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  1. Default Newbie fly caster using bass bugs

    I am new to flyfishing and casting but over the last month I've been practicing in the back yard and have become pretty good at casting nice loops and hitting my targets fairly accurately.

    However, my first time on the water I realized it's not the same ball game. I was fishing for smallmouth and was trying to use a popper. I quickly realized that the wind resistance of the fly was keeping me from being able to cast with any sort of consistency or accuracy. It was difficult getting the fly to lift off the water and then it just would not move through the air.

    I have a 9' 6wt sage response rod with a magnum taper line and a 9' leader.

    Do I need to add split shot to the tippet or shorten my leader to make it move?

    Any help would be great.


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  3. #2

    Default Re: Newbie fly caster using bass bugs

    You probably need to shorten the leader. Go down to a 7.5 foot leader. Then use a thicker tippet so you get a more efficient energy transfer. I don't know what size popper so you may need to over compensate by going to thick tipper that can turn the popper over and then backing down on the tippet.

    NO SPLIT SHOT! It will make casting more difficult.

    Start the cast with the rod tip at the water and all the slack out of the fly so there is no wasted casting motion to remove any slack between the popper and the rod. All the motion of the rod should go to moving the fly.

    Work with shorter casts or retrieve the popper until you can make a good back cast.

    If those things don't work, borrow a 7 wt line and try casting the popper using the same leader set up.


    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  5. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Eastern Iowa

    Default Re: Newbie fly caster using bass bugs


    Welcome to the forum. I'm pretty new at this too so hopefully you will get some more experienced advice soon. I toss a lot of real big flies and also found it isn't as easy on the water. I'll share a few tips good flycasters shared with me. First I wouldn't add any weight as that will likely worsen the problem. Are your a rightie? I am, and when I am ready to cast I grab the line with my left hand near the first guide. I pull in a few inches of line and raise the rod tip a bit while giving it a wiggle. Some of the line will lift from the water and the rod will begin to load quickly when you backcast. Then accelerate the rod tip into your back cast. That should get the fly out of the water. Big flies aren't simple for a noob IMO. Use a smaller bug if you need to for a while. Some of my rods have sinktip line and for me those are much easier to cast the big stuff with, but may not be right for your fishing conditions. I use a 6 foot leader of heavy mono. You can step it down with something like 25# to 15#, or just use one size. Bass and pike don't seem to care.

  6. #4

    Default Re: Newbie fly caster using bass bugs

    I had a similar issue. I remedied it by going up a size in line weight and, in some cases, using a oval cast.

    Good Luck!

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)

    Default Re: Newbie fly caster using bass bugs

    Brandon, you've gotten great advice already. First, welcome to the forums! We're glad to have another member!

    I've been at this a long time & have used a 6 wt extensively for tossing some big flies, even saltwater size when that was the only rod I had. It can certainly do the job, but not as well as a heavier outfit.

    Follow the advice that Silver Creek provided, shorten your leader & tippet, and go heavier with them. Bass are not often line shy. When I'm throwing bigger flies on my 6 wt, I'm using the same leaders I use on my 8 wt, which are much heavier than most folks might use with a 6 wt. As Silver said, it's about transferring casting energy. I also use a leader & tippet in the 7.5' length range, depending on the size of the flies. Bigger, I might go even shorter.

    You may also have to open up your casting loops a bit. With the resistance a popper provides, it slows things down. Tight loops are great with smaller flies, but don't always work well with bigger. Also, as Silver indicated, you may need to shorten your casting distance. Generally, if you can cast a popper out to the 30 to 40 ft range, you'll be fine. With shorter casts you should get better line control both in the air & on the water, and still catch fish.

    I make a point to retrieve most flies & especially topwater flies back to within a very close proximity before attempting another cast. This does 2 things, keeps the fly on/in the water longer, because bass will sometimes follow a fly a long ways, and removes as much slack as possible which shortens the amount of line I need to pick up to make a cast. I've hooked a lot of bass & other species over the years just as I was starting to re-cast, so I keep the fly on or in the water as long as possible. The only down side is it requires more false casting sometimes to get the fly back out any distance. However, that's not a concern, as I'm a firm believer in covering the surrounding waters thoroughly.

    Another thing is to watch your back casts. With larger flies, like poppers if you're not allowing the rod to load up properly & completely, you'll have trouble with consistency & accuracy. If the back cast is not "right", neither will be the forward cast. As I said, with bigger flies things slow down some, so watch your back cast to make sure you're timing is on the money.

    Let us know how you're doing with it!
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

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  9. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Findlay, Ohio

    Default Re: Newbie fly caster using bass bugs

    All of the above advice is great. I don't throw poppers very often and usually have to adjust on the rare occasions I do. Last night I was throwing a large popper with my 5wt. I moved up to an 8 pound leader cut back to about 7 feet, slowed down my cast and when recasting pulled as much of the line off the water as possible. If the lines out a little I'll do a little bit of a false cast just to get the majority of the line up before going into a full cast.

  10. Default Re: Newbie fly caster using bass bugs

    Welcome. Split shot will cause you to start throwing tailing loops this early. I would say shorten the leader. I think that will get you what your looking for.

    I started on largemouths so enjoy the new obsession!

    Sent from the Gobblers Roost using Tapatalk

  11. Default Re: Newbie fly caster using bass bugs

    Certainly shorten your leader, but I suspect you probably need an 8-weight rod and line.


  12. #9

    Default Re: Newbie fly caster using bass bugs

    Yes, shorten whatever leader that you are using. The Airflo Bass polyleader 5ft will help too. During your practice, use the biggest wind resistance practice fly that will resemble the size of the fly that you will actually use. Make your own if you must.
    You can add a haul when you lift the line for your backcast and fire the fly back to your target with another haul. Your 6wt 9ft is fine and the loops don't need to be pretty when you are casting big bugs for bass.
    I am highly qualified to comment in this forum after receiving a Specialized High Intensive Training (S.H.I.T) at the Olde Schitt Institute of Technology (O.S.H.I.T).

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  14. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    South Florida

    Default Re: Newbie fly caster using bass bugs

    Great advice given. You want a short stiff leader, something like RIO or a fluro leader. Hell I sometimes use a redneck straight twenty in 20# Yozuri fluro when I am casting at dock pilings or in the canals ans making twenty foot casts.
    Remember you aren't drifting the thing. It can land in a wuzzle as you are going to be working it back to you. Three words brother Brute Force and Ignorance! As a redneck snook and bass fisherman in South Florida these are my creed. I throw foam poppers and heavy streamers and I can speak from experience when I say you bought right when you bought a Sage. Ape arm that sucker and get big hairy beasts out to the fish. Screw style points. Its about putting something tasy in front of the fish's nose. You have the right rod, use a short stiff leader and just muscle your fly home!

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