Big or Small Flies for Smallmouth Bass ??
There is some sort of misunderstanding as to the
intelligence and eyesight of the smallmouth bass.
Generally it is thought that large gaudy flies
requiring heavy rods are necessary to "hook up"
with river smallies. Size 1 or 2 bunnie strips for
exanple.  Not true! I have caught many 2 to 3
pound smallmouth on size 14 nymphs. Smallmouth
have excellent eyesight in any water condition and
can spot a size 28 Black Midge from a distance.
When fishing for smallmouth, one needs to
determine what they're targeting for food at the
time. Yes, just like trout fishing! As a matter of
fact, I was fishing with my pals David and Todd the
other day and they caught four good size rainbows
on large tube baits with baitcasters while fishing
for river smallies. Now should we say fly fishermen
should be using  large rubber tube flies for trout? Maybe. My point being that we have catagorized
smallmouth with large flies. Back to the size 28 midges. One evening on the South Branch, I noticed
smallies sipping the surface everywhere. I looked at the water at my waist and couldn't believe the
midge hatch. The entire river was covered with black midges. The smallmouth were gorging themselves
on them. They would not take anything else. Of courseI didn't have a black midge fly with me. Who
would when fishing for smallmouth. Smallmouth are very much like trout. They target food.
Sometimes nymphs, sometimes minnows and other times mayfly adults. We need to deternine what
the smallies are feeding on and " match the hatch".
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Photograph by: Carl D. DeFazio