Fly Fishing,    fly fishing for steelhead,    Opinion,    pikeminnow,    steelhead,    world record fish

Singlebarbed A World-Record Brownliner? Or World-Class Satirist?

Posted by Tom Chandler 4/3/2009

First, somebody caught a world-record steelhead and killed it, which caused a little uproar on the Intertubes.

Then Moldy Chum posted 61 photographs of a big steelie being manhandled, taped, and generally beat to hell before release (it ended up on the cover of Fly Fishermen magazine). With its chances of survival about as remote as your chances of inheriting $23 million from a Nigerian Prince, we're forced ask the obvious question:

What the hell?

Perhaps the world's steelhead fishermen should to take a lesson from our own glow-in-the-dark Singlebarbed:

A couple dozen large Pikeminnow and the occasional smallmouth were browsing in deep water - and without any vegetation available to hold insects, and with the catastrophic upheaval of the runoff, I guessed these might be hungry and desperate fish.

I had a fistful of the "Ellis Island" reject flies I needed to expend and plopped an Olive unknown into the water above them. With a 4mm bead and 25 turns of fuse wire there was a corresponding mushroom cloud and crater in the river bottom - and most of the fish scattered.

I gave it a quick tug to free the fly and all hell broke loose, some silver flash comes out of the water and does its best Salmonid imitation, screams off downstream and returns to sulk.

I'm long past caring what it is - and from its profile it appears to be a trophy Pikeminnow - but thick and fat like a bass, not skinny and cylindrical like usual.

It's laying in the slack water at the bank, and I realize it's the new IGFA world record for Sacramento Pikeminnow. The old version was merely 6.25 pounds - and "Mr. Chunk Monster", the genetically blessed fatty was likely to tip them scales closer to seven.

Did our heavy-metals-rich friend rush to the nearest certified scales to claim his spot in the record books - and the adulation sure to follow?

Hell no. (That's why we like him. Well, that and the fact he's usually good to bum flies off.)

Our take? They're fish, for godssakes - not magical beings capable of validating our sorry, quietly desperate existences.

See you on the river, Tom Chandler.

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AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

Yes, two links triggers the spam elves.
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And gunfire you say…that can be arranged quite easily on Lake Natoma. http://sanddollaradventures.wordpress.com/2008/11/02/when-you-see-the-swift-boat-coming-keep-your-hands-on-your-shaft-and-stroke-like-crazy/ (TC - sorry, but I gather two links was one too many.)
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Hey, I've tried to get KBarton on to Lake Natoma for some time. After spotting some HUGE fish while kayaking I even made a public invitation to him almost a year ago. http://sanddollaradventures.wordpress.com/2008/04/20/menaced-by-a-circling-herd-of-dorsal-fins-unfortunately-i-dont-know-a-basss-ass-from-a-gefilte-fish/ He seemed to balk at getting on to a tandem kayak with me. (”No, I won't rock ... more the boat…trust me…”)
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Tom Chandler: @Jim: Is there abundant gunfire there? Singlebarbed doesn't really know how to fish stillwaters unless he's being fired on. Naaah, but the prison's nearby. Does that count?
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@Jim: Is there abundant gunfire there? Singlebarbed doesn't really know how to fish stillwaters unless he's being fired on.
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That's close by, thanks for the tip Jim. I've been scouting mostly West and North and haven't tried the east side yet.
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Unless I'm mistaken, Nick English, the guy on the cover of the magazine, grew up in the Sacramento area and was a member of the Granite Bay Flycasters from a very early age. And if you're interested in large pikeminnow, you might try Lake Natomas in Folsom. I caught one there above the old bridge in 1985 on spinning gear (before I started fly fishing) that weighed out at 8.75 pounds and was just about ... more 30" long. There's some big carp in there, too. Maybe it's brownline heaven in disguise.
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