Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Kirk Singleton, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. Kirk Singleton Capt Kirk

    Posts: 673
    Sammamish, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I am new to this bass stuff. I have gone out to Beaver lake over the last few nights in my canoe. I am throwing some poppers that I tied up. I get a few hits from small largemouth but nothing larger than 4". Nothing gets hooked. Am I doing somthing wrong? Should I get away from topwater? I have been around the lillypads and docks mostly. Thanks for any help! Anybody want to go??
  2. Skysoldier Trout Hunter

    Posts: 726
    Lost in the woods.....
    Ratings: +185 / 0
    Kirk I am not a bass master but I do ok and have found much better luck using large streamers at different depths until I locate the fish, this has worked for both large and smallmouth bass.
  3. JesseC Active Member

    Posts: 1,966
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +726 / 0
    You have to put the fly rod down for bass and start chucking some lures. ;)
  4. Stonefish Triploid and Humpy Hater

    Posts: 3,862
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,262 / 1
    Couple of things to try with topwaters.
    Even in the evenings there is still some light. Concentrate on the shadow side of any structure you are fishing.
    Secondly, let your popper settle after it hits the water. Don't move or strip it. Let all the rings on the water disappear and wait, sometimes a good minute of so. Some fish will hit it just sitting there, while others will wait for that first strip or movement.
    Good luck,
  5. Shad Active Member

    Posts: 83
    Elma, WA
    Ratings: +60 / 0
    You have to be patient. Stonefish is right about waiting for the commotion to settle after casting. Many times, they will hit it as soon as it hits the water, and other times, they will need to be enticed. In either case, a pause before retrieving seems to be effective. Also, keep in mind that bass will often take a pre-emptive strike at a popper (especially a larger one) to "stun" it before returning to engulf it. Trout will do the same thing with large bugs like adult damsels and hexagenia, which is one of the reasons many people have difficulty hooking fish during the Merrill Lake hex hatch. Wait until you see your popper disappear before striking. They generally aren't too quick to spit them out once they decide to eat them. When you do get over-excited and strike before a fish fully takes your popper, cast right back to the same spot. Bass are aggressive critters, and they will often take follow-up presentations with reckless abandon.

    To Skysoldier's point, I have also done better on bass using large streamers and smallish pheasant tail nymphs than poppers. Muddlers are a favorite go-to, as they are easier to cast than big, bulky leech patterns and allow you to fish with, say, a 6-wt., as opposed to a 7 or 8, which takes some of the fun out of fighting all but the biggest fish. All that said, it is great fun getting them off the top, so you should definitely keep giving it a fair effort. In my experience, bass are also much more apt to eat off the top at first light and dusk than at any other time of day....
  6. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,704
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,747 / 0
    I have spent a number of late summer evenings tossing topwater bugs to bass. Even up here in the Skagit Valley, home of steelhead and salmon (thankfully no slimers this year). Many of the put-n-take lakes up here have a fair number of bass. I like to stop on my way home from work and spend the last hours of the evening fishing for them. A fly rod may not be the most productive tool but if you are up to a challenge bass and the topwater fly can provide for some great fishing moments. Take the advice above to your local lake or pond and fish. Soon you will hook up and then again. After some time you will be known to the bass as death from above. Some serious fun. Also I find this type of fishing a great way to practice casting, 'cause you are going to cast alot.
  7. Chicotello Member

    Posts: 124
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Anyone who's spent any significant amount of time fishing for bass on the fly has heard time and time again that they just can't compete with the gear chuckers. You'll get sideways looks that basically say at the least 'how quaint' and at the most critical 'grow a pair'. For me, it just makes it that much sweeter when the big fish of the day is landed on a big nasty streamer.

    Here's the deal though...if you want to be effective and catch big bass you've got to get used to NOT seeing your fly anymore. Put the poppers back in the box. While catching big bass on poppers is about the most fun you can have with your pants on you'll have to save them for the 5% off the time when they're actually productive. The key is you've got to think like a gear chucker to beat 'em. They are generally more productive then guys on fly rods fishing because we're usually fishing in the top couple of feet of the water column (small fish) and they're fishing the bottom couple feet of the water column (big fish).

    There've been a couple of great articles in Northwest Fly Fishing by Steve Probasco...he and Jon Luke are really getting bass on the fly dialed. I've tried to emulate what these guys are talking about and right now the following is really working well for me on the bass and walleye out at Lake Roosevelt:

    - I keep three rods geared up and ready to fish. A 6wt with 200gr sinking tip (Kelly Galloup SA) another 6wt with full sink (rio deep7) and lastly a Sage Smallmouth rigged for topwater.
    - On the 6wt/200gr I fish a big nasty sculpin pattern like a Zoo Cougar or something...this set up accounts for 75% of bass I hook.
    - On the 6wt/deep7 I thrown a weedless/lightweight crawfish pattern or big unweighted leach...or repeat the sculpin pattern (unweighted or you'll completely snag every retrieve). This line get's down FAST and you will snag a bunch, strikes can be hard to detect, and you often have to fish really sloooow...but it will account for your biggest fish over time. Not the most fish, but the biggest.
    - On the Sage - Big mouse patterns are the most productive topwater patterns for me but just about anything noisy will work when they're hitting the top.

    Bottome line...get big flies down deep and you'll catch fish. That's the first step. I'll do another post later and share some ways I locate fish that work for me on Roosevelt...hint, it will include fish finders!

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  8. FlyFishingOn New Member

    Posts: 8
    ON, Canada
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Do you guys have bass in your rivers in WA? Here in Ontario, smallmouth bass are found in many rivers, and taking them is not that much different at times, than taking trout - nymph patterns work very well.

    For top water poppers when the bass are feeding there, just little twitches on the fly will often do the job of making a big ol' bass angry. It's a hoot to watch them come up and attack a top water fly.

    Also, crayfish patterns can be effective.