Advanced Bass Fly Fishing

bass are popular because they’re
accessible almost everywhere and fun tochase in our first season we went
through the very basics of gettingstarted in this video we’ll take fly
fishing for bass to the next level we’llshow you how to be successful
catching largemouth and smallmouth bassin all seasons in both rivers and lakeswe’ll demonstrate different fly lines
leaders flies and techniques to catchbass throughout the season we’re also
going to help you find them based on theseason which is perhaps the most
important part of bass fishing it’sgonna be a great journey of discovery
education that fish has already refusedthat fly you’re gonna have to try just a
slightly different pattern the wall castpick up is a great cast to use it a lot
of fishing situations this is abeautiful wild trout from a small screen
just a gorgeous little bit I say hitthat banks let’s go to that grass bedthe Orvis guide to fly-fishing is
supported by Orvis fly-fishingdestination ontario Algoma country main
office of tourism at a post boat worksglobal rescue trout unlimited Oscar
blues brewerywelcome to the Orvis guide to
fly-fishing you know bass are fun nomatter where you catch them and no
matter how big they are and it could befound almost all around North America
we’re gonna explore the seasons of bestbecause bass fishing is different
depending on the time of year and thetime of day and what the bass are doingfirst let’s look at springbass spawn and spring water temperatures
get to be about 58 degrees bass moveinto the shells to stage prior to
spawning then they typically spawnbetween 60 and 70 degrees bass behave
differently before and after the spawnboth are great opportunities but you
have to check your regulations becausein some states and provinces there’s a
closed season to protect spawning basssome areas allow you to fish for bass
during spawning season on a catch andrelease basis pre spawn usually happens
between 48 and 55 degrees as lake orriver waters warm up both smallmouth and
largemouth bass begin to move from theirdeep winter haunts to search for food in
preparation for spawningin this animation you can see how bass
travel from deep water to shallow waterareas to hunt for prey the type of
structure they go to will vary dependingon the water types and prey availability
they’re usually quite aggressivedepending on water temperature and will
spread out in small hunting packsconstantly moving and searching for prey
this corresponds with the emergence ofcrayfish from hibernation
which is why crayfish patterns are soeffective in spring bait fish are also
moving into the shallows in search ofwarmer water baths are trying to get
nourishment in preparation for spawningso they feed eagerly on sunny days when
the shallow water warms quickly basswill be found in the shallows hunting
for crayfish and bait fish look for themin areas of down timber rocky shorelines
and around rocky islands now I’ve neverdone any smallmouth fishing this early
on purpose anyways but we’re here to tryto see if we can catch some of these pre
spawn small mouths here we are in Mainein May before spawning season we look
for smallmouth in the shallows on thisRiver and we found this nice one there’s
one way back in the shallow water butlow and slow is sure the sure the secret
here with these early season andsmallmouth by using plenty of pauses and
our strips we allowed to fly to sell onthe bottom and then dart upward which
keeps a fly moving slower and keeps itcloser to the bottom where bass are
found at this time of year thank youbuddy see if there’s another one back in
there oh there’s another onethese Fisher are just in that just in
the current but right in the slower partof the current when the water gets
between 55 and 70 degrees bass arestaging for spawning building nests and
actually spawning it’s important to notethat not all bass spawn at once at any
given time when the waters in the 60ssome bass may be getting ready to spawn
others will be spawning andsome will already have finished spawning
so in the early season there are manyinsects around so the fish are gonna be
eating mostly bait fish and crayfish thebig fish are starting to get active a
crayfish are starting to get active soyou want to have flies a kind of match
bait fish and crayfish so I’ve got somesome bait fish imitations of various
sizes and colors here and then I’ve gotsome different crayfish imitations and a
big nymph there are some there are theremay be a few mayflies hatching pretty
soon so we’re gonna try a big nymph soit’s early season and we just caught a
bass and it spit up a bunch of littlebaitfish now I’m not that bright but I
don’t have to be a hit over the head totell me that it’s probably a good idea
to put on a baitfish invitation so I’vegot this game-changer which is quite a
bit bigger than that bait but I knowthey’re eating baitfish they’re probably
not going to be selective so I’m gonnafish this bait fish invitation and see
if we can interest the bass if you wantto avoid phishing for actively spawning
fish don’t fish directly over theirnests some people don’t think it’s
ethical the nests are easy to spot yourbest bet is to look for cruising fish
which are usually pre spawn or postspawn fish if you want a target post
