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farmpond1

Flyfishing for smallmouth

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Okay, I realize I'm stepping on thin ice here.  I'm afraid of bringing it up.  Some bassers look on with disdain on folks such as myself.  It's like admitting to sleeping with one's own sister.  But here goes:  I am a flyfisherman.  Not a good one, mind you.  I'm really just a beginner.  But a friend got me hooked (no pun intended) last year and since then, I've found a new passion.  Heck, even catching a puney sunfish with a little sponge beetle is way more fun than I might've imagined.  But I love smallmouth bass and that's what I want to focus on.

For those other flyfishing aficionado's out there, what are your favorite flies patterns for smallies?  My friend ties his own creations similar to a woolly grubber only with shiny tinsel on it.  I lost the last one he "lent me" to a lilly pad.  I ordered a vice from BPS and am about ready to begin tying some of my own concoctions.  I just hope the fish in my river are all far-sighted or are used to seeing mutated baitfish.

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It's ok, you are not alone...I am also affected by this horrible (and very expensive) condition ;)

I frequent several rivers around here with my trusty 5-weight, mostly in the summertime though cuz wading is out of the question this time of year and its easier to catch em on conventional stuff.

But,in the summertime when I do most of my flyfishing, I have 3 main patterns that are very effective on smallmouth and are pretty much the only flies I use for em...

The first is a Dahlburg Diver, an extremely effective topwater bug that when stripped hard dives under the surface and works like a popper.

The second is my hand-tied Clouser minnows, I tie them with bucktail and marbou to give it a little more action in the fast flowing water.

And the third is also hand-tied by me, a woolly bugger type flie with a long rabbit fur tail and flashabou tied in around the body.

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I have not fished for large smallmouth on the fly, but for smaller ones (creek trout size) I use woolly buggers in brown, green and black.  Sizes 6 and 8.  I know, small.  I'm only using a 5 wt. though and it's pretty hard to throw buggers that size on a 5 wt.

If you have a heavier wt. rod, maybe you should upsize your flies.  From your post though, I think you're throwing a lighter rod though.

Cheers!

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I have a (very) cheap 7-8 weight Shakespeare fiberglass flyrod and reel combo that I got for Christmas over 20 years ago.  It's actually pretty limber, however, and 7-8 weight line doesn't actually match it very well.  Me thinks it's time to graduate up to a decent graphite rod.

Seems to me, streamer type flies are the way to go.  Crawdad flies might work if I can get them down deep enough.

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Fly fishing is great, no shame in it!

For what it's worth (since I'm in central Tx., south of most good smallie water) I catch most of my smallies on big clouser type flies in white, with either a few strands of blue or a red collar and the better smallies have come on big Lefty's Decievers.  (white body with blue upper and a few strands of peacock herl on top)  I'm fishing a lake, though.

I don't throw many craw type flies in freshwater... when I want to fish slow, I have a BC rod in hand.  But I have caught some smallies on a shrimp pattern I was testing before a trip to the coast.

I used to do a lot of tying (now just occasionally) and my best tip to a new tyer is to tie your flies sparse.  We always try to put too much into them.  Most patterns look better in the water when left sparse.  Best tip #2, learn to tie a quick easy mono weedgaurd.  It will save you tons of flies.

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FLY FISHING FOR BASS IS AWSOME! :o :o :o!!!!!!!!!! FLY FISH NON STOP WHEN AT SCHOOL I GO TO SCHOOL IN MONTANA SO THERE IS NO CHOICE!!!! THE BUGGER IS AWSOME TO USE!!!! ADD SOME BRIGHT COLORED MARABU AND TINSIL  YOUR SET THERE REALLY IS NO NEED TO TIE ANYTHING ELSE!!!!!! IF YOU WANT TO GO WITH SOMETHING ON TOP I GOT A FLY TYIN WEB SITE THAT IS GREAT TELLS YOU AND SHOWS YOU EVERYTHING !!! A CLOUSER MINNOW WORKS GREAT I ALSO TIE A SCULPIN THAT WORKS GREAT!! THE DALBERG DIVER IS A FUN TOP WATER ONE TO USE I USE THAT ONE WITH LARGE MOUTH AND PIKE!!!! DO NOT HAVE ANY SHAME IN FLY FISHIN!! IF YOU HAVE ANY MORE QUESTIONS LET ME KNOW IM GLAD TO HELP!!!! ;D ;D ;D :o :o

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I have a (very) cheap 7-8 weight Shakespeare fiberglass flyrod and reel combo that I got for Christmas over 20 years ago. It's actually pretty limber, however, and 7-8 weight line doesn't actually match it very well. Me thinks it's time to graduate up to a decent graphite rod.

Seems to me, streamer type flies are the way to go. Crawdad flies might work if I can get them down deep enough.

CRAWDAD FLIES WORK GREAT BUT I HAVE NEVER TIED ONE MY BUDDY DOES!!!  7-8W A BIT HEAVY IN MY OPINION! I WOULD GO WITH A 5-6WT FOR SURE!! IF UR LOOKIN FOR A NEW ROD LET ME KNOW CUZ I'M SURE I CAN GET RID OF A FEW I GOT LIKE TEN FLY RODS WAY MORE THAN I NEED THEY ARE JUST HARD TO PART WITH ;)!!!!!!!!

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For fishing mid-size rivers I use a 6 wt. with a floating line.  My usual fly is a beadhead woolly bugger that I tie myself.  "Cystal rootbeer" color body.  Brown hackle.  Brown marabou tail.  Several strands of copper flash tied in with the tail.  Coffee colored water I might switch to a black bugger.   My other go-to fly is the crawfish clouser described below that I originally tied for lakes.   Other buggers, clousers, etc. work, but we all have our go-to flies.  Catching smallies in rivers is pretty easy (compared to lakes).  Since it is all about reading the water and eliciting a reaction strike the flies don't have to be very realistic.

For lake fishing I switch to my 8 wt with a 200 to 250 grain fly line.  This makes it easy to fish any fly from 1 ft down to about 10 ft, and weighted flies even deeper.  For clear water I tie an array of epoxy flies that look like perch, shiners or walleyes. "Pop Fleyes" is a great book to see how to tie this style of fly.  In slightly stained water or for a crayfish bite I tie a clouser as follows:  size 2 to 2/0 hook,  Dumbell eyes and glass rattle approx. 1/8 inch behind eyes, orange super hair tied between the eyes and rattle with the material split on each side of the rattle (think claws) and instead of clipping the "head" of the super hair I bend it backwards and put a few wraps over it to make a tail, final touch is brown marabou on the top of the fly (1/4 to 1/2 inch shorter than orange super hair).  Think of it as the fly fisherman's bass jig.  This is a very easy to tie and a very good crawfish imitation that can be fished at many depths and has some sound (until you cast the rattle directly into a rock or piling).  

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Yep.  I want to get a good 5-6 weight rod but the bait monkey has only a partial grip on me and with Christmas on it's way, I'd better hold off for awhile.  I've heard it's best to save up for a pretty good rod rather than buying a cheap one-which is what I have now.  Doucet, I may be contacting you later in the Spring.

I don't really want to spring for a sinking flyline so apart from that what's the best way to get a fly down deep.  I know only a little about weighted flies and putting split shot on the leader.  For the latter method, how far down (or up) the leader should I put split shot?  How much is too much weight?  Another question I just thought of:  How far from the fly or streamer should I put a strike indicator?  These are basic questions, to be sure, but I am pretty much a beginner.

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If your using a streamer there is no reason in my opinion to use a strike indicator i never have!! just keep the slack out of your line and you will feel the strike! ;D

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