The Trout that Should Not Be

There are no brown trout here.

Fish aren’t going to rise unless bugs are hatching.

Nothing in this pond is over a few pounds.

You can’t use flies – they’ll only take bait.

Oh yeah?

For an unpredictable pursuit like fly fishing, those statements sound awfully concrete. Add in a little bit of competitiveness and a dash of skepticism and you’re basically issuing a challenge. How can anyone really know those things? Is it that those statements are empirical facts, or are the majority of people content with the boring bulk of the bell curve?

Could a little bit of exploration and effort (and some remarkable happenstance) yield some interesting results?

Continue reading “The Trout that Should Not Be”

7 Finesse Baits To Catch Stubborn Winter Bass

The Fall to Winter transition brings cold water and lethargic fish but savvy bass fishermen have no trouble getting bit under these conditions. Some of the biggest bass of the year can be caught in the Winter months along with surprising numbers of quality fish. During the cold water period Tim often turns to finesse fishing to find the consistent bite. He has a handful of proven techniques and he’s sharing them with us today.

Winter fishing doesn’t have to mean mundane fishing. There are a ton of techniques from jigs to swimbaits, flies to worms, that will consistently produce in cool to cold water. You’re not limited to one or two methods, though light tackle is a common thread amongst most of them. Today Tim gathered the gear for 7 of his favorite Winter techniques and he’s explaining them for us.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the baits and equipment Tim trusts to get through the Winter months. From late Fall all the way to the start of Spring, you can rely on each of these finesse techniques to produce. Try a few and find the method that produces best on your home lakes.

Finesse Football Jigs and Trailers…

-Dirty Jigs finesse football 3/8-5/8 oz:

(Super Matt Brown, Go To, Brown Craw)

-Keitech tungsten Football 1/2 oz:

(Brown Purple, Green Pumpkin Blue)

-Bass Patrol Round Rubber Football 1/2 oz:

(Brown/Green Pump, Brown/Orange, Brown/Purple)

-Yamamoto Double Tail 5″ Grub:

(Green Pumpkin, Cinnamon Purple)

Finesse Tubes and Heads…

-Dry Creek 3.5″ Tournament Tube:

(Crazy Eddie, Green Pumpkin, Old Ugly)

-Bite Me Flat Eye Tube Head 1/4 oz:

-Provider Tackle 90 Degree Tube Head 1/4 oz:

Neko Rigging Components…

-Yamamoto 5″ Senko:

(956- Watermelon Copper Orange Red, Natural Shad, Electric Shad, Green Pump Purp/Cop)

-Swagger Tungsten Pagoda Nail Weight:

-G7 Worm Protect Tubes:

-G7 Worm Tube Pliers:

-Owner mosquito light 1/0 Hook:

-Gamakatsu Stinger G finesse Size 1:

Ned Rig…

-Roboworm Ned Worm:

(Desert Craw, TW Black Blue Pumpkin)

-Swagger Tungsten Flanders Head 1/8 oz:

Finesse Swimbaits…

-Dirty Jigs Guppy Head 1/8 oz:

-Keitech Easy Shiner 3″:

(Electric Shad, Pro Blue Red Pearl, Tennessee Shad)

-Cool Baits Down Under 3/16 oz Underspin:

-Megabass Okashira head 1/16 oz:

-Megabass Spark Shad 3″:

(Albino, Purple Haze, Baby Bass)

-Megabass Dark Sleeper 2.4″:

(Donko, Shirauo, Wakasagi, Haze)

Dropshot Rig…

-Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm 4.95:

(Lickity Split, Morning Dawn, Purple Smoke)

-Roboworm Alive Shad:

(Hologram Shad, Morning Dawn, Neon Shad)

-Trokar Dropshot Hook size 1:

-Owner Mosquito Light Size 1:

-Swagger Tungsten Dropshot Weight 1/4 oz:


-Spro Phat Fly:

-Cumberland Pro Lures Float N Fly:

-Punisher Lures Float N Fly:

Tim’s All-Around Favorite Finesse Combo…

Rod- G Loomis Conquest 902S SJR:

Reel- Shimano Exsence 3000:

Line- Sunline XPlasma Asegai Braid:

Leader- Sunline Sniper 6 lb Fluorocarbon:

Budget-Friendly Finesse Combo…

Rod- Shimano SLX 7′ Med Light:

Reel- Shimano Nasci 2500:

Line- Sunline Sniper 6 lb Fluorocarbon:

Finesse web.jpg

Suspended Bass in Rivers?

