If there was one fly I could take with me for a panfish or freshwater bass outing, it would be the Booby Fly. I have never fished this fly for trout, but it does have a reputation as a stillwater trout fly as well.
This fly is similar to the Mop Fly in that it has reportedly been banned by certain organizations. The rumor mill that I’ve read says that while the Mop Fly was banned in certain competitive angling tournaments, the Booby Fly was banned in certain United Kingdom waters.
For close to home fishing opportunities or introducing new anglers, there’s nothing better than targeting warmwater species. Sunfish (bluegills), perch, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass are abundant, happy in hot water, and not spooky. Bring some small Sneaky Pete poppers for those bigger bass and some booby flies for everything else and you’ll be all set for an outing.
I had a great time on a recent weekday evening fishing the Charles River in Waltham with a friend. We had an easy time finding spaces in a public parking lot, pulled on our waders, and then crept down to the water through some trees. The Charles River is one of the cleanest urban waterways in the United States. Parts of it are pretty darn fishy too. In fact, there are kayak fishing for bass tournaments held on it, including one on August 6th if you want to enter!
Yes, there can be some unsightly areas, and there are bacteria concerns after storms – don’t fish it if one of the monitoring stations is indicating overflows or high levels. But part of the fun of urban fishing is the contrast with trout fishing. And don’t be surprised if you get onlookers (it happened to us!).
In Waltham we were able to fool a few small fish on a Woolly Bugger jig imitation, but tying on a Booby Fly was the ticket to more action. I simply could not keep this fly away from the bluegills and bass. I fished a #6 rod with a 4x leader which was plenty stout and could have fished heavier gear if I wanted.
Of course, there are variations on the Booby. I like them with white eyes and some flash in size 6 or 8. For some recipes, variations, and inspirations, here you go: