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Sep

Fly Fishing for Bass

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I guess I'm neither fish nor fowl. I like to chase bass with a fly rod. The serious bass fishermen discount me for my wispy, fussy, elitist tackle. The serious fly fishermen discount me because I pursue the lowly bass rather than their sacred, revered trout. They both miss the point. It's darn fun.

To start, bass guys, you know that nothing cranks the adrenaline like a heavy top water hit and trying to bring home a serious largemouth on a noodle and light tippet is a rollicking, drag testing challenge. Yeah, I can't often get to the deep ones, but where and when I fish, that's not a problem. After a season spent pitching a fly line, dragging a Senko across the bottom, a twitch at a time, is sort of, well, dull. Sorry.

And you fly guys, a twelve inch smallmouth will kick the snot out of a twelve inch rainbow, with one fin tied behind its back. And you still get to fish those beautiful mountains. Trout are fun, but someone once said that if smallies grew to be the size of, say, sharks, no one would go in the water. Sorry.

For me, a day well spent is one wet wading around the slower braids of my neighborhood Haw River, pitching a 6wt for largemouth under the overhanging edges and around the tons of cover scattered about the place, or perhaps a day float tubing for smallmouth down the New River just west of here, probing those submerged rock overhangs where the smallies can be stacked like cordwood.

Don't get me wrong, I love bass fishing with any kind of stick and I spend my share of time drifting #24 nymphs at those wily wild trout, but mixing the two is a serious blast. So, since I'm new here and don't see much discussion on fly-fishing for bass, let me introduce the topic. There have to be others out there that are neither fish, nor foul. Let's hear from you.

Sep

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Welcome aboard!

I'll bet a few guys have caught a nice fish, bass or trout, on fly fishing

tackle, but I don't actually know anyone that has. It seems like a little

fish method to me. My observation is that fly fishermen are all show and

no go. It seems to be all about "fishing" not "catching".

::)

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First off, I'll put this guy (I mean girl) up to ANY smallie  ;D

418465189_jLRYz-L.jpg

Second, I would agree, smallies on 5/6 wt. rod is a blast, but for my money conventional gear gets the job done with a lot less hassle.

I also don't get why you would assume you are alienated.  You merely pigeon hole yourself by perpetuating old stereotypes that don't apply anymore.  Most anglers like to catch; how they fish doesn't really matter.

I do agree with RW though, there is a contingency of fly anglers that seem to get more out of the "craft" than actually catching.  For them, a whiff of their hand tied dry fly by a skinny, 8" trout makes their day.

Personally, I do A LOT of trout fishing, and rarely does my fly rig leave the rod rack.  Floating is just so much more effective at getting into bigger fish.

It always cracks me up when trout guys call bass junk fish, or bass guys call trout the same.  Nobody messes with the Esox guys though, LOL.  I suppose my point of view has something to do with year round availability of many species.

Anyway, I'd love to see some pictures of some decent bass on the fly, and what your thoughts on patterns are.

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Roadwarrior, thanks for the response. You bring up a couple good points.

I understand the perspective of fly fishing being small fishing, but it really depends on how you go at it. For example, for largemouth I like to throw an Orvis Gully Fish which is sort of the fly version of an original Rapala to try to keep the small stuff (bluegill, pumpkinseed, etc) from hitting. One buddy of mine calls it a cheater fly. Guess it doesn't have enough freakin' feathers. I've caught 162 largemouths this year (yeah, I keep a pretty tight fishing journal) and the vast majority fell in the 10-18 inch range. Might be small by your standards, but they fight bigger on a fly rod. In truth, my biggest bass this year was a 24 incher, perhaps 8+ pounds, caught on baitcasting tackle, that fought like a log. The 18 inchers on the whippy rod were a heck of a lot more fun. I guess it's like muzzle-loader or bow hunting for deer. More challenging gear make the hunt more interesting.

As for fishing versus catching, I'm guilty. I like the whole enchilada. But, for sure, it tastes better when the catching is good.

And nice fish, Francho!!! I don't actually assume I'm alienated. Any way that catches fish, short of nets and dynamite, is the right way. It's just fun to stir the stereotypical pot now and again.

Good conversation, guys. Thanks!!!

Sep

Welcome aboard!

I'll bet a few guys have caught a nice fish, bass or trout, on fly fishing

tackle, but I don't actually know anyone that has. It seems like a little

fish method to me. My observation is that fly fishermen are all show and

no go. It seems to be all about "fishing" not "catching".

::)

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Darn...

The best response on this thread was sent to me by a man who apparently want's to remain anonymous. Thirty-six years ago he caught a 19+ lb bass on a fly rod. Maybe he will see my post and decide to tell us all about it, but either way, I stand corrected!

8-)

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Darn...

The best response on this thread was sent to me by a man who apparently want's to remain anonymous. Thirty-six years ago he caught a 19+ lb bass on a fly rod. Maybe he will see my post and decide to tell us all about it, but either way, I stand corrected!

8-)

That story must be told!

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And nice fish, Francho!!!  I don't actually assume I'm alienated.  Any way that catches fish, short of nets and dynamite, is the right way.  It's just fun to stir the stereotypical pot now and again.
Thanks man.  I caught her drifting salmon skein in the frogwater of a very well known western NY trib a few weeks ago.  I was actually asleep at the wheel of a hero drift, when my buddy asks, "Yo dude, where's your float?"  "it's way down ther....woa! Fish on!"  LOL.

I hear you on the other stuff.  I fish from a kayak, and boaters are like why not get a boat, while yakkers are like that's not a yak.  Whatever, I can sneak up on shallow fish, as well as paddle two or three miles out into Lake Ontario for deep water smallies.  I even caught a few on the fly with her :)

354586701_gxURg-M.jpg

354586387_MYPi2-M.jpg

Bring on "flied bass" pix :)

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My grandpa introduced me to using fly-fishing gear for bluegills, which is pretty much as fun as using casting tackle for bass. At my girlfriend's pond that I go to, i had plenty of large, 3-4lb bass hit at this fly I was using, but my fly was too small to hook them, or i just suck, which is more likely the case.

As for it being a hassle...i dont think it's much of one, bluegills will hit pretty much any dry fly out there, so you can just buy about 4 popper/spiders and use the same one until it gets too torn up to use.

I have decided to start going after big bass, using jigs, swimbaits, and 10+ in. worms. So I plan on using my fly rod whenever I want to have some easy, fun fishing

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I hear you on the other stuff. I fish from a kayak, and boaters are like why not get a boat, while yakkers are like that's not a yak. Whatever, I can sneak up on shallow fish, as well as paddle two or three miles out into Lake Ontario for deep water smallies. I even caught a few on the fly with her :)

Bring on "flied bass" pix :)

Dude, I have serious respect if you're willing to paddle 2 to 3 miles out onto Lake O in a yak.

I'll do a lot of crazy stuff fishing, but that's out of my league.

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I won't go out in anything over 3'ers or if there are whitecaps.  Otherwise, its actually more stable than a deep V.  At about 5 mph with little effort, it isn't but a short run back to shore, if it looks like trouble brewing.  You'd laugh out loud if you saw the saved tracks on my GPS.

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First off, I'll put this guy (I mean girl) up to ANY smallie ;D

418465189_jLRYz-L.jpg

Second, I would agree, smallies on 5/6 wt. rod is a blast, but for my money conventional gear gets the job done with a lot less hassle.

I also don't get why you would assume you are alienated. You merely pigeon hole yourself by perpetuating old stereotypes that don't apply anymore. Most anglers like to catch; how they fish doesn't really matter.

I do agree with RW though, there is a contingency of fly anglers that seem to get more out of the "craft" than actually catching. For them, a whiff of their hand tied dry fly by a skinny, 8" trout makes their day.

Personally, I do A LOT of trout fishing, and rarely does my fly rig leave the rod rack. Floating is just so much more effective at getting into bigger fish.

It always cracks me up when trout guys call bass junk fish, or bass guys call trout the same. Nobody messes with the Esox guys though, LOL. I suppose my point of view has something to do with year round availability of many species.

Anyway, I'd love to see some pictures of some decent bass on the fly, and what your thoughts on patterns are.