Suspended Bass in Rivers? thumbnail
Mike Iaconelli
Mike Iaconelli

Life’s crazy, man! A few weeks ago on the Upper Mississippi River I had an experience that might help you sometime in the future so I’m going to tell you all about it.

Usually you find river bass shallow. That didn’t happen to me, though. They were deep and they were suspended. It sounds crazy but it’s true. I caught them in two types of places and with two different lures.

Here’s how it went down…

The first place I found them was out in the main river over the channel. They were suspended anywhere between 10 and 30 feet deep. They weren’t moving much, either. They were just hanging out down there.

It wasn’t that they were relating to anything other than the baitfish — shad. There was no cover at all and no structure other than the channel, and it was way below them. They were holding right in with the baitfish so tight that it was hard to see them with my electronics.

And I’m telling you there were tons of them. They were thick like there was nowhere else for them to go and so every bass in the river decided that the channel was the place to go and hang out for a while. I can’t get over it. Really, I can’t.

The other place I found them was in the marinas and anywhere — like along the bank in the main river — there was a big boat moored over deep water. One thing about their location that intrigued me was that they seemed to like barges the best, and the heavier they were loaded the better. There weren’t as many in the marinas and under the boats but the numbers were still good.

Rapala RipStop
Rapala RipStop

Matching the hatch was the key to catching them. I fished with a Rapala RipStop hard jerkbait in the #9 size. It’s right at 3 1/2-inches long. My color choice was Moss Back Shiner. Taken together the size and color made my lure look exactly like the local shad population.

Abu Garcia IKE Finesse Series Spinning Rod & Abu Garcia REVO IKE Spinning Reel
Abu Garcia IKE Finesse Series Spinning Rod & Abu Garcia REVO IKE Spinning Reel

But the real thing that made it so effective was that it behaved like the real thing. The RipStop will stop on a dime and in some cases actually back up a little bit with a wiggle. It’ll do that because it has a lip on the back as well as on the front, and because it has a special weighting system in it.

My RipStop only weighed 1/4-ounce so I went with spinning tackle because I could make long casts. The trick was to keep the bait above them They’d eat it like crazy that way but if it was below them they wouldn’t give it so much as a second look.

Berkley X5 Braided & Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon Leader
Berkley X5 Braided Line & Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon Leader

 My rod was a 7 foot, medium action Abu Garcia IKE Finesse Spinning Rod. I mounted a size 20 Abu Garcia REVO IKE Spinning Reel to it and spooled-up with 10-pound-test Berkley X5 Braided Line as my main line. And, I made a long leader out of 8-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.

Sometimes they’d get conditioned to my RipStop — in both places — and so I switched to a Berkley Powerbait Power Swimmer Swimbait. They’re small. I used the 2.8-inch version. The plastic is really responsive so they look and feel like the real thing. My color was French Pearl. Just like with the RipStop, I wanted to match the hatch.

Berkley Powerbait Power Swimmer Swimbait, French Pearl
Berkley Powerbait Power Swimmer Swimbait, French Pearl

My head was a 1/4-ounce, VMC Finesse Half Moon Jig Head. It gave me just a little bit of shake and shimmer which was just what I needed to attract bites.

I fished my Power Swimmer with the same rod, reel and line that I used for my RipStop.

VMC Finesse Half Moon Jig Head
VMC Finesse Half Moon Jig Head

And the same thing happened with the Power Swimmer that happened with my jerkbait when it came to getting bites. They’d hit it if it was above them but would ignore it if it was below them.

So here’s the thing: Don’t ever get trapped into rigid thinking about bass fishing. I know river bass are supposed to be shallow but no one bothered to tell the Upper Mississippi River bass that. They were deep. I guess they didn’t know any better.


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Bass Love The Grass: How To Fish And Identify 5 Different Types Of Aquatic Grasses

Bass Love The Grass: How To Fish And Identify 5 Different Types Of Aquatic Grasses thumbnail

When you are fishing your favorite bass waters or an unfamiliar body of water, your search for bass becomes an easier task if you target aquatic vegetation.

Here is a look at five common types of grass bass love and how to fish each type.

There are many types of grass available to bass throughout the country so knowing what type of grass best attracts bass and how best to fish the weeds will increase your odds for success. Submersed plants are the most popular type of grass bass anglers target throughout the country. These species of plants live entirely submerged in the water but will top out along the surface and most form a matted canopy.


