"The times they are a-changin” (Bob Dylan) or should we say the winds are a-changing?

To say the weather has been a bit different lately is an understatement. We have been having crazy heat accompanied with days and weeks on end of east winds, something that we seldom have in the warmer months. It’s typical to see the cold air wispy and streaky clouds high in the sky during winter but lately we have been seeing this occurrence all too often in the warmer months. The catfish don’t like an east wind just as much as any other species of fish don’t. It’s almost always accompanied by a drop of barometric pressure.

These changes are often around for several days and even weeks now and this has had a notable change on the catfish behaviour. They are a bit more sluggish and slower on the move, being picky as to when and what they eat whereas normally they would just smash the fly with abandon. The weather has undoubtedly been affected by cyclone Freddy and other such phenomenon off the coast of Mozambique and Madagascar. These fronts have had a massive effect on the rainfall which has been excessively high, causing floods and all sorts of mayhem. In turn this has also affected the clarity of the water and although I normally fish dirty water the catfish must deal with water that is dirtier and has less visibility than normal. They do not really like the changes.

Watching how they behave when the fly has been splashed on the water has led me to believe that they are slower than normal on the take and are hanging in the upper part of the water column for longer than normal, looking for and trying to find the fly. This has led me to make some subtle adjustments to the fly that I fish closest to the rod on my New Zealand rig. Instead of fishing my normal stock standard fly the BBB, I have substituted that with a fly that has rubber legs in it for vibration and a bit more material in it to slow the sink rate down. This allows for more time for the fish to locate it. It has also been tied in a manner that allows the Fishient LIVELY LEGS brushes to pulsate in the water, again for some extra movement. I never thought I would see the day when I actually had to make a change to my so-effective combination of a carp tugger and BBB for catching catfish, but I guess necessity really is the mother of invention. I have still kept some of the features of the BBB, like the 6.4mm bead to offer weight to the fly so that it doesn’t wash away from the fish’s mouth when they rush at it with intent and also for the distinct purpose of making an audible sound to attract the catfish to it when it lands on the water.

The new fly the CV (catfish vibrator) fly although scruffy and although the material when wet and out of the water looks horribly untidy, it returns to a beautiful larger and pulsating fly the moment it is placed back in the water. So, it has all the aspects of a skinny fly on sink rate but really gives a visual kick and looks much larger in the water pulsating with movement than the normal BBB. On the days where I have fished this fly in the dirtier waters just after rain or on the east wind days it has absolutely outperformed the catch rate of what the BBB would have. So now my catfish box has grown to three patterns.

What I also like is that with the variety of colours that Fishient supply in this material it has also become a great fly to fish for bass. I guess all the trout and yellow fish anglers are cringing in their seats by now having to read about both catfish and bass on this platform. But for the warmer months these are both great species to target and with the higher temperatures become a very real opportunity to make the off-season for trout a good time to fish.

With just a few adjustments we can change the primary function of this fly. I still choose not to bulk the body too much for bass and just tie in a few wraps of the brush behind and around dumbbell.  The dumbbell is tied on top of the hook to make it swim hook up. The few raps allow the material to pulsate in the water for extra movement. Similar to hollow tying methods. You can change the tail to a rabbit zonker for less knotting if you like. You can add a weed guard if you like, although inverting the fly will already help with its ability to shed weed and not hook-up in structure as much. The colours are endless and fishing for bass you need to have a variety of colours on offer.

You can also retrieve this with long slow strips for catfish and I am sure a largemouth yellow fish would snack it up if it came past him.

How to tie the fly.


Hook. #2 grip 30012

Bead. 6.4mm brass

Cotton. 140 UTC

Tail. Black strung marabou

Body. 3" lively legs from H20 


Step 1

Place bead on the hook.


Step 2

Tie in marabou tail just behind the bead and trap in all the way down the hook shank. Extending about a hook length beyond the hook.


Step 3

Trap lively legs wire in behind bead leaving about 1cm between start point and the bead for body wrapping.


Step 4

Wrap and palmer lively legs in up to the bead with tighter wraps just behind the bead, about 6 or 7 turns only. Trap behind bead and trim and tie off. 


A quite simple fly. Don't overwrap the lively legs as this will bulk the body and influence the sink rate of the fly. Because the body is already a bit more bulky that the normal BBB fly you will fish this fly with slightly longer pausing between plops as well as on the sink. Allowing for more time for the fish to locate it in the dirty water especially so when they aren't coming hard onto the fly. The whole idea is that the rubber legs create bulk in the water making the fly easier to find in dirty water as well as the legs creating greater vibration in the water for better detection in those difficult conditions. 


A recent catch.

Return to News