Fly Fishing for Bass – What flies?

With the new season upon us for 2014, it’s time to dust off the fly fishing gear and hit the fly tying bench in readiness for some hectic sessions on the beach.

What happened in 2013? Well, my season was certainly one to remember, not only for my benefit but for a few friends too. Although I was unlucky on a few occasions with the larger sized fish a couple of mates did better and managed to set themselves new personal bests with the best going 10 1/2lbs. A fish of a lifetime on any method but made that little more special when its caught on a fly! There were also a number of other great fish taken between 7 1/2 and 9lbs.

My personal best day however, resulted in over 50+ Bass, “Nothing to shout about you may say” and yes, you could probably do this every other day with schools of fish in the estuaries of a pound or so in weight but, these fish were a few classes above and with an average weight of between 3 and 4lbs. I will quite happily shout about it from the roof tops! It was a insane session, it was a fish a chuck, two fish a chuck at one point when I was fishing a dropper fly. Although I manged to get the first couple of double shots to the net I thought better of it and cut one fly off as 3lb+ fish pulling against each other is asking for trouble and a snap off was on the cards. If the fish had been slightly larger I am sure a breakage would have been a certainty. Thankfully I always use a stout leader, 15lbs breaking strain is the lightest I would go and for the most part I use 20lb. Personally, I have never found Bass to be leader shy so it doesn’t pay to go light on your tippet…  To date, it will certainly go down as my most memorable day SWFF!

I have everything crossed that this season will be as good has the last and with a bit of luck, that 10lb fish which as eluded me so far will turn up.

What do I use?

My favourite fly pattern for Bass is this Silver Baitfish pattern.

Saltwater bass flies

This pattern worked extremely well for me last year. During the months of September and October there’s usually an influx of small mullet on the beaches which range in sizes between 3 – 6″ in length, these make for easy pickings for any marauding Bass so it only makes sense to offer them something which resembles what they are feeding on. It’s a great fly that’s relatively easy to tie and very rarely, if ever, fouls on the cast. The rear part of the fly ( the tail ) consists of extra select craft fur, the front portion is Veniard’s Streamer wing .The streamer wing is what makes this fly almost foul proof, it’s fairly stiff but has a decent amount of mobility, the best part about it is the profile it keeps in the water, it’s excellent. The craft fur gives the pattern all the mobility it requires.

Hook – You preferred pattern of choice and size.
Extra select craft fur.
Veniards streamer wing.
Silver angle hair.
Stick on eyes
Veniard Bug Bond Resin ( Or your preferred UV resin )

This pattern doesn’t only work in the later months. Tied in different sizes it works from the start of the season right until the end.

Tight lines

Daz

 

Bass Fishing in Early September

Daz on the Bass

Daz returning a bass of a couple of pounds

Tuesday 3rd.Sept 2013.

This turned out to be a very frustrating session indeed. I briefly made contact with one fish right off the the bat but we soon parted company. With numerous follows after this not one would commit to take the fly. The usual change of tactics, methods and flies which would more often than not produce a few fish under such circumstances proved fruitless. I have had many follows and rejections over the years (Yes, off fish!) on both fly and plugs but never from so many fish in one single session. I really don’t know what went on that day and why the fish were coming short, or what else I could have done to induce a take, it’s something which I have never experienced before. The conditions were good and many thoughts run through my mind as to why they were acting like they were, such as; “Have they already fed and stuffed themselves on the millions of bait fish which were present”. The truth is I don’t know, what I do know is; It was not the typical behavior of the bass I know.

Wednesday 4th.Sept 2013.

I headed for the same mark in the hope that the Bass were in a better mood, but unfortunately I had no luck. Except for one small fish which I watched engulf my fly and reject it before I even thought about lifting the rod! I was not too disappointed by the missed chance although it could have saved another blank!

Saturday 7th.Sept 2013.

Hoping that a change of venue would bring a change of luck, plans were made over the phone on the Friday with my good mate and fishing buddy, Mark Hearn. The plan was to attack a low water mark a little further west, with low water at 2:00am arrangements were made to meet at 11:30pm in the car park. Kitted up and our fishing rods loaded with the new Super-Dri fly lines from Airflo, our choice of flies were clouser type patterns. We made the short walk to the water. I love this mark, not only for the ease of fishing it offers but also for the quality of fish it can give up. It’s got a bit of everything you look for when Bass fishing, mud, sand, rock, weed and a variety of food items that the fish can gorge themselves on, a real Bass haven. With a average depth of around 3ft, our  floating lines are all that is needed.

