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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on May 20, 2007May 20th, 2007, 6:02 am EDT
on my backcast. I actually had to reel him in from the air, and with no water resistance to help, unlike the trout, he didn't put up much of a fight. Once we got to shore it wasn't too hard to remove the barbless hook, which thankfully, I suppose, was hooked at the base of his wing. He behaved much better than I had feared he would, and was more than ready to be on his way. Has this happened to anyone else?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on May 20, 2007May 20th, 2007, 6:35 am EDT
I can recall hooking three bats. The first is always the most memorable. }:0
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on May 20, 2007May 20th, 2007, 8:29 am EDT
I've not hooked a bat while fly fishing. One probable reason is that (regrettably sometimes), I am usually off the water by the time they show up. I have virtually no vestibular balance function left in my inner ears as a result of something called Meniere's Disease and rely on my knee joints and eyesight for virtually all my spatial orientation and balance. Or in lay terms, if I can't see, I fall over...:) So, in the interest of not drowning, it's probably better.

However....

When I was a kid in NW PA, my brother, dad and I used to plug Lake LeBoeuf in southern Erie County for largemouth. We were kids and got bored easily, so when dead a** dark would fall and my dad was getting the last few casts in with the Jitterbug, my brother and I would clip our lures off and tie 1/8 oz. teardrop sinkers on and whirl them around with a couple of feet of line off the rod tip. This played hell with the bat's radar and we used to have them smacking into the sides of the boat, doing mid-air barrel rolls and occasionally, sub surface dives.

We thought this was great fun at the time..
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on May 20, 2007May 20th, 2007, 3:08 pm EDT
I hooked a bat on the Beaverkill last year. I reeled it in a little bit but didn't want to get bit, so I just let it fly around off my rod tip for several minutes while I tried to figure out what the heck to do. It came loose on its own.

I've also swatted a bat into the river with my rod on one very poorly timed cast.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on May 21, 2007May 21st, 2007, 7:53 am EDT
One reason to always carry hemostats: Someday you may be forced to release a bat that you have fair-hooked right in the corner of the mouth. (Unlike Louis's unsporting foul-hooked example.)

One drawback of tying very accurate flies: Bats, dragonflies, swallows, and ducks find them just as attractive as trout do. (Of these, ducks put up the best fight and make the longest runs.)
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on May 21, 2007May 21st, 2007, 7:56 am EDT
I've got another one to add to the list: cedar waxwings. One of them grabbed my fly on my backcast a few years ago and, luckily, wasn't hooked very badly... it just got the line wrapped around it like a strange harness so that it could still fly around. I reeled it in, untangled it, and let it go. That was one confused little bird.

Have you actually caught a duck?
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on May 21, 2007May 21st, 2007, 8:12 am EDT
One and only one, Jason. I learned my lesson about ducks eating bugs, but I've come close on a number of other occasions. Once, a momma mallard and her babies were paddling around a favorite pool on the Brodheads gobbling up every Drunella dun they saw. This bothered me more than it seemed to bother the trout, who were happily engrossed in the same activity. Unfortunately, every time I delivered my dry to the water, one of the ducklings would make a beeline for it, and I was forced to yank it back. Very frustrating, and just one of many times that ducks have spoiled my fishing.

PS--If "caught" implies landed, then I'd have to revise my statement to "No." A 5X tippet is wholly inadequate for the average mallard. I'd recommend OX at least. ;)
Spud
Posts: 7
Spud on May 21, 2007May 21st, 2007, 9:13 am EDT
Had a customer come into the fly shop I used to work at (before it closed) that told us a nifty story... He said that he did something similar to what Jason did and knocked a bat straight out of the air on the West Branch of the Delaware. Within seconds, one of the biggest browns he's ever seen inhlaed the fluttering bat off of the surface. Take it for what its worth, but the guy was a pretty good customer that we knew well.
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on May 21, 2007May 21st, 2007, 9:34 am EDT
Knowing the size of some of the browns on the WB, I believe him. The late Joe Brooks once told a tale of a large brown that he watched eat a duckling. He took the brown with a large saltwater popper called a Skipping Bug.
Earlfishman
Posts: 17
Earlfishman on May 21, 2007May 21st, 2007, 2:43 pm EDT
It's amazing what you can catch on a fly rod, but as with many fish stories, the "ones that get away" are the most memorable for me.

Late one night long ago, I hooked something that fought very well but didn't seem terribly fishy. I was chasing stripers at the time and I didn't know for sure that it wasn't a fish until I realized that sometimes, through the noise of wind and waves, I could here it breathing out in the surf. I spent the next 20 minutes or so trying to devise a safe strategy for releasing an irate sea otter. Fortunately for me, and hopefully not too unfortunately for the otter, it crawled into a hole on a nearby jetty and broke my tippet. I'll never know whether it was hooked fairly.

