Tag Archives: bass

My Quest to Catch Bass on Fly

how to catch bass on fly

Debbie Hanson with a nice bass from a kayak. (Photo Pamela Mess)

My story from Hatch Magazine.  This is an unedited excerpt from the original piece.

By Mike Hodge

It’s the start of summer in Northeast Florida, a tad too early for tarpon and a bit too early for flood-tide redfish. Given the break in the angling calendar, it’s time to take inventory of every species I’ve caught with a fly rod.

So far, I’ve conquered three types of freshwater trout along with a handful of bluegill; in the salt, I’ve landed reds, seatrout, snook, jacks, bluefish, ladyfish and tarpon.

I’ve caught a few bass, but none of them were worth bragging about. True story: The biggest bass I ever caught was more than 40 years ago on a small mountain pond in North Carolina. The fish probably weighed 5 pounds or so. Catch-and-release was not part of my young, boyish mindset back then, but the bass had the last laugh.

I put my quarry on a stringer and pushed the stake into the muddy shoreline. Big mistake. Moments later, the sturdy green fish gathered enough strength to pull the stringer out of the muck and swam off — along with two panfish destined for the frying pan.

I’ve yearned for redemption ever since that summer day. But I’ve never mustered a big bass on a fly rod. To help fulfill that quest, I called upon two anglers who have kicked a little bass: Debbie Hanson, a guide, women’s sport fishing advocate and blogger (SheFishes2.com); and Shaw Grigsby, Jr., a professional bass tournament angler. Hanson has caught more bass than I’ve dreamed about, on foot and out of a kayak near her home waters in Fort Myers, Fla. Grigsby, from Gainesville, Fla., has surpassed more than a two million dollars in career earnings with conventional gear, but his true passion is topwater bass on fly. Below are a few of their tips that should help you land a big bass on fly.

For more info check out the link below.http://www.hatchmag.com/articles/largemouth-bass-fly-tips-pros/7714386

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A Bow to the Florida Largemouth Bass

I have never caught a largemouth bass. Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve caught a few yearling-sized largemouth, but nothing worth bragging about. Hell, these fish weren’t even big enough to warrant lying about to my buddies over a beer.

Not that I’m a bad fisherman. I’ve caught a tarpon, three or species of freshwater trout, bluegill, seatrout, redfish, jacks, snook and even a peacock bass or two. All on fly.

The closest I came to catching a respectable largemouth was 40-something years ago when I was youngster summering in the mountains of Western North Carolina. On friend’s farm pond, I landed a nice, fat largemouth, probably in the neighborhood of 4 pounds. Using a small spinning reel, a bobber and a mealworm, I pulled the big green fish up to the edge of the sand and heaved him over toward the grassy bank. As far as smooth landings go, it was not pretty. Turns out, the bass got the last laugh.

I had also caught two bluegill. I had them on a stringer, which was loosely staked to the muddy bank. I unhooked my quarry, put him on the stringer and mashed the stake of the stringer into the sand.

I thought the fight was over, but it wasn’t. Moments later, the big bass pulled the stringer — stake and all — out of the soft ground and swam off with two bluegill.

Technically you could say I caught that bass, because I unhooked him and had the fish under my control, but since the fish left under its own power on its own terms — and not mine and evaded the frying pan — I consider it a draw. That’s the last decent bass I’ve caught and I’ve spent brief stretches of each fishing season trying to attain some measure of poetic justice, but I’ve never caught a largemouth that bent the rod quite like that fish.

Given that bit of unfinished business, I’ve decided to spend part of this summer trying to catch a bigger-than-average largemouth. My quest is largely personal, but there are some darned good reasons to spar with the largemouth.

You can find them in just every piece of freshwater in Florida. And if you don’t catch a largemouth, you’ll catch some sort of species of bass. Florida, after all, is home to seven different species of native bass — the spotted bass, shoal bass, striped bass, sunshine bass, Suwanee bass, white bass and the venerable largemouth. For see the link below.

http://snookfoundation.org/content/florida%E2%80%99s-forgotten-fish-bow-largemouth-bass

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Filed under Conservation, Education, Fly casting, Fly fishing

From Bass to Tarpon

Shaw celebrates.

Shaw celebrates.

Interviewed Shaw Grigsby, Jr. this week for a story in The Drake.  Shaw, of course, is known for his success during a 30-year career as a pro bass fisherman and the limelight from his television show, One More Cast. What many don’t know is that Shaw is a big, big fly fisherman. His favorite fish on the long rod is Homosassa tarpon.

“A most exceptional fish,” Grigsby said over a recent lunch near his home in Gainesville, Fla. “They’re not the easiest to feed. You have to do things right. You have to make the right placement. Most of the time, it’s pretty heavy wind. You have to get it in a good spot. You have to be able to back cast, side cast. You just have to be able to do it. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It just has to get there. Then hooking them, it takes every bit of knowledge you have to clear your line, getting things up, so you can land him. Then you have to fight him. It’s not to the point where it hurts you, but it’s to the point where it taxes you.”

To the right  is a tarpon Grigsby landed in the early 1990s, a fish estimated to weigh more than 170 pounds, and was not too far off Billy Pate’s then world record of 188 pounds on 16-pound tippet set in 1982.

 

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Freshwater Vs. The Salt

 From Deneki outdoors… I could use sure a lesson in this.

 

Conversations About First-Time Flats Fishing

When we talk to guests about their first flats fishing trip to Andros South, we always get a lot of questions about angling skill.
“Is it really that hard to see bonefish?”
“How far do I have to cast?”
“What about casting in the wind?”
So we explain that the fishery on South Andros is super productive and pristine.  We tell them they’re going to have plenty of shots, and a lot of the shots are going to be at really close range, and that they don’t need to worry about catching bonefish.  They’re going to catch bonefish – if you have the physical aptitude to make your way onto a flats skiff, you’re going to catch bonefish on your trip to Andros South.
But then, for folks who are used to freshwater fishing, we like to talk to them about their attitude.

Not Catching Fish in Freshwater

Here’s the thing – in most freshwater situations you don’t see the fish before they eat.  If you fish through a run for trout or steelhead and don’t get any takes, that might be for any of the following reasons:

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Filed under Fly fishing

A Day on the Tuck

Congrats to my dad, who caught the biggest fish (18-inch rainbow) during our two-day fly fishing trip on the lower Tuckasegee River in Sylva, N.C., three days before he celebrated his 70th birthday last week.
It’s been a cool, wet summer in Western N.C., but nevertheless the water temperature hovered in the mid to high 60s. We had to work for every fish we boated.
We’ll be back in October. The water temps should be in the 50s, and the Tuck should be on fire.
Below was our mode of transportation, a Clackacraft drift boat as well as a view of the lower Tuck.
It’s been a while since I’ve been on
a drift boat. About 20 years ago, I got trained to guide out West. I think I hammered every damn rock in the Bighorn River. The Tuck, being a gentle Eastern river, is a bit more forgiving than Montana water.

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