Unusual Catches [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Unusual Catches

05-02-2008, 07:14 PM
The thread on snapping turtles and eagles got me thinking about unusual catches that happen every once in a while.

Years ago, before the dawn of time, I was fishing a Sierra cirque lake at dusk, letting an #12 Irresistible bob around on the smoothing wavelets in hopes of a hungry rainbow. The sun was setting and I was staring into the glare.

As I tracked the fly, it suddenly disappeared into the hoped-for swirl, and I set the hook.

The "fish" immediately didn't feel right. There was something not fishy about the way the creature was pulling and running. I thought I'd probably snagged a small trout in the mid-section or worse.

After a few moments, when the thing on the end of the line was about a rod-length away, a tiny hand reached out above the surface soon followed by another. "What the eff!" I thought, and hand-lined the thing in closer.

Rana pipiens (Grass frog) right through the lip. I had no idea they lived this high in the mountains, and I carefully released the little bugger back into the lake.

Frogs don't fight well, even on a 5 wt.

I think I prefer bats for pure sport.

Anybody else catch anything weird and wonderful?



05-03-2008, 11:58 AM
I haven't caught anything particularly unusual on a flyrod, but I've had some pretty bizarre catches on a spinning rod. Most noteworthy were an owl :Eyecrazy: , a gun :confused: , and a salamander that wasn't actually hooked but was just in love with my sluggo and wouldn't unclasp its legs from around the sluggo :hihi: .


05-04-2008, 03:54 PM
I was out fishing for large browns at night back in the mid '70's on the upper Delaware River near Hancock, NY and after pulling the line and fly out of the water on its intitial backcast suddenly the line got pulled out of my fingers and started to get pulled off the reel as well. I was rather startled to say the least. Upon turning my head to see what had happened, my fishing buddy (who was using a spinning rod and jointed Repel lures) starts roaring in laughter and tells me he had never seen anyone catch a bat before. Cal ribbed my about this until I moved from Pennsylvania in 1979. This is the most bizarre thing I've ever caught.

05-05-2008, 11:42 PM
My remark about bats was not random.

I caught my first bat when I was 16 years old, again fishing in one of the cirque lakes to the south-west of Tahoe. Like your bat, it nailed the fly on the back cast, but I was hauling hard enough to fling the creature pretty far out into the lake at the end of the casting stroke.

Man, talk about nasty! The little bugger hit the water and started to swim, Dracula -like, hunching its wings and humping along, like all get out. Hissing and spitting and gnashing some good sized pointy teeth. I yarded in line until I could reach the leader and cut same mid-taper. at the same time jumping out of the way of the little shore-bound terror.

In later years, while guiding on the Deschutes, I watched clients catch bats under the light of the Coleman's -- Number 16 Adams at dusk was very effective. The bats took nearly always at the end of the backcast. To console all the PETA members who may be reaching for their alarm buttons right now, this was done with hookless flies. Clients just want to have fun.

Any of you striper guys caught a halter? That could be exciting.



05-06-2008, 03:27 PM

Yep, bats are sure nasty and aren't too fond of having been hooked on a backcast!

I've managed to hook a couple of beaver in their tails when fishing, the last one was 4 years ago when fishing for summer runs with a slightly sunk fly. Fortunately, they never stay hooked very long and broke the tippet rather quickly with a good, violent slap of their tail on the water.

Athough I didn't hook it, a friend once foul hooked an eel on Pennsylvania's Lehigh River near Whitehaven, PA. It was one of those days when a terrific Purple Drake (a hexagenia species not quite as large as the famous Hex of Michagan fame) hatch began just at dark so we stayed and were fishing well into darkness.

My friend decided to tie on a large muddler about an hour after dark to see if he could hook one of the very large browns we knew were found in that section of the river. About 15 minutes later, he yelled to me that he had a big fish on and proceded to fight the fish. It took him around 30 minutes to get it in to him and when he turned on his Flex-Lite to be able to unhook it, he darn near jumped out of his waders and shrieked in fear. He yelled to me that he had hooked a snake, which I thought was rediculous eventhough we were fishing in known rattlesnake country. To add insult to injury, he couldn't break the 15# tippet he had decided to use.

When I got to him and turned on the large flashlight I carried to help find my way back to the car through the riverside trail, I saw that it was a fair sized eel he had managed to foul hook. Upon telling him it was an eel and he realizing it was one as well, he unceramoniously pulled it up on the gravel, stepped on it and gave a mightly yank on his leader butt, which broke the tippet. He then kicked it back in the river. Needless to say, his experience with that eel was good for many a ribbing from myself and his other friends. For a while, we even asked him if he wanted to go snake fishing with us.

05-10-2008, 10:27 AM
On the fly rod the only strange creature was the aforementioned bat. On the spinning rod I've caught turtles on a mepps spinner (bizarre) and a rather large seagull on a hot pink 8" long Bomber Long A. The later I deserved. The evening before another boat in our anchorage area had hooked a seagull while bait fishing... I laughed my @$$ off and poked all sorts of fun at them. Next morning, while casting my hot pink plug into a stiff wind this damn seagull snatched the thing right out of the air just before it landed on the water. :Eyecrazy: I was not happy.