By Capt. Hogan Brown

If you are new to this blog or the California Bass Union let me welcome you! Our mission is to Develop, Share, and Grow Fly Fishing for bass in California. While a lot of our content and blog posts so far may seem a bit geared towards established bass anglers this one is not…Getting into any new type of fishing can be challenging or intimidating but the beauty of bass fishing is what you have works so just jump right in.

Taking common trout gear and getting it ready for bass fishing is pretty easy. A standard 9’ trout rod in a 5wt or 6wt will work just fine. Take your 5X trout leader and cut it back to about 2-3X so the leader is about 4-5’ long with a short tapper. If you have some old 10-20lb “fishing line” laying around use that as needed for tippet. You can graduate to bass leaders, floro tippet, and all the tricky gear ounce you get into this…for now make do with what you have.

For flies top water bass flies work fine, but if you want to make due with what you have a dry fly made with foam works as a top water fly – foam hoppers, golden stones, or Salmon fly dries are all good - the more foam and rubber legs the better. These flies obviously will not pop like a popper, but the can be skated and skitted across the surface enticing many pond bass to come up and eat. Any bigger attractor trout flys can work great as a dropper off of this fly as well just make sure to tie the dropper on with that stout tippet – 3X+ is best - also not to deep of a drop off the bend, 1.5-2.5 feet at most.

For subsurface flies if you have a “lake box” anything out of that meant to be fished subsurface will work. Any style of bugger, bait fish pattern, or even damsel and dragon fly nymph will work REALLY well at times. If you need to get the fly down a bit take a split shot and put it  1’ up from the fly as this will sink and even give the fly a little up and down action as it is slowly stripped. One thing to remember is that the smaller creatures in a pond don’t move that fast so keep that weight light for a slow strip.

Couple tips…

- Move the fly slow along banks or at an angle away from them. Even if you are fishing from the bank DON’T cast straight out and retrieve back. Nothing that the flies you will be fishing swim from the middle of a pond back to the bank. Them swim along or at best away or back to at very steep angles.

- DON’T trout set. Come tight to the fly feel the tension then lift. Not necessarily a strip set but let them eat it.

- Fish edges. Bass are ambush predators keep the flies in areas they may get “ambushed”

A Couple good videos to help you make the jump…also check out all the video in the VIDEO section of our page

Casting large flies is part of bass fishing and can be a bit challenging coming from the trout world…that said and indicator rig is very similar to a “Big bass fly”

Great instruction on how to cast heavy flies with a fly rod from casting guru Pete Kutzer.

Great Orvis video by Tom Rosenbauer Breaking down Bass fishing

Hogan Brown