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Flatstick96April 18th, 2010, 11:57 am
Posts: 127
Went to the lake today in search of some largemouths, and instead caught what I'm going to start referring to as a "Texas Trout". For what it's worth, he took a turquoise and white shad imitation (you can see it in his mouth).

Despite the size (40" or so) it didn't fight worth a darn - although retrieving my fly was an adventure.

Shawnny3April 18th, 2010, 7:23 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Holy crap, Duaney! I don't care how it fought, most people fish a lifetime and never catch a dinosaur. Very, very nice. I'm amazed your tippet held up to its teeth.

I knew that shad fly you came up with would be a killer on bass, but this is just a little more (about 22" or so) than I expected. Were you able to release it before the natives overwhelmed you and hauled it off to their campfire? A hearty congratulations. For once I'm jealous of your living in Texas.

By the way, you ought to post that fly to Jason's Hacklehead site.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Jmd123April 18th, 2010, 10:12 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2493
I hooked a spotted gar in the San Marcos River in Texas in February of 2005. It was somewhere in the 20-24" range. IT FOUGHT LIKE A MOTHERF*CKER!!!!! Not knowing what I had hooked - on a little #12 elk-hair caddis around 8:30 p.m., near total darkness except for nearby street lights - I could only guess that it was a great big largemouth or maybe a tilapia!! It took line off my reel, thrashed around in the darkness like a monster brown, and finally bit me off when I tried to lift it from the water. Honestly, guys, it was one of the hardest fights I have ever had on a fly rod!


P.S. Shawn, there is some OUTRAGEOUS warmwater fishing to be had on flies in Texas. The San Marcos never failed me!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Shawnny3April 19th, 2010, 7:18 am
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I met Nick Pujic (one of the editors of Hatches, I believe) at a show a few years ago, and since learned that he purposely targets gar on a fly rod. I think he's Canadian, though - I have no idea where he fishes or how his techniques differ. You might want to google him to learn more about it. I think he has videos on it. Sounds like it could be fun.


P.S. Jonathon, I can't think of anything much scarier to bring in close to me in the half-dark. Probably best he snapped you off, lest he snap parts of you off.
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Flatstick96April 19th, 2010, 3:34 pm
Posts: 127
Shawnny, this one actually didn't take the fly that you saw pictures of - when I stripped that fly through the water, I didn't like the action (as you suggested I might not) - I'm going to tweak it further. This rare trophy took a fly modeled after the marabou shad tie that you send Bri last year.

Jonathon, this one was in Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, up near Belton. It certainly had the size to put up a fight, but for some reason just didn't - it did jump out of the water a couple of times (the first time right after I set the hook - that's when I had my "What the hell...?" moment), but other than the jumps it more or less came in like a log.

I, too, was really surprised that it didn't break me off (although I was sure to replace my torn up tippet after releasing the prehistoric beast).

It's funny - to get out to the where the shad (and bass) sometimes hang out you have to wade out into the reservoir a couple hundred yards - when I realized I'd hooked this guy, I couldn't think of a good way to wrestle him and retrieve my fly from his rather intimidating mouth while standing in water that was up past my waist, so I had to pull him all the way back to shore (that's when I snapped the pics with my crappy old phone camera). When I got him right up to shore I think he realized I planned to remove him from the water, and at that point he thrashed around pretty good.

Last night Bri and I took the girls to a different lake to see if they could catch some panfish on minnows and worms (I'm the only one who went without even a nibble, by the way). At one point, Bella (my 3 year old niece) cast her minnow out only a couple of feet from the bank, and immediately a little gar (maybe 12" or so) came out of nowhere and picked the minnow right off her hook. Bri looked at me and said "If we hook a gar like the one you caught this morning on this littel 2' Disney rod, it's gonna be crazy." Thankfully, that didn't happen...

Jmd123April 19th, 2010, 5:27 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2493
With regards to unhooking a gar, guys, just take a hint from anyone who's ever fished for pike and get yourself a good long pair of needle-nosed pliers or hemostats. I always have a pair of hemos when I am fly fishing, and even little bluegills will swallow flies and require, as I put it, "minor surgery". The prognosis is almost always for a full recovery...

I learned my lesson on a small (~20" or so) northern pike that once swallowed a small Daredevle sppon of mine up north WITHOUT pliers (had forgotten to bring them). After my hand was throroughly shredded I said "You can KEEP the goddamned spoon!!", and was never thereafter without said pliers or hemos, no matter what I was fishing for.


P.S. I had a guy on the Huron River tell me that longnose gar don't fight worth a crap, either. The spotted gar I hooked, though, would have done a similar-sized musky proud!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
GutcutterApril 20th, 2010, 9:27 am

Posts: 470
i suspect that your prognosis for long term recovery after "minor surgery" to yank a hook out of a bluegill with hemostats is based on very short term follow-up
what would you say if you saw someone yank a hook out of the gills of a trout?
- i say that barbless and a release tool is better - no matter how many teeth are in the way
my opinion
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Jmd123April 20th, 2010, 12:23 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2493
GC, these bluegill were released with no bleeding - they had merely eaten the fly so far down that I could not extract the hook using my fingers. These hooks were not "yanked out", they were carefully backed out of their mouths and extracted with minimal damage. Almost none of them EVER get hooked in the gills, which hell yes will do them serious harm. I have had to use hemos on trout as well when my (big fat) fingers couldn't get at the hook, and I don't remember any of them getting hooked in the gills either. It simply happens that some fish are hooked deeper in the mouth than others and that's why I always carry hemos.

One of the main reasons that I use fly tackle instead of hardware or bait is that far fewer, if any, fish take the hook deep enough to do serious harm, i.e., cause bleeding. BAIT will get swallowed far deeper and treble hooks give you THREE points to extract from a fish's mouth and throat instead of ONE. And most of the time anyway, a fly ends up in a fish's jaws rather than the throat.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnApril 20th, 2010, 2:37 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600

Does anyone really know if it's true or not that hooks left inside a fish breakdown? I have always been told that this was true and especially with trout it's better to give them the fly if hook removal is not an option. You don't want to keep a trout out of the water for any real lentgh of time.

Yesterday on the stockie pond I lost a few myself. They have them damn hogs in there and I hooked two Bows 20+. Several times I saw nice fish in an area near some shrubs and placed my fly over there only to discover that they probably were only chasing their tails and a small Gill would suck my fly in. I launched a couple of the little fellows.

Anyway...When the fly is out of range of the hemo's I just bite the bullet and snip off the fly as close as I can get to the fly without hassling the fish. All my hooks are debarbed and once you get the hemo on the fly it's usually no problem. If there is any I set them free.

The quick release of trout is very important and should be taught to newbies along with everything else they are learning. A trout should not be released until it swims away under it's own power. I have cradled nice fish after a fight for some time and gently kept a squeeze on them until they regained their bearings and could swim away...Sometimes they will find a spot after to rest a bit and I have hung nearby until they move away.

I have a guide friend that tells his clients, "Cameras kill trout" and is reluctant to have folks pose with their catch. Trout are not as robust as smallies and the less you have to handle them the better.

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood

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