When I saw the 10-weight fly rods, I commented that it looked as if we were headed to Florida to fish for permit.
‘”Nope, that’s what we’re bass fishing with today,” said Capt. Steve Stubbe of Mudfish Adventures on Toledo Bend.
I fly fish for bass in bayous and ponds near my home a couple of days a week using a five weight rod but according to Stubbe, an Orvis-endorsed guide, he needs a heavy stick for the areas he fishes.
“I’m using my GatorTail boat to get in areas across stumps and logs in the backwaters of Toledo Bend where we rarely see anyone. The habitat is rough and full of vegetation and full of big bass. I use heavy gear, big flies and have to pull them out of heavy cover,” he said.
We could not have picked worse conditions-high barometric pressure and bluebird skies, a quick dip in water temperature and murky water that was higher than normal. That spread the bass across a bigger area.
But you go fishing when you can and we went.
I had a hard time getting used to fish a six foot, 10 weight fly rod with 30-pound tippet. It took me awhile to get the hang of it but it was fun trying something different.
I lost one two-pounder right at the boat and had two blowups. That was it.
Stubbe put on a crazy-looking fly spoon and caught two bass toward the end of the evening and showed me there is definitely some potential where we were fishing and using his unique customized flies and pool cue-sized rods.
His GatorTail does indeed give him access to some beautiful backcountry seen by few anglers.
“When I took my friends out fishing they would always mention that it was more like an adventure than fishing. This inspired me to start Mudfish Adventures, LLC fishing guide service so other people could experience the beauty of the back county of Toledo Bend Lake. I am able to guide a two person party to the fishing flats and backcountry (with no boat pressure) on Toledo Bend’s Palo Gaucho area and the Mid Lake area.,” he said.
Looking in his tackle bags was like getting a glimpse at some top secret fishing experiment, especially when I saw the foot-long flies.
“I had some clients from California come in and use huge swimbaits. When I saw the way big bass responded to them, I decided to take that into the flyfishing world and here we are. They swim in a very realistic fashion and get the attention of big bass,” he said.
Stubbe also books conventional gear trips but still focuses on the hidden areas of the Toledo Bend system.
“The bass there aren’t as pressured, the scenery is beautiful and there are many targets to throw at. And a bunch of those have big ol’ bass on them,” he said.
There’s not much conventional about Mudfish Adventures, Capt. Stubbe and his approach to fishing but that’s the beauty of it. He offers something I haven’t seen in East Texas.
I believe pursuing bass on the fly is a way to get a new perspective on bass and challenge yourself. It has become one of my passions.
I still need to figure out Stubbe’s approach for those big bass with the giant flies. That means a return trip is inevitable and it’s something I very much look forward to in the coming weeks and months.