Long, long ago, three fishing buddies had access to a small private pond that held LMB. These guys were fly anglers but didn't know squat about fishing for warmwater species with fly gear. Undaunted, they wanted to give it a try so they lugged their round float tubes from the rig to the pond and launched.
All they had was limited trout stillwater lines and trout flies. First they tried WBs but with no success. Then they set about trying trout fly after fly but no takers.
I think it was me that first came up with the idea to use a Muddler Minnow. I figured the Muddler was supposed to represent a baitfish and bass ate baitfish so perhaps that would be a good approach. I attached a Muddle to a sink-tip line (that was the extent of our sinking lines in those days), and started casting. I trolled the Muddler around for awhile but nothing significant came of it.
At one end of the lake there was a lot of vegetation so I thought that might be a good spot to try the Muddler. I made a cast into an opening in the weeds and before the Muddle had a chance to sink, a small LMB nailed it on the surface and scared the hell out of me.
WTF? The bass wouldn't touch the Muddle subsurface but when I started making more casts in the weedy area I started catching bass while the fly was on the surface.
I told John and Rocky what had happened and they switched over to Muddlers. We also thought it might be a good idea to start using floating lines.
That was the ticket. The floating Muddlers with a bit of action on the surface was a hit and we all started catching LMB.
The takes were a blast! We all caught a lot of bass that day but none were much larger than 8-inches. Still... from that day forward we all became a fan of catching bass with floating flies and addicted to the take of a bass when it hit a floating fly. We figured that all we needed was a floating Muddler to catch bass anywhere but of course we found that wasn't true at all bass fisheries.
So, we started tying "proper" bass poppers with spun deer hair. Those did work but they'd eventually sink and that was annoying. In those days, you could buy pre-made cork bodies for poppers so I researched the process for building hard body poppers and started making my own.. and they worked damned well.
Then Edgewater showed up with closed cell foam boddies and I switched to those. Then other companies started selling foam and plastic bodies and I gave those a try. This was a good thing because cork bodies for poppers had dropped off the market.
Our evolution into flyfishing for bass took decades... our floating crafts were upgraded. Our fly lines were upgraded. We started tying dedicated patterns for fooling bass. Eventually, we started tying subsurface patterns that also caught bass.
But through it all, we are still addicted to catching bass top-water.
A Muddler that didn't have a chance to sink started it all. That's how we all became avid flyfishing bass anglers.
Now that I think about it, I haven't tried using a floating Muddler in a long time so perhaps I should include some of the patterns in my top-water bass boxes.
If it wasn't for that trout fly that didn't have a chance to sink, I'd probably never have become the bass angler I am today.