by Lindsay Rowland –
I’ll be the first to admit it, every time I see a trout-mimicking swimbait, I do get a little bitter. At heart I’m one of those “elitist”, creek-crawling, catch and release, bug-tying, line-flying, foam box-toting anglers who put trout on a pedestal.
I grew up on bass and inshore/offshore saltwater on the east coast of central Florida, but I pulled this trout-on-the-fly fuelled “180” after spending my
undergrad years in the Smokey Mountains. However, even after developing my soft spot for those little, spotty, cold water Salmonids, I still love a day spent bass fishing.
Can there be common ground between trout huggers and those anglers who believe a trout’s purpose is to be eaten by bass? Absolutely not. All jokes aside; the answer is yes – bass on the fly. Now, everyone seems to have their excuses for never giving fly fishing a try – “too expensive”, “only for trout”, “I don’t tie flies”, “I’m not wearing one of those vests”, “fish hook face piercings aren’t my thing…”, etc.; and that is all they are, excuses.
As far as fly fishing costing too much to get involved in, you don’t have to fish a Winston bamboo rod with a custom painted Abel reel (I mean, you could…and who wouldn’t want to) to catch fish. Grab a cheap 5/6 wt. (line weight) combo from Bass Pro, Cabela’s, or heck – even Walmart and head to your local pond with a few small poppers. Ready-to-go flies are almost as commonly available in shops and online as soft plastics are.
If you can’t make yourself start at square one, check out some bang-for-the-buck companies like TFO, Waterworks/Lamson, or Pflueger to name a few. There are plenty of reasonably priced options for bass and bluegill on the fly that cost no more than your average casting or spin set up. Yes, if you choose to progress with bigger targets (pike, carp, etc.) you will need to pay more attention to specifics, such as line, rod action, presentation and technique, drag performance, etc., but for learning on bass and bluegill in ponds and lakes, it’s not rocket science. Learning how to fly cast well enough to catch a bass is not difficult; there are many instructional videos available to anyone online (See EZ Angler’s Video Selections) . Compared to fishing a river with current and umpteen other factors to worry about, fishing still water for opportunistic, ambush predators (sunfish) is relatively simple.
Now, after you’ve gotten interested and watched a few “bassfly” videos, you may see the flies these people are throwing and worry about that old shoulder injury. No, you do not have to tie an entire chicken to the hook and slap fish across the face with it. Most bass will eat small bugs as readily as they’ll eat something bigger. The other nice thing about fly fishing is that with that super-sensitive rod, a big bluegill feels like a three pound bass. The fight of bass on the fly is one of the best there is; loosen the drag up and enjoy the sound of that run.
To start out, all you really need is your set up, a relatively calm day, a small collection of flies, a locked wrist, and an open mind; maybe a few beers and someone to hook in the back of the leg a few times while you practice casting.
About Lindsay Rowland
Lindsay grew up in, on, and around the water. The East Coast of Florida is where Lindsay called home her entire life, and where she had access to incredible freshwater fisheries as well as in-shore and offshore saltwater fishing. Lindsay pursued her undergraduate degree in the Smokey Mountains, where she really got into fly fishing and it has remained an obsession for her, as well as a defining factor of who she is. Currently, Lindsay is pursuing an advanced degree. And when she is not buckling down at school or work you’ll find her on the water! Visit Lindsay on Facebook.
Images by Lindsay Rowland