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

Wbranch has attached these 6 pictures to this report. The message is below.
It took me twenty minutes to tire this fish.  It kept running out into the ocean (we were on an ocean flat) and it just could not be stopped, or turned, for about 15 minutes.
This fish was vicious and jumped three feet into the air.

Report at a Glance

General RegionCargill Creek
Specific LocationTwo Boys Inn
Dates FishedApril 02 - 08
Time of Day8:30 - 4:00
Fish CaughtBonefish, Horseye Jack, Barracuda, Red snapper
Conditions & HatchesShrimp, needle fish. Blue skies with puffy white clouds. Severe winds all six days 20 - 30 mph. Very difficult to imposible to cover fish. Made me look like a rank beginner fly caster.

Details and Discussion

Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 10, 2014April 10th, 2014, 12:59 pm EDT
Nice lodge, very good made to order breakfasts. Dinners were all excellent. Had lobster tails two nights, grouper, conch strips, chicken, and great ribs the other nights. You make you own sandwiches after breakfast.

All the guides we had new their business very well and tried their best to not only put us on fish but to position the boat for a lefty or righty and tried to get the wind behind us.

I think though the areas, flats and coves we fished have been pounded relentlessly. We only saw a couple honest 6# bones and they took off often as soon as they saw us and before we even cast. One of the party of four caught one 5# and one 6# fish. All the others were small 1# - 3# fish. Although a 3# bonefish will still easily pull a #9 line and 100' of backing in just a few seconds. All my bonefish pictures are on my friends camera.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Troutnut's profile picture
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Apr 10, 2014April 10th, 2014, 1:26 pm EDT
Looks like an awesome trip, and it makes me want to go back there!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 10, 2014April 10th, 2014, 2:33 pm EDT

The scenery was awesome and the water ranged from very dark deep blue to light turqouise. If you might ever want to do a DIY to one of the major, or out, islands I'd be interested in partnering with you. One of the guys I met at the lodge told me the best bonefish trip he ever had was a DIY to Grand Bahama he did by himself. He rented a little place near the sea and rented a vehicle. Most of the time all he had to do was keep an eye on the tides and drive along the road, park the car, and walk out onto a flat.

He had many pictures of big bones so I'm pretty sure he wasn't BSing. He told me in a week he landed ten bones of 10# or more. Any double digit bonefish is a monster and they are by no means common. He fished Grand Bahama Island in the West End.

He also spent a week on Christmas Island in 2013 and said the fishing was fantastic and he had the pictures to prove it. Lots of Trevally and bones that were an honest 4# and more. I'd consider doing that but the air fare from here to LA is high and then it is another $1,000 from Hawaii to Christmas Island.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
Catskilljon on Apr 10, 2014April 10th, 2014, 3:27 pm EDT
Looks like the weather was nice! Great trip Matt, those pics are really cool. That cuda looks like he has been eating very well! CJ
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Apr 10, 2014April 10th, 2014, 3:33 pm EDT
Nice Matt! Welcome home. Looks like you had a good trip! Despite the spring winds.

I think I told you that I have done well on Grand Bahama DIY. Those jacks pull! A lot of people look down on them but I love them. Grand Bahama was easy for me. Same program. Rent a jeep, watch the tides and I have always found plenty of fish.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Apr 10, 2014April 10th, 2014, 4:28 pm EDT
WOW Matt, one hell of a trip and some very nice fish to show for it! What rods, reels, flies, etc. were you using?

I'll bet that horseye jack fought like a ten-pound bluegill!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 10, 2014April 10th, 2014, 5:19 pm EDT
I used 9' rods, one #8 and a #9 when it was really windy. I also brought a 9' #7 that I never even cast and a 7' 4 pc medium light spin rod with a Gander Mtn reel loaded with 10# Stren Magnathin fluorocarbon, a 12" 40# wire leader and a 5" Fire Tiger Yo-Zuri shallow running plug.

For the bonefish I used mostly #4 Sim Rams and Gotchas. I also used a couple other flies but those mentioned were the most successful. We used what I considerd heavy tipets. I used Seagaur 0X that has a break strength of 18# but the fish were not at all leader shy.

