Fly Fishing for Bass: Tips and Tricks

TFOBy TFO

Throwing flies at bass this summer?

Here are some tips from Tim Romano, of Field & Stream Magazine on how to improve your catch rates. For more tips, check out his blog post at, Five Tips for Catching Bass on the Fly.

Bass are found in all 48 contiguous states and even Hawaii. They eat readily and can be fished for most of the year. With the advent of flies like Umpqua’s “Game Changer” and “Schmidterbait” it’s never been easier to target these fish with the long rod. Here are five tips that should help you catch more bass on the fly.

©Temple Fork Outfitters.

©Temple Fork Outfitters.

1. Fish slowly with the top water bug: I’d say nine times out of 10, when I wasn’t paying attention to my popper, is when it was eaten. This tells me that I ought to slow it down and let it sit more than I think I should.

2. Use a constant retrieve while nymphing for bass:  It’s almost impossible to discern a bass eat underwater with a nymph, even with an indicator. A constant retrieve of your bug, slow or fast, will help you feel the eat and catch more fish.

3. Find fish in big water: This one can take time, but is essential if you want to be consistent on a larger body of water. Learn one lake and fish it consistently. Fish with a local and ask a ton of questions. Find the structures like old creek channels, drop offs, old buildings, roads, etc. and you will eventually find the fish.

Check out, Five Tips for Catching Bass on the Fly For more tips, check out the blog at Field & Stream.

©Temple Fork Outfitters.

©Temple Fork Outfitters.

Looking at getting in to fly fishing for bass? Check out these TFO rods! The Mini Mag, The Mangrove and The Hawgleg. Have questions on when and where to throw big flies for bass? Drop us a note at info@tforods.com, or check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The NEW TFO Micro Solar Sunshirt

Comfortable in any condition, the TFO Long Sleeve Micro Solar shirt really comes alive when temps lurch into the 90s and humidity hangs overhead like a wet blanket. shirts

Equally at home while hanging around the boat ramp or the campfire, the long sleeved, lightweight-performance polyester material wicks away moisture while preventing harmful UV rays.

A Large TFO Blue smoke logo is screen printed on the back, and the features a three-inch TFO Rods Loop logo above the left breast.

Shirts come in sizes from S-3XL.

Check out the new Micro Solar shirts, as well as other TFO related gear, on our new shopping cart: TFO online shop!

Temple Fork Outfitters Official Rod Sponsor of Fly Fishing Film Tour

Temple Fork Outfitters the official sponsor of the 2015 Fly Fishing Film Tour, (F3T).

The F3T is the original and preeminent exhibition of fly fishing cinema, and a one of a kind experience. Each year fishy folk of all ages gather at premieres to soak up films from around the world, spin a few yarns and dream about casts still unmade.

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Since its inception in 2007, the F3T has grown more than 30 percent each year; reaching nearly 50,000 anglers across North America last season. To keep up with demand they have added additional tour stops and increased capacity in the communities that support fly fishing and responsible angling tactics.

In addition to showcasing world-class fly fishing films, The F3T is dedicated to supporting the local fly shops and conservation groups that form the backbone of our sport’s educational and environmental efforts.

F3T tickets are available at more than 150 fly shops across the country. A portion of those ticket sales go directly to support fishing and habitat-related conservation groups.

In 2013, the tour raised $250,000 for our conservation partners and have used our voice to bring greater attention and support to groups like Trout Unlimited, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Bonefish Tarpon Trust, Utah Stream Access Coalition and many others.

For more information on the Fly Fishing Film Tour or Temple Fork Outfitters please visit, www.tforods.com.

 

 

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Temple Fork Outfitters adds to BVK reel family

During the development stage of the now highly acclaimed BVK series of rods, TFO quickly realized the need for a series of reels to complement the rod’s standards in terms of performance, light-weight, quality and affordability.

After the success of the original four reel sizes, TFO is excited to introduce the new BVK 3+ reel to the family of BVK large arbor reels.

The new BVK 3+ reel features the same solid drag and frame components as the rest of the BVK family of reels. Photo by TFO.

The new BVK 3+ reel features the same solid drag and frame components as the rest of the BVK family of reels.
Photo by TFO.

BVK reels are precision machined from bar stock aluminum. The moss green anodized frames and spools are ported to eliminate excess weight. Equally at home in both fresh and salt waters, the super large arbor design provides faster line pick up and helps the maintenance free drag system work at a more constant pressure than standard arbor reels.

Delrin/Stainless stacked discs make the drag silky smooth and the one way clutch bearing makes engagement instant and left to right hand conversion simple.

BVK reels are available in moss green only and the 3+ size retails for $299.95. Spare spools are also available and retail for $169.95.

For more information on the BVK family of reels and Temple Fork Outfitters, please visit www.tforods.com.

 

 

 

The ultralight BVK 3+ can accomodate fly lines up to 10-weight and 225-yards of backing.  Photo by TFO.

