Bass on a Fly – Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing

welcome to the Orbis guide to
fly-fishing I’m your host Tom Rosenbauerbass are the number-one sport fish in
North America and for good reasonthey’re readily available aggressive and
a lot of fun to catch best of all youcan catch them virtually anywhere in
both rural and urban settings heck youcan even catch them in Central Parkcatching bass on a fly rod is so much
fun and anyone can do it in this episodewe’ll discuss all the basics you need to
catch bass on a flybecause this is the way to capthis show has been brought to you by
Orvis sporting traditions Ontario yoursto discover Ontario’s Algoma region who
are huron and superior meetingI love catching bass they strike hard
they jump and there are a lot of fun tocatch
especially on a fly rod I know that manyof you already fish for bass using
plastic wormstopwater lures and hard baits well
fly-fishing is similar it’s all aboutfiguring out what the bass are feeding
on we use different types of flies toimitate these food sources for bass then
present them as naturally as possiblethis can be anything from imitating a
frog or a mouse on the surface to fliesthat replicate bait fish or even
crayfish underwater and some bass fliesdon’t look like anything in particular
they just look good to eat the key is toget the fly near a bass and make it look
like something alive doesn’t really takemuch to get started in fly fishing for
bass you need an inexpensive rod outfitand some basic flies then you’re in
business bass are often aggressive andopportunistic and will attack anything
that looks alive you don’t really haveto worry that much about fly selection
and that’s why bass fishing is a greatway to get started often this action is
all on the surface which makes it thatmuch more exciting because everything is
visualbut first let’s discuss the physical
differences between largemouth andsmallmouth bass and also discuss the
environments they inhabitdifferentiating smallmouth and
largemouth is simple if the mouth onlyextends to the middle of the eye it’s a
small mouth if the mouth extends beyondthe eye then it’s a large mouth body
markings are also a giveaway largemouthare green and have a defined black
lateral linesmallmouth are brown or bronze with
vertical black lines and usually somehorizontal lines on their cheeks to
understand the environments bass live inat different times a year I went right
to the expert my friend Dave PhilipDavis spent his life studying bass
professionally as a biologist and alsochasing them with a fly rod largemouth
and smallmouth bass are similar in a lotof ways but they do have some subtle
differences in the springtime as thewater warms they move into the shallows
one to warm up sobecome more active and they look for
food items as well that are also tryingto warm up so minnows and frogs are
along the banks in the springtime andthey’re looking for those they also are
moving in to spawn as the watertemperatures warm up they’re done with
spawning smallmouth tend to move intodeeper cooler water more so than
largemouth although both you could getalong the shallows at dawn and at dusk
the largemouth hang out in the lily padsand the weeds and the shallows all year
round in the sticks etc so they alsotend to go into different types of water
large mouths like darker readier warmerwater small mouths like cooler water
either flowing streams or in deeperwater off of rocky points so in the heat
of the summer you need to look in deepwater for smallmouth sometime shallower
water for largemouth back in the fallthen they’ll get more active in the
shallows and move in and feed heavilygetting ready for winter so they can be
off deep points feeding on minnowsfollowing minnows up at night into the
shoreline etc and so it depends on thetime of the day the time of the season
which species you’re looking at butyou’ll still be able to catch fish you
have to consider two factors whether thebest can be caught below the surface or
on the surface the answer is based on afew simple factors what the bass are
hunting for in terms of forage and ofcourse the impact of weather time a day
and time of year if you haven’t fish forbass before these are things you’ll
quickly learn the key is we have twochoices of presentations to make with a
fly rod either on top or below thesurface most of the time you can catch
bass on subsurface flies just like withconventional lures bass love Dee minnow
shed even juvenile bass if they can baitfish provide a lot of nutrition for a
bass which is critical for theirsurvival there’s a wide variety of
conventional lures available thatimitate various baitfish based on shape
