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

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Old 07-20-2014, 11:49 AM
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Default 5 Weight Bass Flies?

Hey all,
I'm still pretty new to fly fishing, but have found this site to be super helpful in learning how to go about fishing the fly when trout isn't the main game fish as is the case here in Texas. I've been having a blast with panfish so far.

I was hoping that I could get some recommendations for bass flies that I could tie that are casting friendly for a beginner with a 5-weight 9ft. Most of the bass flies I see seem to be made for 7 or 8 weight outfits.

I'm hoping not, but is a 5 weight just too light for bass?
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: 5 Weight Bass Flies?

Welcome to the forum

A 5WT is less than ideal, especially for a beginner, or if there is any wind. You can still throw smaller muddlers, bunny leeches, poppers, clouser minnows and many others. Upsizing the line weight will help too.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: 5 Weight Bass Flies?

In addition to what IA has posted, being you're tying your own, most flies can be down sized to fit the rod weight. Just a matter of proportioning.

However, I agree with him about a 5 wt not being the ideal rod for bass. But, I'm a firm believer in bigger flies for bigger fish. Even with "bass" fly patterns you'll still likely hook up with plenty of panfish, and bass are not often particular about patterns anyway.

I'm guessing since your relatively new to fly fishing, you may also be new to tying. Start out simple. Rabbits strip flies are excellent for bass. Larger size Woolly Buggers are great for bass. A simple rabbit strip fly consisting of a straight cut rabbit strip tail perhaps with a few strands of flash, and a body of cross cut rabbit wrapped along the hook shank is a great fly for bass. Just be sure to use hooks of an appropriate style & size that will have an adequate hook gap. Add whatever weight you need in the form of cones, bead heads, barbell eyes, bead chain or even lead or non-lead wire along the shank under the wrapped rabbit.

I tie a lot of bass flies on straight shank plastic worm hooks. Although for a 5 wt, size may be an issue and they're generally not made in sizes smaller than a 1/0. Even 1/0 may be fine for your purpose provided you don't get crazy with added weight & attempting to cast great distances.

Check out Allen Fly Fishing for their bass hooks, which are very similar to a Tiemco 8089, but priced much better. It's a good hook for many bass fly patterns.

Poppers as IA also mentioned are self explanatory. Try a few in larger sizes, perhaps on a size 4 or 2 hook. But again don't expect to cast them great distances!
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: 5 Weight Bass Flies?

I use my 5wt. pretty exclusively for bass, but I do tend to avoid windy days and I'm not fishing for Texas sized bass. Clouser minnows are what I started with but now I'm mostly throwing rabbit zonkers or woolly bugger type patterns with rubber legs and dumbbell eyes in crawfish colors. Size 6 hook with a lead wrap is about as big as I'll go with that rod, most of my ties are size 8 hooks. With the dumbbell eyes try not to hit yourself they tend to hurt.
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: 5 Weight Bass Flies?

Fish a Wulff Ambush 5 wt line and you can throw some pretty big stuff (1/0 and 2) with that. It is a short heavy head with a pretty abrupt taper that loads your fly rod like a sinker loads a spinning rod. I use one for most of my bass fishing (smallmouth and largemouth), and on streams roll or singlehand spey casting is easy and for overhead casting it just flies. Watch your head when casting overhead though!
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: 5 Weight Bass Flies?

Thanks for the advice all. I'm planning to tie up some wooly bugger, bunny leeches, clouser minnows, and poppers in sizes 6 through 10. Hopefully those will cover me for this weekend.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: 5 Weight Bass Flies?

I fished Texas for years with a six weight and four weight. My two go to flys were a sparsely tied clouser in chartreuse over white with a bit of flash on a long shanked six. Choose bead chain (as in ceiling fan pull chain from Lowes), or dumbell eyes.
Bachelor number two is also a a six weight only a heavy hook. Wrap the body in peacock herl. Then tie in a white marabou under wing and a green deer hair over wing. Add a bead if you want depth. Either way you are golden.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: 5 Weight Bass Flies?

As a fellow citizen of Tejas, and a flinger of flies for all things fishlike, I'll chime in and say it depends on what type of bass you're chasing. In the Colorado River, where I'm chasing spotted, Guadalupe, and some largemouths, I use a 5 weight and throw clousers, crawfish patterns on a size 4 hook, and gurglers (great flies that are a breeze to tie). The 5 weight is fine and I can land fish quickly and easily. On the nearby lakes with 3-6 lbs largemouth on average, I use the same setup I use for marsh redfish, namely an 8 or 9 weight rod with bigger bunny leaches, Rickards' shiners, and big gurglers. I need the extra weight to punch the bigger flies through the wind and to make landing easier. So it's up to you. A 5 weight will work, but if you're after bigger fish, a heavier weight rod might make landing them faster and easier.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:09 AM
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Default Re: 5 Weight Bass Flies?

You can probably get by with a 5wt if you don't have to deal with a lot of vegetation. The bass in my home lake dive straight into the weeds. In that case a 9wt is not too much for dragging a 4 pounder out.

As was said earlier, just downsize some flies and enjoy catching a few additional smaller fish as you hunt down the big boys.
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Old 07-22-2014, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: 5 Weight Bass Flies?

No doubt, the fly rod weight any of us might use will be relative to where we fish & the conditions we might encounter. However, if only one rod is available to us, we have to make due with what we have. The best way to do that is to fish waters that best fits the rod. Streams & open water ponds or lakes are good places for 5 wt's. Places with heavy vegetation & snags not so much.

IMO, there's nothing wrong with using a 5 wt for bass. Just realize it's not going to be the best choice if you're targeting larger fish, because it will limit the size flies that can be efficiently cast, will not be ideal for windy conditions, nor will it be ideal for landing bigger bass.

In the past I've targeted both SM & LM bass with rods ranging from 3 wt's up to 10 wt's depending on the waters I'm fishing. 3 wt's & 4 wt's are a lot of fun in small streams where the fish are generally small. Heavier rods (8, 9 10 wt's) are more appropriate in places with lots of snags & thicker vegetation.

I use a 9 or 10 wt quite often in some tidal rivers, not so much because the bass are big, but because of the conditions. Lots of wind & heavy snags (plus the occasional Striped Bass). I learned at a very young age that it can be frustrating trying to make a lighter rod work where it's not the best choice, but when you only have one you have to use what you got! Time & place for all so it's best to fish in places that fit the rod.

As I & others have mentioned there's a lot of good bass flies available today, and picking what we use primarily comes down to personal preferences. If the patterns you pick are widely popular, then chances are you'll have some success with them. I know I & others have lots of flies in our boxes, but no one can carry every pattern. We all have favorites.

Whenever I'm chasing bass, I try to have a few types of flies to cover the water column from topwater to bottom bouncers. Sometimes that means the same patterns, only weighted differently.

Sounds like to me what you've selected will all be good choices!

Beyond the fly patterns, getting them in the water & in front of some fish is the only way to find out if the bass will like what you have chosen! The more you fish them, the better your chances. Then add to your selection as time (tying your own) & money allows!
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