One of my friends invited me to come over and fish the big lake behind his house the other day and it was my pleasure to take him up on that offer. We took off in our kayaks after an excellent burger on the grill dinner. It had rained some that day and was windy at times, but as we pushed off from the dock the water was calm and no rain in sight.
A hopper/dropper combination were the flies of choice this evening with a Giant House Fly on top and a Blue Glass Bead Black Redneck Wooly Bugger size 8 about 18” below. The fish were cooperative, but not overly so. Several decent bluegills and a few one pounder bass made for an enjoyable evening. All but one were caught on the bugger. Several little bluegills nipped at the house fly, but the #6 hook was a lot more that they could handle. I would like to show you the bugger that caught all the fish, but unfortunately it didn’t come home.
The sun was going down and there was one more bank to fish. This bank had a wall of railroad ties 3 or 4 feet high holding back the earth. A mass of stringy weeds littered the surface and the only spot to cast to was in between two rows of these weeds. A cast was thrown out and shortly after the flies hit the water, the house fly disappeared. As the hook was set, it felt like the flies were snagged on something, but then that something started to move, and then a little faster, and then back under the kayak, and then deep into the weeds.
At that point it seemed that the fish was lost, but she sat in the weeds only a few moments and made another run for it. It definitely did not feel like a bass. After a fight of about 10 minutes, something began to emerge to the surface. It was completely black, covered with a luminous shiny slime – big – bad – and ugly. As some of you may have guessed already, there was a big catfish on the end of the line. And when I saw her, I started asking myself questions like: Do I really want to bring that slimy mess into my nice kayak? How do I pick this gal up without getting one of those sharp spines rammed into my hand? And other nice questions like that.
While all these questions were circling in my mind, I had grabbed the leader and worked my way down to the tippet. Get the picture – Wimpy indecisive fisherman, holding a ten pound catfish by a four pound tippet, just at the surface of the water. That catfish just smiled, shook her head, snapped the tippet and lumbered off with my beautiful blue glass bead head black redneck wooly bugger.
I better get back to the bench and tie some more.
Blue Glass Bead Redneck Bugger
Hook: Mustad 9672 size 8 or any streamer hook
Thread: Red UTC 140
Tail: Black Marabou
Rib: Copper wire, or gold or silver
Body: Black Chenille
Hackle: black saddle hackle
I like to tie the hackle in the front after the chenille is wound to just behind the bead. Hackle the feather towards the rear and cinch it down with the copper wire. Do a few extra turns with the thread just behind the bead to get the redneck effect. I use red thread for 80% of my flies to give them a little extra attraction power.
We don’t catch fish, fish catch flies . . . . I try to tie flies that fish like to catch.
Jack Harford – Editor, Armchair Angler newsletter of for the Indianapolis Fly Casters