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Old 06-12-2007, 09:52 PM
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Question Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

Anyone have any luck hooking up with Smallmouth on a bigger Popper type surface fly? I was out tonite in my drift boat on a good Smallmouth river in my area & tried a new Popper, but never had a taker, or even a nibble. It was fairly good size with a foam head, marabou tail with some Flashabou, along with some rubber legs & eyes.

Just wondering if anyone has had luck on the surface ??

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Old 06-13-2007, 07:49 AM
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Default Re: Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

I have had plenty of luck catching SMB on top. My favorite way is fishing out in lake Ontario in 10-15 ft on a foggy type day. When these bass hit it its crazy. It seem like they are swim to the bottom before they hit just so the can get up speed. Anyways I have caught them dead drifting just like you would for trout. A hex hatch comes to mind were 3-5 pound bass were sipping hex spinner with rise forms the size of a small trout. It was fishing a 1/0 popper and catching only small bass and a few rockies. It wasn't until I switched to a large (hex) spinner did I finally start catching these jumbo bass. In general though poppers, sliders and large Chernobyl style Ants work well. My guess is either your bass were on an off day. On warm days the fish might only start actively feeding on the cusp of dark or even into the darkness. Other days you may be able to catch them the whole day on a surface pattern. Try different retrieves as well as flies. I have also found that if there is a hatch on a large scale these fish will take up feeding stations the same way trout will. meaning there will be a lot less fish in there normal holds than you would normally find. In most rivers the big bass will mostly be in the deepest holes or in the spots with a lot of cover ( log jams, overhanging branches, pools with shelves etc.) an usually less current. Pretty much the same type spots you would find you biggest browns in. So maybe your large popper ( how long is it?) may not have been seen by the fish large enough to attack it. Keep at it and soon you will find out how well these fish will crash a top water fly!
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Old 06-13-2007, 10:52 AM
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Default Re: Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

Thanks Tightlines 40

The hook is a #4, but with all the goodies tied on
it is around 2.5" long. I've tied other jointed flies
that sink that are similar in length & they nail them.
I'll keep trying, this Saturday in fact, to hook up.

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Old 06-13-2007, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

Yup. that size is by no meads too big in general. Again much like trout they will some times key in on a certain type of bait . Around here alewives are fed on a lot in the fall in the finger lake so we try to present a fly of similar size and color.
You'll get them just keep trying. Try one that skips more than pops if you aren't getting bit. You can work them faster and this will lead to more of a ooh shoot there it goes kind of bite, oppose to the old fashion pop wait (second to a minute) pop style.

Best of Luck
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Old 06-18-2007, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

I concur with using bigger top water baits for smallmouth from my past experience with bait casting gear. The bass would literally explode on them. My limited experience top water fishing with a fly rod however has not been that successful so far, stressing the "so far". We've only caught a few small bream if anything at all, I believe in part because we've been using small bream bustin size poppers. I kept telling my friend we need bigger baits.

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tightlines40
It wasn't until I switched to a large (hex) spinner did I finally start catching these jumbo bass. In general though poppers, sliders and large Chernobyl style Ants work well.
So I've heard of a Chernobyl Ant, how big are they or what size would you use for smallmouth fishing?
What are Hex Spinners and what do you call a large?
Also what are sliders?

Any other successful smallmouth patterns and or sizes you'd like to share?
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Old 06-18-2007, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

Click the image to open in full size.By hex "Spinner " I mean a fly the imitates the final adult stage of a Hexagenia limbata may fly . Well with that being said the hex is the largest may fly in N. America, possibly the world ( just a guess). After they hatch (going from a nymph or immature insect into a "dun" there first stage of adult life) The will molt and turn into "spinners" this is when the May fly will make baby mayflies. Ok, so they mate, then the male in some cases ( no sure about the hex) will either die instantly or live for up to a few days. The female will produce eggs, Which are attached to the abdomen near there tail. These are aquatic insects sooo, She the egg bearing mayfly will deposit her eggs into the water; in the hex's case skimming the water and touching her tail ( eggs and all ) with the water, thus dropping them to sink to the bottom to make more hexs. Well then she dies. Making a very easy meal for any fish that can get there lips around her ( or him Like I said the males die also and often fall into the water) This is usually called a "Spinner Fall" And the fish know what’s going on. They know these bugs will not get away from them so, they simply rise slowly and suck'em in with barely a dimple to be seen. These are large bugs at a size of about 2 inches, hook Size 2-4. Well that’s the hex story. Some of you real good bug guy might be able to explain the mayflies life better or maybe I forgot or am inaccurate in some way but, that’s the jist anyway.


I will tie a 2 or even 1/0 ant It looks nothing like a cherno. Either would work. I like black with a strip of yellow then orange over the yellow. The fish mostly sees the black but I can see the brighter colors better. and In rivers I fish them much the way I would a smaller hopper or ant get it close to the bank and under trees. The good thing about a big Ant is you can also skate them across and make a hell of a wake which gets the bass going. Its a great fly esp. for rivers with over hanging trees and undercut grassy banks.
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Old 06-19-2007, 03:07 AM
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Default Re: Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

If you are referring to smallmouth bass, I had a lot of success catching these with dry fly in Africa.
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

Thanks for the explanation tightlines40, opens up a whole new world of possibilities. In a previous life it was all baitfish and crawfish imitations, now it's that and a whole lot more. Love it! All I've ever produced fishing insect patterns in warm water rivers was small panfish. Sounds like a little more understanding about the life cycles of aquatic insects could produce some nice bass as well.
1/0 is a pretty good size hook, a favorite of mine for traditional bass fishing. Will a 9' 6wt handle a fly that size?

Hello Makubwa, were you using the larger flies as well for the smallmouth bass you caught in Africa?
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Old 06-22-2007, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

ditto with tightlines40. I use hard body poppers everyday. Mornings & late evenning. 2 techniques i use, let the popper hit, bam. If not then try twitching the popper across the water.
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:15 AM
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Default Re: Smallmouth on a surface fly ?

What size and length leader and or tippet material do you all use for this?
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