If that was a smallie, the same size, which do you think would fight harder? ::)

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Don't be sorry!  :)

Fly fishing for bass is so much more fun than with a conventional tackle, I would do it more if I still had a fly rod!  ;)

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First off, I'll put this guy (I mean girl) up to ANY smallie  ;D

418465189_jLRYz-L.jpg

Second, I would agree, smallies on 5/6 wt. rod is a blast, but for my money conventional gear gets the job done with a lot less hassle.

I also don't get why you would assume you are alienated.  You merely pigeon hole yourself by perpetuating old stereotypes that don't apply anymore.  Most anglers like to catch; how they fish doesn't really matter.

I do agree with RW though, there is a contingency of fly anglers that seem to get more out of the "craft" than actually catching.  For them, a whiff of their hand tied dry fly by a skinny, 8" trout makes their day.

Personally, I do A LOT of trout fishing, and rarely does my fly rig leave the rod rack.  Floating is just so much more effective at getting into bigger fish.

It always cracks me up when trout guys call bass junk fish, or bass guys call trout the same.  Nobody messes with the Esox guys though, LOL.  I suppose my point of view has something to do with year round availability of many species.

Anyway, I'd love to see some pictures of some decent bass on the fly, and what your thoughts on patterns are.

If that was a smallie, the same size, which do you think would fight harder? ::)

The Chrome Wins.  You've obviously never hooked a steelhead.

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Both the steels and the smallies pack a serious punch per pound. I'd take one of either at that size.  What's the record for a smallie?

And Francho, that's a serious fishin' float you've got going on there. I'm not too sure about the 2-3 mile excursion, though. You got guts, my friend.

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I fly fish a lot. Mostly for trout when it is too cold for bass fishing. However I quite often fly fish for Bass on farm ponds and golf course ponds. I wade the river shoals around here and fish for shoal Bass.

The largest Bass I have caught on a fly was 7 lbs and that was a blast on a six weight. I still fish a lot with conventional tackle as well. What I fish with is determined by where I am fishing, what time of year it is and whether I am in the boat or on foot.

Fly fishing is not confined to topwater. I can tie a fly to mimic a lot of conventional bait. I have caught a lot of bass on a "Hairy Fodder" which is basicaly a jig for a fly rod or a clouser which looks like a bait fish and both can be fished fairly deep with a sink tip line.

I just like all kinds of fishing. Fly, casting, spinning, freshwater or salt it's all good.

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You've obviously never hooked a steelhead.

I have never caught a steelhead, but the White River

in north central Arkansas produces a lot of trophy size

brown trout. I assure you, once a brown reaches 5 lbs,

it is significantly stronger than a comparable smallmouth.

A couple of years ago my 79 year old dad had an estimated

15-20 brown trout on for 45 minutes. The fish jumped 8 times

and we got it (almost) to the boat 5 times before it was able

to wrap around the motor and break free. There aren't many

(any?) freshwater fish that put up a fight like that.

8-)

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Both the steels and the smallies pack a serious punch per pound.  I'd take one of either at that size.  What's the record for a smallie?

And Francho, that's a serious fishin' float you've got going on there.  I'm not too sure about the 2-3 mile excursion, though.  You got guts, my friend.

In NY, the record smallie is 8-4.  The record steelie is 31-3.  I've caught many 3-5# smallies, and a few rainbows in that class, though most are larger.  The difference is that the chromes have current in their favor, since I fish smallies in the lake.  Perhaps that's where the diference lies.  Don't get me wrong, smallmouth are about my favorite thing to catch, but the battle isn't nearly as dramatic as fresh chrome.

As far as the yak is concerned, it designed for near shore fishing in the ocean.  The hull design is meant for crashing through the surf to get to deeper water.  There are guys using them that are way more nuts than I.  BTW, I carry quite a bit of safety gear, and rely on radar reports from my cousin who runs a salmon charter out of the areas I fish.  Its a much more calculated risk than you think.  In fact, I've paddled in from water faster than some small boats that have stayed out too long.  The only time I get nervous is when lightning comes out of nowhere, so if I hear thunder, even in the distance, I get close to shore ASAP. ;)

At any rate, its cool to hear the reports of BIG fish being caught on the fly.  For all you Great Lakes pinners, smallies hit trout beads and sacks as well.  They are fun on a 15' rod, LOL.