spawn fish which are usually females anda little bit bigger they’ll be found in
deeper water six to ten feet deep beyondthe beds males guard the nest so they
may still be on the nest when thefemales are deeper the males will stay
on the nests up to four weeks guardingthe young from predators on the crayfish
we’ve been fishing bait fish patternsand poppers all day and really haven’t
tried a crayfish so you could tell whenthey think they’re crayfish because
they’d always take them deep becausethey want to crush them they want to get
them right into their throat all rightbuddy
waters warming up you can tell they’refrisky today this fly I’m using is is a
a double-header is a is a fly I’d tiedfor saltwater fishing for striped bass
it’s a crab invitation got some clawsand some rabbit fur and that’s about itas water temperatures warm and bass
complete they’re spawning they’reexceptionally aggressive and hungry this
is the time to begin trying surfaceflies like hair bugs often this is the
best fast fishing of the year what ifyou’re not catching bass at this time of
year you need to move because they’regonna be feeding somewhereso for a lot of bass fisheries you
probably only need one fly line and thego-to line for the most part is an
intermediate line intermediate line is aslow sinking line and you can fish
shallow with it just fish with anunweighted fly and you can also fish
deep with it if you put a weighted flyon it’ll pull the intermediate weight
line down and you can fish it deep sothat’s really a go-to line but if you’re
gonna be fishing a big lake like thisyou’re probably gonna want two or maybe
three fly linesI never go without a floating line
because I love fishing poppers for bestif there’s any opportunity I’m gonna
fish a popper so you need a floatingline for that and then if you’re in a
big lake particularly if it’s mid summerand you suspect the bass or suspended
deep you’re probably also gonna want afull sinking line or a depth charge type
line so three lines are great probablytwo is a good idea on large lakes if the
fish are very shallow under four feetdeep you’ll usually be able to spot them
if the water is clear enough and afloating line is about all you’ll need
weighted flies are useful here too andyou don’t need to worry about the splash
of weighted fly makes because the plopof a weighted fly may actually attract a
hungry bassif you suspect the bass are in deeper
water or if you can’t see bass on thespawning beds they’ll likely be in 4 to
10 feet of water close to the spawningbeds you need to get deeper in the water
column and will need to keep your fly inthis deeper water throughout your
retrieve so a sink tip or intermediateline is a better choice so I’m using an
intermediate line and a weighted fly sothat I can get deep if I need to you
know that intermediate slow sinking lineif I want to go in and fish the shallows
I still am not hanging bottom every timeand what you want to do is make sure
that you keep your rod tip low to thewater we’ve got a little bit of wind
today and if you keep your rod tip lowto the water you’re gonna keep that fly
totally in control you’re not kind of alot of slack blown around in the wind
and you’re also gonna be able to see andfeel those strikes a lot better for
deeper water let the line in fly sinkusing the countdown method as
intermediate line sink at about one anda half to two inches per secondoh wow beautifulwhen using an intermediate line in
deeper water make sure you keep your rodtip low in your line tight to the fly as
bass will often take the fly on theinitial drop watch for the line to
tighten or twitch as it sinks inshallower water with an intermediate
line just begin your retrieve quicker sothe fly fish is at an effective depth
and prevent snagging on the bottom inthis early season smallmouth fishing the
waters cold the fish are going to bepretty lethargic so we’re gonna fish a
subsurface fly and we’re gonna try tomove the fly pretty slowly because the
fish aren’t gonna chase anything veryfar oh nice smallmouth so he was right
in the back on the inside here in thiskind of slow swirly slack water the same
kind of water we’ve been catching theseguys with a slow retrieve in this cold
water so I’m using a seven weight rodnine foot seven weight rod and an
intermediate line typically later in theseason you’d use a floating line for
smallmouth but we know the fish aregoing to be relatively deep and the
water isn’t terribly deep here but thefish are going to be closer to the
bottom so an intermediate line shouldget me in the right place in conjunction
with a weighted fly I’ve got a weightedstreamer fly on the end oh that feels
like heavier fish the water this cold Inever would have thought we’d be
catching small Moss like this oh that’sa nice small amount – yeah that’s a
beauty nice fishsee you later in spring concentrate on
crayfish patterns and baitfish patternsbetween 1 & 4 inches long look for the
prevailing baitfish sizes shapes andcolors they might be anything from a 5
inch gizzard shad in the South 2 inchlong minnows in the north in general
surface flies are not as effective atthis time of year although there can be
exceptions when we return we’ll look atthe challenges of summer bass fishingsummers generally defined as water
temperatures of 75 to 90 degrees basschange their habits and habitat during