The ultralight BVK 3+ can accomodate fly lines up to 10-weight and 225-yards of backing.
Photo by TFO.

 

TFO Adds 11-foot Model to Surf Rod Line-Up

Temple Fork Outfitters is excited to announce the addition of an 11-foot surf rod to the already successful, GTS Surf family.

Due to the demand for a longer, more powerful rod, TFO along with several sales consultants in surf friendly regions, have developed a new 11-foot, Magnum-Heavy power rod.

TFO Rep John Stacey fishing the 11-foot surf rod in Montag.  Photo by John Stacey.

TFO Rep John Stacey fishing the 11-foot surf rod in Montag.
Photo by John Stacey.

Magnum actions are two powers heavier than their corresponding power. In addition to having more power, Magnum rods are stiffer and faster than Gary’s traditional actions.

The two-piece, 3 to-8-ounce rod, 11-foot (70/30 juncture) model features tangle free guides, and a reversed first gathering guide to eliminate line tangles.

All models, including the new 11-foot model will feature a full-rubber grip throughout the length of the handle, to ensure a positive grip under the most grueling conditions.

TFO’s surf rods are designed to tackle all of the extremes the world’s oceans have to offer and come in an 8’6, 9’0, 10’6 and 11-foot models.

The 11-foot model retails for $229 and features TFO’s Limited Lifetime warranty.

New full-rubber grip handles have been added to the 9-foot, 10-foot, 6-inch and 11-foot rods.  Image by TFO.

New full-rubber grip handles have been added to the 9-foot, 10-foot, 6-inch and 11-foot rods.
Image by TFO.

For more information on the Gary Loomis designed, TFO built GTS Surf rods and all TFO rods, please visit: http://www.tforods.com/

Surf Perch, Think Crappie on Steroids

nickBy Nick Curcione, TFO Advisory Staff

 

Churning waves and rip currents with undertows that suck the bottom from your feet like a giant vacuum give new meaning to the word turbulence.

It’s no wonder then that confronting these conditions with fly gear can seem downright foolish. However, as with most challenging endeavors, with proper technique and equipment, fly anglers can successfully fish any surf zone.

The following discussion will concentrate on Southern Calif., and its vast and virtually unrestricted beachfront.  The primary species is the barred surf perch. Think of it as a crappie on steroids. By saltwater standards it is relatively small but its abundance and readiness to strike a variety of artificials serves as an ideal adversary for the light tackle fly aficionado.

Surf perch can be taken on various fly patterns in sizes from 1 to 4.   Photo Nick Curcione.

Surf perch can be taken on various fly patterns in sizes from 1 to 4.
Photo Nick Curcione.

 

Geographically they range along a considerable stretch of the Pacific coastline from Bodega Bay, (approximately 70-miles north of San Francisco) all the way south into the area around San Quintin.

 

Productive perch fishing can be had from beaches at both the northern and southern limits of this range, but, for this article the area from Oxnard south to San Diego will be the focus.

 

Most of these fish are in the ½ to 2-pound range, but are hard striking and strong fish. They are designed that way to survive their daunting habitat. Unlike the tranquil environment of their freshwater cousins, they live and feed in a very dynamic, turbulent water system. So, while they are not line burners, they’ll put a good bend in the rod and resist you for every inch of line you strip back.

 

Catching barred perch can be a year- long proposition, (one of my largest close to the 3-pond mark was taken in mid September) but the best months typically run from Dec. to April. Jan. is usually the month when you can expect larger specimens in the form of females that come into the surf from deeper water in preparation for spawning. They also come to feed, primarily in the form of sand crabs, which make up approximately 90 percent of their diet.

 

Study the tides and surf

As in all forms of surf fishing, feeding habits of the perch are closely tied to tidal phases.

Strong tidal currents like those associated with full and new moon phases act like a giant mixer churning up the bottom stirring up food sources, ( like sand crabs). Perch key into this so, time fishing o coincide with periods of optimum water movement. Generally this means you should try and fish during incoming or outgoing tides. However, not all beaches fish the same. Some will yield the best action on an incoming tide while others are best fished on an outgoing.

In most cases the bottom may not be visible, so reading the waves is imperative.  Photo by Nick Curcione.

In most cases the bottom may not be visible, so reading the waves is imperative.
Photo by Nick Curcione.

Just as trout anglers know that all sections of a stream are not equally productive, so it is with the beachfront.

To the uninitiated all beaches may look relatively similar, but as experienced surfers and veteran surf anglers there is an important variation. Surfperch like other predators are programmed to feed in habitat that will yield a maximum payoff of food with a minimum expenditure of effort. Fish will congregate in places where there the food source is abundant and readily accessible. In the case of their principal food source, sand crabs, anglers need to quickly identify areas in the surf line where the crabs are most likely hold. These areas are a function of bottom confirmation. Holes and troughs in the surf are places where sand crabs are relatively abundant. Whether they frequent these places by design or are simply washed there by the current, no one can say for sure. It’s enough to know that these are areas where you want to present your flies.

