Monday, July 26, 2010

First Black Bass of the year!

Landed on Los Alamos Ant fly pattern - largemouth bass on the fly - took 6 months but I finally landed my first official bass of the year - white bass not included. Today I went the portion of a stream that I never attempted before. I was surprised. Lots of good fish activity.

I spent about 4 hours on the stream. I landed a good number of bream and small bass on the FLEA FLY, LOS ALAMOS ANT, and CRAPPIE KILLER.

I lost the tip guide to my 4 wgt. rod. I lost a spool of tippet and somehow got line tangled tightly around my ankle underwater.

I spotted bass right away. But as it would be my luck and almost always is, small bass hit my Flea Fly. Eventually, I got tired of landed small fish, tried a Clouser to no success and then tied on a size 6 Los Alamos Ant (tied by myself).

I decided to move up to a larger and longer hook to cull out the stupid, small sunfish. I smacked that fly down on the water. Hooked some decent sized bluegills and Ozark Bass too. He had a big mouth on that little body.

I landed my largest fish of the day on a Los Alamos Ant. What an explosion! Kablamo!

Sun burned with sore shoulders (from casting) and finally settled down into fly fishing for the year, ahhhh.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whackers? No . . . BLUEGILLS.

Fun day out catching bluegills. Darn bluegills. Dog days of summer!! Tons of them out and none of them biting. My kids call them "whackers" because the fish whack their bodies on the kids' hands.

Foam hopper. Kids love to catch them. Ordered some deer hair bugs yesterday. Gotta clean my line - real dirty water at that pond.

Couldn't find my oar. Odd. Ordered a new one. Hoping to get kayak out soon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bass or Panfish Fly Pattern - Foam Damsel

I couldn't tell you how I tied this bluegill fly one. It's been a long time. Swiss straw for wings, foam body. Pretty simple.

Bluegill Fly Pattern - Yellow and Black.

I borrowed this pic. This is Tom Nixon's Yellow and Black. Great for Bluegills.

Tail: Black hackle fibers
Body: Yellow chenille or yellow floss ribbed with gold tinsel
Wing: Black hackle fibers
Hackle: Black hackle fiber throat hackle (although in the example for the image Tom used yellow hackle fibers)
Head: Black thread
Hook: #10 down to #18

Bass Fly Pattern - Minnow Streamer

Great bass fly or crappie fly pattern.

Material List: White chenille, red chenille, silver tinsel, duck feathers, #2 hook.

Tying Instructions: Tie on mallard flank or other duck feathers for tail. Tie on white chenille and tinsel. Then tie on a bit of red chenille. Tie on flank feathers for wing. Use 15 wraps or .10 lead for weight.

Presentation Tips: This is a good pattern for white bass and crappie. A sinking tip line is recommended.

Bluegill Fly Pattern - Frog Popping Bug

This is one of the first popping bugs I ever tied. I formed the body from a cork with a razor blade.

Material List:
Formed cork, paints, feathers, #8 hook

Tying Instructions: Fashion cork with razor blade or Dremmel tool. Paint and apply lacquer. Tied on feathers.

Bass Fly Pattern - Crazydad crawdad

This is a pattern I learned to tie at a white bass seminar which was held at a local fly shop.

Material List: Lead eyes, brown bucktail, orange rubber legs, brown dubbing.

Tying Instructions: Tie on lead eyes such as you would for a Clouser. Then tie on legs (claws). Use a dubbing spinner to dub body. Tie on brown bucktail to extend past barb.

Bass Fly Pattern - Calcasieu Pigboat

This bass fly pattern is one of my first attempts at tying a Calcasieu Pigboat. And following the instructions of Tom Nixon, I added a spinning blade. I have used this pattern but never landed anything on it. Although, my father landed some bass on the one I gave him . . . until it came off. He told me, "I almost cried."

Material List: Rubber legs
lead wire
spinner blade

Tying Instructions: Tie in marabou tail or rubber legs for tail. If using rubber legs tie up on hook about 1/2 way up. Tie in chenille and hackle wrapping both to about 3/4 up the hook. Tie on rubber hackle or legs for the skirt. About 8 on each side. about 60 in all. have them extend to match about the lenght of the tail. the length of the pigboat should extend about 1/2 inch or so from bend of hook. Tied in head paint eyes and cement. This can be tied weedless.

Presentation Tips: Strip in fast.