the summer so you need to adjust howwhere and what you use for bass fishing
they change where they live how theyfeed and what they feed on when the
water gets warmer in summer largemouthand smallmouth bass go to different
places to feed and you need to adjustyour tactics accordingly in the salad
wow it’s going a long time you knowfishing surface flies in the middle of
summer for largemouth bass is not theeasiest thing in the world to do but we
stuck at it and we finally got this nicebass out of this salad here he smashed
it yeah he inhaled that one he wantedthat little little diving frog it’s the
thought of him carefully if we care allbeautiful came out and then away he goesso let’s have a look at where to catch
bass in rivers and lakes during thesummer so and we’re fishing a river
today for large nos so we got currentwhere do you look in a river for
largemouth we’re gonna look for somecover that’s gonna break the current yep
anything that those fish can get inbehind so that they can still have food
coming to them of any kind of currentpigs like back back at ease in fact that
is exactly huh exact kind of thing thatyou would look for if your trout fishing
normal you’ve got something to kind ofbreak that current and they’re gonna
kind of sit in behind it and just ambushambush bait okay and you said the
stronger the current the deeper they’regenerally gonna hold to get away from
the current so when the current isstrong they’re gonna actually it’s gonna
suck them to the bottom huh with lesscurrent and in the system it’ll be bill
they’ll come up okay that’s gonna dependon the system that you’re fishing now so
some systems will have a seven mile anhour current that might be strong for
that system that’s gonna suck those fishdown yet whereas another system three
miles an hour might be a strong currentso three miles an hour will suck them
down okay so it’s all depending on thesystem that you’re fishing okay in
rivers largemouth will seek slack waterand heavy vegetation well away from the
current generally this will be in waterless than ten feet deep yeah you know it
really helps to talk to a professionalbass fisherman if you can because they
study best they know so much morescientifically and behaviorally about
largemouth and smallmouth bass andreally if you’re gonna fly rod for best
pay attention to the conventionalfishermanin summer largemouth bass in both lakes
and reservoirs will take residents ineither heavy weed beds or move to deep
water they love heavy weed bed cover oreven man-made structures like docks to
hide from predators and feed weed bedsfallen trees and other structure will
hold schools of bait fish which a largemouth key in on in southern reservoirs
some largemouth bass will stay in deepwater areas and hunt schooling Bay fish
such as shad you may need to use sonarto locate the bait fish or you need to
find out from local intelligence wherebass and bait fish congregate during the
summer bass can sometimes push bait fishto the surface especially in late summer
look for diving birds or swirls andsplashes on the surface this often
happens early in the morning or late inthe day fish there we go I’m the
crayfish oh not bad alright the biggestlargemouth I’ve caught in a while that’s
a good one I’m the crayfish fishingpoppers and fish weren’t cooperating so
we went deep with a crayfish and it wasa nice bassin rivers smallmouth will move into
faster water but I’ll use structuressuch as boulders and drop-offs and rock
ledges for protection from the currentand predators look for them and
protected feeding lies near large rocksor logs much like trout and rivers
smallmouth will move into less protectedshallow water to seek out food such as
mayflies caddisflies bait fish andjuvenile frogs they do this mostly
during periods of low light like cloudydays or dawn and dusk so this is some
where fishing for a smallmouth in ariver you never know where they’re gonna
be we’re in the deeper part of the rivernow right where it enters the lake and
you know we’re trying all kinds ofthings we didn’t do anything on surface
flies didn’t see any service activitywent to a crayfish on an intermediate
line and picked up this first bass readyfishers outsmallmouth bass in lakes during the
summer go to deeper water but maytransition to shallower water at
different times a day based onconditions unlike largemouth bass
smallmouth do not like watertemperatures over 80 degrees and move
into deeper water where it’s coolertypically they like rocky points Boulder
fields fallen timber and otherstructures that will hold prey most of
us prefer to Fisher them early in latein the day when they may move into
shallow water to feed and to avoidpredators like eagles and Ospreys ohyeah so I kind of switched it up I
finally finally stopped changingpresentations because it just wasn’t
working and this nice smallmouth tookthe NIM put that nymph deep to sucked it
right in there just a little just alittle owl of kind of a nymph nymph e
crayfish ething okay buddy off you gofor summer largemouth you’ll want a
floating line with a steep heavy taperfor throwing big wind resistant flies it
should be an 8 or 9 weight your leadershould be short three to four feet with
a minimum of twenty pound test just alevel piece of very heavy tip it will
