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.

3 Responses to 'October 25, 2012 : Drum on the Rocks'

  1. Kevin says:

    I wish drum were around here. The technique to catching them sounds like how I catch largemouth. I use the same retrieve and the strikes feel the same.

  2. John Madert says:

    Chris, I knew you would not be “not fishing” for this long.

    Nice work at those warm-water discharges.

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