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The World Record Smallmouth was caught on Dale Hollow

by David Hayes in 1955. It weighed 11 lbs 15 oz.

8-)

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You've obviously never hooked a steelhead.

I have never caught a steelhead, but the White River

in north central Arkansas produces a lot of trophy size

brown trout. I assure you, once a brown reaches 5 lbs,

it is significantly stronger than a comparable smallmouth.

A couple of years ago my 79 year old dad had an estimated

15-20 brown trout on for 45 minutes. The fish jumped 8 times

and we got it (almost) to the boat 5 times before it was able

to wrap around the motor and break free. There aren't many

(any?) freshwater fish that put up a fight like that.

8-)

Kent, browns are tough little customers.  My personal best brown was a 22# hen, prespawn and laden with skein, so the fight was more of a haul her in, let her spool me, repeat, rinse, and 45 minutes you land her.  I've had browns that jump as well.  Steelhead go absolutely ballistic.  The smaller ones (<10#) spend more time in the air than in the water.  I actually had to take a few home to eat, after they killed themselves by jumping and smacking the rocks.

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The World Record Smallmouth was caught on Dale Hollow

by David Hayes in 1955. It weighed 11 lbs 15 oz.

8-)

Let's take a minute to reflect on what catching that fish must have been like.

Good Lord, that's a big smallie!

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The wife enjoys it when she is fishing with me. She catches a lot of fish, but they are all on the small size. About 2 lbs. being the largest. We go to the smokies a couple of times a year and she enjoys the trout fishing. I personally do not fly fish, but she has a ball doing it.

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I fly fish all summer for smallies with poppers and different flies, but there are days I go up to the van and grab my spinning rod because they don't hit anything I throw at them on a flyrod. I'll go back down to the river and throw a in-line spinner and start to catch smallies.

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The World Record Smallmouth was caught on Dale Hollow

by David Hayes in 1955. It weighed 11 lbs 15 oz.

Let's take a minute to reflect on what catching that fish must have been like.

Good Lord, that's a big smallie!

Well, kinda like this, but with a happy ending!

http://www.bassresource.com/bass_fishing_forums/YaBB.pl?num=1226342926

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I remember that post Kent.  Big trout and salmon battles are much like this.  You question whether it was a bad idea to reuse the leader because it was too cold to retie about a thousand times, LOL.  I have a similar story about a possible NY record chrome that didn't end well.  Some of it was bad luck, some my fault for not realizing it was a chromie, not a Chinook on the end of my line.  I'll never take any big fish for granted again.  Don't worry, there a few people that I truly believe will get the big one.  You, Huskybass, and a few others are committed to the cause.

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BC, you're spot on about not being limited to topwater. My favorite gully fish actually swims a few inches below the surface. When it's not happening on top, with gullys, deer hair frogs, or bumblebee hoppers, I go to the multi-purpose woolly bugger, in assorted colors, but most effectively in white. I like the ones tied with weighted wrap and fish it at several levels in the water column, with or without a sink tip. (My last couple of trips west, the woollies also worked well for smallmouths, believe it or not, in hot pink.) I also like something called a JJ Special, basically a beadhead woolly with long yellow legs. I also throw some tarpon sliders with some success.

I'm a shoals guy too, wading the heavily braided Haw, just west of Raleigh, NC.  Fun stuff.

And somebody, the 19lb bass on a fly rod story MUST be told!!!!

I fly fish a lot. Mostly for trout when it is too cold for bass fishing. However I quite often fly fish for Bass on farm ponds and golf course ponds. I wade the river shoals around here and fish for shoal Bass.

The largest Bass I have caught on a fly was 7 lbs and that was a blast on a six weight. I still fish a lot with conventional tackle as well. What I fish with is determined by where I am fishing, what time of year it is and whether I am in the boat or on foot.

Fly fishing is not confined to topwater. I can tie a fly to mimic a lot of conventional bait. I have caught a lot of bass on a "Hairy Fodder" which is basicaly a jig for a fly rod or a clouser which looks like a bait fish and both can be fished fairly deep with a sink tip line.

I just like all kinds of fishing. Fly, casting, spinning, freshwater or salt it's all good.

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