Largemouth Bass On Fly In South Africa

How To Catch Largemouth Bass On Fly Using Fly Fishing Techniques

Catching Largemouth Bass on fly in South Africa can be challenging, but extremely rewarding. The Largemouth Bass is a very well respected South African freshwater fish. This predator attacks almost anything that moves, if it looks real or natural enough… This page will hopefully give you some insight and tips on how to fool, hook and land the Largemouth Bass, just by using Fly Fishing methods in South Africa…

Largemouth Bass On Fly

Largemouth Bass On Fly

Catching Largemouth Bass on fly can be tricky and very frustrating, but once you hook that first Bass on fly, the adrenaline will keep you going until you land the fish… Below are some tips and advice for Fly fishing for Bass – Largemouth Bass, in South Africa…

Fly Fishing Tackle Needed For Targeting Largemouth Bass

Generally, the idea for targeting Largemouth Bass on a fly rod and fly reel is to fish slightly heavier than you would for Rainbow Trout (For example). Normally in South Africa, to catch Rainbow Trout, you would use between a 4 weight and 6 weight fly rod paired with the appropriate fly fishing reel.

In our opinion, fly fishing for Largemouth Bass is no different, it all comes down to personal preference, what size leader you are going to use, and how heavy the fly you are using is. Many well respected Bass anglers say that you should use a Fly rod between a 7 and 9 weight for Bass… This is understandable because you have to tackle up when targeting Largemouth Bass, but as mentioned, it is all about what you feel comfortable with. Here at Fish The Fly, we target Largemouth Bass with a 5 weight setup when (using floating line) and a 7 weight set up (When using sinking line).

So your choice of fly fishing tackle comes down to whatever you are most comfortable with (Provided that the tackle you have selected is adequate enough for the location you are fishing). A 6/7 weight should do the job. If you are targeting big Largemouth Bass, in Zimbabwe for example, you would need a 9 weight set up or heavier. Bass can be very dirty fighters, and you might need a bit more back bone and casting distance at different venues and dams/rivers.

Fly Fishing Tackle For Largemouth Bass

Bass Fly Tackle

In terms of leader this again goes back to how heavy and buggy the fly you are using is, and how much structure is in the water where you are fishing. Largemouth Bass are not as finicky when it comes to being spooked, like Rainbow Trout or Yellowfish for example, so you can afford to fish with a heavier leader line and tippet… Somewhere between 2 kilograms and 5 kilograms is perfect. On a floating line, we would use 2-3 kilogram tippet, with about an 10 foot leader; and on a sinking line we would use 3-5 kilogram leader, with a leader length of 6-8 foot. I find that shorter leaders work a lot better with fast sinking line.

The best Flies to use for Largemouth Bass are without a doubt Zonker‘s, medium to large sized Mrs. Simpson‘s and the San Juan Worm or Blood Worm imitations. These all imitate a Largemouth Bass’s natural food items. The Zonker’s are bait fish, the Mrs. Simpson’s are tadpoles and the other two mentioned above are aquatic worms. There are a lot of Bass flies on the market that work well too, but I tend to use the flies that have been catching fish for a long time, and flies we have had success with. So listed below are the best flies for Bass on different kinds of fly lines, in our opinion:

Fritzbugger Bass

Fritz Bugger

Floating line Flies for targeting Largemouth Bass:

  • San Juan Worm (Fished static with the occasional twitch)
  • Blood Worm (Fished static with the occasional twitch)
  • DDD (Fished static, using dry fly methods)
  • GRHE (Fished on the drop then a slow figure of eight retrieve)
  • Flashback Nymph (Fished static with the occasional twitch)
  • PTN (Fished on the drop then a slow figure of eight retrieve)
  • Hoppers (Fished static, using dry fly methods)
  • Floating Ant (Fished static, using dry fly methods)
  • Foam Beetle (Fished static, using dry fly methods)
  • Adams (Fished static, using dry fly methods)
  • Deer Hair Mouse (Fished with a short retrieve and then stop etc.)
  • Poppers (Fished with a short retrieve and then stop etc.)

Sinking Line Flies For Targeting Largemouth Bass

How To Fight And Land A Largemouth Bass On Fly Gear

When you hook a Largemouth Bass on fly, you will be fighting the fish with fly fishing tackle, so it is important not to give the Bass any slack, and just let the Bass fight you… The bigger ones will run and take quite a bit of line but do not panic. Play them and tire them out, and when you get the chance, get the line back… When the Bass jump out of the water keep your rod tip low and your line tension fairly tight.

Landing a Largemouth Bass should be done with a net as you are using smaller hooks and lighter leader and you do not want that personal best fish to snap off and swim away. Wet your hands before touching the fish, take a photo and then release it. When releasing Largemouth Bass, or any freshwater fish for that matter, it is important to not just throw the fish back, but to revive it. Place the Bass in the water and either face it toward the flow of the water or gently rub your fingers along the side of the fish, thus getting its gills to move and start breathing. It is important not to bring the fish back and forward through the water as this could drown the Bass.

Largemouth Bass On Dry Fly

Bass On Dry Fly

Other Largemouth Bass Tips For Fly Fishing

Always fish around structure, drop offs, inlets or banks… The Largemouth Bass love to inhabit these areas. Winter fly fishing for Largemouth Bass can be quite slow especially if the water is very cold, as Bass are regarded as “warm water fish”. You will still catch them in Winter, and the chances are that if you do, you will catch larger fish. It is just very tough Fly Fishing, but persevere and you will get your reward. If you do not have a fly in the water, you won’t catch any fish.  The best times in Winter to target Largemouth Bass on fly would be when the temperature is at its warmest… Otherwise Spring and Summer are our favourite seasons for catching Largemouth Bass on fly.

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