If you've not found many of my posts before this may seem a bit long winded but trust me....I made it as short as I could
I remember my first Channel Cat as if it were yesterday, it was however some 20 years ago. When I did not have the time to drive out of town headed to some exotic wild trout destination like Slate Run etc. I would content my self fishing the lower portions of Lycoming Creek. (Pennsylvania) As darkness fell I would harbor visions of hooking into one of the giant brown trout I just knew had to be there. What the heck, the creek flows south to empty into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River which is huge, so............ I figured that like a lake, the deep waters of the Susky had to be home to some behemoths that would come up the creek on regular grocery runs, especially at night.
A warm night in July set the stage for the Awakening. I was at the head of a really long pool where the creek (a fairly large one) fed into it in a deep swift run. Casting an all black bunny fur leech sort of streamer across and mending repeatedly to put the fly down deep. As the casting became routine the monotony was broken by a heavy pull on the line that came all the way down the rod shaft into my hand. Now awakened from my semi trance-like fishing by the sudden jolt I pulled back and the fight was on!
Whatever I was into didn't jump from the water but it hugged the bottom and stripped line from my reel like a hooked salmon. A Brown Trout and a 'Monster at that' was all I could think of. Comeon baby, don't let that hook come loose. This took a while but eventually I was pumping and reeling the tired fish toward shore. When I began to drag it onto the shore line to the land I was considerably back from the waters edge so's not to spook the fish at the moment of truth. I strained my eyes at the silvery body that flopped over as I pulled its weight from water to land. What the heck is that I wondered aloud? I made a quick sprint to the fish and held it down. What I was seeing to my great amazement was that it was a catfish of about 2 foot in length! I was shocked, I had never heard of catching a Channel Cat on an artificial fly or a fly rod, ever!
In the years that followed that night I became a big black leech at night bottom swinging catfisher and caught a bunch of dandy cats. This all took place before the advent of the digital pocket camera or the internet. It never dawned on me to photograph them using a 35 mm with flash because who was I going to show them to?
So there you have it, big black leech patterns swinging or stripped along the bottom. I didn't need 'scent' and honestly back then had never even heard of it. Just the fly and some willing cats and you'll be off to the races. Our member Nick (Didgeridoo) catches some real monsters up in Saskatchewan every year, look for his threads by finding one (using the user name in a search) and then click his name and choose, View Profile, then click his 'Statistics' tab and choose 'Find All Threads by Didgeridoo' and you'll find his catfish threads.