When most people think about fly fishing Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, they think of trout. When you think of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, you think of warm water species.
We have some of the best smallmouth bass and muskie fishing in the world. It's all right here, as well as arguably the best carp fishing when it comes to pursuing them in the Great Lakes.
The upper Midwest is such a rad area for fly fishing and there's a very small group of outfitters that are providing guided trips at an elite level. We offer single day and multi-day trips, and if you've never done a multi-day guided fly fishing trip, I'd definitely recommend one to the Midwest. It allows you as an angler to get into a groove, especially if you're a busy person that generally doesn't have a lot of time to fish.
Aggressive eats, jumps, and willingness to eat on the surface make bass a fun fish to chase, especially on the fly. Personally, I think the topwater takes are where it’s at in bass fly fishing. Part of the fun is getting the fish to eat what you want it to eat.
If you’re set on getting bass to eat on the surface and it’s not working, before you give up and switch over to fishing a streamer, try dialing it back first. That’s where the topwater finesse comes into play.
It’s a solid spot that has produced many times throughout my years as a fly fishing guide.
I relay the information to my clients, and what happens next is...
A) The client lands the fly an inch off the shore, lets it sit for a couple seconds, strips, pauses, and the smallmouth eats the fly.
B) The fly lands 3 feet off the shore, well short of the current break, and the client fishes the fly back to cast again.
C) The client false casts so many times that the fly is never given a chance to catch a fish, even with me frantically pulling on the oars trying to hold the spot.
D) The fly lands in the spot but is quickly stripped well out of position, the fish chases and turns off.
E) The fly lands an inch off the shore, the client lets it sit for a couple seconds, strips, pauses, but no one is home and hungry today.
The following 3 tips will help make option A more likely of a situation for you on your next smallmouth fishing trip.
For those of us who fly fish, Blane is living the dream. One of the fly fishing industry's most forward-thinking and innovative anglers, Blane pioneered the Game Changer style of fly design, co-developing the Articulated Fish-Spine with Flymen Fishing Co., and has been a major catalyst behind the rise of big game fly fishing in the last decade.
We recently had the chance to interview Blane on the banks of the French Broad River in Western North Carolina. This resulted in an insightful look at fly fishing, community, and life from a man who continues to impress us all with his creativity and willingness to push the limits of fly tying and fishing.
Michael Phelps may have 23 gold medals, but the Phelps Frog is all about bronze... Bronzebacks that is! This leggy frog fly with serious swimming action is an absolute bass magnet. Learn to tie it today. Fly Recipe Rear Hook Hook: Fusion Drop Shot, size #1 Body Filler: Chocklett's Game Changer Chenille Legs: Fish-Skull...Continue reading
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.
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.
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:
It combines many of the visual pleasures of fly fishing with some of the toughest technical challenges, creating a scenario in which so much needs to come together perfectly to be successful.
Travelling to a beautiful tropical location and searching for an almost invisible, elusive quarry among endless sand flats, palm trees, mangroves and crystal clear water is incredibly relaxing.
Then add the heightened sense of anticipation, the sudden jolt and adrenaline rush as you first sight the fish – heart pounding, panic setting in, and of course the pressure! Pressure from your guide, your buddy, and yourself to put together the perfect cast at the perfect time to deliver your fly to the perfect spot in the hope (or prayer) that you'll be rewarded.
So much fun!
The idea for the Fish-Skull® Shrimp & Cray Tail™ first came to me during one of these trips to the Bahamas in late 2014. Out on a flats boat in the middle of nowhere, but somewhere between my fourth bonefish and third Kalik of the day, the idea formed to create an alternative to the established fly tying method of using bead chain eyes or small dumbbells to weight shrimp or small crayfish patterns. Continue reading
by Ryan Kaufman
With fly fishing, as with anything in life, people develop habits and preferences.
There’s the dry fly enthusiast. This person is the true purist. If you’re not enticing a fish to eat on the surface you’re not even really fly fishing. Conversations about shuck materials and wing placement can go on for hours. It’s "dry or die" and bamboo all the way.
There's the Euro-nympher. This person is out to put a hole in the lip of every fish in the stream. They regard the FIPS-Mouche competition rules as the bible and tungsten beads as their savior. They don kneepads and use nets with huge hoops.
And then there are those who stay up till the wee hours of the morning drinking and attaching more feathers, hair, and flash to a size 4 hook or bigger than you can shake a 10 foot 3 weight at.
The visual experience of watching a big fish chase down and crush a big fly is what keeps the blood pumping through their veins.
These are the streamer junkies.
Are you a streamer junkie?
If any of the following 5 signs apply to you... you might be a streamer junkie.
by Brian Shumaker
Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced smallmouth fly angler, here are 3 things to think about to increase your odds if your success rate isn’t what you expect it to be.
by Mike Smith
Fishing from rafts, drift boats, and skiffs has unique challenges. I know; I’ve been guiding from a raft for nearly two decades. During this time, I've found there are five common things that anglers floating for smallmouth consistently struggle with.