Bass Fly Pattern - Frog Popping Bug

This bass fly was a very effective fly pattern. As with most flies, they disappear. I had a few of these. Tying flies had sort of become a past time. Used to tied them out in the shed.

Material List: 1/4 inch foam cylinder, rubber legs, feathers, stick on eyes, #8 hook

Tying Instructions: Use bodkin to place hole in center of foam cylinder. Push hook through cylinder. Use Zap-a-Gap if required. You can also tie on back of cylinder with thread but not required. Tie on four rubber legs behind body. Then tie on feathers. Then push legs through body with bobbin threader or needle. Apply eyes.

Bass Fly Pattern - Midnight Popping Bug

Tied this bass fly a while back. Lost this popping bug on the far side of a stream. I always cover my hard body poppers with spray lacquer.

Material List: Black paint, balsa body, 25 lbs. test line, black feathers and marabou. Painted on or stick on eyes.

Tying Instructions: Paint body black with eyes. Spray with lacquer. Tie on marabou and feathers. Tie this weedless.

Bass Fly Pattern - Minnow Popping Bug

Tied this crease fly in 2002. Love popping bugs.

Target Species: Freshwater Bass,
Recommended Region: Central US,
Imitation: General Baitfish,
Material List: Foam, 0/1 hook, shad colored marabou
Tying Instructions: Paint silver body, then apply light coat of white paint on the bottom and apply or paint eyes. Mouth is red. Can be tied weedless. Tie on marabou.

Bass Fly Pattern - Deer Hair Popping Bug

What can I say, if you don't know how to tie a deer hair bass bug, watch a video. That's what I did. So, my instructions are weak.

Material List: Deer hair and saddle hackle
Tying Instructions: Pack on hair. Trim so placement of the hook is exactly in the middle of the hair.

Bass Fly Pattern - Lead Eye Leach

A few years back, I tied this bass fly pattern as the member of a forum. Just remembered where it was posted. Thought I would share it. I tried to make a weedless pattern that would jig along the bottom for bass. I used this on Lake Swepco once and then sold the others on ebay. lol. The lead eyes are tied "on top" like a Clouser.

Material List: Cross cut bunny strip, lead eyes, 30 lbs. test monofiliament.

Tying Instructions: Tie on eyes, glue with zap-a-Gap. Tie on monofilament on hook leave tip dangling. Tie on tail. continue with same strip as tail. Wrap the strip around tightly. make sure the hair points towards tail. tie off at eyes. Tie on tip of monofilament. Apply cement.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Popping bug for Bluegills

Just throwing this bluegill fly pattern back out there.

What color should my popping bugs be in a river?

I noticed that someone used this phrase in a search engine to locate my blog. I figured to give some insight - something specific - from my point of view.

If you are using strictly top water popping bugs - not "divers", I really don't think it matters. If you are using divers, I don't think it matters too much which colors you choose other than I think that red and white can increase your chances - and maybe chartreuse in dirty water.

Sometimes, I use sinking line with my poppers to make more of a chug. I do think that colors are effective when using wet flies and streamers but not so much with poppers because it causes a reactive strike with bass.

But, that's just my take.

Foam fly - popping bug - Sponge Pop

Just made this up to displace more water and make a big sound. Haven't tried it yet.

Custom Foam Fly - Popping Bug - Bass

I bought some foam cylinders from Bass Pro Shops. That is what most of this fly consists of. I cut a slit in it - used an old hook from a cork popper body - filled it with Zap-A-Gap and made it weedless.

I tied this bass fly in about 2002. I have two of them actually. Had to do a little repair work on one of them. I used this pattern on a lake that has a lot of lily pads, fallen timber, old fallen fences posts, barb wire, etc. It is bigger than it looks.

Generally, I use this on the edge of the lily pads. Although, when I get brave enough, I do gently pull if over some of the pads.

If a bass misses the bug as I strip it in, I usually let it sit until the bass pops it again - or strip it again to get another reaction.

I vary my retrievals. Sometimes, I pop it a few times and let it sit for about 4 or five seconds and a bass will hit it. I usually go out at dusk - well I used to - until I sold my boat.

Luckily, I've got my kayak. Hoping to hit some lake bass soon. Been concentrating on streams for the past few years.

Simple yet effective pattern. I like to use foam because it's more resilient and giving. I hate putting time into deer hair patterns because they end up in trees or falling apart after a while.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Flip Flop Fly - Bass Bug - Easy popping bug

I tied this last spring. Just thought I'd throw this back out there. Since nobody is reviewing my old posts.

