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



Fly Fishing for Bass on the Rips

Fly Fishing for Bass | Fishtec

Bass caught from the Zen2 |

A few years ago I would have classed myself as a fly purist. I have somewhat turned to the dark side over the last few years , to the extent that I now take as many lure anglers bass fishing on Zen2 as I do Fly fishermen. This diversion to the dark side has actually enhanced my knowledge of my local waters and Bass locations . The light lure rod is such a ruthlessly efficient fun boat fishing tool. I can switch from a light rubber stick bait to a Surface lure and then over to an 80 g Shad just by undoing a clip on the end of my leader.

Fishing Shads, rather than fishing with conventional fly fishing methods, has made me realise that if I want to catch big Bass consistently during daylight hours then I often need to get the lure down. Bass will come in tight to the shore under the cover of darkness or in low light, but once the sun breaks through, these larger fish often sneak back into deeper water and hold in strong currents.

Zen2 Plymouth

When I invested in Zen 2 I applied the same no compromise  philosophy to the tackle as I did the Boat , electronics , MCA coding and my charter skippers ticket . My search for good quality sinking lines that are user friendly led me to Airflo and 2013 will be my 3 rd season using Airflo fly fishing lines.  The sinking line range I’ve been using is exceptional, the Depth Finders and Forty Plus shooting heads are excellent and most importantly they are relatively use friendly. Lets be honest 300 g and 400 g sinking lines are always going to freak out the floating line trout guys. This kind of deep work requires patience and perseverance and the willingness to duck on the forward cast!

If you really want to scour the depths and hold you fly down in strong currents or wind against tide scenarios then a heavy fly will also make a big difference. My XL Clousers are absolute dogs to cast – I wont lie. They do however get  down there amongst the fish. This year I will be fishing the largest flies I can. Big Bass are greedy lazy fish. I think a sparse tiny fly in deep water will catch fish but I feel more confident with a meaty meal on the end of my leader. Synthetic fly materials become essential. We fish 9 and 10# outfits on Zen2.

Its been a slow start to the season, the water temperatures are low. The fish seem to be deep. Check out this Pollack we had on a light lure on Saturday! That’s one more fish that we should or could have hooked on the fly. But you’ve gotta be in it to win it! So if your ready to get down deep and dirty in the rips. Look me up!

Pollock on the Zen2 | Fishtec

Post written by Austen Goldsmith |