It’s just before sunrise, on a small suburban lake recommended by a friend, and the water is still and like glass. Deciding to try fly fishing for bass has brought me to the water’s edge. Beside a stickup just beyond the weed line is a yellow bass bug, placed there with a short cast of my fly rod. After a short wait, the hardest part, the surface of the lake explodes, as a five – pound largemouth bass blasts upward, with my popper stuck in the corner of his mouth. A quick strip – set lodges the hook in the bass’s lip, and the fight is on, making every cast ever made worthwhile. This is the heart – racing moment that makes fly fishing for bass at sunrise into memories hard to forget.
So, how does a fly angler fish for bass? It’s not really difficult, once you grasp the nuances:
- Bass tend to be opportunistic, so flash and noise are good
- Bass live in waters just about everywhere
- It takes a strong hook set to catch bass
- You can be successful blind fishing for bass
- Presentation is not as important as finding the bass to target, reading the water is key
- Bass survive well in warm water, so availability is widespread
- Tippet size is not important fishing for bass with a fly rod
Bass live in all of the obvious ‘fishy’ places: around rocks, submerged trees, near stickups, lily pads, weeds, and grass lines, on flats, near deep water drop – offs, where bait fish congregate, and around just about any type of structure in a lake or stream. They can also be found hanging out under tree limbs hanging out over the water, seeking shade on a hot day. Early and late in the day bass tend to be found in shallows, and in the middle of the day in deeper water.
Don’t lose any sleep over the type of rod you use for bass fly fishing, just make sure it has enough backbone to handle a strong fish – a five to eight weight, nine foot fly rod works very well for most bass. If there’s no wind or heavy weed cover, a five or six weight will do, but for flinging larger, bulky, feathery flies in wind, go heavier, up to an eight weight. Use a fly line that will fit the rod, and a weight – forward line will cast large flies best.
When it comes to leaders, bass really don’t care what size leader you use, they don’t get spooked by line size. The angler’s concern is more about the ability to turn over the fly and bring in the fish than anything else.