I’ve heard of guys fly fishing for smallmouth bass… what is the technique I’d use?

I’ve heard of guys fly fishing for smallmouth bass… what is the technique I’d use?

The key to fly fishing for smallmouth bass is structure and bait. The single, best bait is crawdads. While you may be more familiar with fly fishing for trout, there are some specific differences. Trout tend to like open water, but smallies will be found closer to the rocky structure. In order to locate the smallmouth bass, look for a steep, rocky incline from the water, because though they like rocky ledges, they also like depth, so if you can find an area that provides both, you are onto a potential smallie hotspot! The chances of finding smallies increases when you add in flooded trees and brush. Also look for man made structure as well. Smallies are also not as spooky as trout, so you can wade and fish for them much more closely. Fish from 65 to 75 degrees unless you want to target lunker smallies. They can be active in much colder waters. May to June is the spawn, and smallies are very active at this time. A nine ft., eight weight rod is optimal for catching smallies. Ten pound test line should do it. Flies in a chartreuse, such as a wooly bugger or a crystal bugger, chartreuse and white clouser minnows and imitation crayfish will be all the flies you will need to catch the smallies! Fish slow. Smallies really can not resist a slow presentation, bounced right on the bottom. Just let your lure go to the bottom, then be patient. Wait, give a small strip, and then let it sit a while. Repeat the process. Also, don’t jerk your hook the moment you feel a hit. Smallies often hit, back up, and then go in for the kill.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

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