Fly Rodding is not just for trout…
To this day and since I was 9 years old when friends, family or acquaintances find out that I fly fish, the most typical question is, “where do you fish for trout”? They’re almost always surprised when I tell them the primary fish I chase is smallmouth bass on a fly rod. I do like catching BIG bluegill too, and let me tell you, if a major tug is what you’re after; a hybrid bass (white bass crossed with a striped bass; some people call them wipers), is an aggressive fish that will feel like a freight train hit your fly and trust me, a heavy weighed fly rod is definitely in order if you plan on chasing the hybrids.
I do understand the attraction of using “traditional” flies (some that are hard to see, even with a magnifying glass) used to catch a beautiful non-tropical fresh water fish. So, if you go back 30 to 40 years ago, fly fishing was traditionally known as the way to chase and catch trout; and because of that, not many people would publicly admit to chasing anything other than that species.
Now before someone has a meltdown about the following, let me clarify right here, I AM NOT trying to undermine any traditions… period. I would love to fly fish for any trout; the problem for me is… there are not enough trout fisheries nearby to make it economically attractive as often as I like to fish. From where I live, I would have to drive about two plus hours to get to trout waters in Ohio, and then drive two hours back home. All that driving just to “possibly” feel a tug??? I don’t think so!!!
Some of the best smallmouth waters in Southern Ohio are only a 20 minute drive for me like the North Fork of Paint Creek is only 5 minutes away; and by the way… there is NOT a secret spot anywhere on that water, but that’s a story for another time.
As far as technical fishing for smallmouth, there definitely are certain flies and approaches that produce large fish; but if someone uses a light rod like a 4 weight or smaller and a fly that’s easy to cast with that light of equipment, you can have a banner day (almost any day) of catching 8 to 14 inch fish. It is not always about chasing trophies, if you are new to tossing flies and are wanting an 18 inch 3 plus pound smallie on the end of your line… you might want to consider a seasoned guide who can help you get that trophy. Let me interject here… my hope for your idea of a trophy is a photograph, not something you would kill and hang on a wall. There are services that can take your photograph and turn it into a life like wall hanging, if that’s what you’re into.
It takes 8 to 10 years for a smallmouth bass to grow to what some people might be consider a trophy at 18 inches. The weight of that 18 inch fish will vary on what time of year you catch it; but typically you would be looking at about 3 to just under 4 pounds depending on many things like the water conditions, available food in that water and how hard the water is fished by people who think harvesting is a good thing.
If you like to wade like I do, a rare 20-inch (for most people who fish in creeks and small streams anyway), will be around 5 pounds and for a smallmouth, that size could be nearly 20 years old. When that fish is harvested, the repeated chances for the opportunity of catching that size fish again are greatly diminished.
Yes… everyone has the right to keep any legally determined size by your department of natural resources. But, if you want to see an abundance of trophy size fish (18″ or bigger) on the other end of your line, people need to be educated on growth rates of these awesome fighting warm fresh water fish. My plea to people chasing smallmouth… keep the 12″ to 14″ fish, there are typically plenty of those which is a great size for your frying pan and most likely will taste better too. Those 16″ plus size fish, earned their place to grow even bigger.
Catch some of the videos I have produced here is a link to my YouTube channel.
I just want to let you know right now. If anyone expects me to produce video as if I were a production company, they will be disappointed. I’ve already produced more than I wanted to with the time I have had. I started my YouTube channel a little over two years ago and currently only have 32 videos in which all are not public. I am fully retired now and do plan to produce more to helpfully help you understand that fly fishing is not just for trout and can be a lot of fun and very productive as you chase smallmouth bass on small streams and other waters. OH… and you can fly fish for anything from bluegill to carp in fresh water and as for salt water, well you better know what you are doing and might want to think about starting a little smaller.
What I promise is to upload video content that is carefully thought out content on a basis of taking my time and doing the best I can. I AM NOT here to sell anything in attempt to make money, although Google does run ads on my videos. My videos are to share what I love and are not an absolute that my way is the only way. I have never thought that, even if there are a few dudes on Facebook that are insecure with there services or tying businesses and think my sharing is dipping into their business… IT’S NOT!!! In fact I might support these guys if they were a little more friendly.
My bottom line here is, if you want to have some fun and catch a lot of fish. Consider a fly rod, you’ll be glad you did.
Tight lines my friend,