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WbranchSeptember 13th, 2015, 8:08 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
It's not a fly rod and it's not fly fishing but it is a big, and beautiful, smallmouth that I caught today in the Susquehanna. It is 21.5" long and according to some formula's weighed between 5.8 and 6.2 pounds.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CatskilljonSeptember 13th, 2015, 11:54 pm
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
Biggest one I have ever seen! Nice Matt. CJ
WbranchSeptember 14th, 2015, 12:20 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
When I set the hook on this fish thought "another damn big channel catfish". Then it literally flew up out of the river 3' and I said to my self "Wow what a monster". It jumped twice more and ran so much line that I had to crank down on the drag knob. I usually think I'm very cool and calm with big trout but when the fish was close enough to really see I was like a newbie with his first 18" trout.

Here is a late Fall fly rod smallmouth.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PaulRobertsSeptember 14th, 2015, 1:35 pm

Posts: 1776
Nice. Smallmouth are impressive fighters.
TNEALSeptember 14th, 2015, 1:54 pm

Posts: 278
Good lookin' fish.
RogueratSeptember 14th, 2015, 4:41 pm
Posts: 472
Matt- NICE fish!

I have yet to catch- and successfully land- a SM bass longer than a foot or so. My buddies can tie into respectable fish while I'm hooking the little guys.

May I ask what fly you were using for the second fish? I'm usually throwing a top-water hair-popper based on Tap's Bug because it's a simple tye and casts well, along with deer-hair being available in a lot of colors.


'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Jmd123September 14th, 2015, 10:27 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
Beautiful fishies there, Matt! I've caught a few nice smallies over the past few years but none quite as big as that first one. My best was a big surprise as it came out of a body of water that I had fished many times but from which I had never caught a smallmouth before. Fishing off my friends' dock on Cooley Lake (downstate) with my trusty little 3-weight and a #10 silver/grey KBF, I hooked into a monster that turned out to be 19 1/2" long and around 5 lbs.! Still don't know how I landed it on that little stick, guess it's just experience in playing fish. Funny thing, NO ONE had a camera on them at that time (2010) - this would NEVER occur now since everyone has a camera on their cell phone/mobile device!

I have caught a few others in the 18" range on dry flies too, one last summer on a #6 Royal Wulff (posted on here).

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchSeptember 15th, 2015, 8:57 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Hi Roguerat.

I only fish three flies, in different colors and sizes for my Susquehanna smallmouth fishing. Clouser minnows, Clouser crayfish, and a Clouser popper.

For the minnow I tie them in #6 - #1 and my best colors are Gray over white, Blue over white and all yellow. For the first two I load up the middle with silver Mylar, silver Polar Flash, and silver Krystal Flash. For the yellow I use all gold flash. For the crayfish I like olive green backs with a light dirty white bottom, and rust color top with that dirty white bottom. For the popper it is all white with about a #6 or #4 hook. tie in a white bucktail tail about 3" long and wrap white Estaz on the bare hook shank. I take a razor blade and cut a 45 degree angle on the face.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123September 15th, 2015, 10:32 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
Nice flies Matt, look like smallie killers to me!


P.S. Blue and silver combined in a Woolly Bugger (blue marabou and hackle, tail topped with silver Krystal Flash and the body tied with silver tinsel chenille) has worked very well for me on warmwater species, including crappie and yellow perch. Silver bead-chain eyes add to the appeal!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnSeptember 18th, 2015, 11:00 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

I have a couple questions, if you don't mind.

I know you have other Clouser color combos, but could you explain the colors in the pic? I tend to darker, more natural colors, and was wondering about your ideas behind those...The silvery one's I get. They look like shiners and creek chubs, etc, but the blue? Is that just a good attractor color?

Also...Do you use sink lines? I know from some of the pics you have sent me over the years that where you fish is maybe deeper than the rivers I fish here. Some of the streams here unfortunately tend to slower current speeds.