work fine or you can make your owntapered leader castle be short and
you’ll need the heavy leader both topull your fly out of the snags and to
fight bass in this heavy cover forcasting into open water and summer a
seven or an eight way trot is ideal theflies are gonna be slightly smaller and
you won’t have to yank your flies out ofheavy cover what is key in summer is
having a variety of fly lines to matchthe conditions floating lines work well
for top water in early morning or in theevening but during the heat of the day
you’ll need sinking lines to get yourflies down to the bass you’re not in the
game for summer bass fishing in lakesunless you have sinking lines for water
that’s up to eight feet deep anintermediate line might be enough but in
deeper water it’s far more efficient touse a full sinking or depth charge line
something with a sink rate of betweenthree to five inches per second you’ll
want a four to six foot leader typicallyjust a straight section of ten to twelve
pound or Oh X to 2x dip it attachdirectly to your fly line with a
perfection loopso I’m gonna make a short leader for
bass bugging you don’t need much I’mgonna take a couple feet of 40-pound
than a piece of 35 pound and then apiece of 25 pounds just tie them
together make a leader about this longso I’m gonna take my my heavy stuff and
you could go with a straight leader withwith bass plugging but this turns over a
little bit better if you have some taperin it I’m just gonna take my 40-pound
and tie a perfection loop in it so nowI’ve got my loop on the end of my leader
and then I’ll take my 35 pound just ashort piece of that to kind of
transition tie that together with atriple surgeon’s knottrim that and that can be pretty short
just transition and then I’ll put apiece of 25 on the end large mouths are
not are not leader shy at all 25pounders there’s nothing it’s actually
pretty light for a large mouth and heavycover I’ll tie that on for my tippet and
that’s it a little bit longer than Ithought but a good basketball leader
trim the ends put it on our fly line andwe’ll be all setthanks to the growing interest in
fly-fishing for largemouth and heavycover there are a great number of fly
patterns available here are some of themfrog patterns in deer hair work well as
do hard body plastic patterns the key toremember in summer is that largemouth
bass will often be in deeper water andnot necessarily in heavy weed cover for
both smallmouth and largemouth bass insummer weather in shallow or deep water
you’ll need a variety of fly patterns inyour fly box for top water Hardbody
poppers are easy to cast and are veryeffective especially in low-light
conditionspoppers with concave faces usually work
best because of the sound anddisturbance they make in the water
yellow orange green and black are allexcellent choices for baitfish patterns
you’ll want to have a variety of bothweighted and unweighted flies to help
you efficiently probe all parts of thewater column based on conditions
baitfish streamers come in a widevariety of patterns and sizes to match
your local bass forage check with yourlocal fly shop or tackle store to find
out what baitfish the best are currentlykeyed in on of course crayfish are a
major staple of both types of messensure you have a variety of colors that
are weighted in sizes from 1 to 4 inchesin length bass love them fish slowly
near the bottom you may have to varyyour retrieve based on the fly pattern
and also match to the mood of the bassdon’t be afraid to experiment to find
out how aggressive the bass are based oncurrent conditions
I always got that fly down yeah wellthey eat they usually eat crayfish deep
I think because they’re worried aboutthe claws that was interesting Adam
spotted this fast just sitting out inthe Sun this is August just sitting out
in the Sun and we had a crayfish fly onthrough the crayfish to them and Adam
saw thecome after the crayfish and boom and
hailed it right out here in the open nocover no nothing all right buddyin the fall when days get shorter in
water temperatures drop below 70 degreesthis can really put bass on the move
from deep into shallower water and theymight feed aggressively when water
temperatures hover around 60 degreesthere’s no reason to get up early or
stay late bass will be most active inthe middle of the day when water
temperatures move into a morecomfortable range for them now aim
felice low its just fighting good thisis this a six-week rudd very nice yeah
look how wide the tail is yeah very niceultra ultra slow okay in the fall
both largemouth and smallmouth bass huntin packs insects and frogs are not
active so these fish are prowling forschools of bait fish in both rivers and
lakes in lakes the primary focus in thefall for both species is chasing large
schools of bait fish in open water theymight push baitfish into the shells but
they’re just as likely to be in openwater feeding on schools the suspended
baitfish or pushing on the surface lookfor fish around deep Scholes or sunken
humps where a bait fish congregate ifyou see diving birds or splashes cast
baitfish patterns right into the boilsand retrieve a short fast drips to
imitate fleeing baitfish you might betempted to use a floating line but it’s
much more effective to use a sinkingline and begin your strips immediately
