Big Flat

Discussion in 'LOCAL KANSAS TALK' started by Kansas Tree Rat, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. Kansas Tree Rat

    Kansas Tree Rat New Member

    Messages:
    486
    State:
    Waverly, Kansas
    I had a strange experience on the Wakarusa yesterday. So odd in fact that I hesitate to post it. I put my kayak in at one bridge to do a 3 mile float. I hit the water about 9:00 a.m. with all day to make it down so I decided to paddle up river first. I went up to the bottom of the first riffle. As I came around the last bend I saw something moving on the bank. It turned out to be a vulture that was feeding on a big fish. I beached the boat and went for a look. It turned out to be a flathead about 40 lbs. It was pretty fresh, still had most of the meat on the head but the vultures had pretty well stripped the rest. I would say it had not been dead for more than a day or so. This is the second big fish I have found dead in the Wakarusa this year. The first one was a 50 lb. plus flat that I found floating in a brush pile about 2 months ago downstream about 5 miles from this one. It made me wonder what had caused them to die.
    I left the boat where it was grabbed my rod and walked up through the riffle to see what the next hole up river looked like. When I got to the bottom of the next pool I walked out to the end of the gravel bar. This is where it gets strange. There was something lying in the water just in front of where I walked up. I was looking up river to see what the pool looked like and was not really paying attention. When I looked down I about freaked out, there was a 35-40 lb flathead in about 12inches of water about 6 feet in front of me. He was just starting to move off when I saw him. He moved to the head of the riffle in a little deeper water where I could only see his tail once in awhile. I had a bobber on so I took that off and put on 3 more worms and tossed out about a foot in front of him. He started to move about that time and so did my line. I never felt him bite but he was taking line. I let him go about 6 feet and set the hook. All hech broke loose. He splashed water all over me getting out of there. The bad thing is that it did not last long as I must have had my drag set a little too tight and the bobber had put a crimp in my line. He broke off pretty quick. I could see where he went just by the mud he churned up from the bottom. I just stood there shaking my head.
    Looking back I wonder about what really happened here. I have never seen or heard of a big flat feeding in the shallows in the middle of the day like this. After thinking about it, this is what I think. After just seeing a big dead fish just downstream I think this fish was sick and dying. I also think that he was not feeding and that he swam into my line and I snagged him (this was NOT my intention). I just wonder what could be causing these big fish to just die. There was very little sign of anyone running lines on this part of the river and I saw no other dead fish of any kind. Anyone have any ideas? If this was a healthy fish I blew the chance of a lifetime. It was a very exciting few minutes.
    I did have a great day and caught a bunch of fish including 2 big channels out of the same log jam. One went 10.3 and the other was 13.2 lbs.
     
  2. uttatoo

    uttatoo New Member

    Messages:
    1,797
    State:
    greatbend kansas
    i dont know but yes it is strange i would maybe let kansas wildlife know about it maybe someone dumped something in the water?
     

  3. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    Seems a shame to hear of a fish like that being sick. wish you could have caught him though. Sounds like it would have been one heck of a fight
     
  4. yeppa

    yeppa New Member

    Messages:
    636
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Sound's to me like he went up the creek when the water was up, then got stuck in there when it went down. That little riffle probably put's just enough oxygen to survive. He would have cleaned out any food in short order, and now has too eat anything as soon as it appears. I think he probably DID eat your bait.

    Either that or was just working on his tan.
     
  5. gottagetabigun

    gottagetabigun New Member

    Messages:
    248
    State:
    OKLAHOMA
    once when i went noodling with my uncle we came up on a sandbar in a small creek. on this sandbar was a 17# flathead . his back fin had been chewed on by coons. he was half out of water. be just picked him up. in some locals of the country i see a lot of resemblance to a salmon run.
     
  6. warcraft1975

    warcraft1975 New Member

    Messages:
    1,190
    this happens alot of that strecth of the river fish come in get stuck and cant get back out die for all sorts of reason from lack of enough food or oxeygen getting depleted faster than it can be made.then the birds of prey and coons get at them
     
  7. KC Jayhawk 78

    KC Jayhawk 78 New Member

    Messages:
    3,236
    State:
    Kansas City, Ks
    I agree with Yeppa and Warcraft. I too think these flatheads are getting stuck, and cant breathe. :sad2:
     
  8. KC Jayhawk 78

    KC Jayhawk 78 New Member

    Messages:
    3,236
    State:
    Kansas City, Ks
    Alan , congrats on the two nice channels. That must be really fun catching big channels like that out of a kayak. Id like to try it sometime, but first Ive got to find a really big kayak. :smile2:
     
  9. Kansas Tree Rat

    Kansas Tree Rat New Member

    Messages:
    486
    State:
    Waverly, Kansas
    Thanks for the input guys. I had considered lack of oxygen. That would make me feel better than thinking about there being something dumped in the water that was killing fish. It would be even better if he was just working on his tan as Yeppa said.
    I think I will send an E-mail to parks and wildlife and see what they say. I will let everyone know if I hear back from them.
    Yes Keith catching a 10 lb. fish out of a 9' pool toy is lots of fun! I am getting pretty good at paddling with one hand and holding the rod with the other. If I could just learn to reel with my teeth I would be in good shape.:eek:oooh:
     
  10. Big Vic

    Big Vic New Member

    Messages:
    664
    State:
    Nebraska
    I think it would be fun to !! But Keith I'm afraid if you or I got in a Kayak we may not be able to get back out :smile2::smile2:
     
  11. kmcalester

    kmcalester Active Member

    Messages:
    1,340
    State:
    Kansas City
    I think they have to get trapped up there or something. Still a good story though.
     
  12. warcraft1975

    warcraft1975 New Member

    Messages:
    1,190
    happens all the time here i have seen dozens of dead flatheads in some of these spots it sucks but it happens
     
  13. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    State:
    KS
    Id say it was lack of oxygen. We were on the Wakarusa Tues night with JJ and it was all dead water. There was no current at all. It looked like a swamp. Nice lookin river, sad that they died. If you see more I would definatley contact the KDWP.
     
  14. uttatoo

    uttatoo New Member

    Messages:
    1,797
    State:
    greatbend kansas

    have you had fun and cought any big ones yet