Rigging up for bass? When it comes to stocking your kit, fly fishing guru Tom Rosenbauer says to keep it simple.
AnÂ entry level (i.e. inexpensive),Â 9-foot, 8-weight will do just fine.Â A good quality bass rod-and-reel fly outfit can be had for around $150.
“You donâ€™t need to spend a lot of money and you donâ€™t need a lot of different rods,” Rosenbauer says. “One rod will do it for bass. And bass donâ€™t pull line off a reel so you donâ€™t need to worry about a drag system. Get the cheapest reel you want.”
Several companies, including Orvis, St. Croix and Bass Pro Shops, now offer specialized bass fly rods, which are typically slighter shorter than 8 feet with a relatively stiff spine and tip.
Do you need one? “Theyâ€™re good for playing fish from a boat and theyâ€™re good for casting in tight cover,” Rosenbauer notes. “But, honestly, the shorter rods are a little bit harder to cast. For a novice, I would stick with a 9-foot rod.”
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“A floating line is probably the best thing. If the bass are deep you might want to as some point invest in a sinking line. But a floating line will work most times. When fish are in 20 feet of water they can be caught on a fly but, honestly, itâ€™s not that much fun and itâ€™s a lot of work.”
“Bass are opportunists. Itâ€™s a matter of getting the fly in front of a bass thatâ€™s hungry. Youâ€™re going to want a few floating flies and a few sinking flies. The Sneaky Pete is my favorite for a popper. And you canâ€™t beat a black wooly bugger, which will catch anything. But any big streamer fly and any baitfish imitation will work. Flies that are sold for saltwater will work. And anything thatâ€™s long and skinny and wiggles a lot in the water will work.”
“You donâ€™t really need a fancy leader. You can get away with a piece of 20- or even 30-pound monofilament. You actually donâ€™t want a light leader because those bigger flies wonâ€™t cast very well. You just need a heavy piece of fishing line.”
“People need to know that everything they need they can stick in their pocket. They donâ€™t need a vest and probably donâ€™t need waders because the water is going to warm and if they are wading can wear shorts or quick dry pants. They donâ€™t need a lot of doodads. Just something to cut their leader after tying on a fly â€“ nail clippers of a pair of scissors. And a box of flies they can stick in their pocket.”