Flymen Blog

3 Reasons You're Not Catching Bass

It’s no secret fly fishing started as a trout fishing sport.

Over the decades it's spread into several other arenas of fishing: saltwater, warm-water, carp… just about anything that swims.

But suffice it to say, even here in the Southwestern United States where the only cold running water within a 3-hour drive comes from a faucet, the trout is still the king of the fly rod world.

However, cold-water trips are far and few between unless you happen to be gifted with unlimited vacation time and free gas. So, being blessed with fishable year-round weather, it is inevitable that even the most die-hard trout purist will eventually try their skills at fly fishing for bass.

Most cold-water veterans go into it with the attitude that this much less sophisticated fish requires much less effort to trick than their cold water cousins, and most are quite surprised when they get stumped time and again by these neanderthals of the fly fishing world.

I’m not here to convince you bass are smarter or harder to catch than trout – they’re not. But if you want to show up at the bass lake and be able to leave with your dignity in tact, you need to change up your game.

Here are 3 of the most common reasons you might not be catching as many bass as you could be.

How To Fly Fish For Smallmouth Bass In Winter

winter smallmouth bass fly fishing

During these frigid winter months I often find myself thinking about something dear to me – smallmouth fishing.

If you're like me, you miss the warm sun on your back and the bend of a 8wt rod with a bronzeback on the other end.

It doesn't have to be over for us. There is still bass fishing around.

Granted, the cold and brutal conditions of winter do not make it easy to put in the time it takes to locate and fish for these guys. I have found myself questioning my own sanity many times over. It’s a part of being a die-hard fly angler.

With that being said, here are some tactics that I have found helpful for cold-weather smallmouth fishing.

Up Around The Bend: Fly Fishing and Perspective

All of my fly fishing and tying recently came to a screeching halt.

I consider myself an avid fly fisherman and seemingly constant fly tyer, and I've often said my time on the water is my church.

However, a double meniscus and ACL tear and the surgery to repair it can slow down even the most enthusiastic angler.

For those who don't know, this entails arthroscopic surgery to the knee; in my case, the damaged ACL was replaced with a cadaver ligament. Thank you to the unselfish donor who in essence gave me the ability to navigate more freely on two legs again.

This bend in the stream of life has changed my perspective on many things I used to take for granted and the little changes that affect our day-to-day lives.

Where the heck is my bobbin? The messy fly tyer's guide to organizing fly tying materials.

fly tying desk

We've all experienced the frustration of not being able to find a material you need while fly tying.

I'm probably one of the least organized people on the planet, but recently my custom fly tying business has been busy and tying is taking me longer than it should due to me losing materials in what I used to call my "organized chaos."

We all know what that means.

The main sources of my problem are me not putting materials and tools away when I'm finished with them, shoving them in random drawers, or simply never putting them away when I bring them home. 

Although I barely own any storage items specifically designed for fly fishing or tying, there are a few I recommend everyone to have to make your fly tying more fun and less frustrating.

Win a lifetime supply of flies... and more!

fly fishing email prize contest Postfly Flymen Yeti Costa Cheeky Fishpond

Winner takes all!

Sure, there are many places out there where you can win some cool stuff, but this one takes the cake and all the ice cream, plus a few cold beers on the side.

For the entire month of November, anyone who enters their email will be entered to win a pile of prizes, valued over $5,000.

The winner isn’t just going to win their pick of the prizes below, they’re getting everything. One winner takes all. If you win, make sure you’re sitting down, because it might just blow your mind.

Postfly is running the contest and they partnered with us here at Flymen as well as with Yeti, Costa, Cheeky Fishing, fishpond USA, Compass 360, and Blue Halo to round up all of the essentials you need to get out on the water and catch fish.

Check out the prizes below and then enter your email now. Don’t miss out on the most exciting contest around!

The winner will be chosen at random at 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 30.

The Face-Melting Prize Pack 

Postfly: Lifetime Supply Of Flies

Yeti: Hopper Flip Cooler

Costa: Your Choice Of Shades

Flymen Fishing Co: Fly Tying Essentials and Fly Tester

Cheeky Fishing: Boost 350 Fly Reel

fishpond USA: Sushi Roll, Cerveza Sidekick, Roadtrip Fly Tying Kit

Compass 360: Ledges Breathable Chest Waders

Blue Halo: RetroFlex II-C 3wt Fiberglass Fly Rod

Two fly fishing world records in one morning!

Fly fishing world record calico bass Al Quattrocchi

On an early Saturday morning last May, something remarkable happened while inshore fly fishing along Southern California's rocky Palos Verdes coast.

