This can be a frustrating and difficult time of year to fish for esox — wind, cold, wet, and a lot less activity than the good months we had after the feed in autumn.
With a few adjustments and a lot of tenacity we can still have some fishing success, and it’s usually at this time that big trophy fish can show up.
You have to be an extremely versatile angler at this time; fish can be deep to find a thermocline that suits them, and in other instances a bright winter sun can bring fish in the shallows for a few hours to warm up. Now more than ever you need to keep an eye on the local meteorological conditions and adapt.
Here are a few pointers to help you in your winter quest.
Being known as a pretty major streamer lover, I often get lumped into the crowd that only ties big, gnarly streamers. But I'm also a fly fishing guide, and not everyone enjoys throwing streamers on 8-weight rods with sinking line all day, so nymphing is a huge part of my guiding.
The Wiggle Stone is my standard when nymphing deep in a stream where stoneflies live. As with any Stonefly pattern, the most important question is "How quick does it get to the bottom" and with the Nymph-Head Evolution Stonefly tungsten beadhead, this pattern goes straight to the bottom and into the strike zone.
As streamer fly fishing has risen in popularity, streamer designs have taken off like never before.
If you haven't noticed, there are a lot of designs out there. One thing I've noticed about the plethora of new streamer patterns is that many of them (other than a few highly specialized designs) are designed basically around one thing: catching trout in fast-moving water.
So when I grabbed a handful of cleverly crafted baitfish patterns and headed out to my local warm-water bass lake, I found them highly lacking in some important qualities. They didn’t catch very many fish. I quickly realized that something designed for moving water didn’t automatically fit the bill when things became more static.
My answer was to just develop my own streamer patterns and fish away, but if you don't tie your own or have countless hours to experiment and design your own stuff, I realized that the already established cold-water patterns can be just as effective for warm-water species — they just need some adjustment in rigging and common sense when it comes to fishing techniques.
Here are some tricks I’ve used to adapt some commercial fly patterns to be as effective on your local warm-water lake as they are in the famous rivers they were intended for.
Learn to Tie This Next-Generation Squid Fly Pattern
Giovanni mostly targets dorado with his Squid fly pattern, but says that most small- to medium-size pelagic fish are going to gravitate toward this fly. He recommends fishing it on an intermediate line.
I discovered this fly pattern on the Flymen Fishing Co. Instagram feed while looking to see what fly tyers all over the world have done to use Flymen fly tying materials in creative ways. One of the first (and coolest) flies I saw was Giovanni De Pace's (@giannidepace) Squid. This is a slightly modified Flymen version of Giovanni's Squid, I think you'll like it!
For those of us who fly fish, we know it's a constant journey of progression, improvement, and refinement.
The insatiable drive to master the many aspects of the sport is just one of the many reasons why we love it so much.
Blane Chocklett embodies this passion, and his Game Changer style of fly design is the product of decades of trying and failing and trying again to create something no fly tyer had ever fully captured the essence of before: a lifelike streamer pattern that realistically imitates the swimming action and movement of a fish.
We've teamed up with Blane to commercially produce a full range of modern Game Changer flies to his exact specifications.
BREVARD, N.C. — November 20, 2018. Flymen Fishing Company and renowned fly designer Blane Chocklett have teamed up to commercially produce a full range of modern Game Changer flies. The first two fly designs of the collection, the Finesse Changer and the Polar Changer, are now available for limited pre-order...
You have the fishing reports, a spanking new streamer outfit, and a leave pass to go chase some predators.
Your fly boxes are crammed full after hours watching videos while tying at the vise — heck, you probably know more about Brian Wise’s hands at this stage than his wife does.
Flies, lines, and water are all essential tools, but it's not going to work out if you can’t make those bugs swim.
When the Flymen crew asked me to work up another streamer piece for the blog I went back to my 2016 article, “Beyond Banging The Banks”. What we didn’t cover was how to make that fly swim when it hits the water. Consider this Chapter 2.
As a trout guide I like to think that there are no mistakes in fly fishing, rather there are learning opportunities — lots and lots of learning opportunities.
With each client I try to place an emphasis on proving yourself wrong, and by that I mean, take some rule/tactic/method and try to disprove it. After all, how many times have you done what was considered to be wrong and yet still caught a fish?
Habits on the other hand, are another story. Unlike mistakes, habits — especially a certain few — can be detrimental to catching trout. I'm going to address three of the worst habits I see on the water and how you can go about improving your habits to catch more trout.
Blane Chocklett truly eats, breathes, and sleeps fly fishing.
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 theArticulated Fish-Spinewith 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.
Learn to tie this incredibly realistic yet easy-to-tie hopper pattern.
