Above: Late summer season could be an thrilling time to catch largemouth bass in native ponds and lakes.

August could be a powerful month for salty flyrodders. Spawning blues are off the chunk, it’s often too quickly for albies, and striped bass and weakfish generally take “trip days,” ignoring each fly you throw at them. So, how a couple of shift from salt to candy, buying and selling striped bass for largemouth bass in native lakes and ponds? Canoes, kayaks, and inflatable float tubes provide maneuverability, or you’ll be able to wade if the underside is sandy and agency, or simply stroll the banks. It’s simple, accessible, and the fishing could be nice and dependable.
Many fly fishers ignore summer season bass fishing. Angelo Peluso, famous out of doors journalist and expert bass angler, thinks in any other case. “Don’t for a second settle for the ill-advised and oft-repeated perception that it’s a lot much less productive to fish for largemouth bass throughout the canine days of summer season. Fairly the opposite. I eagerly await these steamy summer season days when bass take shelter from the warmth and intense direct daylight, lingering within the aquatic slop and underbeds of lily pads.

“This is a perfect time to slip and drop weedless flies, topwater bugs, and creaturelike creations throughout and thru pads and different thick vegetation. A few of my largest bass had been caught when many different fly anglers had turned their consideration to flipping burgers and sizzling canines. This type of fishing shouldn’t be simple, however it may be rewarding for the persistent angler.”

Ray Szulczewski, a retired constitution captain in Cape Could, fishes a number of south Jersey ponds when he’s not chasing striped bass within the salt marshes and thoroughfares. He says, “In late summer season as the times begin getting shorter, I wish to fish the decrease gentle because the solar goes down till nightfall or after darkish. I imagine the fish begin to really feel the times shortening and get the urge to placed on weight to get them by means of the winter.

“The lakes I fish shouldn’t have a whole lot of bodily construction like logs, docks, or bulkheads. I work areas the place shallow, sandy areas drop off to about 8 toes or extra. Baitfish dangle within the sandy places and the bass lie within the deeper water, searching for alternatives. Because it will get darker, the motion will get higher.”

Bass will lurk on the deeper fringe of shallow, sandy flats, ready to ambush baitfish.

In fact, selecting the prime lakes and ponds is crucial to getting bites. Paul McCain at River Bay Outfitters explains, “We’ve two forms of ponds in Lengthy Island: mill and kettle. Mill Ponds are shallow and get very weedy in the summertime. Kettle ponds additionally get weedy, however they’ve edges with deeper water.” Related ponds are additionally discovered from Delaware to New England. Some ponds, lakes, and artifical impoundments in additional mountainous areas like northwest Jersey and New England even have clear, deep waters bordered with wonderful weed cowl. The shallow New Jersey Pine Barrens additionally provide some terrific bass and pickerel alternatives as do coastal ponds and creeks in Delaware and Maryland.

Harold Eckett of NJ Saltwater Flies follows an “ABC” strategy for late summer season. He explains, “ABC stands for Aquatic vegetation, Bridges, and Present. Bass want shade, cowl, oxygen, and meals, and the ABCs all the time present that. As well as, aquatic vegetation and bridges often have depth modifications; present from close by creeks attracts bass, too.”

Summertime success does name for a number of changes, however it’s just like salty striped bass fishing. One of the best time to fish shouldn’t be often excessive midday, and my buddy the late Armand Courchaine, a devoted flyrod bass nut, used to say, “Any time to fish for largemouth bass is an effective time, as long as it’s at nightfall.” Some flyrodders may favor daybreak, however the message is similar—low gentle often brings higher motion. Because the solar goes down, the bass get extra energetic and keep energetic by means of the night time hours till the solar bursts from the horizon the subsequent morning.

largemouth surface popper
Floor poppers, sliders, and gurglers solid to lily pads and alongside weedy shorelines are confirmed bass catchers. Black is a good colour, particularly at nightfall and daybreak. Picture by Capt. Ray Szulczewski

