Many aren’t familiar with summer in the deep south. 90-degree temps are pretty normal anywhere during the summer. Heck, folks in NYC get those kinds of temperatures. There’s one thing that accompanies our heat that many don’t get to experience.
That experience is the humidity.
For the uninitiated, humidity can make 72 degrees feel like you’re breathing in the air a dog is exhaling out, and 90 degrees can feel like that same dog just climbed out of the pool and laid down on top of you.
Anyway, summer is here, and it has come with a vengeance.
This really changes up how we approach fishing. Early morning and late afternoon are good times to go looking for bass.
Another often overlooked time for bass fishing this time of year is the middle of the night. The biggest bass I’ve ever caught in my life was in the middle of July around 2:30 in the morning. Planning around weather patterns and lunar cycles can aid in fishing during the dead of summer too.
So what do you do when the sun is high and the skies are clear?
Well, I propose finding other fish. I’m specifically talking about fish that are often overlooked as sportfish. You know, the ones affectionately referred to as “trash fish.”
Enter: the trash hatch.
If you follow me on any social platform, especially Twitter, then you know I have a special like for carp on a fly rod. These fish are meant to be caught using fly tackle. They can be sight-fished but are incredibly spooky. Carp will take a fly but only the ones that are eating. Not every carp you can see is going to bolt for your fly.
They are very finicky.
Carp will stretch any fly fisherman’s abilities to its limit. They plain flat out aren’t easy to catch and have often been compared to redfish with the personality of a bonefish, hence the nickname “Golden Bone.” Also, did I mention they’re big? Yeah, size-wise and fight-wise. They’ll pull you into your fly backing before you realize what you’ve done.
Another species I’ve recently become acquainted with is the gar.
My recent encounters have left me wondering if pound-for-pound the gar isn’t one of the hardest fighting fish I’ve dealt with. These dudes are flat out ferocious:
The sheer unrelenting-not-giving-up-go-to-hell-ness of trying to land one is just absolutely incredible. They’re maniacal and yet an absolute blast to fight on a fly rod! Gar can dance like a tarpon all the while leaving you with a nagging uneasiness about whether or not it’s going to shred your net and steal your wallet.
I think you get the picture. There are fish that are often overlooked due to their lack of perceived “sportiness.” This is true whether fishing conventional tackle, but often much more in the fly fishing circles.*
Before we finish this discussion we do need to address the elephant in the room. If you’ve read any of these posts** then I know what you’re thinking.
“But what about Catfish?! Are they considered part of the fly fishing ‘trash hatch’ too?!”
I dunno. I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.
*I began to fly fish with a love for bass, an arguably already marginalized fish by many fly fisherman’s standards. Ever since then I’ve spiraled out of control into the neverending void that is catching unregarded species of fly fishing quarry. Help me.