This native plant has crowded leaves at the tips of the plant which makes it took like a raccoon’s tail. Coontail is often confused with milfoil but the plant does not have multiple leaflets around its stem-like milfoil. Flipping a Texas-rigged sickle-tail worm or Senko into this type of grass will catch bass. A plastic frog skimmed across the top of the mat also provides plenty of topwater fun.


The vertical stature of this plant prevents tangling of plants and thick matting on the surface like hydrilla so bass have an easier time hunting prey in this vegetation. During early spring you can rip lipless crankbaits through the plant’s newly formed leaves. Later in spring you can run swimbaits around its leaves.


Pondweeds come in various sizes and shapes throughout the waters of the United States. Some pondweed has small broad leaves that float and other pondweeds feature narrow leaves. Fish the outside edges with jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits or cast over the weed tops with plastic frogs or toads.


This invasive species grows thick mats that can take over a lake’s shoreline. It’s best to fish it in early spring when you can rip a lipless crankbait through its vertical grassline. When the mat forms later in the year, you have to punch Texas-rigged soft plastics with heavyweights to reach bass hiding in the vegetation.


There are both invasive and native milfoils in bass waters across the country. Milfoil features feathery leaves, which are typically arranged in whorls of leaflets around the plant’s stem. You can rip lipless crankbaits or spinnerbaits through the sparse grass in early spring but you need to punch heavyweights down through the canopy when the milfoil thickens in warmer water.

Northern Strain Bass Vs. Florida Strain Bass: What’s The Difference?

Northern Strain Bass Vs. Florida Strain Bass: What’s The Difference? thumbnail

In many ways, largemouth bass are alike whether the fish live north or south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Trying to identify a Northern-strain largemouth and the Florida-strain largemouth that frequent waters throughout the Southern states is almost impossible due to cross-breeding. The only way to truly identify each species is by advanced genetic analysis.

However, there are some variances between Northern-strain largemouth and Florida-strain largemouth that make the two bass different. The two most noticeable differences between the two bass are in size and growth rates. Northern largemouth bass will rarely grow bigger than 10 pounds, while the Florida-strain bass have the genes to potentially grow up to 20 pounds or heavier. Fisheries biologists report the Florida transplants can reach 14 inches in two years and add one pound per year thereafter. Northern bass have a similar growth rate for their first three years but then lag behind the Florida-strain bass in preceding years.

The two types of bass also have different behavior patterns. Florida-strain largemouth originates from shallow, grass-filed lakes where they ambush their prey in the shallow cover whereas Northern-strain largemouth rely on rocks and other structural habitat and are more apt to chase down prey in open water. Northern bass can change color to match their habitat, but because it prefers hiding in shallow, thick habitat the Florida bass commonly has a very dark coloring. I do notice some Northern bass that live in deep, clear waters also have a dark coloring, but not as dark as the Florida bass.

Another big difference between the two species is tolerance to cold water and weather. Northern largemouth are acclimated to the cold and can even be caught by ice fishermen. Florida-strain largemouth are unable to survive in long periods of cold water so fisheries biologists know not to stock Florida transplants in northern climates.

When cold weather or even a cold front settles in Southern waters, Florida-strain largemouth become inactive making it tough for anglers to catch these moody fish. While in waters north of the Mason-Dixon line, bass sometimes become more active during cold weather. On my home waters of Lake of the Ozarks, I have covered tournaments in November when the winning anglers caught their fish on buzz baits. I have also caught Northern largemouth working a suspending stickbait along the edges of ice during the dead of winter.

How To Catch The Biggest Bass Of Your Life This Winter! (Full Seminar)

Are you ready to catch a new personal best bass? Don’t want to wait until Spring? Matt is showing you everything you need to know to be successful this Winter in today’s full-length seminar on Winter bass fishing with swimbaits! He explains where bass are positioning, which baits to use, how to trigger strikes, what it takes to land these fish, and how to properly care for a fish of a lifetime.

Swimbait fishing takes commitment. It requires dedication, focus, and a willingness to sacrifice your time on the water in pursuit of a singular goal. Its hard work but its your best shot at breaking your personal best before the prespawn. As the water cools bass become lethargic. Their willingness to hunt wanes and they begin pursuing single large meals rather than chasing down multiple small morsels.