Sort out selections differ with the season, the quantity and sort of vegetation, and dimension of the fly. Paul McCain notes, “Early within the season, I like to make use of a 7- or 8-weight with a floating line. Later in the summertime after I’m on the kettle ponds as a result of most mill ponds are too weedy, I fish a sinking line on a 9-weight on the drop-offs.” Gentle-tackle followers may go right down to a 5-weight in these much less weedy locations; nevertheless, if the weeds are thick, particularly with huge islands of lily pads, heed McCain’s recommendation and seize the 8-weight as the perfect general-purpose fly rod – similar as you’d use in salt for schoolie striped bass and back-bay blues. The added energy within the butt is useful to coax bass from the vegetable backyard. Something lighter gained’t solid massive poppers very effectively.

B.A.S.S match guidelines enable fly fishing with 7-foot, 11-inch rods, and a few terrific rods have been developed lately that non-tournament fly anglers will recognize. St. Croix’s Mojo sequence and Echo’s B.A.G. (Dangerous Ass Glass) rods can be found in 8- to 10-weight line scores. These beauties have the flexibility to drag fish from weedy areas, but nonetheless solid a fly with nice accuracy, which is necessary for plopping poppers into weedy holes and open patches of lily pads. And, each rods are price-friendly.

Reels don’t actually matter for largemouth bass since you’ll hardly ever, if ever, see the backing. I exploit a 1495 Pflueger on my 5-weight as a result of the retro facet of the previous reel is so cool, however I’ve a pricy Tibor on my 7-weight simply because I prefer it. It additionally has a largemouth bass engraved on the aspect plate that maybe provides a measure of excellent luck.


  1. Get extra bites at nightfall and daybreak, and on cloudy days.
  2. Preserve the rod tip low to the water and pointed towards the fly.
  3. Use a strip strike off to the aspect to set the hook somewhat than a elevate of the rod tip.
  4. Keep away from slack. Stretch line and chief to eradicate coiling.
  5. An intermediate or Sort 3 sink tip will get a fly deep to chill, oxygenated water.
  6. Strive an 8-foot, 8-weight for correct casting and taking part in fish in a kayak.

And one further tip is that you simply’ll want loads of bug juice otherwise you’ll get eaten alive by mosquitoes, gnats, and no-see-ums, and possibly god-awful horseflies, too. No-Nats is an effective formulation with no dangerous chemical substances, and the 2-ounce dimension shops handily in a pocket or small fly pack. I add about 5 drops of concentrated lemongrass oil for further zip to maintain the bugs away.

What’s extra necessary is the number of flies you select. The highest summer season patterns embody tried-and-true Wooly Buggers tied on 1/0 to dimension 2/0 hooks, sizes which can be a bit bigger than sometimes used for trout. Colours could be extra dramatic, like white, chartreuse, and pink, though darker shades of brown, purple, and black even have their magic moments. In shallow waters, a suspending fly just like the Seaducer, or a diver just like the Clouser Deep Minnow, are good candidates. Tied very small, these patterns enchantment to crappies, bluegills and small bass, so use the identical 2/0 to 1/0 hook dimension that can appear like extra of a mouthful to larger bass.

I’ve had some minor success with flatwing streamers, tied with and with out lead eyes, meant to signify a giant fats backyard worm or small elver eel. After rereading Gary Ellis’ Bassin’ with a Fly Rod, I’ve additionally experimented along with his strategies of casting rubber worms and salamander lookalikes on sinking traces, however my success has been inconsistent. Worms with a small diameter, not these fats Senko-type worms, could be reduce to half their size to cut back weight and aren’t a lot totally different than casting a Clouser. Fished on an intermediate line, I’ve caught a number of bass on the “rubbah.”

A well-liked tarpon fly developed by Capt. David Mangum can be a superb bass-getter. The Dragon Tail wiggles and darts in addition to (or higher than) a plastic worm and is manufactured from a chenille-like materials that’s simple to tie with. I exploit 10-inch line strips with temporary pauses to permit the worm to settle again down after the acceleration of the strip.