I've also found that labrador puppies can fight pretty well if they jump out of the drift boat after you set the hook.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on May 21, 2007May 21st, 2007, 11:47 pm EDT


This is a really funny thread. Nice one, Louis.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Greenghost
New Brunswick

Posts: 23
Greenghost on May 22, 2007May 22nd, 2007, 1:27 am EDT
Can't say I've ever hooked a bat,though I did snag a seagull out of mid-air while spincasting a Rapala on a Lake Ontario breakwater.The gull flew by just as I cast and the line went over his neck.I seen my lure flying away,dangling 10 ft. under the gull.Not wanting to get spooled by a gull,I flipped the bail and the crankbait slid up and caught him under the far wing.Now the battle is on,geeesh,what a racket.To make things worse,I was at a busy lakeshore park and instantly drew a crowd of spectators,along with cheers and jeers.After a short battle and reeling the bird halfway back,the bait pulled free which seemed to appease the bunny-huggers that had gathered.
Spud
Posts: 7
Spud on May 22, 2007May 22nd, 2007, 4:16 pm EDT
I actually took an honors seminar once on the biology and ecology of bats. Probably one of the best classes I've ever taken, and YES, their radar is that good. The professor taught the class a real neat trick - If you see a bunch of moths hovering around a light or something, take out your keys and jingle them. If you're in the right area and its one of a few species of moths, they will start flying extremely erratically and dive to the ground because they think the keys are the bats' radar.
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on May 22, 2007May 22nd, 2007, 6:50 pm EDT
I'm enjoying this exchange. I've always wondered how bats scoop something off the water because it seems like a dangerous maneuver, especially if they do it with their mouths.

However they do it, the first bat I hooked took my dry fly right off the water. I thought I saw a rise and set the hook. Then something came waterskiing across the surface as I brought it in. (No fight, just a strange little wake on the surface.) That little fly-snatching fledermouse was hooked right in the mouth. After I realized there was no way to avoid doing what I had to do, I managed to grab the fly with my hemos and shook the bat off like a little chub. Of course, it flew right at my face, and I nearly fell in. I think bats enjoy doing that anyway, just to make us flinch, but this one had provocation going for it.

Macgruber
minneapolis

Posts: 7
Macgruber on May 23, 2007May 23rd, 2007, 9:48 am EDT
last summer i was out late on the manitou river fishing a royal wulff to some eager brookies...... i took the back cast and before i started forward i noticed that i never felt that famliar "tug" when the line has extended all the way back...... checking my rod, i notice the line is extended straight above me, apparently circling above my head on its own..... it was getting dark, so i couldn't ascertain what was causing it........ i stripped it in really gently and as it got closer, i saw a large dragonfly with the wulff clutched in its grasp..... apparently those things have some decent wingpower, cuz i had about 30 feet of line out and he was keeping it airborne.......

not quite the fight of yer average bat or mallard, but funny nonetheless......
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on May 23, 2007May 23rd, 2007, 11:54 am EDT
Mac,

Somewhere in another thread you'll find an account of something similar happening to a fishing partner of mine (except the dragonfly took the fly off the water, and then towed his fly line into the air). So, I can attest to the amazing lifting power of a big dragonfly--they are the sky-cranes of the insect world.
Windknot
Apalachin, NY

Posts: 2
Windknot on May 24, 2007May 24th, 2007, 3:56 am EDT
Hey Guys,
This is my first time here and nice to have found you!
Great stories and good to know of you using barbless hooks. I do crush all my barbs. Too many times in the past I caused harm to a trout removing a hook and wonder if they survived. Should I catch a bat, I would like to release it quickly. Many will watch birds swooping to indicate a hatch during the day, and when they retire for the evening the bats come to tell us the same.
Humankind did not create the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are one, all things connect.
Cheif Seattle
Afletcher
Posts: 3
Afletcher on May 29, 2007May 29th, 2007, 3:39 am EDT
Over more than 65 years of fly fishing I have caught huge dragonflies, Cedar Waxwings (songbird), Mallard ducks, and probably other creatures on flies. The Waxwing died of fright in my hand as I was untangling the tippet from its body. The dragonfly neatly clipped a #20 Griffiths Gnat and flew off with its prize. The Mallard was hooked in its foot as it swam over my line. Since I was fishing for big lake-run Finger Lakes fish, my tackle was heavier than usual, and the bird just took off. I had to ask my fishing buddy to help me retrieve and release the duck.

The predatory creatures that surround us are experts at what they do. It is a real compliment when one mistakes one of our own-tied flies for a meal!

Alan Fletcher
Ithaca, N. Y.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on May 29, 2007May 29th, 2007, 2:27 pm EDT
Well put, Alan. I know I have often envied a great blue heron for the ease with which he catches fish on days when I am just flogging water.

Two years ago I was crossing a footbridge on Penns Creek when what I think was an immature bald eagle struggled to clear my head as he was hoisting a 15-inch brown into the air. Remember, I was on Penns, which means that was the closest I came to a fish all day...

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Durb69
moravia NY

Posts: 1
Durb69 on Jun 1, 2007June 1st, 2007, 7:39 pm EDT
So my dad gave my a fly rod and reel. Today was my first time trying the rod out. I have never fly fished before. I tried it out in a local trout stream on the way to work with no success. Then tonight when i got home i went out just before dark because we saw the trout were feeding on flys and what not. so about three cast in I caught something! next thing you know my line was flying around all over the place!! I caught a friggin bat!! What a fishing tail huh? my first day fly fishing and I get a bat on the line and not a fish, funny story i thought i would share it with some one. I was scared of it but my girl friend grabbed it and took it off the line and it flew away!! I'm such a wuss!!


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