Throughout the season, certain bass flies work particularly well. Here’s a short list of flies for your arsenal that always seem to have their place throughout the season (with the exception of the White Miller which is a sporatic specialty hatch).
Summer Solstice Selection
Here’s a quick summer selection that won’t fail you! On the far left (and tough to see) are Flash Dancers (in chartreuse and white. Poppers of various sizes and colors will all produce. Don’t be caught without some Clouser Minnows – ever, anywhere, for any fish. Hook sizes in the #2 – 8 range work well for most conditions. Chartreuse and White is very popular and effective in many waters.
Throw these during the summer in any smallie waters and you’ll catch fish.
Tier: Brad Miller
Is there a better improvement to surface popper fishing than the newer foam poppers? I call them “Sponge Bobs”. I don’t know who first tried this material but, when tied correctly, its durable, light, and extremely deadly!
There are specific features to this pattern to note. First, check the length of hook coming off the back behind the body. As mentioned elsewhere, this is critical in popper design so the fish has plenty of hook away from the body to allow for easy penetration and a solid hook up. The eye of the hook is situated at 1/16 of an inch from the bottom of the popper, close to the water. This set up will move water just right and not make it dig down if the eye is closer to the middle of the face.
Fly of the Day
Tier: Dave Kollmann of St. Cloud, MN is one of the top fly anglers in Minnesota specializing in Mississippi bronzebacks. He is the president of the St. Cloud Fly Anglers Club, a local group meeting monthly to discuss issues and share information. Kollmann’s creation uses the time proven color combinations of white and red to take subsurface smallies year around.
Tie them on hooks #2 – #8. Wrap lead around the shank and tie on the tinsel tail, approximately six strands. Red marabou is applied circumferentially and heavily on the butt of the hook, extending back nearly a shaft length beyond the bend. Dave palmers white mink (termaline) fur strips back to front and finishes with a single grouse soft hackle. Learn More…
Hi Tail Craw
This is one of my new favorites, tested heavily recently and a standby from local smallie guru Tim Holschlag. It’s an off-shoot of a woolly bugger using a jig hook and a foam tail piece that helps it sit up in the rear, like a real crayfish. It worked well, both in the olive and brown – both colors produced when top water patterns did not.
Tie them on hooks #2 – 8. Get all the details >> Learn More…
White Miller/Light Cahill
Tier: Brad Miller
Later July, August and into September, the ephoron leukons mayfly can mean big smallies on small flies, just like trout fishing at its dry fly finest. Keep your eyes open for these hatches in your area. It can mean some of the most unforgettable traditional dry fly fishing of the entire year for big smallmouth. The White’s coming off the upper Mississippi north of the Twin Cities appear to be about a #12 or #14. This is basically a big Light Cahill and a PMD will work very often in a pinch. A White Wulff is a much better imitation, but the fish are generally not fussy.
Add a little movement to the fly if the water is covered with naturals. I often go bigger since these are big fish and are always looking for something big to eat. I’ve used parachute hopper patterns during the hatch with success, as these float well and are easier to see.
The most fun is to use one of these Light Cahills or White Millers and get a big bronzeback to sip it like a big old brown trout. You’ll swear to God you’re seeing creek chubs eating the mayfly until you hook up. When all hell breaks loose you’ll know you’re in fly fishing heaven! Don’t be surprised if you hook an occasional carp, sucker, rock bass or other river critter gettin’ in on the goodies.
Hook: Any preferable barbless dry fly hook sizes #12 – #6. I tie about a twelve body on a ten hook. I like a little more hook gap on these big fish. Remember bigger is normally better here.
Thread: White or Light Yellow or Tan Thread
Tail: White hackle fibers
Body: White Rabbit Dubbing, or experiment with other, including other colors such as buff or very light yellow.