Saturday, January 25, 2014

Preparing my smallmouth bass fly box.

I've been prepping my fly box for smallmouth bass.  I even made an outing on Monday.  Myself and a few others didn't fare too well on the same stream - me wading and the others floating.  I do know of some guides that caught a few smallies for a television show on another stream a few counties away.

I have read books and blogs about fly fishing for smallmouth bass.  I have read posts and tried many traditional and custom patterns.  Many streams have been waded and many cuss words uttered and shouted before figuring out enough to enjoy chasing smallmouth bass.

I have learned that even though a stream is stocked with smallmouth bass, it's not going to be a successful smallmouth habitat or have enough water clarity throughout the year to keep them in the stream versus heading to the lake or deep water.

A guy mentioned to me that anyone can wade streams and catch tons of smallmouth bass on small flies.  I guess he thinks my 2.5 inch Shucker is small - and compared to some flies, it does seem that way.  I do know that not everyone can catch tons of smallmouth bass on the same stream as those that may do it.  I also know that I have become a pretty good fly fisherman for smallmouth bass - mainly due to fishing the same locations for years and trying out different presentations.

I have learned that my style of fly fishing doesn't totally comply with Harry Murray's books or Dave Whitlocks smallmouth flies.  My smallmouth bass fly box contains the following flies - Crazydad (purple and orange), Chernobyl Ants/hoppers, size 4 Wooly Buggers, Betts poppers, Boogle Bugs, Panfish Charleys and the Shucker.  I will throw in Double Deceivers or Articulated Boogie Men and Articulated Butt Monkies too.  You've got to work the entire water column.  I agree to that somewhat.  I find that casting weighted flies into riffles works great.  I also find that casting into slack water behing riffles and letting my Shucker sink will catch smallmouth bass with a twitch or two.

That Shucker (olive and black) has been the most productive smallmouth pattern that I have ever used.  I tied up a bunch of James Wood Bucktail to try out - which I have never used before.  I also tied up about 30 Shuckers and 25 Chernobyl ants.  I would tie my own Crazydads but have not bought a dubbing spinner yet.  Besides, it gives me an excuse to visit the fly shop.


  1. It appears you have put a lot of time and thought into chasing Smallmouth. May you reap all the rewards you deserve. Sure wish I had more opportunity to chase Smallmouth than I do here in Northern Colorado.

    1. Mel, I have been fortunate to move to this area. Just about an hour and a half away where I used to live, no streams nearby that held much of anything. I move here and am in the vicinity of a more than a few great trout and smallmouth streams. It still took some learning and a lot of patience.