Various the retrieve tempo and pace is important to getting a whole lot of bites, however predicting which retrieve works finest could be difficult. The small bait discovered alongside the shore transfer slowly, with quick darts, until disturbed by prowling bass or a wading shorebird after which they explode in a bathe of silver spray. A gradual twitch-twitch-retrieve appears to work effectively. Recast because the fly leaves the sting of the weeds.

With bigger minnows, a productive retrieve makes use of longer strips, pauses, after which strips with a slight acceleration on the finish—like a gradual slide ending in a quick break of the wrist. Creature-looking issues like Woolly Buggers usually work higher with quick, lazy strips that go one thing like this; twitch, twitch, strip, pause, then repeat the method.

Paul McCain of River Bay Outfitters
Paul McCain of River Bay Outfitters guided fly angler Norman Felter to this largemouth bass caught in a Lengthy Island pond. Picture by Paul McCain

Poppers, typically referred to as bugs by bass flyrodders, are probably the most thrilling flies to throw at largemouth bass. In addition to the enjoyable issue, poppers can cowl a whole lot of territory. Paul McCain feedback, “I like utilizing a fly rod as a result of I can solid into holes within the weeds, working the popper proper to the sting after which choose it up for the subsequent solid. I don’t have to fret about pulling all of it the way in which again besides after I get fortunate and hook into a pleasant bucketmouth.”

Ray Szulczewski can be a devoted popper fan and employs a Gurgler-inspired sample he’s fine-tuned over a few years. “My favourite is a black popping fly with a marabou tail. That marabou actually provides life when the fly is within the water. I don’t use a very massive fly and largemouth, pickerel, and greater crappies all hit it, so that you get good motion.” I’m additionally a giant fan of Gurglers and recognize how they solid so simply. In contrast to a giant popper, there may be much less wind resistance and so they solid effectively even on a 5- to 7-weight rod. Favourite colours embody white, pale blue, and chartreuse.

Armand Courchaine was a devotee of huge poppers and tied up some actually massive deer-hair creations that seemed alive within the water and infrequently fooled many large Rhode Island bass. To solid successfully, he typically used an previous favourite glass fly rod, a 9-weight that had, as he mentioned, “A pleasant, simple motion for casting to lily pads at nightfall.”

Gurgler pattern flies
Gurgler patterns could be fairly efficient for late-summer largemouth.

Many flyrodders knowledgeable in catching fly-rod largemouth imagine that to get probably the most from a bug, you should decelerate the retrieve. Quick pace is often a no-no and being affected person whereas respiration life right into a bug will get many extra strikes. A turtle’s tempo is healthier than a zippy retrieve, and lengthy pauses in between pops typically get the eye of larger bass.

Right here’s an exaggerated however true pause story. Simply as I solid a popper to a gap in some lily pads, my spouse, Linda, introduced a bass to the shore and determined to take an image. The popper I had solid sat nonetheless for perhaps two minutes or so. Once I picked up my fly rod and made one other pop, “Wham!” I used to be on with a 4-pound bass.

To make massive cup-face poppers actually pop, a tough pull is required to make them sing, so an aggressive strip with the road hand is required. Start the pop with a brief strip to make sure the road has no slack and also you’re tight to the bug, then sweep the road hand off to the aspect to create the laborious pull that can make an explosive sound.

Weedless bugs are a necessity to keep away from snags within the lily pads. Thirty-pound laborious mono is often the favourite, however some fly guys favor stainless wire. With a gradual retrieve, a floor fly could be made to slither and waddle alongside, simply bouncing off snags for thrilling late-summer motion.

Teaming up with fellow flyrodders is a terrific solution to rapidly acquire expertise. River Bay Outfitters hosts particular group fishing outings in Lengthy Island and Connecticut rivers for freshwater trout, striped bass wading, and surf fly fishing at state parks. There’s additionally a visit or two for largemouth bass every summer season season. They’re nice enjoyable and wonderful social alternatives for good fly-fishing ops with skilled anglers.


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