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Warmwater Fly Fishing Bass, Bream, Perch, etc...

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Old 03-10-2013, 03:13 AM
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Default Bass Fly Help

Beginner fly fisher here with some questions about a warm water set up. I got into fly fishing about a year ago and have really fell in love with it this past winter. I've devoted alot of time tying my own flies and working on my casting and what not and had a couple questions I could use some help with. While I know in the colder months, trout is the best fish to go after (which is what ive been doing) the warmer months is when bass fishing (SM & LMB) really picks up. I did alot of fishing this past summer in a local creek and caught tons of bass, gills and even some gar on my cabelas 5 wt and had a blast. Recently I purchased a new 5 wt. set up and sold my other one. I got an echo carbon with some 5 wt rio gold and an allen trout 2. Ive used this set up to present size 20 dries to trout and when the weather warms up, I want to use the same set up for bass and bream fishing. Here in st. louis I've never caught a bass over 5 lbs so buying a 7-8 wt right now, with just starting out an all seems kind of pointless to me. I wont be hurling anything too huge, maybe some decent size streamers and some poppers on the mineral fork and simaler waters. Was wondering if just buying an extra spool and using some bass taper line and possibly over lining would help cast larger flies? Whats the difference between my rio gold and a bass taper line? Also I take an annual trip to sanibel island every summer and wanted to do some fly fishing for maybe some lady fish, would over lining help throw some streamers to them? Again I want to use what Ive already got, not buy a whole new set up. Any advise will greatly help since I'm still new to the sport. Thanks!
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:53 AM
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Default Re: Bass Fly Help

Overlining a 5 weight to say, 6 weight line would certainly have at least *some effect on your ability to cast heavier/larger flies since it would be more line mass in the air to carry the fly. This is common in saltwater for this exact reason (a lot of SW fishermen use an 8 weight with 9 weight line).

If you'll be casting mostly to shorter distances of 30-40', the bass taper line is good for loading and punching/shooting bigger flies out there. I personally don't find the fish-specific tapers to be necessary though, and any regular old weight forward line is fine with me.

I also don't care for the extreme WF lines like a bass taper because they generally suck for long roll casts and don't pick-up or mend worth a damn past that extreme head.

Actually, when I need long casts I tend to prefer a long belly weight forward, or even a straight up double taper line. I find I can pick up more line and maintain the cast better with these lines.

Rods can cast several lines sizes generally, so try it out and see if it meshes with your casting style and conditions.

BTW - any time I've tried to fix a problem by "buying something" I've found that the stuff I already had was fine, but I just needed to improve my casting (and still do after watching Lefty Kreh yesterday in person). For casting the flies you're talking about, be sure to work you double haul well because this and timing has a big effect on casting those dudes because big flies tend to magnify your casting errors . And mine too!
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:49 AM
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Default Re: Bass Fly Help

i dont know about the satwater fish your talking about but for bass in the smaller creeks you can make your 5wt work fine.yes you could overline your rod one size. ive also found that in small to medium creeks you dont need those giant flies that you see people tout for bass.i catch tons of bass up to 3 pounds in farm ponds and creeks on size 10 poppers and size 6 buggers with my four weight. that also lets the sunfish and 12 inch bass strut theyre stuff.just remember to slow your stroke down a little and open up your loops with more wind resistant flies.its fun to own alot of fly rods but for the average guy who works hard just to make a living a couple rods will cover most of what you need for freshwater.may not be the ideal tool for every situation but wil get you by.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:28 AM
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Default Re: Bass Fly Help

I agree with what has been posted. You probably don't need a different line. IMO, until you get into heavier weights, you won't likely see a lot of difference in what you have & a specialty line, particularly since you're new to this. Improving your casting technique with bigger flies, will likely do the most good. As far as specialty lines go, all line weights, the first 30 ft or so will weigh about the same with the same sizes. The difference is in how the tapers are designed. A specialty line, like a Bass or Tarpon, or Striper line, with a much shorter front section will place the heaviest part of the taper closer to the leader, which is desired for casting bigger flies, more wind resistant flies & in windy conditions.

Frankly, I have a couple of different specialty lines, & can't see much difference in them, because much of the fishing I do is within 35-40 ft of myself. Get out in distance & yes, they help, but otherwise they all cast pretty much the same. I've cut that front section shorter too on some lines, that basically made them like the specialty lines, and I didn't need to buy another line. It all depends on what you need the line to do. My bass lines are the same ones I use for Striped bass & I often use the same flies. Whether I'm fishing in a small creek or in an open bay, the same lines still fit my fishing. I rarely have the need to roll cast or even mend line, but when I do, I understand that the lines have limitations for doing this.

I've also done a lot of bass fishing with a 6 wt. My rod is actually a 5/6wt but I've never had anything on it but a 6 wt line, and it's always been fine for most bass I've caught. I get a bit more extreme now, & often use a 9 or 10 wt for really big flies & in some really nasty, snag filled places. You don't want to do that with a 5 wt, but for small stream bass, I'll even use a 3 or 4 wt. I'm certainly not going to be casting the same size flies, but don't need to.

