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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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Shaw Grigsby Makes the Big Time (in Fly Fishing)

The summer issue of The Drake Magazine is out. I’ve got a story on Gainesville native Shaw Grigsby, Jr. For those of you who don’t know, Grigsby is one of the world’s premier bass fishermen, who happens to be pretty proficient with a fly rod. In fact, he loves to chase Homosassa tarpon on fly — in between turkey hunting stints, of course.

Grigsby has caught more than his fair share of bass.

Grigsby has caught more than his fair share of bass.

 

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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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