Living in Utah, and learning all I know here all that I have ever fly fished for is trout. I may be getting an internship back home in Ohio next summer and knowing the lack of good trout fishing I was looking into picking up a heavier rod and going for bass. Anyone have any good general tips on the transfer from trout to bass, where to fish, times of day, etc? I was planning on going mostly streamers, any go-to flies to begin tying during these cold winter months? Being that I wasn't much into fishing when I was younger I have very little bass experience and don't really know much about how to fish for them. Thanks in advance guys!
Location: on the golf course fishing in Charlotte NC
Re: Trout to Bass
I really don't trout fish at all. But I do bass fish a lot. Streamers that I would use would be the deceiver or clouser minnows. i usually make these about 3" long. Sometimes right around 2" with a smaller hook and catch crappie and bass. I always use white, red, lots of flash. I always had better luck with a red head and eyes on my streamers. Hope this helps.
I agree with the gurglers and a 6wt.I throw poppers 90% of the time but I use wolly buggers also.Black,white or olive all work and I tie most of them with estaz.Instead of marabou,tie some with saddle hackles for a tail.You might also want to upline a 6wt rod with a 7wt line to make casting easier.Bass will hit all day lohg but I do best from about 9am-noon and the last 2 hours of daylight.
I'll agree with what's already been said! I usually tell folks to forget what you've learned about trout. Bass are not trout. But, if you get to fish for stream Smallmouths, there are similarities with them & trout. Generally, think big for bass, but you can use some types of trout flies you may already have. Big hopper, or Stonefly patterns you may have used for trout, particularly those tied with foam bodies, are great for bass as well, and especially Smallmouths. Big nymphs, on at least size 6 hooks, will also work well for Smallmouths.
Largemouths will also sometimes eat these flies, but they're more inclined to eat big baitfish or crayfish patterns than small insects, at least bass of any size. You can however have a lot of fun with smaller bass (under 2 lbs) & small flies, and even a big bass will occasionally eat the smaller flies! Nothing is cast in stone when it comes to bass!
Most of my Largemouths flies are very large, 4 inches long minimum & many are over 6 inches and I also like Deceivers & Clousers, but I fish in tidalwater most of the time, and fish for Striper's there too, so I use flies that may entice both.
Nothing wrong with a 6 wt for bass, I've fished for them plenty with a 6 wt, but it will limit the size flies you might have to use, and bass flies tend to be more wind resistant than what you're likely used to. Depending on the waters you find in Ohio, at some point you might want to consider a heavier rod, such as an 8 wt. I've even used a 6 wt when fishing for Striper's, and it will work on smaller fish, but an 8 wt would give you more options & better chances of landing bigger bass. That's something you can deal with later, once you find what's there. If there are Pike or Muskies there, you may want to have a heavier rod anyway!
Keep in mind that Bass are glutton's, you almost can't toss a fly that is too big at them!
Don't worry so much about how your fly lands; sometimes/usually a bigger splash is better for largemouth. When fishing poppers in stillwater, my first approach is to literally count to thirty before giving the fly any action. You want all the rings to have died down before giving the fly a little twitch. Then maybe a pop. Then wait a bit. Then a twitch, etc...
Sometimes a lunker is sitting just under that splashmaker wondering what to do and then when it twitches--KerBLAM!
Experiment with the timing of it if that doesn't work, but I've found that starting out working poppers a lot slower than you would like pays off more often than not.
Might you also go for smallmouth? In a river near where I lived in Michigan the smallies were great. Black wooley buggers cast to the bank and stripped as they went downstream could be killer. But don't for get the dries. Bass would rise during a hatch, like trout, but were much less picky both in terms of presentation and fly selection. No need for the 18s or smaller. It was a blast during the hex hatch.
Don't trout set, a bass's mouth is much tougher than any trouts that I have experienced and have lost some good fish because I didn't set hard enough... Strip strike, that's the ticket.
Just liek trout you want to "match the hatch" albeit the "hatch" will more than likely be some sort of panfish or shad. Have flies to match both. Also have some flies that are more flash than not. Like everyone else said big flies can catch even small bass, some of the biggest bass I've seen have tried to eat eight or nine inch gills. but sometimes subtlety is the ticket. I catch more bass on a drakes wounded minnow more than anything, with a feew wraps of lead in the head.
I unlike a lot of bass fisherman don't fish a lot of clousers, they sink to fast for the shallow weed filled ponds taht I fish.
Be ready to throw heavy tippets, bass aren't spooked by them, and if you do hook a bass if you can horse it. There is a reason you see tournament anglers skiing fish back to the boat... partly to keep them from getting away but also because when a bass is hooked they head STRAIGHT for cover. They won't peel a ton of line but they will fight the whole time ou have them hooked, don't expect a bass to just come in like a log like some trout do.
Poppers are fun, you might see a swirl the size of a flushing toilet when a bass busts a popper. I've see more big bass caught on small bluegill sneaky peats than any other fly, fish them, catch with them, they work, I promise.
A word to the wise, don't neglect some of the other warmwater species out there as well. Carp are fun and challenging, if you can find a run of whates or hybrids, they are a blast, and pound for pound some of the strongest fighting fish you'll find, and even a ten inch blue gill will be as hard to catch as a big bass, and can be as much fun.
They'll tell you how they want it, just vary the retrieve until you find what that is. Sometimes it will be subtle, other times aggressive. Once you establish what's working, just keep doing it, until they want something different. Bass & most other warmwater species can be as moody as trout, but not usually as often!
Your retrieve will also vary depending on the water, just like with trout. Adjust for current, or lack of it, and as long as you're getting the fly where they can see it, you'll do fine!