Understanding when to choose a glide bait over a paddle tail, or when bottom crawling a wedge tail will outshine a faster moving offering, takes years of trial and error on the water. Thankfully Matt is taking all of that knowledge and putting it together for you in a single video. Pay close attention to the details, commit to the search for a giant bass, and this will be a Winter unlike any you’ve ever had before. Good luck in your pursuit of a monster fish!

Below is a breakdown of the swimbaits Matt recommends. He’s categorized the baits by style and included general color recommendations. When selecting glide bait colors keep in mind that highly visible colors will almost always outshine natural dull colors, even in clear water. He’s also included a list of tackle and gear that will make landing the fish of a lifetime much easier.

Glide Baits…

-River2Sea S-Waver 200/168:

(Lite Trout, Warden, Rainbow Trout)

-Storm Arashi Glide:

(Oikawa Mesu, Threadfin Shad, Green Gill)

-Baitsanity Antidote:

(Bread, Shad, Trout)

Paddle Tail Swimbaits…

-Osprey Tournament Talon 6″-7″:

(Chartreuse Shad, Reverse Hitch, TW Shad)

-Little Creeper Trash Fish:

(Chartreuse Shad, Ghost Trout, Natural Hitch)

-Little Creeper Fatty Trash Fish:

(Chartreuse Shad, LC Hitch)

-Little Creeper 8″ Trash Fish:

(Chartreuse Shad, LC Hitch, Rainbow Trout)

Wedge-Tail Swimbaits…

-Huddleston Trout 8″ ROF 12:

(Ayu, Rainbow, Hitch)

-Huddleston Trout 68 Special ROF 12:

(Rainbow Trout, Green Gizzard, Black Gizzard)

-Mattlures Shad:

(Green Threadfin, Light Gizzard)

-ABT Lures Wagtail:

(Blue Shad, Rainbow Trout, Clear Lake Hitch)

-Trophy Bass Baits DFT:

(Shad, Trout)

Matt’s Favorite Swimbait Combo…

Rod- G Loomis IMX Pro 966:

Reel- Shimano Tranx 300 HG:

Line- 80 lb Power Pro Maxcuatro:

Leader- 35 lb Sunline FC100:

Other Swimbait Rods from Budget to High End…

-Dobyns Fury 806H:

-Okuma Nomad Express Travel:

-Dobyns Champion XP 807:

-Megabass Destroyer Onager:

Swimbait Lines…

Maxima Ultragreen 30 lb:

Sunline FC-100 30-40 lb:

Matt 2 pack thumb.jpg

NEW YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler

NEW YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler thumbnail

YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler Payne OutdoorsFeaturing a kitchen-grade stainless steel body, the YETI V Series is vacuum insulated, offering the best thermal insulation that science allows. Additional highlights include a single-center stainless steel loop latch, providing a durable and easy-to-use closure, as well as a leakproof, deep seal drain plug. The YETI V Series will be available for purchase starting Thursday, December 5, 2019, via ($800).

Combining two YETI icons: the cold-holding power of our Rambler® Drinkware and our iconic Tundra® Cooler. The YETI V Series™ Stainless Steel Cooler is the result of our relentless dedication to innovation, taking our legendary insulation to the next level in a look that’s a classic nod to the past, but built with downright futuristic technology.

YETI V Series Features

YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler Payne Outdoors

Vacuum Insulated Panels

A vacuum is considered the best known insulator. This cooler features vacuum insulated panels on all sides, including the lid.

Stainless Steel Body

Kitchen-grade stainless steel is tough, stately, and wears beautifully over time

YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler Payne Outdoors

Stainless Steel Latch Loop

Single-center latch is easy to use and incredibly durable

Deep Seal Drain Plug

Leak proof and designed for quick and easy draining.

YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler Payne Outdoors

Cast Aluminum Hinges

Durable, reliable, and built to last.

YETI V Series Dimensions

YETI V Series Stainless Steel Cooler Payne Outdoors

Outside 23 1/4” × 17 3/8” × 15 1/4”

Inside 18 1/2” × 13 1/4” × 10 7/8”

Empty Weight 35 lbs

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Fly Fishing for Smallmouth/Largemouth Bass: Your Complete Guide

Fly Fishing for Smallmouth/Largemouth Bass: Your Complete Guide thumbnail

As the line twitches in their fingers, the angler is careful in keeping his count. With each jerk of the fly line, the cork popper makes another theatric lap across the surface of the pond. Behind it, a peculiar ripple boils up to the water’s surface. With one more gentle strip, an explosion of water engulfs the fly and the angler rips their rod back. The line goes completely tight as the rod tip plunges downward. It feels as if there’s a bowling ball attached to the leader. suddenly, there is another explosion and out from the pond flies a tenacious, yet beautiful largemouth bass, its skin glowing in the setting sun’s light. 

bass explosion

Fishing for freshwater Bass (specifically smallouth and largemouth) can be one of the most intense and rewarding experiences on a fly rod. Between their geographical abundance, hyper-aggressive nature, and the power they can impose against a taught line, bass are a great opportunity for anglers to diversify their regularly targeted species, as well as have a great fight.

