I have caught a few channels on fly rod and I bet that one was an absolute blast to fight.
It really surprised me. I had just got this zero stretch floating fly line not too long ago. I was slowly stripping in a tungsten beaded woolly bugger and then made one last big faster strip to prepare for the next cast when the fish hit. The zero stretch line went instantly tight and I thought I had hit an underwater snag. Then the snag moved and picked up speed. I knew it was a good fish right away just by how it pulled and I gave it line through my left hand. My 5/6 weight CGR wasn’t up to stopping it at this early stage.
It never ran far, but every time I got it next to the dock the cat would run off some more line. At one point later in the fight it came around the other side of the large room sized dock and got under it. I really put the pressure to the fish then and the fiberglass CGR fly rod was really bending all the way to the handle and about doubled over. The size six Mustad streamer hooks can and will bend open under a lot of pressure with heavier tippet, but I kind of know about how much pressure I can get away with. I pulled the cat out of from under the dock after about 30 seconds of a tug a war. .
The worst part was getting it on the dock. I had my right hip joint replaced less than three weeks ago and bending over past 90 degrees is a no no at this stage of recovery. There’s one way to do it safely but it was awkward and I had to get the net first and that was on the other side of the dock. After retrieving the net, I worked myself down to a on my stomach, prone position and put the short handle net under it. It was then tough to clear the height of the dock but I managed. The fish was barely hooked in the lip and there would have been zero chance of lifting it aboard without the net.
I didn’t want to lose the fish, but my hip was the main thing, I was real careful about that. Popping it out of socket would be a disaster.
Catfish have been a big surprise in that they really like these woolly buggers. I never really ever caught them on artificial lures much. Once in a blue moon. But it rare not to catch any with the flies. If I go out in the flatbottom, I usually catch more catfish than bass. They are pretty decent fighters and pretty fun on the 4/5 and 5/6 weight CGR. The fish seem to hang out in about 3-6 feet of water that is out about 10-20 feet from the bank.