The Further Adventures of a Wildlife Enthusiast, Amateur Fly Fisherman, and Bird Lover.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Catfish on a Fly?

This past summer 2011, I began fly fishing.  I have always loved spinner or spin-reel fishing and had thought about fly fishing as "old man's fishing".  I always knew Trout were finicky fish with particular eating habits and I would always say to my fishing buddies "bah, the Trout fuss too much." I must mention that I had never caught a Trout in my life, so the point was just blind prejudice.  One of my good friends finally convinced me a few weeks before Opening Day 2011to join him at the Musconetcong River for my introduction into fly fishing.  He warned me to not expect a catch on my first time out but, me being who I am, I would and did try my damnedest to get a fish on a fly on my first outing.  I didn't get a fish.  My first fish on a fly would not come until a week or two later and that still was not a Trout.  The first one turned out to be a Blue Gill. I was very surprised by this because I had always been under the impression that Fly fishing was for Trout only and that other fish liked other fishing styles.  Little did I know, fish don't care.  Blue Gills and other Sunnies, Crappies, Small Mouth and small Largemouth Bass were also attracted to the flies.  Over the next few weeks I learned alot about streams, bugs, fish, and how to read the water; I also bought my first fly rod and reel.  In everything I was told about fly fishing, Catfish were never mentioned.  Soon after I got my rod, some flies, and some knot tying savvy, I headed out to the very same spot where I'd had my first taste of fly fishing.  I put on a bead-head 10 size Woolybugger, black and blueish sparkly tinsel.  I proceeded to catch a Largemouth Bass and a few Sunnies.  No Trout were hitting, even though I could see them darting all around the area.  As I'm about to call it quits, I get the idea in my head to cast the fly up-stream from the submerged boulder I was fishing around.  Hopefully, this would drift the Bugger into a sinking flume on the far side of the rock and drag it low and underneath.  It worked; the fly got sucked right under.  As I'm hauling the Woolybugger out from under the rock, I felt a tap.  I kept going and saw the bait come from under rock.  No sooner than I put eyes on the bait, there came a brown/yellow flash.  I choked up on the pole and set the hook.  This fish ran hard for a few minutes until I was able to get him close and in the net.  It was a brown Catfish!  I went back to my friends with the story and some pics and they could not believe it!  I don't know if it is because you don't fly fish for Catfish or because its such and oddity but, I'm proud to say I'm the only guy I know who has caught a Catfish on a fly rig and its still early in my fly fishing adventures!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cabin Fever!

So, Winter has its icy grip on land and lake alike. I long to be outdoors. Hearing the stream running beneath me, the birds and their chatter. There is one saving grace in this dreary time and that is my bird feeder. To date I've been visited by 3 different species of Sparrow, Dark eyed Juncos, and Tufted Titmouses.  Also, the Squirrels but, they're always around.  The Cardinals showed up just recently but are not yet accustomed to my presence at the window. This is the slow time of year for wildlife and fishing in the Northeast. Can't chase Frogs or Salamanders. The birding is fairly poor except for my feeder and the few Raptors that stick it out in the cold.  The Squirrels do provide some laughs with their antics.  Chasing each other off, taking turns jumping at the feeder and failing. This is also a good time for preparation. I'm scheduling my "expeditions" and fishing trips for 2012 as well as making sure I have the knowledge of gear, tactics, and wildlife to make the coming season a success! Stay Tuned!

Dark eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

White-Throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia alpicollis)

Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)