Hybrids Rock and Kansas Rolls! Have you Ever SMELLED the FISH?

| April 8, 2008

fly fishing for hybrid bass in texas
Hybrid bass caught in North Texas Creeks
Matching ear rings – Hybrid style.

I have to preface this by saying I could actually smell the fish.

Look it’s almost 11 at night, Kansas wins the National Championship (I picked them early in the season), and I just got off a little creek south of Denton, with three Hybrids coming in at 15 pounds total. These are the first hybrids I have ever caught, and they are, to say the least, very interesting fish. We knew we had to go get after them today because all indications were the weather would close in and flood this creek for the rest of the week starting tomorrow morning.

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I had heard a lot about Hybrids, and all I believed was that they are shaped like footballs, they fight like banshees, and they get very, very big around these parts. Well, they are just as they were billed. But then, to just come along and say I caught X number of fish and they weighed Y … well it sounds so algebraic. Hybrids themselves are so interesting as a snapshot of what stocking a unique fish can do for one’s juju.

Today started off with a real trek. I mean, sure we (me and my fellow researcher) were on some private property that would never have been accessible without a “who you know” moment, and sure it was in some fertile and difficult to access creek bottoms that are fed from Lake Lewisville / Dallas, and sure we had been there only the day before. But, we were learning Sunday afternoon – school was out, and MaMa wants fish for supper.

We parked and Lane dropped into a hole by the train trestle, while I the trail blazer, wanted to fish facing downstream and Lanes spot was looking upstream. So, I blazed upstream through briars and brambles and poison ivy and branches and mud that was like black ice. The Road Less Traveled.

I tried a grassy enbankment and it proved cruel by allowing me to get to fish, but then immediately breaking one extraordinary Sand Bass off as I was trying to coax it up the three foot mud wall. Gone. New Clouser gone. Priceless.
Time to move on. MaMa wants fish.
Hybrids love Fat Tire, but they can’t use a bottle opener.

I bushwhacked, found a place, crossed the creek and settled in on a gravel and rock sandbar – in front of me 100 yards of water and Lane at the end close to the trestle, behind me a series of holes and shallow rapids between them. I was on the tip throwing down into the first pool below the pool next to the sandbar. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but a snag and I ended up breaking off my line at the loop. The loop was gone. The new Clouser (tied hours earlier) was gone. The leader was gone, and I was a trek away from the truck and my spare spool of sinking line, leaders (bigger and stronger) and yes a cold beer. Frustration was building and I felt like a pitcher who was getting hit on – and going down fast. The coach was walking out to the mound. Insert your own profanities here.

I got it together, retraced back to the truck, and got everything I needed (I thought), made my way back to my spot and reset my mental attitude. This could end good, or it could end bad. So far it was a “bad day”, but (to quote White Men Can’t Jump) the Sun even shine’s on a dog’s a$$ sometimes. Intermediate line, and a new Puglisi Clouser and I was set to go.

The Hybrids were moving. I could hear them behind me as they navigated the rocky, sandy shallows behind me, past me, into the pool and then through the next chute of rocks and sand into the pool below. This is not theory. They pass right by me, between my legs and show fins and back as they taunt me with their blatant disregard for my obvious fishing prowess.

Finally, a deep red and white Clouser with some silver flash, finds its home in a 5 pound Hybrid’s rock-hard mouth. Using a 6 weight should be an even or better match, but after 15 minutes I am thinking “we need a bigger boat”(see the movie Jaws). These fish are insane. They fight like there is no tomorrow, and since MaMa wants fish, there is no tomorrow for this beauty. Time for a Fat Tire … thought I had everything, but no bottle opener.

On private property and in waterways in Texas, the rules are kind of … Texan. One can walk in the water, in the middle forever, but set foot on banks on either side, and you take your chances – guns and such. It is a law / code / rule that creates some confusion for even officials who are charged with enforcing the laws.

As time passes along this little slice of heaven, I continue to hit this little hole and the rapids below with some success. Perhaps due to the actual size of the fly, many, but not all of the smaller Sand Bass are sifted out of my offerings. There are a few, but they serve to relax me as I see water move, fins and swirls from the real quarry.

The sun is dropping as I hear noise from behind, and here comes the reinforcements – folks who apparently know how to access this private land without ever setting foot on the land. All in legal theory of course, as they trapese along the well worn paths of the shoreline. I have two fish in tow – a 4.5 and a 6 pound fish, which are the most massive fresh water fish I have taken since a day at Texoma up past the wire.

These folks just come right along behind me, like ants to sugar. Obviously, one of them had been there sometime before, and now I was there. They were just Texas cooperative, and left room for me and my backcast, went to the edge of the sandbar in front of me, and started spinning off the edge. Cool.

Then, more fish started passing through the chutes. I found one just before the shallow chute and he was smart enough to use the current to hit the chute and down into these folks area. I gave them the head’s up and they were already ready and reeled in when I made my way down the sandbar. Finally, another Hybrid slides home to the sandbar at five pounds.

From the depths of pitching, behind in the count, and one run down, we have a three-up three-down inning. There is joy in Mudville tonight. Darkness invades, and I unhitch my stringer, and navigate the ice mud, briars and brambles back to the truck. I am thinking my little Igloo Playmate ice chest will not even come close to holding these fish, and I am so glad to find that to be true. MaMa gets fish tonight.

Are these Hybrids the same as “Wipers” known in Colorado and elsewhere? Are they in these creeks to spawn, but sterile? What is the history of Hybrids in North Texas? I have no idea, but perhaps a contributor can provide some enlightenment. All I know is these fish could create their own following.

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+Shannon Drawe
+Texas Fly Caster

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Category: Fishing Reports, North Texas

About the Author ()

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

Comments (3)

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  1. playformeacoustically says:

    “…they taunt me with their blatant disregard for my obvious fishing prowess.”

    haha

  2. lane says:

    great post….the pic is kind of scary