AJ McClane on Fly Fishing for Bass

In the August 1949 issue, I wrote an article, “Bass Flyes, Old and New.” Among the new models was a fly tied by Don Gapen from Nipigon, Ontario, named Muddler Minnow. Although Don designed the fly for the large Canadian creek trout, we had tremendous success with it on the small bass. Ultimately, of course, the Muddler turned out to be a versatile model and adapted to so many types of fishing that the original is hardly recognizable anymore. However, Don created something that big fish could pluck their jaws around. I still consider Muddler one of my favorite bass flies – under certain conditions – and especially where accurate castration is essential. The slender fly has little resistance to air. It can move between two stalks of grass with forty steps when the hand is steady and the wind is low. Not all fly rod lures have this quality although they can be real fish catches.

I do not know if you remember Fred Geist’s Powder Puff. It was rage 30 years ago. Powder Puff is made in the same way that deer, rat and frog hair are tied: the hair is tightly wrapped around the hook, then pushed along the flute while each new clutch is secured. Instead of cutting your hair short to create a mouse or frog, the hairs are left long. As a result, the fly looks like a powder. Whether this fits the definition of a fly or not, dust mite is such. You can rely on a double piece that rips underwear, however the fly will stop virtually in the middle of the last shoot. Catch fish – yes. Cast-nr. If it goes down where you aim, you are in luck. To be consistently rewarding, a flying rod lure must have good melting.

July 1970 field cover & Stream
Among a collection of summer fishing stories, the July 1970 edition featured a… “land-based look at overcrowding.” Field & Flow

Johnny Dieckman once told me that he won the National Professional Fishing Tournament in Hot Springs, Arkansas, simply because of his accuracy. He did not know Lake Ouachita from the Persian Gulf, and being our national professional champion at the time, he was reluctant to race on unfamiliar terrains. The Hot Springs Revenge was not shooting in hoops, but in old bass on average along a thousand miles of coastline. As the first day progressed, Johnny discovered that when he threw his lure near a trunk – not 2 or 3 feet away, but practically peeling the bark – he won a kick. He fished against 30 of the best plug artists in the South for three days and ended the winning score by identifying his kicks.

Many years ago, while fishing with Pete Seeger on the St. Louis River. Lawrence near Ogdensburg, I was telling him about my new big discovery in the work of floating insects. Of course, I had not learned anything that bass sliders did not already know a century ago – that when working on rough shores, the intelligent operator would unleash his allure on logs, limbs, stones and other free lunch counters along the Boulevard. Bass. If conditions are favorable, with lots of trunks, cushions and bank grass, you can direct your casts so that the defect falls on one of these objects and then turn it off. By controlling the forward jump over the target, you let the line drop without tension and the lure will not rotate or hit hard enough to stall. After a little exercise, you will get his feeling, placing just the right amount of control on the line to make the defect fall dead. A hungry bass will hit him right away. The presentation is lively. Of course, an insect-free weed, or one tied to an anvil hook is much less likely to hang.

Pete drove me a short distance from a rocky ledge where a small thick mouth was suspended on a shaft of sunlight over the branches of a sunken tree. I announced that he would see something amazing. Seeing the 50-foot conical air, I measured the cast to bounce my defect off the ledge. It was not well controlled, and the plastic sling hit the stone over the bass head. The lure exploded like a clay bird. The almost naked hook fell into the water and the little mouth swam to look. Pete said nothing. Associated with a new bug. Not much was done until we crossed a trunk. I wanted to jump near the trunk, but it overcame my mark and a bass sucked that nylon popper over a limb. He got the defect and the leader cheated. The third popper quickly stuck to the bark of a tree trunk that lay half submerged in water, and I snapped it with the curd of my back. Pete was a diplomat. He sucked his tube wet. “Maybe you can tell me about it,” he said.

The keel hook has been a great help for this type of fishing. A new design called the Miracle Bug, which is best described as a fat version of the Muddler Minnow, can not be hindered or broken even if thrown on solid rock. It’s not a popper, but a quiet swimming lure that looks like some kind of food waving on the surface. Compared to most large rod lures, the Miracle Bug has very little wind resistance.

The easiest insects to throw are those tied in the size of hooks from no. 2 in no. 6. Insects larger than no. 2 are usually worn very heavily and create so much air resistance that a beginner thrower will find more trouble than it is worth. . Try to choose those models that have a minimum of mass. A lure with long bucket wings protruding at right angles may look good in the store, but it will be brutal to throw. And you do not need extremely heavy wire hooks; regular wire is perfectly suited to hold the heaviest bass and you have the advantage of high swimming. When you give the rod and line up a slight pull up, a properly made defect should produce a gerbula the noise from the accumulation of water as it buries its empty face sunk beneath the surface. After a while, you will learn to make different sounds with the defect, ranging from a light stroke to a strong stroke.