In most cases the bottom may not be visible, reading the waves is imperative.

Waves tend to break over shallow areas; they tend to roll over deeper areas such as cuts and troughs along the bottom.

For example, if you observe a relatively flat area of water washing toward shore with waves breaking on either side of it, that’s a sign that there is a bottom depression directly beneath the flat section of water. This deeper water will tend to hold fish like perch because that is where bait sources are likely to be concentrated. Sand crabs and small baitfish that are swept into these calmer pockets where they become easy prey for likes of perch.

Bottom depressions are prime areas to direct your casts but you also have to exercise an extra measure of caution when wading particularly if water visibility is compromised. In the event you are having difficulty identifying these spots (repeated trips to the beach front will sharpen your skills) do not despair. The truth is perch can be taken in all kinds of surf conditions so the best practice is to walk the beach and try to cover as much shore front as possible.

Tackle Choices

 

I opt for the 6/8-weight TFO Mini Mag rod.

It is a hybrid combination of S-Glass and carbon fiber. It’s only 8-feet, but it will throw all the line you need to reach perch, (most casts don’t need to be longer than 60-feet). This rod weight could be considered the heavy end of the scale for this type of fishing and it’s a good choice if the surf is especially violent and you have to throw heavily weighted flies.

Two good choices for two-handed anglers are the Pandion 6-weight and the 7/8-weight TiCr X conversion kit. With both of these sticks I use a Skagit line with a fast sinking tip.

Shooting heads are the way to go.

The leader set up is very simple and consists of a single section, (5 to 8-feet) of 8-lb test mono. Fasten an end loop in the mono (make it about 8 to 10-inches long) by means of a six-turn surgeon’s knot, (this is an overhand knot where you go through the overhand knot six times). Take this loop fold it over itself and tie a surgeon’s knot, (a double overhand knot). This gives you a double line loop in the leader that you interlock with the loop in in the tag end of the shooting head.

 

Fly Patterns

Fly patterns for surfperch can also be simple affairs but they should incorporate three basic features. They should be durable, they must not have any tendency to foul and should be tied in such a manner that the hook point rides up.

On practically all my surf flies I incorporate some type of weight either in the form of bead chain or dumbbell eyes. Any fly that bears a resemblance to their principal diet source, (sand crabs) will draw strikes. Color varies from grey to tan. Anglers should incorporate a clump of orange chenille to simulate the roe sack on female crabs.

Practically any bonefish pattern tied on size 1 to 4 hooks will be productive.

TFO Introduces BlackFly Spinning Rod to Mangrove Series

Temple Fork Outfitters is excited to announce the addition of the BlackFly spinning rod to the Mangrove Family of conventional rods.

Designed by Vaughn Cochran, world-renowned artist, lodge owner and founder of the Blackfly Brand. The 9-foot, four-piece rod was created to deliver the lightest baits, to the leeriest of saltwater species. But, don’t think just salt! This is a rod that should be packed for any salmon or steelhead trip.

Vaughn’s experience comes from several decades spent as a fishing guide and lodge operator in the Florida Keys, Caribbean, Costa Rica, Mexico and Belize.

Angler Nelson Money with a gorgeous Trinity River steelhead, on the Mangrove series spinning rod.  Photo By Nelson Money.

Angler Nelson Money
with a gorgeous Trinity River steelhead, on the Mangrove series spinning rod.
Photo By Nelson Money.

The medium power rod utilizes TFO’s proprietary TiCr blank coating, which protects the blank from the occasional collision with a lure or boat gunnel. It has a 3/8-ounce to 3/4-ounce lure rating, a unique non-glare chestnut colored blank and a premium cork grip.

The BlackFly rod retails for $249.95 and features TFO’s Limited Lifetime Warranty. If your rod fails for any reason, it will be replaced for a flat handling fee. Full warranty details can be found at, tforods.com.

For more information on the Mangrove Series BlackFly rod and all TFO rods, please visit, tforods.com.

BlackFly Outfitter

Blackfly Outfitter is a full service fly shop in Jacksonville Fla., specializing in custom flies, selling all major fly fishing brands and providing extraordinary customer service. The brand also incorporates the Blackfly restaurant in, St. Augustine Fla., and the Blackfly Lodge in Abaco Bahamas. For more information on Vaughn and the Blackfly family, please visit, blackflyoutfitter.com.

The BlackFly logo, the brainchild of Vaughn Cochran. Blackfly Outfitter is a full service fly shop in Jacksonville Fla., specializing in custom flies, selling all major fly fishing brands and providing extraordinary customer service. The brand also incorporates the Blackfly restaurant in, St. Augustine Fla., and the Blackfly Lodge in Abaco Bahamas.

Blackfly Outfitter is a full service fly shop in Jacksonville Fla., specializing in custom flies, selling all major fly fishing brands and providing extraordinary customer service. The brand also incorporates the Blackfly restaurant in, St. Augustine Fla., and the Blackfly Lodge in Abaco Bahamas.

 

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