In this guide, we will break down everything you need to know about targeting American freshwater bass such as smallmouth and largemouth. We’ll cover where to find bass, how to catch em, and what gear you’ll need. This being said, saltwater bass, including the popular striped bass, as well as sea bass, will not be covered, however, keep an eye out for a guide in the near future. If you would like to move around the page, just click on any of the titles in the contents below.


The Difference Between Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

What to Expect when Fishing for Bass

Where to Look for Bass

When to Fish for Bass

What Rig to Use to Fish for Bass

What Flies to Use to Fish for Bass

The difference between Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

bass with rod

No, It’s not a stupid question. Many anglers spend years in unknowing silence because they’re shamed into believing that the difference between the two fish is simply the name. However, this could not be further from the truth. Here is a quick glance at how these fish differ.

Mouth Size: While this is the most obvious distinction, not all anglers know how to identify it. Largemouth bass’ upper jaw will extend past their eye, while smallmouth bass’ upper jaws will stop in line with their eye.

Striping: Another easy way to identify between the two is the striping of the fish. Smallmouth bass possess vertical strips that line their bodies, while largemouths have horizontal stripes located around their bellies.

Dorsal fins: Another easily identifiable detail that separates smallies and largemouth bass is the break between a largemouth bass’ dorsal fin. Smallmouths do not have these breaks.

Location: Largemouth Bass are generally considered the lazier of the two. They prefer hanging out in calm water, specifically in ponds and lakes, and waiting for their food to come to them. When targeting smallmouth, remember that they tend to hunker down in faster moving current, and can often be found chasing minnows in streams and rivers. Smallmouth also prefer colder water, and will retreat to deeper pockets of rivers and lakes once the water temperature begins to rise.

Fight: When you hook onto a largemouth bass, it oftentimes feels as if you’ve hooked onto a bowling ball. Once these fish realize they’ve been hooked, they will often take off towards the depths, only to come up and jump out of the water. However, they will usually only jump once or twice. Smallmouth, on the other hand, are more unpredictable. Once hooked, smallmouth will attempt an array of gymnastic feats in order to try to shake your hook free. So, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for submerged obstructions where they could break you off, as well as watch out for their leaps.

Left: Largemouth bass. Right: smallmouth bass. Image courtesy of dovetailgames

What to Expect when Fishing for Bass

Fishing for Bass on the fly is oftentimes an angler’s secret addiction. The entire process is great fun and can be a more than satisfying relief from targeting finicky trout or non-existent musky. So, when prepping to land some of these underwater bullies, there are a few things to remember off the bat.
bass jump

    1. Bass (usually) hit HARD. like an ornery brown defending its territory, the bass often attack flies with tenacity. If unprepared, a hungry largemouth will make light work of your fly. Now, we noted usually because like any other factor, there are exceptions to behaviors. Often times, when they spot a gently floating fly, they will simply inhale it. So, stay alert.
    2. Thick skin means a hard set. If you’ve never fished for bass or other thick-skinned relatives, make sure to understand your sets. Once you feel a bass has grabbed your fly, give the hook a strong set. You’ll often see professional Bass Fisherman send their entire body in their hook set, and while this isn’t entirely necessary, Bass have much thicker skin than trout. Because of this, hooking them securely requires a slightly more powerful set than just an upwards flick of the wrist.
    3. Expect an airborne attempt. As mentioned before, Bass (Smallmouth especially) will oftentimes take to the skies when they realized they’ve been hooked. Don’t let their size fool you, these monsters can fly. In preparation, once the hook is set, keep some line available and let it loose if the fish jumps. By giving it a small amount of momentary slack, the fly will be much less likely to shake from the fish’s mouth.