Conditions were perfect and with good water clarity I was feeling confident. Things started off very slow and it wasn’t until low water that the first fish slammed the fly, a spirited little fellow of around 2 1/2lbs which felt twice the size when I first got stuck in to him, the new 6wt Airflo switch I was using took on a nice little bend. The rod was a real joy to use, bit more on this when it’s had a fair testing. The night did not turn out as I had hoped and unfortunately for Mark he drew a blank. Myself; I managed a few fish to a couple of pounds or more but the better specimens failed to show up!

Daz

Fly Fishing for Bass with Darren Jackson!

Every once in a while you come across an angler who really stands out, to us, an angler is someone who can fish almost anywhere and catch fish. There’s a lot of people who are good at one thing –  stocky bashing for example – but would be lost if taken to a river. ‘Daz’ is one of those anglers who can put his hands to anything…  

Bass on the fly

As most keen anglers, Darren has been fishing since he can remember, dabbling with every aspect of the sport from sea, coarse and game fishing with a variety of fishing methods. For the past 15 or more years Daz’s main quarry has been fly fishing for Sea trout and Salmon fishing on the wonderful Welsh Rivers. Who’s blaming him when he has a number of seriously productive waters right on his doorstep?

Daz is a luck guy, in his early years he was fishing almost 7 days a week, and undoubtedly he put an impressive number of fish on the bank. In his most productive season he managed over 400 Sea Trout and Salmon and other seasons averaging 200+. With numerous double figure Sewin and a few over his set goal -15lb, Daz has decided it’s time to turned his angling attention to something different, setting himself new challenges along the way.

For the last year or so he’s been focusing his efforts on Sea Bass. Putting his time and effort into hopefully landing a 10lb+ Bass on the fly, a tall measure by anyone’s standards! (Daz has already missed two large fish estimated above 10lb so watch this space)

Bass fishing however, is not new to him. Before he started fly fishing for the Seatrout, Bass were his obsession. Again, Daz could be spotted on the shore, piers or rocky outcrops most days of the week throwing plugs and lures on light spinning gear. Something which many anglers have taken up recently. Darren says “Not much has changed since back then other than I soley fly fish these day and have not used another method for many years. There are not many fish that swim that can’t be caught on a fly, and for me it is so much more enjoyable and rewarding way of catching!”.

Over the next couple of seasons Daz will be posting weekly updates and detailed reports of his successes and failures including fly patterns, the salt water fly fishing tackle he uses and a few hints and tips which will hopefully help you or a mate, get into some Bass!

Great Lure Fishing Blogs

Lure Fishing Blogs Fishtec

Almost anything that swims the UK shoreline has been targeted with a lure, recently, Lure Fishing for Bass, Pollock, Wrasse has almost become a full time occupation for some anglers and as anglers ourselves we love to read what others are using, where they’re catching and of course, how big it was…

We’re lucky enough to know others who are just as passionate about fishing as we are and those who specifically fish lures, so we’ve compiled a list of the best Lure Fishing Blogs we read – The ideal place to get your fishing fix when you can’t make it to the shore yourself!

BraidRunner

Neil Burnell, keen lure angler and designer from the South West.

Neil Burnell Fishing BlogDespite fishing from a young age, Neil has only recently (2010) become addicted to lure fishing and what it has to bring. Counting for some of his most enjoyable days fishing, whether the Wrasse, Bass or Pollock are pulling back.

Also mad keen about his photography especially fishing shots, there are some amazing pictures of lures and fishing tackle to be found within his blog…

Henry Gilbey

TV presenter, Photographer and Fishing Fetish!

Henry Gilbey Fishing Blog

If you watch the Discovery Channel then you might well have heard of self confessed fishing addict Henry Gilbey.

He has presented, Fishing with Henry, Fishing on the Edge, Wild Fishing and Wild Fishing 2 for the channel and blogs about his world wide travels in search of fish and adventure, you’ll definatly have a case of the green eyed monster after reading!

 

Dean Pilgrim Fishing

A dedicated Lure Angler with a passion for Photography!

Dean Pilgrim Fishing Blog

Dean’s one of these people who picked up the art of lure fishing surprisingly late in life, at 18, Dean decided to part with his carp fishing rods and pick up a spinning rod to fish the beautiful Cornish coast line.

A self confessed fishing addict who’s happy to catch anything that swims, but his preferred fishing revolves around Wrasse with soft plastics.

 

Lurefish-Ireland

A Bass and Wrasse angler who loves to fish plastic jigs!
LureFishing Ireland Blog

Dave enjoys throwing lures around the Irish coast for Bass and a variety of other species including the beautiful Ballan Wrasse.

