Fly fishing has long been associated with the pursuit of trout and salmon. Leave it to fishermen, who can often be accused of being obsessive about their sport, to take a fly and pursue bass with it. This is significant, because bass species are in general more adaptive than trout and can survive in a much wider range of water conditions. Because of this, they are more widespread than many other species in the waters of the United States. This means additional fishing opportunities for the fly fisherman who is ready to take on the challenge of fishing for bass.
Rod Choice for Bass
If you have been fly fishing for other species, you don't have to go out and buy all new equipment. A 5 or 6 weight rod that is used for trout is sufficient for many bass-fishing situations, especially when you are not going to be using large flies or casting into a stiff wind. To cast large, heavy flies in windy conditions, and to tackle the larger bass, you will want to move up in rod weight. An 8 weight will handle almost any situation the 6 weight cannot.
Most of the time, bass flies that are successful are designed with a definite goal of getting the attention of the bass. This means that your fly box should be filled with larger, more colorful flies that are made of materials that trigger a bass' predatory instincts. Use deer hair as a standard base material for bass bugs, but incorporate plenty of flashy stuff like marabou and sparkle, too. Because bass waters are often thick with weeds, it is helpful to tie a heavy monofilament weed guard on the hook to reduce snags.
An important concept to remember when fishing for bass is that bass really like underwater structure. Whether it be a weed bed, submerged tree or a pile of rocks, bass like to lie in wait and ambush their prey. Concentrate your fishing efforts on looking for underwater structure and presenting your fly in those areas. Think like a predator that is in hiding, ready to pounce on unsuspecting prey that passes by, and you will enjoy success in your switch to fly fishing for bass.