collar and action bass flies are thesame they’re also made to replicate the
size collar and relative action ofbaitfish the only difference is that the
Flies are made from feathers fur andsynthetics
whereas lures are usually made fromplastic
would the same comparison applies forother food sources for bass things like
crayfish mice and frogs some people tietheir own flies but you don’t need to do
that you can buy already made flies fromyour local fly shop or online catalog
store you just need a good generalselection based on the kind of bass food
that’s in your area so let’s discuss theequipment needed for fly fishing for
bass the best all-round rod for bassfishing for largemouth and smallmouth
probably an eighth weight you need aneighth weight because you need a heavier
line to drive some of those bigger fliesmore air resistance flies like hair bugs
and big poppers and and big big hairystreamers now if you’re only fishing for
small mouths you can use a six or even aseven weight because the flies are a
little bit smaller and it’s not reallydetermined by the size of the fish it’s
more the size of fly you’re fishing andlarge mouths figure more air resistance
flies small mouths smaller slimmer fliesin general for bass fishing you don’t
need an expensive reel your reel ismainly going to be used for storing your
line you don’t need an expensive dragsystem for bass because they seldom pull
any line the best fly line to use is asimple weight forward taper which will
help turn over the large flies used fortop water bugs to learn more about
proper bass equipment setups visit theOrvis website at or viscom so now we
have some of the basics of bass fishinglet’s look at how to apply these basics
to rivers streams and lakes it’s reallyeasy to understand and I know you’ll
have a ball doing ityoucome on up baby
yeah sometimes you have to go deep for abass days like this you’ve got to go
deepvirtually every large city in North
America has ponds lakes or rivers thathold bass the first thing you should
know about bass and rivers and streamsis that generally large month the
smallmouth will seek out different partsof moving water largemouth bass will
usually be in the slower we tier deepersections of a river especially around
logs roots fallen trees and weed bedssmallmouth can tolerate faster moving
water and will be right in the currentor riffles they’d like to hold behind in
front of boulders rocks along banks andespecially around rock ledges they can
also find cover around fallen trees andlogs but they like it to be a little bit
closer to moving water generally is easyto locate bass on small creeks and
rivers it’ll be pretty apparent wherethey’re living on larger rivers which
are actually almost like lakes it’s alittle bit tougher and you have to seek
out the structure I guess what I likeabout stream fishing for bass is that
they’re usually easy to locate find ariffle running into deeper water or some
structure and you’re bound to find smallboats small streams and most rivers are
easy to fish from the bank or just bywearing waders and walking in the water
unlocker you’ll probably have to use aboat again look for structure
that’ll hold an attract bass and putyour fly as close to the cover as
possible searching for bass on lakestakes a little more thought in research
there’s a lot of big water in most biglakes that’ll be empty of bass so you
have to determine where the structure isand where their food supply might be on
lake structure is key especially if it’sclose to deepwater bass like deepwater
because it provides security from theirpredator
structures that you should cast toinclude docks boat houses rocky
shorelines shoals fallen trees weed bedsand any other kind of structure that
will provide cover to the bass you alsoneed to consider what the bass might be
eatingyour powers of observation can help a
lot with this when you wade into a riverand notice lots of small crayfish along
the bottom that’s a pretty goodindicator that bass will be keyed into
eating them so a crayfish pattern willbe best bass love crayfish it also means
that you should be casting to rockyshorelines where the crayfish are most
likely to be living you can get it tosink straight on it good you got it all
right he ate that crayfish pretty wellthey love minnows they love leeches they
love insects big insect larvae butcrayfish are their number one prey you
can never go wrong fishing a sunkencrayfish fly to a smallmouth beautiful
fish don’t have to handle them one waygoes smallmouth bass you know although
although we’d like to catch these smallmouths on the surface the middle of a
bright day fish are in pretty deep waterso we’re fishing a crayfish fly and you
