Fly Rod Bass
It’s no secret that bass will eat a fly but I don’t think most fly rodders realize how consistent and effective it really can be. Our bass lakes, particularly the Salt River chain lakes are hit pretty hard with the local bass tournaments and most of the guys fishing them are good anglers. I have waited around several times to see some of the catch at the weigh ins and most times they are pretty impressive…sometimes unbelievable. I am always amazed at how often one or maybe a couple teams will come in with a bag that is so much larger than the rest of the field. They figured the bite and the location that day and it paid off for them. Most of the time it is because they put time in on the lake prior to the tournament and had a good idea of what was the best technique/bait at that time.
It is the same way with a fly rod. Most of the time bass are feeding on either crayfish, shad or young of the year….be it baby carp, bluegill, bass, yellows, shad, etc. The point is bass eat other fish, at times exclusively. Nothing imitates a baitifsh better than a well tied fly….sometimes it doesn’t even have to be tied well. Get the basic size, color and shape and you can be in the game. Bass don’t see these patterns very often and I believe that is an advantage to us fly rodders. The trick is finding fish that want to play. Sometimes certain events in the day will trigger a feed and you will have to wait until it happens; often….it never happens. That’s fishing.
You have to figure what the bass are keying on at that time of year. If you find they are feeding on shad that have recently hatched you need to find the size and location, usually shallow, as the shad spawn in warmer water. Sometimes the crayfish are molting and turn a particular color. You should imitate both baits size wise and color wise and fish it appropriately in the areas they are spawning or molting.
Thanks to AZG&F and the UAAF for restocking fish after the Golden Algae kills. The Salt River lakes are in great shape holding some of the biggest bass in a long time, both smallmouth and largemouth. Let’s just hope the lakes have no major problems because with the Florida strain in them now, it should just keep getting better and better.
(contributing angler: John Rohmer)