  1. Expect a good long fight. Once you’re hooked up on a Bass, know that the battle has only just begun. Bass are meaner than trout, and do not wear out as quickly. Because of their lack of dependency on specific water temperature and oxygen levels, bringing in a Bass will often be a more rigorous and lengthy procedure. By capitalizing on their robust, thick skin designs, bass will often mix in a variety of maneuvers in an attempt to break you off, or toss your hook, only to settle for an instant then try it all again. Remain patient with Bass, put in the time and understand that you’ll be bringing them in on their time, not yours.

Where to look for Bass

Bass are warm-water fish. This means, unlike cold-water fish such as trout, Bass have the ability to thrive in most areas of the United States. With this in mind, ideal ecosystems for bass will be areas that provide an abundance of food, space, and shelter. Due to their aggressive habits, bass do better in large ponds and lakes where they have the ability to move around and grow with minimal harassment, as well as minimal dietary interference.

bass mouth

Ponds and Lakes)

When fishing for bass, ponds and lakes are where you’re going to find a majority of large-mouth, as well as some decent small-mouth. In order to properly target these fish, check which techniques to use based on the season HERE.

Whether you’re casting from the shore or a boat, aim to land your fly around any large submerged structures. Drainage basins, downed trees, and even patches of weeds or lilly pads make a great target area. Bass, like many fish, spend most of their time around these submerged structures in order to stay protected from predators, out of the sun, and hidden from oncoming prey. By placing your fly, around these areas, you greatly increase your chance of hooking up an unsuspecting fish looking for an easy lunch.

When fishing in bodies of water with substantial depth, pay close attention to the topography of the area, and look for submerged ledges and drop-offs. For Bass, Drop-offs are an instant food delivery service where they can sit cool and out of sight awaiting an unsuspecting minnow or crayfish to wander too close to the ledge. When it comes to fishing these zones, don’t be afraid to let a lot of line out in order to get near the bottom of the dropoff. By getting your fly down deep, you’ll be able to cover the entirety of the drop off zone and hopefully entice anything that’s hunkered down there.

During the hot summer months, smallmouth and largemouth will head to the deeper sections of the pond in order to avoid the increasing heat. As mentioned before, smallmouth have a greater sensitivity to temperature change, but both species like to stay cool. Note, both species will most likely not cohabitate, so you’ll be able to figure out which fish your targeting pretty quick after your first catch.

Streams and Rivers)

bass on the petawawa river
image courtesy of Wills Donaldson

When fishing for bass in moving water, you’ll primarily be targeting small-mouth. Smallies prefer slightly colder water and running current compared to their largemouth counterpart, and therefore will oftentimes thrive in streams and rivers. Lots of the time during the warmer summer months, anglers will begin to target smallmouth bass in their local rivers in order to compensate for unenthusiastic trout.

While the fish couldn’t be less alike, fishing for Bass in rivers is fairly similar to trout fishing. By utilizing current and keeping to riverbanks and deep holes, anglers will find great success in their pursuits. However, something to keep in mind is that while smallmouth Bass love strong, oxygen-rich current, they also love still water. Bass can often be found near the end of tributaries, in eddies, and in low current pockets culminating and chasing around smaller baitfish. If you see a glass water hole with a few submerged trees, you’d be a fool not to send a few casts in that direction.

When to fish for Bass

bass on the fly

Time of Year

When it comes to Bass, warm water is the way to go. However, this is not to say Bass can’t be found during the winter, but in the spring and summer is the best time to target these fish.

In the spring, Bass will begin their spawning season. Before that, they will be in pre-spawn (April-May depending on the region). During this time, Bass will be feeding rampantly in preparation for spawn. This is an excellent time to target bass on large, shiny streamers.

Once the water heats to approximately 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit, bass will seek out deeper, more sheltered water to begin spawning. In areas such as lakes, it is important to remember that the water does not all reach the same temperature at once, so there will be hot spots where bass will be located, as well as dead zones.

Once spawning has concluded, near the end of spring, bass will be rather apathetic as they’ll be recuperating. However, within a few weeks, they’ll be back to their normal feeding habits. As the summer sun heats up the water to the high 80’s, largemouth bass especially will be targetable throughout all levels of ponds. During this time, smallmouth will be spending much of their time in fast-moving current in order to maintain their preferred temperature.

matteo bass
Image courtesy of Moretti Media

Time of Day

Bass are never really reluctant to feed, but like many other freshwater fish, they prefer to do their feeding in the early hours of the morning, and dusk. As temperatures rise and fall, fish activity usually possesses a negative correlation to temperature. On hotter days, larger fish will swim deeper in order to combat the heat (smallies especially).