While I know 'cuda are caught on 7" - 8" long needlefish flies it is just so damn hard to strip the flies fast enough to get the cudas to take consistently. You might be stripping as fast as possible via a two hand strip only to have the 'cuda just kind of follow the fly to the boat and have it turn away. With a high retrieve ratio spin reel you pretty much can get a take on every 'cuda you cast to if it is not already spooked. When we threw to barracuda with the spin reel with a 5:1 retreive ratio you could see immediate interest and the fish would chase like crazy. It is actually impossible to reel too fast! I reeled as fast as possible so the lure was litteraly racing through the water and the fish always caught the lure.

The guide parked the boat in the shallows of an ocean flat and put out an anchor. We walked at least two miles up along the beach and shallows when the tide was dead low. The intention was to get way up into where he thought the best water was and wait for the incoming tide to bring in the better bones. My buddy and I each carried a fly rod and the guide carried the spn rod. He played with it a bit and was amazed at how far he could throw it with the wind at his back. I was actually surprised too as it was sailing out over 150 feet. He told my buddy "Mon your friend will never be able to land even a 10# fish with this line, it is too light." When I landed the jack and a few minutes later the heavier barracuda he came over to me and said "Mon you did really good with those big fish."
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Apr 10, 2014April 10th, 2014, 5:48 pm EDT
Most impressive, Matt. My last experience with barracuda was off the coast of southern CA near San Diego. On the second of two party boat trips I took, the sand bass were not hitting very well (they were hitting like crazy on the first trip, lost count after 25 or so). Out a good hundred or more feet from the boat I saw baitfish surfacing, as if something was driving them up from underneath. Whipping a clear/silver sparkle jig in the direction of the commotion on a spinning rod, and retrieving it just as fast as I could turn the handle, brought Pacific barracuda chasing it right up to and under the boat, where I got six of them to connect (including biggest fish of the trip, won $87!). Like you say, you just can't retrieve it too fast...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 10, 2014April 10th, 2014, 6:35 pm EDT
I forgot to mention a very pesky problem we encountered on every day of our trip. It is the abubdance of green head flies (Tabanus nigrovittatus). They are nasty bastards and if not flicked away when noticed will inflict a painful bite that will itch and then swell up to the point where the entire back of your hand might be swollen. Even out in the open water, hundreds of yards from the mangroves, the flies find the boat and then gorge on warm bodies.

I escaped almost all the bites because I tucked my pant legs into my socks and wore 1 mm neoprene booties over my socks before putting on my flats boots. I was also applying SPF 30 sunblock liberally to all exposed facial areas. I wore sun gloves so only my finger tips were exposed. None of my three partners wore gloves nor did they tuck the pant legs into their socks. They all were bitten and two of them had big nasty welts on the backs of their hands and calves.

One of our guides got bitten on the face while he was poling and almost fell off of the platform. I learned today that if you liberally apply #30 sun block to your exposed skin it acts as a very effective deterent to attracting these pests.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Apr 11, 2014April 11th, 2014, 5:26 am EDT
Ah yes, even when you go to the tropics, there's always the biting insect problem...horseflies to boot! Sounds like the tropical version of deerflies, except nothing seems to discourage them! Insects can very much be both our friends and enemies when fly fishing...


P.S. I look forward to the first month of warm weather every year because that's how long it takes the mosquitos to wake up...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Apr 11, 2014April 11th, 2014, 7:13 am EDT
Great pictures, Matt! Lovely skies, lovely water and warmth.

That barracuda is one toothy fish! Looks mean, and fun to catch. Glad you were able to catch some fish despite tough winds. If you looked like a rank beginner, imagine how most would have looked!
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 11, 2014April 11th, 2014, 8:12 am EDT
Matt...Good to see some sun, no?! I haven't been to the Bahamas since 1972!

I think you and Tony have a competition going to see who can poke the most species of fish in one year! :)

Nice pics...Besides the fish in them, its not always an easy thing to pull off good pictures in all that light.

Nice to see you are getting back into the swing of things.

"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
PaulRoberts's profile picture

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Apr 20, 2014April 20th, 2014, 6:27 pm EDT
Congrats on a great trip, Matt. Thanks for sharing.
Gus's profile picture

Posts: 59
Gus on Apr 23, 2014April 23rd, 2014, 8:21 am EDT
Nice job!
"How do you help that son of a bitch?"

"By taking him fishing"

-A River Runs Through It


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