fly fishing bass and pickerelIt’s been a few years since I did any fly fishing for anything other than salmon and trout. I used to fly fishing for Chain pickerel and Smallmouth bass, what a blast.

Now that Casey has a fly rod I’d like to get my fly rod out to take with us on our fishing trips and see what kind of fun we can have fly fishing for pickerel and bass.

I never had any artificial flies designed specifically for pickerel or bass but found they didn’t mind smacking my trout and Atlantic salmon flies. I can’t get any gardening done today so I am playing around on Youtube looking for flies to tie for some Smallie action.

Tying A Leech Pattern

Bass and Chain pickerel love eating leeches. Here in New Brunswick Canada I tend to tie leech patterns in browns and black. Every species I fish here likes them, a lot.

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Clouser Minnows

Image by pacres via Flickr

I love fly fishing for just about any species of fish but smallmouth bass hold a special place in my heart because they are real fighters. I also fly fish for a Atlantic salmon which put up an awesome fight as well but they are few and far between unlike the smallmouth bass here in New Brunswick, Canada.

The fly I would like to look at today is called the Clouser Minnow and works great for pretty much any species of fish, fresh or saltwater.

Ass you can see by the picture, top left, you can tie the Clouser minnow in just about any colour.

Here is a video I found that will show you how to tie one up.

I hope you learned how to type a Clouser minnow for smallmouth bass and get out and use it. Happy fishing, friend.

I like to vary the size of the eyes depending on the size of the hook I am using. I also use a figure eight pattern to secure them in place. Also depending on the fish I am going after I will vary the hook size. However when I am fly fishing for smallmouth bass I don’t have to worry much about the size as they will smack em good whatever size you use.

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Huge Northern Pike On A Dry Fly


Image by 'Scratch' via Flickr

I’ve caught pickerel, a relative of the northern pike, but my biggest was about 22″ and that was a huge amount of fun with lots of yelling and laughing. I couldn’t imagine hooking into a 50″ northern on a top water fly but I’m definitely up for the challenge.

Here is a video I have to share with your today. This guys does this all the time and it looks like a real blast.

Since I met Casey and Jamie we haven’t fished for pickerel using the fly rod but this year’s going to be different. I have already talked Jamie’s ear off about the fun I’ve had fly fishing for pickerel so I know he’s going to go for this year. And Casey is learning to fly fish this year so I know we’ll be going for pickerel and smallmouth bass.

Now all I have to do to get ready is start exercising my arms and to get some top water flies tied, before we head out. I have been talking about tying all winter but have been working from home growing my business and have set other things aside. Time’s running short, less than a month until fishing season opens and I don’t get much tying done when I’m out on the water so it’s gotta be NOW.

I am going to tie a few leech patterns, a couple of top water popper type flies and a few streams that will travel just under the surface, like the Mickey Finn I use for Atlantic salmon fishing on the Renous and Miramichi Rivers here in New Brunswick.

Fly Fishing For Pike

Fly-fishing for Pike

Fly-fishing for Pike

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The Typical Muddler Minnow Pattern

Image via Wikipedia

Wikipedia on The Muddler Minnow: The Muddler Minnow was spawned, so to speak, by Don Gapen of Anoka, Minnesota in 1937, to imitate the slimy sculpin. Gapen developed this fly to catch Nipigon strain brook trout in Ontario, Canada. The Muddler, as it is informally known by anglers, was popularized by Montana, USA fisherman and fly tier Dan Bailey. It is now a popular pattern worldwide and is likely found in nearly every angler’s fly box, in one form or another. Due to its universal appeal to game fish, the muddler minnow will remain as an integral tool in sport fishing.

The Muddler Minnow Catches More Than Just Trout

I have tied a few muddler minnows over the years as they are a variable pattern and can be fished in a number of ways. I have always been a top water guy so that’s how I fish it most often but it does excellent under the surface as well.

Even though I most often tie my muddler minnows to go after brook trout they also catch smallmouth bass and even chain pickerel. Look out when these guys hit the fly as you’re in for some major fun.

Note: When I plan to fly fish for pickerel I will use a small section of fluorocarbon as a leader as those little teeth are like razors and will cut through regular leader line like butter.

Here is a video I found on Youtube that will help you tie muddler minnows so you can see for your self.