The best times to shoot for would be 5am-9am, and then (depending on the time of year), 6pm-8/9pm. During these times, not only is the heat comfortable, but many animals that bass like to feed on make their way near or onto the water this time (mice, frogs, and certain insects).

What Rig to Use for Bass

When fishing for bass, whether it be shallow creek smallies, or deep pond Largemouth, it’s important to have the right rig. The most important thing to remember, is that bass spook less easily than trout, and tend to fight harder. With this in mind, it never hurts to pack heavy.


A 5-6 will almost always do the job. However, as previously stated, it’s better to overcompensate rather than underestimate. You never know when you’re going to hook onto the fish of a lifetime. If you want to be really safe, especially when fishing big lakes or rivers, pack an 8 weight. The extra durability will most likely benefit you in the long run.

Flylords Recomendation: Sage IGNITER (6 wt.)

sage igniter
Image courtesy of


When choosing a reel, just try to match it to whichever rod you’re using (weight wise). Using a large arbor is never a bad call, as sometimes monster bass can take you deep into your backing. Another factor to take into consideration is the drag on the reel. For bigger fish, we recommend using a “disk” drag over a traditional “click and pawl” system. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with the click and pawl system, the disk drag accommodates for more gradual resistance as line is pulled from the reel.

Flylords recommended reel: Abel SDF (olive)


abel reel
Image courtesy of

Fly Line:

While your fly line requires less subtlety than with trout, it’s always important to have line that you can depend on, and can turn over heavy flies. some folks prefer sinking fly line, but when it comes to fishing ponds, a sinking leader will usually do the trick. As always, make sure to replace your line regularly, and to always let line dry after a long day on the water.

Flylords recommendation: Scientific Angler Amplitude Smooth Titan Long Taper Fly Line

fly line
image courtesy of


This is all dependant on what kind of fly you’re fishing. Most likely, you’ll be using some sort of wet fly like a streamer. In this case, any leader between 4-2x should do the job. Make adjustments based on the average size of the water, as well as fish caught in it. For fishing poppers and dries, aim for no larger than 4x. Also, feel free to tie on some tippet to allow for a more gentle presentation. Total leader size (tippet can be included if used), should be around 7ft. by finding a solid middle between 9ft. and 5ft., you can improve presentation without making casting awkward.

Flylords recommendation: Scientific anglers 4x, 7.5 ft. , tapered leader

sa leader
image courtesy of scientific anglers

What Flies to Use to Fish for Bass

Like many other elements of bass fishing, it’s not about the specific flies, but instead about their presentation. Below are a few guidelines that will help you to find the perfect fly for catching that pond monster.

image courtesy of Moretti Media

Let it shine

Flies (primarily streamers), that implement a shiny or colorful element are a great way to catch bass’ attention. By utilizing flies with sparkly, shiny, or otherwise attractive elements is a great way to draw bass out from hiding. In murky pond water, bright flies are the difference between getting skunked and landing a PR.


Using poppers is not only an extremely enjoyable method for catching bass, but an extremely effective one. Popper flies, or just poppers are built to replicate the movement of a large topwater animal (usually a frog). Unsuspecting frogs as a perfect snack for a sneaky bass, and are commonly a large part of their diet. By stripping these flies in with small, abrupt strips, the commotion of the fly is sure to bring a hungry lurker your way.

fishing for bass

Get Low

By using weighted flies, you greatly increase your chances of getting a fly down to a big bass’ feeding lane. These flies are especially useful in the late summer as fish are hunkered down in deeper water in attempts to stay cool. Using heavy flies is also an important aspect when fishing big moving water, as it assures you that your fly will spend less time sinking, and more time looking delicious.

Movement is Key

Flies with moving parts is just another way to get the attention of apathetic fish. By using zonkers, rubber legs, or articulation, bass are more likely to fall into the hypnotic daze an easy meal presents. Without overdoing it, the more going on with your fly, the more likely it is to stand out to a fish.

Mouse Meat 

If fishing for bass at night, all other rules apply. However, also feel free to break out that large mouse/rat pattern that’s been burning a hole in your flybox. While mice can be fished effectively at most points of the day, it’s at night when the monster fish make their rounds, preying on clumsy nocturnal rodents distracted by dangers above.