because the predatory bass are typicallyin 1 to 13 feet of waterget tight to the fly right away because
bass may take the fly as soon as itlands if you don’t see any surface
action but spot bait for schools on yoursonar a good technique is to drift over
the baitfish schools and use a sinkingor intermediate line let the fly sink
and retrieve with short poles withpauses in between when you’re fishing an
intermediate or sinking line especiallyon a day like this where you got a
little bit of wind you want to keep thatrod tip very close to the water it’s
gonna give you a better line controlit’s gonna allow you to see or feel that
strike if a fish takes it when the flyis dropping and it just gives you a lot
more control in rivers in the fall basswill move into the shallows again insert
your bait fish bass will cruise in andout of the shelves so cover the shallows
and the deep edges nearby a greattechnique to use in the fall and rivers
is a full sinking line with a neutrallybuoyant or floating streamer pattern
like an unweighted muddler minnow ordouble D the sinking line keeps the fly
below the surface but it rises above thebottom when you pause and keeps the fly
from getting snaggedoh yeah yeah yeah yeah oh yeah look at
this oh this is solid solid fish oh he’staking me down the river that boy he’s
one of those fish he’s so big you canbarely jump that’s a big solid fish at
that table with that a little bit ofcabbage with it
beautiful I’d say that one’s probablyabout three three and a halfas we’ve said you really need some sort
of sinking line to effectively fish bassthroughout the season let’s go and talk
to my friend Pete cut sir about how topick up and cast these kinds of lineshi I’m Pete cooter with the Orbis fly
fishing schools today I’m gonna talk toyou about casting sinking lines and
intermediate lines sinking lines andintermediate lines are great tools to
use when those fish are down deep butthey have one big difference from your
floating line and that’s that they sinkwhen they break the surface tension of
the water and start to get below thesurface become very very challenging to
pick up off the waterso here’s a couple tools or a couple
tricks you can do to recast that sinkingline or send it back out to those fish
making you a more effective angler thefirst is stripping this line in once we
make this cast out to that target thatline is going to start to sink getting
down below the surface of the water if Iwait a few seconds I can’t pick this
line up what I want to do is strip thisline in and get to a manageable length
an easier length to pick up and a lot oftimes that could be as little as 10 feet
if it’s a real heavy sinking line theproblem in doing that though is it takes
a little bit of time I had to make aseries of false cast shooting a little
bit of line each time and in somesituations when we’re using sinking
lines or intermediate lines we got toget that fly there right away
a better tool to use or a great tool touse I should say is the Royal cast
pickup so the roll cast pickup is goingto involve a good roll cast where we’re
going to get that rod across from ourear coming to a nice stop around eye
level then we can pick it up and deliverthat fly out to our target but with this
roll cast pickup there’s a couple thingsyou have to keep in mind the first thing
is after we make that roll cast we gotto make sure that we get a good stop
around eye level and that linestraightens out if we stop a little low
on this roll cast sometimes that line isgoing to pile up in the water and we
might get a tangle it’s not going to getout there nice and straight it’s going
to be challenging to pick that line backup so for a good roll cast pick up what
we want to do is roll the line out assoon as it touches pick it right up make
that back cast forward cast and then wecan deliver that fly back to the target
so again I’m starting low I bring thatrod up across from my ear come to a good
stop around eye level pick it right upand now I can deliver it right back out
to my target and that’s a completed rollcast pickup it’s a great tool in a lot
of fishing situations it will help youbecome a better
I think chasing bass with a fly rod is agreat way to get introduced to fly
fishing casts are short and easy thefish don’t mind the occasional sloppy
delivery and you can find them within ashort drive almost anywhere in North
America other than the very far northand oh yeah they’re almost always
willing to attack a fly if you can findthem guess sofat Wow look how fat that fish is told
you there’s fish in here yeah he’s lookfly popped out that’s good there’s a
bite talk yeah all right get him back inthe wateryou know best fishing is fun any time of
year probably the best stuff is when youget them on top water and lily pads and
you have those explosive strikes but youcan catch them any time of year you need
to modify your techniques modify whereyou look for them and you’ll be able to
catch largemouth and smallmouth almostany time of year thanks so much for
joining us we hope you enjoyed the Orvisguide to fly fishing we wish you the
very best of luck on the waterthe Orvis guide to fly fishing is
supported by Orvis fly fishingdestination ontario Algoma country maine
office of tourism adipose Boat Worksglobal rescue proud Unlimited
Oscar blues brewery

About the author