Over the course of my bass fly fishing adventures, there have been few flies that produce as consistently as the ones I’ve put together here. Each of these flies are incredibly cost effective, and are the ones that I reach for, most often. Take a look and figure out if you can learn some new tricks, or perhaps even pick up some new flies for your box, and your next outing! If you want to add any of these to your collection, you can click on the link (opens in a new window) and purchase them from Orvis.
Topwater Bass Flies
Nothing can cause as many adrenaline pumping, ferocious strikes quite like topwater flies. If you love catching bass on a topwater as much as I do, you’ll love these three flies: Hard body poppers, Bass Bugs, and Dahlberg Divers.
Hard Body Bass Popper – These are among some of my favorite types of topwater flies to use for bass. The subtle action, and popping noise attract strikes from some of the largest fish in the water. I keep at least 1 of every color available in the 1/0 size. Even the smaller fish will hit the 1/0. Depending on the conditions I’m fishing in, I’ll reach for different colors. For muddy waters I love the chartreuse color. In tinted or stained waters I’ll grab the Yellow/Red or Red/White, and in clear waters I always reach for the Frog pattern. When I’m out fishing at night, black is the go-to color.
Deer Hair Bass Bugs – My next type of topwater bass fly that I never leave home without are deer hair bass bugs. Deer hair is an excellent material to tie bass flies with because of the bulk it creates, and its natural flotation properties. The flat-front bass bugs move a lot of water without causing too much of a commotion, which is perfect during calm, muggy afternoons, and when the fish aren’t in a highly aggressive mood. You can fish these in a pop, pause, or pop, pop, pause technique for some ferocious strikes.
Deer Hair Dahlberg Divers – The Dahlberg diver is a true classic, tied by none other than the big-fish hunter himself, Larry Dahlberg. These mimic a frog perfectly, and dive underneath the water when you strip line, then resurface when they go slack. I’ve caught some of my biggest bass using these divers. One of my favorite colors is the Frog patter, and other baitfish patterns that I have tied myself.(Videos coming soon!) When you cast these flies out, make sure to let them sit until the rings on the water disappear, then start retrieving slowly and methodically, trying to imitate a frog.
Diving Bass Flies
When the fish won’t hit a topwater, I pull out the next best thing: diving bass flies. These are great for sight casting during the spawn, as well! Let the fly sink to the depth you want it at, and start stripping your line using an enticing technique, and hang on!
Woolly Buggers – I think more fish have probably been caught on a Woolly Bugger than any other type of fly made. I mean any fish. If it swims, it will take a Woolly Bugger. You can throw these near any piece of cover you know bass are hiding, and the soft hair undulates perfectly to entice them into striking hard. Even when the fly is sitting still the hairs will puff, and move, making it an incredibly subtle way to trigger strikes. I change up the colors depending on the light and water conditions. Black for stained water, White, Olive, and Tan for clear, depending on what the fish are feeding on.
Munchable Minnow – When the fish want a “meatier” meal, it’s time to throw a Munchable Minnow. This bug features a full body, and streamer tail, kicking off a nice, chunky silhouette under the water, giving the fish something worth using up their energy to chase after. You want to mimic how a baitfish moves with your stripping technique. Allow the fly ample amounts of time to sink down where the fish are, then start stripping it past the cover for some aggressive strikes.
Sinking Bass Flies
When the fish are in a neutral mood, and it’s hard to get them to attack a topwater, or spend the energy required to chase after a diving streamer, it’s time to tie on the sinking flies. With the right technique you can get even some of the most neutral-attitude bass to take the fly.
Gulley’s Crawfish – I’ve seen quite a few crawfish imitators, but nothing comes as close as a Gulley’s Crawfish. This weighted fly bounces perfectly across the bottom, and when you fish it tight to cover, you can trick some of the biggest fish that you’ll ever catch with it. If you know the fish in your waters are feeding on crawfish, you need to tie one of these on and spend a few hours throwing it. You’ll be glad that you did! You may want to keep a few extras in your box, in case you get a snag and have to bust it off.
Bass Bully – Whoever said being a bully doesn’t pay off? It does if you’re a Bass Bully. If you’ve ever fished a worm, or a jig & pig on a spinning or baitcasting outfit, you know the deadliness of those lures. The Bass Bully imitates these lures perfectly. With short hops along the bottom you can get fish that normally wouldn’t be in the eating mood. My favorite color is rust, and I’ll use it in most waters. If the water is heavily stained, or muddy, however, I’ll reach for the black colors (overcast days) or the chartreuse colors (sunny days).
Those are my personal favorite bass flies. If you have some that consistently produce for you, feel free to leave me a comment below and let us know what’s going on!