Spring is finally here!
Waters are warming, and not only is the trout fishing improving day by day, but the opportunity of catching other species on the fly is now becoming much more possible.
I recently bought a float tube and hit some local ponds in my area. The bass in these ponds are getting into “pre-spawn” mode as water temps creep up. With rising temps, they begin staging in shallow water in preparation for the annual spawn. This can be an excellent opportunity to get out on the water and catch a memory on the fly rod!
Bass on the fly is severely underrated if you ask me. It’s a fun world to explore, and the action can be intense! I went out last week in a new float tube in search of some pre-spawn largemouth, and while I didn’t catch anything over one pound, the action was red hot!
Between bass, pickerel and the recently stocked trout they had thrown in the pond, I caught somewhere between 40 to 50 fish! The bass were biting left and right and all at shallow edges around the pond, and when I wasn’t catching bass, the pickerel were biting every other cast and putting a good bend in my rod. Pickerel get a bad rap, but they are a blast to target on the fly! Just make sure you have forceps to get the fly out of their mouth!
The fly that outshone all the others for bass (as well as on the trout) was Blane Chocklett’s Game Changer. These flies really do live up to their name. The possibilities are endless when it comes to tying them as well. During the course of my bass outing I tried several different sizes and styles of Game Changers, and while they all produced a bite, the micro finesse Changer was absolutely deadly!
These are tied with micro shanks (six mm to eight mm) and finesse chenille in the 3/4″ size. Finesse Changers are great because they take markers very well, allowing you to color them to appropriately match the baitfish you’re trying to imitate. I find that a simple olive-over-white coloration works very well on everything from trout to largemouth to stripers.
The trick to an effective Game Changer is finding material that casts well, while also providing great swimming action. Finesse chenille sheds water very easily, and is just as easy to cast as a woolly bugger. Another very effective Game Changer is the feather version. I like tying these in larger versions that come out to around four to five inches long. While they are not very difficult to tie, they are very time consuming, and I think a lot of people avoid tying them for that reason. Nevertheless, they produce fish and they are a fun and worthwhile project to tackle if you enjoy streamer fishing!
Bass are biting. Trout are biting. Pretty soon, striped bass will be biting. I look forward to what looks like a very promising season, and I hope to see you out on the water!