His blog is home to a mixture of Bass fishing tails right through to luring wild brown trout with a spinner on ultra light fishing tackle. Fishing comfortably among friends is his way of fishing,  what other way would you want to spend your sessions?

Lure Fishing With Danny

A mad keen angler based in the gorgeous South West.

Lure Fishing With Danny

Danny has fished literally all of his life, his faintest memory is of his 3 year old self picking up a lure rod and becoming hooked from the off!

Not really bothered whether it’s a Pike, Chub, Wrasse or Bass, lure fishing is Danny’s life! An out and out lure basher and owner of Evil Wrasse Cult, lure fishing apparel!

 

Cornwall Lure Fishing

A personal account of lure fishing techniques and experience.

Luke Fox Fishing BlogBased in Cornwall, Luke Fox is lure fisherman through and through. Writing this blog to provide an up to date account of all his lure fishing experiences and techniques employed to catch as many species as possible.

Preferring to tackle Wrasse and Bass as his main hobby, Luke enjoys the challenge of targeting these fish specifically with lures, but as most anglers, anything that takes the lures are most welcomed!

 

If there’s a blog that you think we’ve missed – please send me an email kieron@bvg-airflo.co.uk 

KEEP ON PLUGGING

A prolonged spell of calm weather has allowed me to get the bass plugging gear out. Where I live on the Kent coast the sea is rarely clear for long and the windows for bass plugging and spinning are not so large as in some other parts of the UK, but then I am better off than those that fish in the Thames, Humber or Severn estuary where the sea is chocolate brown for much of the year. My experience over the years with a bass lure have made me very sceptical about the effectiveness of the tactic and I am afraid I am not a big fan simply because conditions rarely suit this fishing style in my location – Clip on a rig and a bait and its a different story. To those anglers with tunnel vision towards bass on lures I say – “Great, that’s your choice, but please don’t go on about it so much” So many talk a better bass plugging session that they perform and they are ignorant of how poor conditions around much of the UK are regarding bass lure fishing!

The reality is that bass can be caught on a lure, but the tactic essential is to go out early morning and late evening and only when conditions are perfect. I see so many novices in my fishing region feathering for mackerel when a gale is blowing. It’s the same with bass a gale of wind and dirty water sees them hunt by smell not sight. If you do lure fish in the correct conditions then there is every chance you will hook a bass although lure fishing is not a big bass tactic its great for schoolies – Sure it catches the odd 5lber, but no where near as many as a big chunk of fresh mackerel or a head!

As already mentioned being in the right place at the right time is the golden rule of bass lure fishing, don’t ignore this statement and don’t let your mind wander, especially after seeing the many staged magazine photographs or bass with lures hooked in their mouths. Such get you on the shore without thinking about when and where you are going. I told you I was sceptical, I am also cynical!

The fishing tackle you choose is the next essential to get right. So many anglers get caught up in the myth and fantasy and forget the basics. The sea is hostile environment and it’s no place for gear that is too light. Freshwater spinning rods that are too flimsy and too short don’t help to cast the large lures that bass so often take. In fact of all angling’s branches bass fishing is the one that sees the fishing tackle makers and media over hype the capability and worth of the tackle. You will find out when you get it on the shore!

Your choice of venue dictates the gear needed and it is no good using a short, light fishing rod where casting distance is required, or fish need to be bullied out of rocks and kelp. Indeed the short light rods are really only any good for close quarter bass lure fishing and from the boat.

In the main you need a rod that is powerful enough to chuck a sack full of monkey lure and that’s what most of the best bass lures are. Light on aerodynamics, but full of fish like action on the retrieve. Too easy to pick a bullet lure that casts long and retrieves like a space shuttle! You want floating, diving with the tail action of an injured fish. The injured fish shape can be deadly in many regions, whilst mackerel colouration and stripes is another avenue worth exploring.

No makes, models etc because half the fun of learning is trying the many and varied lures and I have learned it does not pay to ignore any – one of my most successful lures is a rainbow trout imitation. There I go getting caught up in the excitement of it all!

Don’t let me put you off casting a lure, its great when it works, but you must be prepared for lots of failure.

BASS PLUGGING TIP

Use a small snap link or swivel clip on the end of your line – this allows for a quick change of lures and protects the knot from abrasion.

Retrieve your lure until it hits the tip ring because bass will follow and take at the last minute.

Keep the small bass (the angling size limit is 41cm) for the pot and return anything over 5lb. That’s proper conservation catch and release.

Alan Yates