Get Creative

Can’t seem to get the attention of a fish with your olive woolly bugger? Try getting creative! in areas where food is in abundance, bass can sometimes grow content in their ability to find food, and will become less inclined to feed. If this seems to be the case, throw on something new. Perhaps it’s time for that pretty pink streamer you got as a gag gift to shine.


Flylords top 5 flies:

-Clouser Minnow

-Wooly Bugger

-Shenandoah Chugger

-Articulated Conehead Minnow

-Umpqua Swimming Frog


In closing, by following the tips in this guide you should be ready to get yourself on some serious bass. However, something to remember is there are techniques that work for some that don’t for others. Depending on factors far out of anyone’s control, sometimes certain methods work better than others. With that in mind, get on the water and experiment! Implement new techniques and get creative in order to find out what works best for you.

Most importantly, just enjoy your time on the water. Whether you’re catching bass, trout, perch, or trees, one of the best parts of fly fishing is being outside and living life. That being said, catching the bass of a lifetime never hurts either.

Happy fishing.

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Article written by Flylords Team member Wills Donaldson

A Bassin’ Tradition

5 Tips for More Successful Bass Fishing



5 Tips: Fishing in Fortnite

5 Tips: Fishing in Fortnite thumbnail

I know that you are thinking, this is a cringeworthy read compared to your normal flylords features… That being said, it was a long, relaxing weekend, filled with some beer drinking, and fortnight playing. After a stressful few months sometimes it’s nice to just “Veg” on the couch and do nothing. After about hour 5 of playing fortnite, I had an “A-ha” moment and decided this article needed to be written.

The following are some pointers for fishing in Fortnite!

  1. Location Location Location:
    No this isn’t a real estate lesson, but let’s just make this clear, after jumping off the boat (sorry my Fortnite lingo is probably pretty poor) you want to send it to some of the fishiest spots on the map. Towns near bodies of water, or islands surrounded by water. As you get closer to landing you can even see fish jumping out of the water. Fishing locations appear randomly throughout any body of water on the Fortnite map But make sure you are aiming to land near water.


    Image courtesy of eurogamer

  2. Find a fishing rod – or even better a Harpoon
    Fishing rods are scattered throughout the map, you can find them in chests, or in barrels on the side of the water. If you are landing near water, it usually won’t take long to find a rod. In a recent update, Harpoons showed up! And they are badass – not only can you deal a straight 70 damage to your opponent, but you can also fish extremely fast and efficiently. I’ll almost always keep a harpoon in my arsenal, you will read below why we love fishing so much.
  3. Fishing Efficiently
    Like any fishing trip, you want to spend time fishing in areas that will produce the most fish. One technique here is to grab a rod, and a boat, and head upriver. Jumping out of the boat every time you see a jumping pool of fish. You can also run along the river bank targeting jumping pools of fish. Aim for the center of the pool and the second you feel your controller vibrate pull back!
  4. Optimize your backpack for fishing
    There are a few things you can almost always count on when fishing. A health fish, some ammo and a weapon. The health fish are awesome to keep in your backpack – and so are the rare shield fish. If you can stack these in your backpack you are good to go – they provide health and shield much faster than any other healing device in the game. If you stick with it, sometimes fishing can mean landing legendary weapons aswell – almost more frequently than chests…
  5. Keep your head up and keep moving
    As you already know, constant motion is important in the game, especially with the amount of sniping going on. So keep moving as you are fishing! Don’t be afraid to do some practice casting to make sure you are efficient on the water!

Cover image courtesy of the legendary streamer “Jelly” checkout his fishing challenge video below:


A few other videos we like also!



Rock Bass & RC Cola

Rock Bass & RC Cola thumbnail

Can we fish in your creek?

“Sure. Um… what’s in there?”

I don’t know. But there has to be something.


We had passed by the creek countless times. It was always just scenery. It was never the destination. If anything, as a small tributary, it was an afterthought. The Potomac is a big river. It is intimidatingly big. There are bass and musky and who knows what in that waving grass and off those rock ledges. But there are a lot of those spots and a lot of water. That is why we usually just drove over the Potomac. That  is why we usually drove past the creek.

To be fair, we didn’t know about the creek for a few years. The mouth of the little creek is obscured by dense foliage. You can’t see it from the highway. It was a wrong turn that took us west and over the little culvert-bridge. Even then we didn’t have any desire to fish there. The NO TRESPASSING signs were the first deterrent. The real reason is more embarrassing now. The creek didn’t have a name or a reputation. Why fish there?

Continue reading “Rock Bass & RC Cola”