I'm going to send you a pic to your home email of a 25" Brown a friend of mine caught this past weekend after we were up to clean the Au Sable...An awesome Brown. He took a large streamer, in the middle of the day, that the rest of us were jokingly calling "a half-a-chicken". :) It has a weird gullet, almost pelican like, protrusion hanging down from its chin. Some said the fish was so big it had a double chin. I said, "It's stretched out from eating baby ducks two at a time!" :)

"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
WbranchSeptember 19th, 2015, 12:47 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Hello Spence,

There is so much more to effectively fishing a streamer than just throwing it out there and hoping for the best. All of my friends look at me as a pariah because I have the nerve (how dare you!) to be so irreverent and fish other than dry. Whatever. All I know is over the years I've caught more 17" - 22" trout than they will likely see in their lifetimes.

In just two four hour sessions in early June of 2013 I landed forty-three (43) browns during a high water event from 17" - 21". I fished four hours each day and never moved more than 3' each day. Alewives were everywhere and the big trout were staged up in wolf packs in the softer water adjacent to current. Almost every time I threw the fly out I would get at least one strike, or hook-up. If the fish got off I would get another take before I picked up for the next cast. It was pretty sick!

Most of the time I use either a #6 or #7 WF floating line. I like to use my 9' #6 Gatti but it just does not have the backbone to through flies bigger than a #2 or any of the flies I tie with bigger and heavier eyes. Then I use my 9' #7 Gatti.

I use a "streamer tip" sinking line whenever the flow is stronger than normal. Normal being say 400 - 700 cfs. Once it gets over 700 cfs I like the sink tip because the trout are often deeper in the water column and the floater just won't get me fish. BTW I never, ever, use a tippet lighter than 2X. It just isn't necessary. Probably because I've found I'm most successful throwing streamers from half an hour before first light to whenever the mist burns off of the water. If the water is stained the mist is not as important. When the water is really dirty I often just fish a 18" piece of 0X via a loop to loop connection on my fly line. I typically nail knot a 6" piece of .024" nylon with a Perfection loop to the end of my line.

The reservoir from which the West Branch of the Delaware emanates is full of alewives. Some guys call them herring or sawbellies. Whenever the reservoir gets so full that it spills over the top of the dam the alewives got into the river in very big numbers and the trout key in on them. It seems the alewives can't tolerate the very cold water from the bottom release (there is almost always a bottom release even if the dam is spilling over the top) when they get washed into the river and it really messes them up and it often kills them or they get disoriented and swim near the surface and that is when the trout bust them up.

I always felt they have a bluish cast to the dorsal side of their bodies hence the blue deer hair. It is not the dark blue that I use but since it is effective I don't see any reason to go to a lighter color blue. I never understood why all white was a good color and a couple of times I had very good streamer fishing while just dead drifting the all white Clouser through deeper water. A couple of years ago on a steelhead stream in NE Ohio I met Jeff Blood, the originator of the "Blood Dot" egg fly and he told me that when the emerald shiner ( a main forage fish in Lake Erie) dies they turn white but still have that silvery lateral stripe and they drift motionless in the stream and the steelhead key in on this easily obtained food source. So that finally explained to me why the all white Clouser often worked in the cold water of the WB when fished dead drift.

Concerning the depth of the waters I fished compared to yours; I catch trout on streamers in water as shallow as one foot to maybe as deep as four feet. So I'm not really dredging the really deep pools on the river that may be ten feet, or deeper. I do think if I was willing to use either a full sinking line or a longer, faster sinking, sink tip I could catch those really big 27 "- 30"+ browns that lurk in the very deep pools of the main Delaware River. I just don't have the patience to throw those really big #1/0 - #2/0 flies on a full sinker because you might go all day without a strike.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PaulRobertsSeptember 27th, 2015, 8:36 am

Posts: 1776
Great stuff, Matt.
OldredbarnSeptember 27th, 2015, 7:00 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Been meaning to thank you for this info...Thanks! Been a tad busy...Actually had to rebuild the inside of one of my toilet tanks the other day! Could of been tying flies...

October 1st is my get serious date for tying...Next years' flies won't tie themselves...

I just got around to print that for later...

"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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