Many of you reading this may have never attempted to catch bass on a fly rod. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s just as fun as catching any other species. Lucky for you, this is the perfect time of year to learn how. Here’s the basics:
What You’ll Need
Rod – When targeting bass on a fly rod it’s important that you have a sturdy enough rod to handle these mean fish. Typically, the smallest rod I use is a 9′ 5wt. This selection gives you the power needed to fight 3+ pounders, and the length to cast large flies accurately at long distances.
Reel – Any large arbor reel with a smooth drag will suffice
Fly Line – Unlike trout fishing, you don’t have to be very picky when piecing together your rig. Any floating line will work fine (unless you’re fishing deeper water, in which case a sinking tip would work best); a heavier fly line with a short taper will increase casting ability
Leader – For most bass fishing applications a 9’ 2x leader works great for both surface and sub-surface presentations
Tippet – 2x, fluorocarbon for sub-surface presentations, and monofilament for surface presentations
Flies – Though there are thousands of flies to catch bass with, I’ve had the best experience with very simple presentations such as:
Where to Find Bass
It doesn’t matter where you are, a bass is a bass. That said, bass are going to act the same way in almost every area in the world where you can find them.
It’s important to know that naturally, bass of all kinds like cover. Cover can be anything from a fallen tree that extends into the water, to a current break behind a rock.
Understand that bass tend to congregate near changes in terrain (i.e. clay to grass, underwater ditches, etc.)
Though, you can always find bass in current breaks in bodies of water such as rivers and streams, you can also find lots of bass in areas of high current flow in bodies of water such as lakes and ponds.
How to Catch Bass on a Fly Rod
Now that you know what you’ll need and where to go, the next thing you need to know is how to catch bass on a fly rod.
When approaching a body of water be on the lookout for anything that looks extra “bassy” (in other words look for things listed in the section above)
Once you’ve selected an area to start fishing it’s important to have an idea of what the fishes feeding patterns may be at the particular point in the day.
From early spring to early fall you best believe I’m going to fish a popper at sunrise and sunset. (fish surface patterns between 5:30 PM – 10:30 AM)
During the afternoon, subsurface patterns such as the few listed above will usually work the best. (fish sub-surface patterns between 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM)
When fishing for trout the object is to present the flies in the most natural manner possible, thus any movement created by the angler (except when streamer fishing) is typically not a good thing. In bass fishing it’s completely opposite, you give the fly action.
Short, swift strips are the best way to give bass flies action. Retrievals such as that imitate the movements of dying baitfish or other wounded creatures on a bass’ diet.
We hope this helps!
Please check out our last post: All About Fishing Terrestrials