got to be careful when you fish acrayfish fly you want to throw it beyond
where you think the fish is and thenstrip it back and let it drop strip it
back and let it drop and watch the tipof your floating line because that fish
took it on the drop is they usually didand all I saw was that line dart forward
and then I did a strip strike and therewas the fish slide out the hook on the
other hand if you see minnows jumpingfrom the water pretty good indication
that they’re being chased by predatorslike bass if you see this it’s a good
idea to switch to a streamer fly thatimitates a minnow and it should be
roughly the same size and shape as theminnows you saw it jumping cast right
into where you saw the minnows jump youmight be in for a surpriseyou don’t need a wide variety of flies
for smallmouth bass first and foremostis some sort of crayfish invitation like
this one here it’s weighted gets downnear the bottom and you fish it with
twitches or just sinking to the bottomone of the most popular flies for
smallmouth bass is a black wooly buggerimitates hellgrammite switch they feed
on in streams very heavily also could bea crayfish imitation or some sort of
bait fish or lychee invitation but smallmas love a black woolly bugger then
maybe some sort of trout dry fly likethis big stone flight they will come up
for insects and some big some big troutsized flies will work for smallmouth and
then a couple of surface flies a sliderlike this white sneaky pete this one
doesn’t make quite as much commotion inthe water and then finally a popping bug
one with a face that pops that make somenoise in the water smallmouth or
aggressive feeders and they will come upfor a for a popper that’s worked fairly
aggressively across the surfacebecause largemouth bass there’s such
voracious predators they’ll eat almostanything and they got a big mouth so
they can inhale some pretty large fliesthe Flies are gonna use probably a
little bit bigger than they use forsmallmouth some of the popular ones are
some sort of streamer this one happensto imitate us a sunfish and sunfish are
not only prime largemouth bass food butthey’re also nest predators on
largemouth bass so they’ll they’ll graba sunfish when it gets near this is a
twisty tail with lead ice doesn’timitate anything really it’s a lure just
like a bass luretraditional cork popper is one of the
most fun ways to catch a largemouthparticularly mornings and evenings when
they’re when they’re near the surfaceand in shallow water they need a lot of
frogs this happens to be a deer hairfrog great fly for largemouth fun to
fish and then finally who could golargemouth fishing without a mouse
imitation they lots of mice and smallrodents so now we understand more about
rivers streams and lakes and where basswill live in them we’ve also discussed
using our powers of observation todetect what the bass may be eating now
in the next segment we’ll discuss castand retrieves to tie it all togetheryouin fly fishing the line propels the fly
in spin fishing casting the lure propelsthe line to the target it’s important to
understand you don’t need to make longcast to catch a bass on a fly simple
casts of 20 to 30 feet will be finenow let’s visit my friend Pete cuts are
from the Orbis fly fishing schools forsome tips on casting big bass bugs in
the wind hi I’m Pete coots are from theOrbis fly fishing schools today we’re
going to talk about tips on how to castin windy conditions when can be a little
bit intimidating for some folks tryingto cast that fly in the in those windy
conditions can be a little bit difficulthowever there are some things we can do
to help deal with that wind a windcoming at you a wind coming at your non
casting shoulder wind coming at yourcasting shoulder or behind you there are
different casts we can do for each oneof these situations let’s start off with
a wind coming directly at you a windcoming straight at you is not the worst
wind to deal with there’s a couplethings we can do the first is make a low
angle cast and get below the wind if wecan send that fly out underneath the
wind we can deliver that fly to ourtarget watch shore birds when they’re
flying around at the beach they almostfly between the waves there’s a lot less
wind down low another option is to makea high angle back cast and drive that
fly down through the wind down to thewater you don’t get the best
presentation when you’re making thatcast but it can help deal with those
windy conditions when you’re dealingwith a wind coming at your non casting
shoulder I’m right-handed so if thatwind was blowing out my left shoulder
what I might have to do is compensatefor that wind a little bit I can send
that fly a little bit more to the leftof that target hopefully that wind will
