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Deeter: Is Any Fish Uncatchable on a Fly?

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July 26, 2010

Deeter: Is Any Fish Uncatchable on a Fly?

By Kirk Deeter

Can you name this fish species? I'll give you a hint: They were caught in the Pacific Ocean, on chunked bait, in water well over one hundred feet deep.

They might be some of the few fish I'd concede as being uncatchable on a fly rod. But there aren't many fish I'd put in that category. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to think of any classic sport fish that can be caught on conventional gear, but not with fly tackle.


Sharks? No Conway Bowman and others have proven that not only can you catch sharks on flies, you have a lot of fun doing so. Muskies? No, the fish of 10,000 casts might be the fish of 20,000 casts when you fly fish, but it can be done. Halibut? I've actually caught halibut in Alaska by dropping a heavy fly into water about 40 feet deep, and bouncing it along the rocks. Was that classic fly fishing? Well, no... but I was using fly tackle.

I'd concede that some fish are almost exclusively bait eaters, and muddy water limits the effectiveness of flashy fly patterns. Most effective fly fishing happens in water that is 10 feet deep or less, and clearer water is key. That's really the fun of fly fishing... working in shallow water where you can often see your targets. However, with the advent of specialized sinking lines and heavier flies, that "depth range" of effective fly fishing is often 30 feet or more (perhaps way more than that if you throw the classic casting and presentation rules out the window). And I really can't think of a fish that lives and eats in water 30 feet deep or less that cannot be caught with fly tackle...

Can you?

Deeter

Comments (16)

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from Alex Pernice th... wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Red rockfish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from J4huntfish wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

paddlefish

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Let me change that- what that man is holding- red rock fish.
Hard to catch (not snag...) Asian carp.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Deet, the one fish I have not been able to get on the fly, or anything other than a net is mullet. But I may just have been doing it wrong.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Greenhead wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Is that yellow-eyed rockfish?

I would think that catfish would be pretty tough to catch on fly gear.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from riverdemon10 wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

yellow-eyed rock fish

hardest fish to catch on the fly would have to be one of those freshwater sting rays that you see caught on T.V. in thailand

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigjake wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

though not a game fish, cant say ive ever seen a lamprey eel caught on a fly...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Other than the family of the plankton or algae eating fish common to most waters my guess is you should be able to catch any fish on a fly rod in shallow water.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from derik wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Pacific Ocean Perch? Kinda looked like acadian redfish to me but those are from the pacific.
Will hornpout take a fly? Never heard of anyone catching one that way.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

The one thing I see once in awhile is some fly guy fishing for something on a flyrod that looks totally out of place with the way one should be pursuing a game fish...a fly guy out fishing for Halibut? They seem to be bent on proving something? Is there something there other than just "I can do it?"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mahout wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Vermillion rockfish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishingwithdaughters wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

My 12 year old have been trying to catch pike in our lake in Northern New Jersey. I read a book about flyfishing with pike and bought some enormous streamers. So far nothing.

Do they ever come to the surface?

David Bershtein
www.fishingwithdaughters.com

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Pike are very aggressive. Much easier to catch than a Muskie. If you are in waters that have quite a few of them you should be able to catch them on a streamer. If they are big streamers they can be hard to throw. You need to get some distance on a cast so you have a decent range to strip back in. And you probably need a sink tip for sure. The weight of the tip carries out the bigger streamers as well. A red and yellow color combo would be my choice. I caught a lot of them in Alaska in backwater sloughs fishing that combo using a sinking tip line. I used my own made up leaders that weren't especially a great taper like my trout leaders are, but ended with a hard 18 lb tippet that kept them from stealing my streamers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishskicanoe wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Actually Muskies aren't particularly hard to catch on a fly rod. Target river fish. If it takes you 10,000 casts to get a fish then you're doing something wrong.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Panfry101 wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Thats a vermillion rockfish. I've caught them before and I think thats them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PZabel wrote 3 years 37 weeks ago

I was fishing in Sarasota last May and wished the Mullet would bite a fly!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from J4huntfish wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

paddlefish

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigjake wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

though not a game fish, cant say ive ever seen a lamprey eel caught on a fly...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Red rockfish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Let me change that- what that man is holding- red rock fish.
Hard to catch (not snag...) Asian carp.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Deet, the one fish I have not been able to get on the fly, or anything other than a net is mullet. But I may just have been doing it wrong.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Greenhead wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Is that yellow-eyed rockfish?

I would think that catfish would be pretty tough to catch on fly gear.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from riverdemon10 wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

yellow-eyed rock fish

hardest fish to catch on the fly would have to be one of those freshwater sting rays that you see caught on T.V. in thailand

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Other than the family of the plankton or algae eating fish common to most waters my guess is you should be able to catch any fish on a fly rod in shallow water.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from derik wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Pacific Ocean Perch? Kinda looked like acadian redfish to me but those are from the pacific.
Will hornpout take a fly? Never heard of anyone catching one that way.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

The one thing I see once in awhile is some fly guy fishing for something on a flyrod that looks totally out of place with the way one should be pursuing a game fish...a fly guy out fishing for Halibut? They seem to be bent on proving something? Is there something there other than just "I can do it?"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mahout wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Vermillion rockfish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishingwithdaughters wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

My 12 year old have been trying to catch pike in our lake in Northern New Jersey. I read a book about flyfishing with pike and bought some enormous streamers. So far nothing.

Do they ever come to the surface?

David Bershtein
www.fishingwithdaughters.com

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Pike are very aggressive. Much easier to catch than a Muskie. If you are in waters that have quite a few of them you should be able to catch them on a streamer. If they are big streamers they can be hard to throw. You need to get some distance on a cast so you have a decent range to strip back in. And you probably need a sink tip for sure. The weight of the tip carries out the bigger streamers as well. A red and yellow color combo would be my choice. I caught a lot of them in Alaska in backwater sloughs fishing that combo using a sinking tip line. I used my own made up leaders that weren't especially a great taper like my trout leaders are, but ended with a hard 18 lb tippet that kept them from stealing my streamers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishskicanoe wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Actually Muskies aren't particularly hard to catch on a fly rod. Target river fish. If it takes you 10,000 casts to get a fish then you're doing something wrong.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Panfry101 wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Thats a vermillion rockfish. I've caught them before and I think thats them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PZabel wrote 3 years 37 weeks ago

I was fishing in Sarasota last May and wished the Mullet would bite a fly!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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