I know that most fishermen have come across a guy fishing from an inner tube, and many of the readers of this blog have probably fished from a tube. I am not one to criticize it, although I really can’t see myself doing that sort of thing. I have been tempted, though.
A buddy of mine in Texas related an incident to me that almost changed my mind.
The season was late spring, the bass were in a post-spawn pattern, and it was too hot to catch any crappie in any shallow water haunts. So, my buddy started hitting the points with crankbaits and plastic fishing worms.
As he stirred the water into a froth from so many casts, an angler in a tube was working his way along a bank down the way. This particular bank was covered from beginning to end with boat docks. He watched the fellow and was amused that there was a large brown stain running down the front of tube … turned out to be that the fellow liked to chew tobacco but couldn’t spit past the tube, and thus, the stain. One has to wonder if that might be some sort of fish attractant.
Regardless, my friend watched this guy as he seemed to be catching a fish or two now and again. Usually largemouth bass, and occasionally, a lost crappie would hang on to his Road Runner -- a big chartreus Road Runner bait, the kind with the wiggle tail and probably a 1/4-oz. or larger. The persistence of the fisherman was intriguing and, again, inquisitive since he released every fish he caught. The fly rod he was using was probably 7 feet long and made of graphite. A quality fly rod on any day.
Tied to the rim of the tube was an old Humminbird flasher fish locator. The old Super 30 or Super 60 … the model doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it had an alarm, and this alarm was going off at an annoying frequency, to the point it was disturbing to my friend. So he headed toward him with his trolling motor to see what was going on, and could he maybe turn down the volume of the alarm a bit?
As he approached, he yelled at the angler to let him know he was coming, and not to impose on his stretch of bank but to ask a couple of questions. The angler in the tube stopped and pulled up a string with a bottle of beer on the end, then took a long thirsty draw on the beer. He belched and welcomed my friend to come alongside.
Here was my buddy in a 19-foot fiberglass boat with a 200-hp Mercury hanging on the back, and the tube angler in a homemade fishing tube stained with tobacco juice and all sorts of gadgets duct-taped to the rim of the tube. It was an unusual paradox of fishermen.
The tube guy’s name was Larry. He was a history teacher at the local high school on spring break. Unmarried, he spent his days off on the lake stocking up on fish for the freezer, although my buddy had not seen him keep a single fish. He asked if he had caught anything.
And Larry exclaimed, “Oh hell yes! I got a stringer full dangling down here.”
And he reached down and pulled up a 1/4-inch well rope stringer with about seven or eight carp looped on it, each weighing at more than 9 or 10 pounds. Huge carp!
My friend sat back in his chair and gasped for breath as he had never seen such a sight! The man was actually fishing for carp … with a fly rod … from an inner tube. Literally. And he was good at it, too!!!
Larry went on to explain that his dad loves the way his mom prepares carp. She poaches the fish, then grinds them up and makes carp croquettes, much like salmon croquettes but with that all endearing carp flavor.
So now and then, when he goes fishing he focuses on the carp. Being a bottom feeder and a sucker, making a presentation is pretty difficult, but Larry has a plan, you see. He knows that the carp move shallow in the late spring into shady areas and nestle down to do their spawning thing. The back ends of docks where they jut out from the bank present an ideal spot for a carp to bed down. They are, however, very wary and hard to approach. If spooked, they boil up and shoot off into deeper water.
Therefore, Larry flips a Road Runner into the back of the boat dock with a long fly rod. A piece of soured pork is attached to the Road Runner and gets the carp’s attention almost immediately. The carp sucks it in and swims out from his bed to eat his meal, and Larry sets the hook. The length of the fly rod plays the fish down easier than one can imagine and presents an interesting battle. Larry ropes up the catch, takes it home to his mom and his job as a loving son is completed.
My buddy was amazed, and turned his boat and moved away shaking his head. He told his friends at his bass club, and they all horse-laughed. The joke was on them, for the following weekend, Larry snagged a 9-pound largemouth from under a dock! Turned out to be a lake record. Larry failed to tell my buddy that he also is an avid bass fisherman and that the same technique works for bass … he just ties on a plastic worm or jig with some pork rind.
Live and learn.
Always be open minded to fishing techniques that are bit off the wall.
And if you’re looking for gear, you can buy quality fly rods and fly fshing tubes at Bass Pro Shops.
by Jimmy Houston
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