Carp on a size 8 Scorpion Gaper Headstand Backstabber

 

Carp flies

Headstand Backstabbers on Scorpion Gaper hooks size 8

 

Hybrid Bass on Size 6 Scorpion Gaper Squirrel Tail Clouser

 

Gold Eye

 

Carp fly

Squirrel Tail Clouser on size 6 Scorpion Gaper hook

 

On day two, I fished and hiked my way downstream about as far as anyone should ever care to walk.  At the point where I stopped heading downstream I also got into a good sized group of Freshwater Drum.  These fish tend to be caught along rocky drop offs and points with good depth and boulders.

 

drum on the fly

This Rip Rap wall drops off to depths of 10-15 ft quickly and also pushes out into the current (which there isn't much of these days). Look for fish in the upstream pocket of such " small outcroppings" or anywhere along rip rap walls or wing dikes. In low current conditions try to find the most current!

 

 

 

 

Fish will seldom bite unless your fly is ON the bottom!  In this case I was using a size 2 weedless hammerhead Roughdub.

 

The Most Bad Ass Crayfish I Have Ever Fished

 

Weedless Hammerhead RoughDub Crayfish in the Water

 

The whole trick is to get the fly on the rocks about 8-20 ft down and creep it up the bank wall with some dunt dunt dunt burst to get that crayfish vibe going, followed by slow creeping.  You will see or feel the hit…usually right around the time your about to pull your leader through your rod tip….right in close.   Sometimes long casts and leaders are required to get the fly in the right depth and possition…and of course your full array of whatever sinking line/head you like to use.  I have a full float or a full sink (which isn’t real friendly) so this time I used up to a 15 ft leader and the heaviest big rattle crayfish I had(forgot the split shot).  All in all I had a great time landing in the neighborhood of 30 fish, not bad!

Big shout out to Dan Frasier for the Scorpion Hooks, so far so good!  Dan is involved with CarpPro.net and is doing a Carp on the Fly podcast everyone should check out!….I know I learned a lot of stuff from the first airing, I wasn’t expecting that!

 

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Video Footage for Late August Early September

Lately I’ve been documenting my fishing with video instead of photo’s.  Here’s the Latest action out of the STL.  Isaac brought us some of the first real rains of the year and the fishing has been interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments & Questions

Alton, IL Melvin Price Lock and Dam #26

Freshwater Drum fly fishing alton lock and dam #26 Mississippi River

There’s nothing that gets me more excited than the threat of big fish and Melvin Price Lock and Dam has that threat!  Were talking 100lb+ Blue Cats and Flatheads close behind.  Your chances of hooking into something like that are probably fairly slim but you never know.  I’ve fished this area only a handful of times, but the last few trips have been quite productive on medium sized Drum.  I also managed a few other species  including a grass Carp, two Largmouth Bass,  two White Bass, and a Catfish.  I primarily fished weedless  Hammer Head Rough Dub Crayfish on the bottom using both a sink tip with long leader and heavy flies and a full sinking line with medium heavy flies.   Even with the weedless flies, be prepared to loose 4 or 5 in any good outing.  For the time being  I don’t mind the Drum but in the future I will be looking to get into some more substantial action.  Legend has it that the fly fishing for blue cats beneath the dams can really heat up in the winter time if you have a boat to get you to the prime water.  Something I would really love to do.

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