This fly pattern comes from the creative mind of custom fly tyer Adam Harman. Using theDouble Barrelpopper body on a Hopper pattern makes perfect sense; maximum floatation, keel, and water disturbance on thepop.It just works.
Without a doubt, golden dorado rank among the most exciting gamefish on the planet to catch on a fly rod. If it happens on the surface, not to mention with a popper, your adrenaline levels can raise to new all-time high levels! When fishing with a popper it is not...
How Do You Decide Which Streamer Color to Fish With? Choosing the right color for your streamers based on the kind of water, depth, and brightness of the day is quite important in fly fishing. Like many casting or spinning anglers do with their lures, we must tie our fly patterns...
Learn to tie this next-generation shrimp fly pattern
Best fished on either floating or intermediate lines targeting redfish, bonefish, snook, permit, and the occasional tarpon, the Shrimp & Cray Tail Faux Shrimp leans more toward medium water as it gets deep fast thanks to the Fish-Skull Shrimp & Cray Tail. When sight fishing, lead the fish and once the fish turns, make short strips until you come tight.
The Machaca Is One of the Baddest Freshwater Fish in Costa Rica, Hands Down. When I first started talking to my friends back in Florida about how awesome catching machaca on a fly was, most of them had no clue what I was talking about. So let me give you...
Learn to tie this topwater Game Changer variation. This Game Changer variation tied by Brian Wise features a Surface Seducer Howitzer baitfish popper head with Dragon Eyes for added fish-attracting commotion and a Fish-Skull Frantic Tail for frisky tail action. Game Changer style flies are tied with and get their movement...
Having a dedicated fly tying space is critical for taking your tying skills to the next level.
If you always have to set up and break down your fly tying area you are apt to tie less often. Setting up and breaking down will soon become an unpleasant chore. If there is any negativity associated with your tying sessions you will tie flies less often, guaranteed.
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...
Introducing the Fully Synthetic Double Barrel Baitfish Popper.
Hammer a wide range of freshwater and saltwater species with the new Surface Seducer Double Barrel Baitfish Popper (which is available to you starting today). This universal, highly effective popper imitates a typical baitfish being pursued (and eaten) by your favorite predatory gamefish such as striped bass, redfish, GT’s, false albacore, pike, peacock bass, smallmouth and largemouth bass.
The range of sizes from #2 to 5/0, the stainless steel hook, and the universal baitfish design give you the ability to effectively fish theBaitfish Popperin a wide range of freshwater and saltwater fishing situations.
This is one tough and durable popper because it is fully synthetic. The foam Double Barrel body provides powerful popping action, the Faux Bucktail tail is bite proof, and the Living Eyes provide lifelike realism and an additional trigger for predatory gamefish.
Following our recent release of the Bass Bug 2.0, one of the biggest things we've done to take the Baitfish Popper to the next level is completely eliminating hard epoxy in exchange for a flexible epoxy that can take strike after strike without breaking or cracking. See the video above to see a test of a Baitfish Popper getting run over by my fishing truck. We figure if the Baitfish Popper can survive that unscathed, you'll be able to fish it hard and often in the toughest angling environments without worrying about destroying your fly!
We hope you enjoy fishing our newest popper. Catch a big one for us!
This Is the Toughest, Most Durable Popper on the Planet.
Say Goodbye to Fragile Poppers With Hard Epoxy Finishes and Hello to the Indestructible 'Soft-Bite' Bass Bug.
We're excited to now be shipping the new and improved "soft bite" version of the Double Barrel Bass Bug, which won Best Of Show – Fly Freshwater at the 2017 International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Orlando, Florida.
Fly Fishing The Ozarks released a fly tying video covering how to tie this creative pattern designed by Spanish fly tyer Nacho Heredero. What a creative use of multiple foam Surface Seducer Double Barrelpopper & slider bodies!
As a Commercial Tyer, I Always Tie My Flies in Large Batches.
Efficiency is the name of the game here, and being that I produce over 50,000 flies per year, I've developed some methods to boost my fly output over time. Here are some simple tricks, some of which I've been using for well over a decade, that you can use to make your own fly tying quicker and easier.
Over the last few years I've spent the majority of my fishing time chasing whites, hybrids, and the occasional striper around the Midwest.
While the Clouser Minnow is the staple fly for most temperate bass, sometimes you've got to shake things up a bit. The Clouser would be the equivalent of a Hare’s Ear nymph in the trout world; you can almost always get fish to eat it, but it may not be the most productive at that given time. Consider it like Sex Panther Cologne: “60% of the time it works every time." With that being said, I would never go on a white/hybrid bass fishing trip without a box of Clousers.
Fly tyers before us had to work hard to get the most out of their feathers and hair, but with new fly tying materials readily available in today's market we have the ability to alter the action and profile of the fly relatively easily.
Here are some things to consider to shake it up and get a more diversified bass fly box.