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Fly-Fishing for Largemouth Bass

Dec 11, 2007
When we speak of bass, we are talking about four main species in the U.S., all of which are taken regularly on fly rods. In my opinion, fly-fishing is the ultimate way to enjoy the sport. Nothing can equal the thrill of a Largemouth bass exploding from the water and smashing your fly, or a river Smallmouth making psychotic twists and turns in an attempt to throw your fly. Hooking a Stripped Bass on a fly rod is akin to battling a small submarine.

Equipment for Largemouth bass is basic. You will need a 6-8wt fly rod in the 8-9 foot lengths. I recommend a medium action graphite rod because you will need some backbone to exert pressure on a hooked bass near cover, and will need some bend in order to cast the larger bass flies. Your reel should have a disc drag. Largemouth bass do not make long runs, but they will put a lot of pressure on your equipment.

Largemouth bass tend to be lake and larger river fish. They do not particularly like current, and favor warm water. They are ambush predators, and will attack anything they think will fit in their mouth, from small nymphs to baby ducks, small mammals, frogs, and other fish. They are fearless and do not spook easily. They are not meticulous feeders.

Largemouth bass respond to noises in the water, and anything nearby that splashes, gurgles or pops will trigger an attack. In addition, movement can trigger attacks. Bass are not particularly color conscious so that is the last factor to consider in selecting a fly. Usually, anything with a good contrast to the background that they can see well is good enough. The main decision you have to make is to fish on top of the water, or sub-surface.

The classic bass fly for top water is the Deer-Hair Popper. They can be purchased at most stores carrying fly gear, or tied yourself. There are many different variations and color combinations, and they all work. My favorite is a white and red one, because I can see it well on the water. Next, there are many types of foam bugs, frogs and cork poppers available, and again, they all work. Some are the size of small birds and can be difficult to cast in a breeze, so keep that in mind.

For sub-surface action, the two best flies are the weighted Wooly Booger in black, brown, olive or any combination, and the Clouser Minnow in colors to match the local baitfish. If I could only have two flies to fish with, these would be it. They catch anything that swims in both fresh and salt water, anywhere in the world! No fly box should be without a good supply of these two flies. My next choice is the incredible Hard-Hackle Worm, invented by Richard Komar of Plano, Tx. This is the fly anglers version of a plastic worm, except it works better. Purple and black are my best colors. On this fly, you cast it near cover and just let it float for a bit, then softly twitch it, and it will begin to sink slowly.

Give it an extra twitch every so often, and Hang-On! Bass hit this fly very viciously! Another fly I like for Largemouth is another of Mr. Komars creations, the Texas Bullfrog. Both patterns are very successful. Other good patterns are the Dahlberg Diver, and various leech patterns.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best bass fishing information possible. Get more information on fly fishing for bass here: http://www.askbassfishing.com/
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