I landed 2 spectacular fish on flies; the first, a 9.4-pound calico bass on 12-pound tippet, then less than an hour later, I sight casted to and landed a 36-pound white sea bass on 20-pound tippet, both official IGFA fly fishing world records.

Fly fishing world record calico bass white sea bass Al Quattrocchi

A record-breaking morning I'll never forget.

Here's the story of the calico bass I caught on that crazy once-in-a-lifetime morning on my go-to articulated sculpin fly, tied with a small brown Fish-Skull Sculpin Helmet.

Get in the action! Fall false albacore on the fly.

False Albacore fly fishing

These fish are flat out amazing and if you haven’t been fly fishing for them, you're missing out!

This fall marks the tenth year I’ve engaged in the madness known as fly fishing for false albacore.

I remember my first few trips chasing albies up and down Shackleford and Cape Lookout in North Carolina, all which ended in frustration, not due to a lack of opportunities, but mainly because I had not yet paid my dues and learned the ins and outs of catching these fish.

Somewhere around my third trip, I hooked into my first Albacore on fly. That 20-pound fish took every bit of my backing, and the event is still etched in my mind to this day.

10 years down the road and a ton of albies later, I’m hoping these tips will make your first few outings a little more successful than mine.

The power of suggestion: 3 key elements of streamer fly design

Gunnar Brammer fly fishing Flymen

Everything we create in the search to fool fish is an imitation of life, a suggestion of realism.

A size 16 Adams, a 4/0 Flashabou streamer, and even a #14 Husky Jerk are all attempts to convey the same thing to the fish we target with them — that they are food.

How closely they imitate life, and how well they suggest their intended identity are what make flies successful, or not.

What I want to discuss is a simple idea, and this idea applies to every fly, lure, and flure that has, or ever will exist. The idea is in regards to a predator's search image, and its impacts on design and design simplicity.

What is a search image?

How to tackle big water fly fishing

Something about pulling a fish out of a big body of water makes you feel heroic.

Walking up to a big body of water, so big that your cast doesn’t even cover a fraction of the water, can be daunting and even downright discouraging.

You almost feel nervous to make your first cast. Where do I start? How do I tackle this water without a boat?

But when everything comes together and you hook into that fish, you feel like you won the lottery!

Here are a few things to help make swinging your fly rod feel a little more like fishing and a little less like… flailing.

Fly Fishing Gulf Shores, Alabama.

fly fishing Gulf Shores, Alabama smithfly paddleboard

Most of us will not get the chance to chase bonefish on the flats of Belize, but with a little preparation we can still get the same rush a little closer to home.

As a staunch streamer junkie, there's nothing greater to me than having a big brown trout absolutely hammer a streamer.

But after fishing Gulf Shores, Alabama, I realized I've been missing out – the salt is a streamer junkie’s dream. 

Saltwater fish hit a fly like they have had a lifelong vendetta against that poor little Clouser (seriously, I had a ladyfish almost take the fly rod out of my hand).

Fly Tying: Oskar Hagelin's Dive, Kick Ass, Repeat

Fly recipe

  • Hook: #2 Gamakatsu B10s
  • Tail: Flashabou
  • Tail 2: Senyo's Fusion Dub 
  • Body: Senyo's Fusion Dub 
  • Wing: Magnum Rabbit Strip
  • Hook: #1 Gamakatsu B10s
  • Body: Senyo's Fusion Dub 
  • Body 2: EP Tarantula Brush
  • Pectoral Fins: Deer Hair
  • Wing: Magnum Rabbit Strip
  • Head: Fish-Skull Sculpin Helmet

5 tips for your first DIY bonefish trip.

John Mauser fly fishing bahamas bonefish

Bahamas bonefishing on a budget.

My first trip to the Bahamas helped me realize how attainable it was, even though I had put it off for many years because I thought it was out of my price range.

Lesson learned.

We returned the following year and now the Bahamas has made it to the top of my list for DIY fishing vacations.

I’m learning more each time I visit, but I’d like to share a few thoughts with anyone who has considered scratching it off their bucket list.

Wanderlust and fly fishing.

Fly fishing guide Ryan Shea Brookdog Fly Fishing

“I guess I have to say a lot of fishing we do is a little promiscuous, which, as everyone knows can be a little dangerous but nonetheless has its charms.”
– John Gierach, Standing in a River Waving a Stick.

Although the reasons we fish are as numerous and diverse as our community of anglers, there are 2 distinct categories of anglers:

  1. Anglers who are happy and/or content with their home waters and fish them well.
  2. Anglers who have an insatiable urge to see what else is out there.