Thinking of giving up fly fishing.

Sure, I have mentioned that I enjoy fly fishing. Especially for bluegills and bass. However, I am so frustrated about not catching any bass this year - well, maybe one - that I am thinking of hanging up my waders permanently.

I went out to two locations yesterday. No bass. Always bream. These bluegills were on their beds and doing the ol' "suck and spit" or "watch the fly". I want bass. Last year was the second best year for bass. 2007 was the best year but I cannot access the Illinois River at that location anymore.

Sure, I haven't maximized my opportunities such as last year but I expect more from myself and the locations I choose. I am so frustrated to see folks landing lots of bass and posting pics.

Where's the bass??? I may switch back to spinning gear again. My ultra-light combo and Yellow Rooster Tails. Something about yellow and fish. Man, what I would do to hit that farm again. It took my friend and I about 5 tries to be successful on the Illinois River. 5 of us went out and caught about 50 bass in 3 days.

Last year, I landed a beautiful smallie. I landed bass everytime I went to the Illinois River. I landed bass in my sleep. Now . . . nothin. I miss landing bass on popping bugs. I miss living on the White River. I miss the bridge being open on War Eagle.

May take a float trip. Still looking for that trip which relaxes me. An outing that makes me feel successful at something else besides the ol' 9-5 family life.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monitor your streams and rivers before going out.

Before heading out to my favorite streams, I always take a look at the US Geological Survey website. Yesterday, my wife mentioned taking the kids out on a float trip. The first thing I mentioned was to check the river level and rate of flow. It had rained recently and quite a bit too.

You never know how fast the water may be running. I think it's a best bet to check out water levels and flow - even water temperature - depending on time of year - which can help if you are monitoring a spawn.


Which reminds me, please do pay attention also to the lakes which note to watch out for possible high mercury levels.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My overall challenge.

When moving the the states from Canada, I found that when it came to fishing, the biggest challenge for me was to locate fish with a totally different style than I was utilizing.

I grew up in British Columbia fishing for Kamloops Trout. An actual species of lake trout. One of the largest species of trout. We used to use bugs we found under logs with bobbers. Or we trolled with spoons. And yes, we fly fished the lakes. I never fished a stream until I fished the Buffalo River.

I immediately fell in love with creeks, streams, and rivers. Soon thereafter, I invited my father to fish for trout below Beaver Dam. A location he was familiar with angling with a fly rod. I figured with him serving as the president of a fly fishing club and having won a few amateur casting contests, he could put me back on track with a fly rod.

Sure enough, during our first outing, I landed a few trout. SMALL trout. After several trips to Beaver Dam, I wasn't too enthused.

I even fished for trout below Bull Shoals - which didn't go too badly. I landed about 50 during a week's trip out - on Rooster Tails.

I WANTED TO LAND LARGE FISH. I wanted a challenge on a large rod. I WANTED BASS.

The biggest challenge for me was to learn how to fly fish for warm water species. To locate those streams and rivers that held these feisty creatures.

These managed fisheries were not only overcrowded but lacked those large trout that I longed for - large trout - shoot, anything larger than a 13 inch trout you could land on a puny 3 wgt. rod.

Heck, I found bluegill to be more fun on a 3 wgt. than these small trout. Sure, you can find large trout in Arkansas but wouldn't you rather land a huge bucket mouth??

Anyone can hit a managed fishery and catch fish but can they fish local unmanaged waters and be successful??

I hit several online warm water fly fishing forums. I subscribed to magazines, bought fly tying material and hit local waters. I hit the same stream at least a hundred times one year. It yielded white bass, crappie, smallmouth bass, bream, large shad, carp, red suckers and more.

It was hard fishing but I learned a lot about how you could land bass drifting nymphs or landing fish on home made fly recipes. I learned about weather and water temperature and a whole slew of other warm water fly fishing information from simply learning it all myself - thinking outside the box - mostly from using my own patterns and fishing waters most people weren't wading.

I eventually bought a boat and began fishing lakes. Landing bass on streamers and popping bugs - those of my own design. I not only wanted to locate fish on local uncrowded and seemingly unmanaged waters but also to do it on my own flies.

I hated those articles and magazines that preached things which thought inside the box.

I don't catch a lot of bass. Shoot, I have only landed a few this year. Last year, I landed bass on almost every trip. But I do it my way.

"My way" isn't just about fishing but a philosophy. I try to stretch the limits of those minds which think plain and inside the box. Why should we live life like cows and follow the herd??