Monday, July 14, 2014

Spotted Bass and Euphemisms.

This spot is about a foot and a half at it's deepest and the pool runs about 15 feet long.  This is just a portion of the pool with some decent riffles.  The creek angles in at the top which flows in at just under an inch.  This stream is typically shallow with pools located through the "headwaters" of where a very small crik flows into it.  Throughout the first several miles, you will find spotted bass and panfish.  Smallmouth can be found once the stream flows past the edge of the mountain and into farmland where it widens out and limestone isn't present as much as pebble and mud.  But there are spotted bass located throughout this watershed.  Fishing the smaller creeks of this watershed and others, I find that spotted bass can be down right picky.  Very finicky, in fact.  Every now and then, I can land some pretty good ones when the water is up and has a constant flow for a week or two.

I'm reading an article from Eastern Fly Fishing - Fall 2005.  I kept it tucked away because it's the first fly fishing article I ever read about spotted bass.  It is about the Black Warrior River in AL.  Most specifically, the three forks; Sipsey, Mulberry and Locust.  I'll elaborate more on is article at a later date.

I have always said that spotted bass are picky and tough to catch in streams.  Throughout the year, I just don't think they are as aggressive as smallmouth bass.  In the article I'm reading, the author states that the Alabama spotted bass are notoriously picky, at times exhibiting the behavior of brown trout.  Jeff Cupp goes on to mention that no other bass is as likely to cause you to lose your religion.  Many a fly fisher has been driven into creative fits of profanity and euphemism.

In fishing a lot of smaller Ozark creeks, I have found that it was easier to land spotted bass on nymphs and smaller flies than streamers and larger flies such as crawdads.  I remember on afternoon on a small creek which you could find scads of spotted bass due to it being a tributary of a lake and I fished the most southern part, I threw everything at them and finally tied on a sow bug.  It was custom tied with flashing on the casing.  I started drifting in the riffles as it flowed out of a large pool. There were spotted bass hanging out in there right at the edge of the shade.  I started catching them left and right.  They weren't very sizeable but I figured them out.  On later trips out on this stream, I started casting a size 8 yellow chenille streamer with ginger hackle and yellow mallard flank wing.  Those spotted bass tore it up.  The thing is, as small as these streams are, these bass see and hear you coming from a mile away.  So, presentation is everything.  I did find that during pre-spawn and when the water hit 60-65, they would hit zonkers when the water was up a bit.  I have caught them on Clousers, Buggers, etc.  But on these small and seemingly fragile creeks, you've got to have a gentle approach and presentation AND offering.

It would seem that damsel nymphs could be the answer to landing more Spots.  But, you'll have to wait until I write again.  Tight lines.

*Black Warrior River, AL; Jeff Cupp, Eastern Fly Fishing - Fall 2005


  1. Very good post, Josh. Thanks for sharing some of your small water knowledge on Spotted Bass fishing. Don't have them out in Colorado that I know of so always good to learn and read about something new. You seem to be doing pretty well with them. Those in the pictures are nice ones.

  2. Bass? What are these bass you speak of? Seriously, I don't know but doubt Colorado has spotted bass. But they have bass and bass are bass in my book.

  3. Thanks for the comments. Thinking of tying up a few foam flies - new ones.