Fly fishing isn’t only reserved for quiet mountain streams and western rivers in search of trout. Many purists don’t even bother thinking about bringing the fly rod out for any other type of fishing. This is where people are mistaken. The fly rod is great for all types of fishing; especially Largemouth Bass.
I used to be one of those purists and thought I could only use my fly rod in certain situations. I didn’t live near any trout water and always had the itch to fish so I decided to give fly fishing for bass a try.
Table of Contents
- What is a Largemouth Bass Fly?
- What Makes a Great Largemouth Bass Fly?
- What Do Largemouth Bass Flies Imitate?
- Basic Types of Largemouth Bass Flies
- The Best Largemouth Bass Flies for Fly Fishing
- Best Dry Flies for Largemouth Bass
- Best Streamers for Largemouth Bass
- Fly Fishing Species
I purchased a few bass flies, some stronger leader and headed to the river. My mind was quickly changed. Fly fishing for largemouth bass is amazing. It’s an entirely different fishing experience and always leads to some great entertainment.
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What is a Largemouth Bass Fly?
Largemouth bass flies are typically a bit larger and brighter than trout or other freshwater flies. Largies often strike out of aggression and the more obnoxious the fly, the better chance you have at landing one of these fish.
You’ll find largemouth bass flies between size 0 and 6. They have giant appetites and once they’re in the feeding mood, they won’t hesitate to eat just about anything. You’ll find both wet and dry largemouth flies.
Since largemouth feed in all portions of the water column, there are flies that sit at a variety of depths. Make sure you’re equipped with a wide-variety to ensure success.
What Makes a Great Largemouth Bass Fly?
A great largemouth bass fly is flashy, large and has quite a bit of action. The majority of these would be considered attractor flies. You can’t miss them in the water and the bass hopefully won’t either.
What Do Largemouth Bass Flies Imitate?
Largemouth bass flies are required to imitate a variety of things. Since the diet of bass is so varied, you never know what is really going to work. Trial-and-error is a necessary aspect of fly fishing for these fish.
The majority of largemouth bass flies imitate some sort of baitfish. Whether it’s fry or small sunfish and perch, bass will attach any sort of baitfish they can find. On top of this, these flies have quite a bit of action to try and imitate a baitfish in duress. This is crucial for their success.
Frogs are another favorite of largemouth bass. Pulling a popper across the surface of the water near some lily pads is exciting of a fishing experience as you can possibly find. Bass will explode on these flies if they get the chance. Don’t forget to have a nice collection of poppers available for your next excursion.
The third most common type of largemouth fly you will find will imitate crayfish. Crayfish often sit in the shallower portions of the lakes and rivers that they live in. You can fish these in a variety of ways and can be a great option if you aren’t quite sure what the fish want.
Basic Types of Largemouth Bass Flies
Largemouth bass flies don’t have any sort of special category that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Again, bass feed at all levels of the water column so they have flies you would find in every category.
The majority of bass dry flies you would find are poppers. These flies sit on top of the water and never dip below the surface. They’re meant to be fished when the bass are looking to feed on the surface of the water.
The other type of bass fly you will find is a streamer. Largemouth bass rarely eat insects. They’re more interested in eating some sort of worm, crayfish, frog or baitfish if at all possible. These flies sit lower in the water column and have quite a bit of movement when they’re fished.
The Best Largemouth Bass Flies for Fly Fishing
Fly selection within the largemouth bass fly fishing community is continuing to grow. It’s a newer type of fly fishing so anglers are still learning and creating flies that will have success.
Best Dry Flies for Largemouth Bass
Similar to the wet flies for bass, the dry flies need to move quite a bit of water for the bass to notice and even want to strike. The following list will help you accomplish just that!
It’s fitting to get this list started with a popper. The foam popper is a staple in the bass fishing industry and anglers should be sure this is one of the first dry flies they use when looking to find some fish on the surface.
This is a great fly to use in the morning and evening when the fish are looking in all areas of the water column to feed. If possible, fish this fly through some lily pads and see what happens. The bass will see this and be sure to strike. Six to 12 inch strips are going to be your best friends with these flies!
While the Sneaky Pete looks like a popper, there are a few key differences that set these flies apart from the traditional foam popper. The “head” on these flies is flipped backwards so you can use the “walk the dog” technique with this fly.
Short strips are going to work great with these flies. They don’t cause quite as much commotion on the surface of the water as poppers and it can be a useful method if the traditional popper isn’t working. Also, a few hard strips will cause this fly to dip under the surface of the water.
The Schmidterbug is a fairly new fly that has hit the market in recent years. It has a similar look to a popper, but a wider front is a solid resemblance of the Jitterbug pattern. This fly is going to cause the most action on the surface of the water of these three flies.
It’s also a bit heavier to fly so you will want to make sure you’re using a 6 or 7-weight to ensure that you have the strength and power to hit your specific spots. These flies are great to use on windier days where there is a bit of chop in the water. The fish can be distracted so this will help you gain their attention.
Best Streamers for Largemouth Bass
The best flies you can use for largemouth bass are streamers. These large and obnoxious flies are going to frustrate the bass enough that they’re going to try and eat whatever you throw their way!
The Meat Whistle is a simple pattern, but works extremely well. The heavy bass beadhead allows this fly to dive deeper in the water column than a traditional streamer. The action of this fly is also great. One strip will cause this fly to rise in the water column, but it quickly falls due to the weight.
Bass will hit this fly in the fall! The simple rubber legs and rabbit strip aren’t difficult to put together yourself. If you’re interested in tying some streamers, make sure that this is one of the first you try!
The Clouser Crayfish is one of my favorite looking flies on the market. It has a leech-like body, but the extra hackle and material off of the back give it a solid appearance of a crayfish. While it isn’t the heaviest streamer that you’ll find, it’ll sit near the middle of the water column.
Fish this up near shore and in the shallower portions of the lakes and rivers. You won’t be disappointed in what you find.
Gully Ultra Craw
The Ultra Craw is a fascinating looking pattern that will be right at home in any lake or river that holds bass. It’s colorful and quite heavy so you can drift this along the bottom of the water column and see what strikes.
The Burgin Bugger has a similar look to the Wooly Bugger, but it’s a bit more intrusive. It has a heavy bead head and some rubber legs so it sticks just enough for the bass to take notice. You can swing, strip or dead drift this fly if you would like.
You have a variety of options for color patterns, but the olive option will never steer you wrong.
The Deerhair Sunfish is my favorite bass fishing fly. It’s extremely detailed and I enjoy admiring it and fishing it. I use this fly in the spring when the bass are beginning to spawn. Throw this near or on a bed and do some sight fishing.
It’s a great fly to use to get your finesse casting abilities back on track.
Yes, Drunk & Disorderly is a traditional trout pattern that has snuck into this list, but it’s well worth it. This fly is great to use if you’re fishing rivers for largemouth bass. Swing it through some eddies and make sure that it has plenty of action!
If you’re after one of those massive largies, this is a great option. It has a great amount of action and is another smart option if you’re fishing beds in the spring. When you see one of those big females on the bed, throw this fly near and see what happens.
Fly fishing for bass requires some trial and error, but once you get the hang of it, you’re going to find yourself in the midst of some extremely entertaining fights. Don’t make the mistake of only sticking to one fly! Trade out flies and see what comes your way.
It’s an entirely new facet of fly fishing that anglers need to try.