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Big Flies ..Big Fish ?

1304 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Kieran Price
Hi all

I'm a salt-water fly fisher and fly tier .. I'll fly fish for anything but bass are my thing

On most of the UK forums I frequent, Anglers seem set on using what I class as small flies , I've never caught a bass on a clouser the smallest fly I've caught a Bass would be a 7" Flat wing .. Do any of the SWFF'ers on here use big flies ? or have you tried big flies without success ?

Jim Hendrick published an article in Irish Angler earlier in the year .. this is what he has to say about big flies

As far as I'm aware all the specimen ( 10lb plus) fish that have been caught by him in the past few years have all fallen to bigger flies

your views ?
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Most of the bass I have had on fly have been on fly patterns around the 4" size, Tabory Snake fly tied on a tiemco 800S size 2.
But My largest ever bass on fly fell to a white baitfish pattern tied on a tiemco 800S size 6. It took right behind the waves on a shallow beach, foot maybe foot and half tops depth wise.
I have also caught stripers of only a couple of pounds on tandem squid patterns tied 8/0 and 6/0 octopus hooks (fly close to 8" long in total)
With saltwater fly, general patterns like clousers will always work, but if you have the time to find out what the bass are feeding on, then "matching the hatch" will normally get you better fish.
In my area (mainly sussex/hampshire coast) our bass tend to feed on smaller baitfish inshore. Gobies, smelt, etc so it was more successful to copy those baitfish.
Most of our fishing was over shallow rocky reef. Into which waters mackerel/herring/shad don't tend to venture. It was a case of giving the bass what they were looking for in the area (and depth) they were looking. A jumbo fly in a cloud of small smelt would maybe catch, but I would bet on the result being a schoolie. The big girls seem to get get more locked on to a particular bait than even chalk stream trout.

I have tried Pop's Siliclones, big flat wings (tied for big profile), Big fishfur bunker patterns. These require something like a #12 ( I use a powerful #11 Fisher with a #12 line on it) to cast them properly and anything more than a couple of hours is knackering. The net result-same as Lou Tabory-match what the bass are eating, however big or small.
If you want a two good patterns for big bass in the summer, off the beaches. Try Boyles Bonito bunny, and the other is a small pair of clouser eyes with a 4" piece of thick brown-green chenile tied in only with the eyes. The bunny nails the fry feeders, and the worm fly is deadly inched along on a sandy bottom. Both have caught 6lb plus bass for me in the UK, and Stripers to over 20lb in cape cod. Worth rememberiing during the fall in Cape cod the favoured fly size off the beach is 6 or 4, and we are talking stripers to over 40lb.

Big patterns are great IF the bass are predating large baits ie mackerel, but you had better have a #10 or #11 you cast them with, because anything you can cast for any time off an #8 or #9 is really a long fly rather than a big fly.
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I, Like Iestyn would stick with the valuable advice to match the hatch. Work out what the bass are feeding on and try and match it for size, colour, speed, depth and action. If big bass are feeding on rainbait in front of you, putting on a large (or be it slim) fly will probably make getting a take harder rather than easier. Regardless of the size of the bass.
Lets be honest most saltwater bass are caught on approx 3" flies, be it clouser, deceiver, flat wing or what ever.
As with lures, simply putting a bigger lure in the water, doesn't mean you will catch bigger fish. However putting the right lure in the water will.
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