I agree with what dpreller posted about fly sizes. I'm an advocate for bigger flies/bigger fish, however, that's not a set in stone attitude. It works some places at some times, but not for all situations. Increasing fly size when it's necessary can be productive, but is no guarantee you'll catch any more fish, or of bigger sizes. Bass will eat many things of various sizes. If what you've been using is producing where you're fishing, then why change it? I also like to have variety available, so I'll carry flies that are bigger & smaller than I might need. You can't use what you don't have available. If you feel that some bigger flies will be useful, then of course add a few, just don't go crazy with the sizes. For a 5 wt, a size 4 streamer, perhaps about 2 1/2" long is probably about as big as you'll want to go. Even a longer fly can be cast with with a 5 wt, but with increased wind resistance will usually limit distance.

Ideally, going to saltwater with a 5 wt is not the best choice. Simply because conditions will most often dictate something with more power to even cast short distances. Wind being the biggest problem. However, use what you have unless you're in a position to add a heavier weight outfit. Just be aware of the limits. You may need to shorten your leader & go stouter with the tippet if you go with heavier or bigger flies, but it can be done. I've cast 2/0 size saltwater flies with my 6 wt, but only short distances & when the situation presented an opportunity & the 6 wt was the only rod I had available at the time.

One more thing. I know many folks who will only fish with a fly rod. I'm not one of them. I enjoy fly fishing the most, but understand it's not always going to be the best tool. If the conditions allow, regardless of what you bring, then use what you have, but don't try to force the issue as that will only lead to frustration. I've been stubborn enough in the past to try & toss flies, when even using a baitcaster would have been nearly impossible. I learned that a fly rod is a tool, to be used when the conditions allow,(particularly in saltwater) and even though I'm still stubborn, I've learned to make better decisions concerning whether or not I'll try to throw flies.

I have no issue with using other gear!

Use the right tool for the conditions if you're intent on fishing!
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: Bass Fly Help

you can get by with what you've got for bass. the bass in the lake down the street from me are pretty small so i chase them with 3 and 4 wt. rods. i can throw a pretty decent sized popper and wooly bugger with the 4wt.
if it was me i would get the largest/heaviest fly i planned on throwing and see if the setup you have now is capable of casting it the distances you need. if it works don't change anything, if it comes close going up to a 6wt. bass taper might work, it it seems way off i don't think changing line will help. i have a 6wt that i use to throw any of the bigger deer hair flies that the 4wt. has a hard time with.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Bass Fly Help

You can get by on the 5wt as long as you don't go too big on the flies. As far as lines go I will refer you to my post on specialty lines.

How Many Tapers do we Really Need????
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:27 AM
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Default Re: Bass Fly Help

Nice thread swirl. I agree with it 100% as well.

Any fly line basically works for me -- whatever. I'll work with it and probably do fine.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: Bass Fly Help

I think it is more important to learn good casting technique than buying a heavier rod. If you teach yourself to haul or double haul, you will increase your casting distance without decreasing your cash.

5wts can do a lot more than trout fishing. I used to do all my largemouth fishing with a 5wt before I was given a 6wt as a gift. Personally, and I do mean personally, as this is my own preference, I would never go higher than a 7wt for largemouth. Never understood why people feel the need to go so high. Some of the bass bugs are bigger, yes, but most times you wont have to sling them that far.

You also need to consider your fishing environment. If you only throw big flies and always have to have long casts then maybe a heavier rod is warranted. Also, if your fishing spots are filled with lily pads thick vegetation you will have to pull big bass out of, then, again, maybe a heavier rod is warranted. Either way, if you find yourself doing fine with your 5wt, stick with it. You will get more play out of the fish anyway.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: Bass Fly Help

I fish mostly small creeks (warmwater only) with a 2wt and I target bluegill and SMB because that is what is mostly there. I use streamers up to #2 and some clousers with small lead or beadchain eyes up to #6 with little trouble. Poppers up to 8 or even 6 don't cast too bad either. Your 5wt should handle at least flies up to these sizes. I am useing a 3wt double taper line on a 6' rod. I started years ago using level lines and when I got rich enough to start getting tapered lines I went straight to WF lines and had never had a DT line until this line and I like it a lot. I am thinking about putting a DT on my 5wt as well. Lots of hype about WF lines but I sure like this DT line. Use that 5wt until YOU decide that a different rod is needed.
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: Bass Fly Help

Re: going after lady fish in Sanibel, I personally wouldn't use my freshwater rigs in the salt if I could avoid it, the components are not really meant to take the beating that saltwater dishes out. You'd probably be ok if you we're very careful to immediately rinse your gear thoroughly in fresh water (which should be done with all saltwater gear as well), but I'd get a 6 or 7 wt. for any salty duty.

I bought a 7wt BVK last year and keep it in the truck at all times for local bass/carp ponds/lakes... I can also use this rod on the coast for reds and specs, and will probably take it to Turks and Caicos as my backup bonefish rod in a couple of months.
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