How to Work Bass Bugs

To get blows from the small mouths of the cage, it seems to me more effective to go easily into the action of the defects. Only a soft noise or gurgling will do. I think one of the reasons why rubber foot cricket would sometimes overwhelm poppers is that they make no noise. Quiet swimming plus the action of insect feet is all that is needed. Of course, there are other types of noiseless insects that drive small mouths crazy in the right conditions. The Moth Bug, for example, with its deer-trimmed body and deer-haired wings is one of the oldest quiet swimmers in the business. In fact, it is so ancient now that most fishermen ignore it, but over the years a simple brown-and-white pattern has literally caught thousands of bass for me, especially in the evening hours. This is the time of day when the natural moth is most active, so its appearance makes sense for a small mouth.

Fishing for a fly rod insect is simple. For one thing, you do not need to travel long distances to catch bass. In most conditions when fishing from a boat or even when walking, a distance of 30 feet is quite appropriate. Of course, the fisherman who can reach up to 60 feet or more has an advantage in the ability to cover difficult points, but the emphasis should always be on short and accurate jumps. Accuracy is essential for successful bass fishing. It may be a broad statement, but nine times in ten, despite the wind, water temperature, barometer and all the other reasons we find a fitting explanation for a blank wire, we are not always fishing where it hides levreku.

They breed forages in open areas of a lake or river periodically, but they also spend periods trapped under botanical nightmares such as lily pads, weed mattresses, trunks, and cut shores. These are not all easy to work with with a floating lure. Jigs are a response when fish are in deep water, especially in southern reservoirs with brush bottoms. Weed-free spoons and plastic worms are effective offerings in shallow water. However, no single bait is appealing all the time, and despite the weed protectors with wire, monofilament and rubber, the game is not without hassle. Unconsciously, most of us avoid places with really impossible views, and often this is exactly where those big bases await.

Sailing on the Buffalo River in Tennessee is a wonderful experience and I imagine when the weather is favorable, fishing can be wonderful. We made a 12-mile walk of the river with Hi Brown of the State Games and Fish Commission two seasons ago in weather that would have discouraged an Eskimo. The wind cried and a cold rain beat a tattoo on our head.

We did not catch much bass, but the few that withstood the flood came from the creeks along the creek and the pads of the backwater lilies. We had to hold the boat with an anchor in the middle of the stream and work really carefully on the garbage piles, hitting the defect on the shore and pulling it around the branches and trunks. It was irritating fishing. If the lure did not fall within an inch of the shoreline, there was no hope of getting a kick. And if we hung a plaster, it meant maneuvering along a raging stream to pull the defect. After throwing the excess for half a dozen times – which was easy in that bloated wind – we tried to aim briefly. This would have been a perfect situation for the Miracle Bug – but it was not designed yet.

In most areas of our country, the opening day of the bass season comes right after the fish have finished laying eggs. This is a period of great activity, and heavy bass capture is common for about three weeks. It is no trick to catch hungry fish, and in this lush magic many novice bass fishermen will learn their craft. When the bass bites everything and everything, of course people have the idea that they are easy to catch. But the next trip can be a complete madness. As the weather gets warmer and food becomes more plentiful, the fish will return to normal. It has been assumed, and it is undoubtedly true, that basses have regular food “lanes” which they frequent. They use them more regularly, perhaps in some waters than others, and when you hit them properly, it can be phenomenal.

Hal Liddle and I once had a fantastic day tapping into the Falcon River in Ontario. Hal is a prominent surgeon from Solt Lake City who treats a fly rod with precision like a scalpel. The action started around noon in a large open bay surrounded by granite rocks. There was not much difference in where we threw. Every few minutes a big mouth rolled and wrapped our poppers. I do not remember how many bass we caught, but there were lots of 4-, 5- and 6-pounders.

This was our first day on the river and we thought we had found an untouched paradise. Starting early the next morning, we hit the same bay in a foam and never got a strike. Whatever caused the wild food fun did not cause one again during the next two days of our visit. We had to go hunting for every bass working trunks, pillows and rocks. Our mutual results fell far short. We caught fish, including some beautiful mouths over 4 pounds, but each cast had to be measured accurately and was a long time between strokes. Things got to the point where the only bug the fish would respond to was a model called the Queen Bee. On that first wild day, it did not matter if the insect was brown, pink, or chartreuse. But that’s what makes the game so fascinating.

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