Bass setup question

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by Muskypicker, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. Hello Everyone,

    This is my first year really in to fly fishing...grew up in the midwest baitcasting, but live in Colorado now. Every year, we still go back to northern Minnesota and this year I'll be strictly on a fly for musky and bass. My question pertains to the bass setup...can I use my 9' 5-weight trout setup (Z-axis with Nautilus 5/6 FWX) for smallmouth, or will I need to invest in another setup? There are some largemouth, but I would guess it'll be mostly smallmouth action I'll see. Thank you very much for any help you can offer.

  2. You will be just fine, buy more if you want to but I've landed many bass on my 5 weight up to 5 lbs, both large and smallies

    Just shorten your leader up, no need for 10 ft leaders, 5-7 max feet is fine
  3. A 5wt is a little light for casting clousers all day but it can be done. I don't think you will have any problems. What is your muskie set up?
  4. i 5wt, while not ideal will certainly get the job done and if the bass fishing is slow your also ready for bluegill and panfish action.
  5. MP it sounds like you have fished there in the past so you should have an idea about a couple factors that may help may you decide what you need.

    Are you going to fish on top of lilly pads and be hauling bass out of them? You want more than a 5 if you are.

    Are there pike in the water you're going to bass fish? Those pike can beat the bass to the fly and then you have your hands full on a 5 weight.

    Is there much wood where you'll want to have a hefty stick to put the brakes on a fish headed for cover?

    In N MN the bass are not that big and a 5 lber is a monster up there more like 1.5 > 2.5 average. With no pike around, and relatively open water a 5 weight is ok.
    Like it was said above it limits how much fly you can toss but you can catch average MN bass all day on buggers or string leeches or medium/small Murdich Minnows.
  6. A 5wt. is an ok option. It will do fairly well. I grew up in the Midwest and I guided on Lake of the Woods in Ontario. Your ideal set up would be either a 6wt. or 7wt. My personal favorite is a 9', 6wt. with a fighting butt. I also make sure to have a 7wt. with me for when the wind kicks up or I want to throw some larger flies. The issue you will have with the 5wt. is being limited to fly size. The number one mistake people make in general (gear and fly), when it comes to Smallmouth is the size of either their fly or lure. Don't be afraid to throw 4 to 6 inch streamers! Bass in general and Smallmouth specifically are opportunistic feeders and will attack large offerings consistently. Hell, I have caught 5lb. Smallies on bucktails while Muskie fishing! And the number one piece of advice that I can offer for Upper Midwest Smallies and Canadian Shield Smallies.............................Large, Chartreause and fast! Feel free to PM with other questions.
  7. PM sent to FFF and NDFF. Thank you all so much!
  8. Welcome Muskypicker
    I like the idea of catching the biggest fish possible on the lightest tackle possible.
    And if ya don't care if ya bring'em to the boat, no big deal.
    That 5wt rod can take a lot of abuse so go for it and post a report when ya get back.

  9. Solid Advice.... Being you allready have a 5wt which is a good "all around" rod for CO, I recommend picking up a 7wt (my fav meat slinger for bass/trout). I lived in Colorado for 24 years and having a 7wt to compliment my 4wt greatly expanded my fishing options. Im not sure where your located in CO but I can point you in a few directions for fishing oppertunities if you decide to go with a 7wt.
  10. Hey Sean,

    Thanks a ton for your advice. I live in the Boulder area, but get around all over the state, and love to take long weekend trips as much as possible (I work M-Th) during fishing season. Any direction you can point me would be much appreciated; PM is fine too. Thanks again.
  11. Good advice on the 7 wt's. The amount of vegetation in the water makes a huge difference. You can easily land a 3# bass on a 5wt in a lake with a rocky bottom. But that same fish in a lake with lots of cover and weeds will be another matter entirely. I was fishing a lake in N. Minnesota a few years back for big bluegills. These were pie plate size-10+ inches long and almost 6 inches deep. On a 5 wt it was a real struggle getting them out of the salad. I went back to the truck and strung up my 7 wt and then I was in business. During the day I also caught both large and smallmouth in that lake and was real glad to have the 7 wt along.

    One of the things I noticed when I was back there was that lakes that didn't have walleye in them tended to have big populations of delicious panfish and lots of bass. Maybe the guys from Minnesota have a different perception, I was only there for a short while. But it seemed as if there was no walleye then it wasn't a real lake and there was a lot less pressure. I caught so many panfish on flies during that trip that the smile lines are still etched in my face.

  12. As you've already had several opinions offered I'll chime in with a recommendation to check out the TFO Clouser series. They're 8'9" rods from a 5 to a 10 weight, they're 4 pc and will turn over the heavy stuff with ease. I fish the 6 and 8 , the 6 for poppers and the 8 for streamers. You could easily round out your arsenal with the 7 and be good to go. I would confidently fish pike water with a 7 wt Clouser. Then rig your Z 5 with top water stuff. Good Luck.
  13. I have used my 5wt for many years catching up to 8lb Bass. Just used a heavy tippet and work your drag by palming and you should be good. I also caught a 20lb Carp on this same set up. Just learn to play the drag and don't be afraid to get into the backing numerous times before you land your fish. Also for Pike you are going to need some type of heavy leader. Have fun. I love fishing for large fish on light line.
  14. When it comes to bass you do not necessarily need larger rods to handle the fish but rather a suitable tool for delivering the flies to the fish. Many of the flies typically used for bass are faily bulky and/or heavy making casting with the 5 weight somewhat of problem.

    That would be somewhat less an issue for the smallmouth. In addition one doesn't have to always those heavy flies. Instead of using clouser type flies try getting an unweighted streamer to the desired depth with a sinking line instread. Also if you tie your flies by carefully selecting the materials you use you should be able to achieve flies with the desired profile without some of the casting drawbacks. If interested in larger streams for critters such as pike and muskies I have foound Yak hair is a great materail for a large profile without much weight and it doesn't soak up much water.

    Tight lnes

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