Bass fly fishing can be a great experience for both the beginner fly fisherman as well as the experienced. Fishing for bass can be extremely challenging as well as satisfying. Bass have larger mouths than trout, so your choice of lures is much more diverse. They strike hard and fight strong, so when you are fishing for bass, expect to be exhilarated by the fight in these fish!
A 6-7 weight rod will handle most situations, some anglers like the feel of the lighter 4-5 weight rod, when playing the bass. However, with the smaller rod, you may have trouble casting the larger flies.
Most bass are opportunistic feeders and will bite at anything. In general, however, flies for bass fishing are usually larger and influence a more aggressive strike. Try big muddler minnows, wooly buggers, dahlberg divers, leech patterns etc. Bass will eat smaller flies as well, even size 12. However, fishing with smaller flies is more targeted, the medium to bigger flies are generally better search patterns.
Sight plays a major role in bass getting food and it is believed that bass may be able to judge the size and kind of prey, as well as relative distance through sound. This is why flies that pop, gurgle and make a lot of sound are so effective at getting the bass’ attention.
Vary your retrieve from small twitches to quick pulls. One effective technique is to land the fly on some weed mat (Use a weed guard) or cover and just twitch it off, letting it splash in the water and pause it there for a while, before twitching it.
You can use a floating or sinking lines, with a double taper or weight forward taper. Bass prefer to stay near cover and a food source. This cover gives them a perfect opportunity to ambush prey. With the bass hanging around cover or heading for it when you have a big one on, a shorter heavier leader around 4 to 6 feet, tapered down to 8 to 10 pound tippet, should do the trick. A longer leader of 9 foot is good for clearer waters.
Largemouth bass live in shallow water habitats among reeds, water lilies, and other vegetation naturally found in the water. Largemouths, stay fairly active year-round, but tend to stay near the bottom in the winter months. In waters that have both smallmouth bass and largemouth, the smallmouth are usually slightly deeper. Generally, smallmouth stay deep enough and they are not normally visible from the surface.
Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are a tough species and can be found in rivers, lakes and ponds in various locations throughout the United States. In the northeastern United States, try the rivers and streams in the Adirondack Mountains such as the Mohawk or Black Rivers. There are also some prized bass in the Great Lakes region. Canada can also provide some great opportunities to catch some trophy sized bass.
Fly fishing for bass requires a little bit of finesse and some tenacity when they bite and some strong arm tactics to land them. In fishing around snags you must turn the fish before it reaches cover or it will immediately break you off. Stay with the fish and pull a whopper out of the water you can be proud of.
For the ultimate fun, bass are hard to beat, and did I mention their acrobatic display and truck like brute strength!