As someone who's moved homes and changed jobs at least 12 times since graduating high school, I fall into the latter category and it can be a real drag sometimes.

It must be pretty nice to NOT have a powerful lust for new water…

Or is it?

What follows is some insight into the world of us anglers with wanderlust – it’s either a cry for help or an attempt to rub it in the other camp’s face – I can’t decide.

Bluegill: Fly fishing's little magic bullet.

Bluegill fly fishing

How do we get new fly anglers introduced to the sport of fly fishing?

We hear this question over and over again.

The answer might be sitting in front of us and we don’t even see it. This magic bullet is also a hell of a lot of fun for the seasoned angler as well.

What is it, you ask?

It is Lepomis macrochirus, more commonly called a bluegill.

No matter where you live, there are probably some of these little gems swimming in a pond or lake near you.

Let’s face it, trout fishing can be hard and often a barrier to getting new fly anglers off to a good start.

There's nothing better than the humble bluegill to ensure a new fly angler has a great experience and gets put on the path to success.

Swing it! Spey streamer fly fishing tips.

Reddington fly rod stream

Everyone has their own style of fishing whether it be with a spinning rod or a fly rod.

Those of us who choose to pick up a fly rod also have our little own niches in which we choose to stick with.

Unfortunately, we tend to put our streamer boxes aside during this time of year and stick to more traditional approaches.

Yes, it’s exhilarating to watch that giant brown trout come to the surface and take your size 18 dry fly as you fish a tail out of a pool or a nice steady run, but what is more heart pumping than watching that same giant fish chase your 4” to 8” streamer from bank to bank and demolish your fly on the strip or the end of your swing?

When to take your kids fly fishing.

For the passionate fly angler, teaching your children all about the pastime will seem like a natural progression.

Fly fishing is a great way to get outdoors, learn new skills and wind down away from the bustle of everyday life – something your kids might thank you for later on.

But knowing when to put the fly rod into a child’s hand is a completely different matter.

Introduce the sport too seriously, too young and you risk losing their interest altogether. Take the kids on a trip during the dead of winter and they may never want to join you in your pursuit for trout again!

To ensure you introduce fly fishing in an approach that is positive, fun and at the right time for your family, here are a few points you might like to consider.

Inside look: Designing the Surface Seducer Double Barrel

Surface Seducer Double Barrel popper and slider body

Putting the POP back in popper flies.

This may be the most exciting time to be involved in fly fishing!

In recent years, fly fishing has rapidly evolved at an unprecedented rate.

No longer restricted to trout or salmon, fly fishing has become "anything goes if it's on the fly," with fly anglers now able to actively target and land virtually any species of freshwater or saltwater gamefish on a fly rod. 

As fly anglers expand their horizons, the hunt for more species in widely varied types of fisheries across the world is rapidly driving the need for innovation in the fly fishing industry with specialized flies and equipment for enticing and landing these fish.

Summer pike fly fishing tactics.

Gunnar Brammer fly design

Catching a pickerel, pike, or musky on a fly rod is an intense experience that translates into obsession very quickly.

There are only a handful of fish that I can say I’m obsessed with targeting on a fly rod.

Trout are at the top of my list, but any of the fish within the esocidae, or esox, family come in at a close second.

Spring and fall are the typical seasons when big pike are most vulnerable to a fly angler, but I can’t help but target them all year long, summer being no exception.

These tips will help you dial in summer pike within your local system.

Fly fishing: Smallmouth spawning psychology.

Water temperature will tell you a great deal about where smallmouth bass are and what they're up to.

The first thing to do when you get on water you haven’t fished all winter, or even in the last week, is finding the right water to fish.

As conditions underwater change, fish swim to find a comfy spot that suits their needs.

Learning to read water and pay attention to the finer details will enable you to identify holding spots quickly and increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time.

A quick breakdown looks like this:

Continue reading

Fly fishing for predators: 3 ways to entice an aggressive eat.

Fly fishing Sculpin Helmet

Your fly is the most critical part of your setup.

It doesn’t matter if you’re throwing it on your new $500 rod, or fish scale print reel, or in the newest wading shoes.

If your fly doesn’t fish, the fish won’t eat it.

That being said, a fly is only as good as its presentation. Your fly might be the best-looking, most lifelike imitation ever tied. It might perfectly match the hatch, down to the exact shade and color; however, it's only as good as the angler throwing it.

My aim is to give you some perspective on how I fish a streamer and why, hopefully increasing the effectiveness of the flies already in your box.

  • Page 1 of 3
  • Page 1 of 3