blow it on track or just like with thatwind coming at me I can cast below the
wind making that low angle cast andgetting that fly out to target if I have
a win blowing at my back that wind canbe a little more difficult than you
think you want to make a low angle backcast and get that line underneath the
wind make sure that line gets out niceand straight then we can make that
higher angle forward cast the castalmost looks a little bit like an oval
we’re going to make a low back castbring the rod tip up than a high forward
cast to deliver that fly out to ourthe worst one you can deal with is a
wind blowing at your casting shoulderwhen you’re dealing with that wind that
can in some cases blow that fly rightinto you hooking yourself I’ve hooked
myself in the neck in the ear in theback even in the rear end it’s not very
comfortableso there’s a couple techniques one
technique is actually taking that rawtip and angling it over your left hand
shoulder make a high angle cast and getthat line off your shoulder above you
one friend used to describe it ascombing your hair comb your hair that’s
going to keep that fly off of that leftshoulder another technique is to switch
hands practice casting with yournon-dominant hand I practice all the
time and it really does help in thosewindy conditions but perhaps the easiest
technique to deal with those windyconditions at your casting shoulder is
to simply turn your back to the wind andmake a back cast delivering that fly to
the fish that’s going to keep that flywell away from you keep you nice and
safe and help you catch more fish tolure more casting techniques visit the
Orvis Learning Center for moreinformation and videos okay so now we’ve
learned some casting techniques for basslet’s discuss retrieves that help
animate your flies so that they imitatefood items that bass prey onnow all these flies worked very well but
you have to do your part you have toanimate the fly so it looks to the bass
like something it wants to eat animatingand retrieving a bass fly is the fun
part of fly fishing for bass becauseyou’re making it look natural with your
own emotions the best way to give actionto a bass fly is to keep your rod tip
low and give it all the action bystripping the line at various speeds
there’s a real tendency when your bassfishing to twitch the rod tip to give
the fly action and that creates problemsit throws slack into your line you’re
gonna miss strikes and you’re not goingto be prepared for the next cast so if
you can it’s hard to do but if you cantry to give that fly action you what by
stripping the line and keeping the rodtip low to the water you’ll really get
the same action and you’ll always be incontrol of your fly when you’re fishing
with a sinking line you want to try alldifferent kinds of retrieves you can’t
see the fish you don’t know otherreacting to the fly so sometimes you
want to do long slow strips just barelycrawling that fly along and really long
strips so that the fly goes steady othertimes you might want to give it sharp
little wraps or you might want to reallyrip the line back in and everything in
between so you you’ve got experimentit’s usually best to change your
retrieve before you change fliesyoujust like catching bass with
conventional tackle when using a fly rodfor bass you have to understand these
fish how they live how they eat how theysurvive what they do during the day and
what they do throughout the year butthis is part of the fun of fly fishing
learning how they operate within theirecosystems I encourage you to read
everything you can about bass and watchvideos to learn more about how to catch
them catching bass on a fly rod is justa blast they’re available to almost
anyone within just a few minutes driveof home I hope you’ll try it out with a
fly rod I know you’ll enjoynot hard to figure out why bass are
America’s favorite game fish and they’regreat on a fly rod you don’t have to
cast very far you don’t need a lot offancy flies you don’t need a lot of
fancy equipment everything I’ve got herefor catching bass cost around two
hundred dollars a complete fly rodoutfit for catching bass and we’re
having a ball today you too can enjoybass fishing on a fly rod and it’s easy
to get started the best thing about bassis that they’re readily available to
almost everyone throughout North Americato learn more about this episode and
bass fishing on a fly go to the OrvisLearning Center at or viscom slash learn
to fly fish thanks for watching andwe’ll see you on the water
this show has been brought to you byOrbis sporting traditions Ontario yours
to discoverOntario’s Algoma region right Huron and
spear me

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