Friday, June 29, 2012

Casting Weighted Flies

Bob Clouser fly fishing for smallmouth bass. Photo by Cathy & Barry Beck
Matt left me a comment asking me to post information on how to effectively cast weighted flies and  strike indicators.  Weighted flies, especially clousers can cause all sorts of casting problems including snagged hats and even damaged rods.  I fished with a buddy that actually broke his fancy graphite rod by hitting the shaft with a clouser.  The weight on the clouser slammed into the rod at a very high speed and shattered the blank.  I have read many stories of guys snagging their head/scalps, eyes, ears, legs etc.  When you are casting large weighted flies always wear a hat and glasses.  Safety first!

Bob Clouser is the Granddaddy of weighted flies, so it's only natural we use his techniques here on the Smallmouth Fly Box.  His book Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass is a book all smallmouth fisherman should own.  His other book, Clouser's Flies is another one that should be on every fly fisherman's shelf.  Well, Bob recommends an oval cast when casting weighted or large flies.  The oval cast is called many things - Belgium cast, elliptical cast....but we are going with the oval cast in this post.

The concept of the oval cast is detailed in the video below (towards the end).  The oval shape of the cast keeps the fly away from the line and allows it to roll nicely.  The cast is also performed to the side of your body which usually keeps you from getting hooked.

Here is an excerpt from Bob Clouser's book Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass:
"Many of the flies I use for smallmouth bass are either heavy of wind resistant.  When casting these flies, I most often use a special cast designed for weighted flies.  This cast is also useful for sinking-tip lines and shooting tapers.  Often called the Belgium, oval, or elliptical cast, the basic idea behind it is to smoothly pull the fly line, leader, and weighted fly around in an oval with a low but upward-moving backcast and a higher forward cast.  Unlike dry-fly casting, you want to keep your loops relatively wide--though not so wide that the cast is inefficient--and minimize false casting."
In the book Bob has a wonderful pictorial series on pages 107-112 that demonstrates this technique beautifully.  Between the video above and Bob's book you should be a casting pro in no time.

I hope this post has been helpful.  My next post is going to readdress leader construction.  I have tested many leader configurations and have settled on a tapered leader that works great for larger flies.  Best of luck to all of you and if you have additional questions or would like to post a comment please feel free to do so.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pearow's Bentback Spider

Hook:  Mustad 3261 (Size 8)
Thread:  6/0 Uni
Body:  Brown Yarn or Micro Chenille
Legs:  Sili-Legs
Wing:  Buck tail
Head:  Thread

Here is one I found from Pearow on The Bass Pond.  Pearow caught some big bluegills on this spider, but I could easily see bass hammering it too.

The key is to bend a 15 degree angle in the shank.  Any more than 15 degrees and the spider will spin on the retrieve.  This is a very simple pattern that is just fantastic.  The hook rides up making this spider snag resistant.

Notice the bend in the bottom hook....slight bend is all you need.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gibby's Skitter Bug

Gibby's Skitter Bug
Hook: No. 8 Gamakatsu S-10 3F
Thread: 8/0 Uni Chartreuse
Tail: Marabou
Flash: 3-4 strands pearl Krystal Flash
Under-body: Pearl micro-chenille
Body: White foam
Popper: Large Sequin
Eyes: 3D prism eyes

This is one of my favorite bluegill patterns.  I happened on a good bluegill spot this morning and grabbed this pattern...had a blast!  The sequin adds a nice popping action to a very simple streamer.

This is one of Steve Gibson's fantastic patterns.  Steve's Myakka Minnow is another killer for bluegill!

Gibby's Myakka Minnow

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Salmo Minnow

I spent the morning fishing with my buddy Peter...had a great time.  We tried a local DNR largemouth growing lake that is designated for catch and release only.  Peter is an awesome fisherman, so it's always great to get out and spend time with a real pro.

The hot lure today was the Salmo Minnow ( in the red and white (Red Head) color.  I got the Salmo lures at Northwind Lodge in Ely, MN (The Red Rock Wilderness Store) when we visited last year.  The fish would not leave the Salmo Minnow alone on that trip and today was another day with King Salmo.  Something about red and white.....

If you haven't tried Salmo products you should give the a try.  Salmo lures are high quality and extremely durable - and they really catch fish!

The bluegills were still spawning and hitting like piranha.  A guy with a clutch of small bluegill flies would have a ball at this lake!  The fly rod was not the ticket today, but it was the first time we fished this particular lake....maybe next time! 

The Neptune
I test drove the Neptune today and really like the action it has in the water.  Great sparkle and nice sink rate.  This pattern has great potential on the river.

We caught a few good ones today.  Another great day on the water with Pete.

Notice the 4" Salmo Red Head in the Picture!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mr. Pike 18

I found this old catalog photo of the Smallmouth Fly Box boat, a 1980 Lund Mr. Pike.  Me and my boys have finally got the new cedar floor in the boat and will be mounting the seats this weekend.  We are replacing the hatch doors and rod locker door too.  All minor stuff, but the boat should look pretty slick when we are done.

We are adding a new CMC PT-130 Trim and Tilt unit, a new outboard mounted Minnkota motor (85# thrust), a power anchor, stereo and a new fish finder/sonar.

The original owner of the boat painted it black!  The surface gets so hot you can't even touch the top edge of the boat when it is sunny.  We are sanding it down and having it painted a nice color that will be cool to the touch.

The boat is plenty usable right now, but it sure is going to get even better.  I hope to get out on the water a bunch this year.