The fly tying materials you will need to tie the standard Muddler Minnow:

  • Head: Deer hair, natural colour
  • Tail And Wing Section: Mottled turkey wing feather
  • The Body: Gold flat mylar tinsel
  • The Under Wing: Grey squirrel tail for the under
  • Standard dry fly black thread
  • Hook: 4X Long Shanked Hook – Size 8

More Great Trout Flies

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Tying The Wooly Bugger For New Brunswick Chain Pickerel

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The Wooly Bugger

I have done some fly fishing for chain pickerel. Actually New Brunswick was the first place I ever saw and caught a pickerel on the fly, well really on anything, it was my first pickerel, but it set the stage for many many happy days on the water battling these wacky and vicious toothy water wolf.

My first pickerel was while fly fishing a little brown dry fly for brook trout and got a surprise catch, a little pickerel which was actually smaller than most of the brookies we caught that day.

Over the years since I have used boats, canoes and my float tubes to fish for pickerel on the fly and started using some bigger flies we use for smallmouth bass and Atlantic salmon.

I also used a few black wooly bugger leech patterns to have fun on the water and would like to share a video showing you how to tie the wooly bugger so you can give them a try yourself.

Fly Tying Materials You Will Need For The Wooly Bugger

Here’s a video showing what you need to tie a wooly bugger, a great description of materials.

How To Tie A Wooly Bugger

I tie the wooly bugger streamer as a leech pattern and don’t use the bead head. I have never had a trout, bass or pickerel ever complain about the lack of a head. They wooly bugger is a very easy fly to tie and I’ve found that a 6 – 10 inch retrieve works best for me. So here is a video that shows how to tie the wooly bugger.

Don’t have time to tie your own, try this one:

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Tying Bass Poppers For Smallmouth Bass

Catching smallmouth bass on the fly rod is a blast, especially when I’m using some of my bass popper flies.

Bass popper flies are easy to fish, they’re fun and the strikes are quite often very explosive and that’s why I like using poppers.

Here is a video I found on Youtube that shows how to tie a popper.

Crease Fly Bass Popper – PA Fly Tying Lessons

Crease flies were originated by Capt Joe Blados for stripers and blues.

Scaled down, these flies are an effective alternative to loud poppers when largemouth and smallmouth are skittish but still taking surface patterns. Crease flies wiggle and swirl when stripped and this action often drives bass crazy.

Watch this video to see how to tie a very simple, effective, and durable surface pattern for smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing.

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The Humminbird Smartcast Wrist Mount

humminbird-wrist-mount-fishfinderI love to get out fishing from my float tube. It’s so relaxing and at the same time exciting. Back when I had a canoe and a boat I had a nice little Humminbird portable fish-finder but found it too big for my float tube so I sold it with my boat.

I have looked for a nice portable fish finder since but never saw anything that I really liked, until this morning.

It’s getting close to Christmas so I was looking through Amazon to see what was there and found this cool little wrist mounted fish finder, perfect for float tube fishing adventures.

Humminbird Smartcast Wrist Mount

I remember fishing Lake George New Brunswick, along with a few other larger lakes in the area, from both my canoe and boat. It was nice to have a fishfinder so we could located active spots we could come back to. We must have fished Lake George a hundred times and always seemed to hook into a lot of smallmouth bass.

I’d say it was mostly because of the Humminbird fishfinder keeping us on the right locations.

I remember so many times I wished I had a fishfinder for my float tube so I could find those great spots again.

Here are a few specs for the Humminbird Smartcast RF 35 fish-finder.

First, Humminbird is using wireless technologies to the Smartcaster rf35 so you don’t require a wire going to the sensor. Just attach a length of fishing line and give it a toss out on the water and you’re ready to go fish finding.

The Remote Sonar Sensor has a separate, lithium battery that is non-replaceable , that has a lifespan of three years and will work for somewhere around five-hundred hours in the water.

Note: It’s always good advice to clean your equipment after a day on the water and it goes the same for your remote sensor. Keep it cleaned and it will keep going on keeping on.

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Fly Fishing Using A Deer Hair For Bugs And Mice

Fly fishing for trout and salmon is great fun and I have been doing that for 30 years or so but I don’t like to stop there when it comes to fly fishing. Chain pickerel and smallmouth bass love to smash big bugs too. If you haven’t tried fly fishing for pickerel, pike and bass then you are missing out on an awesome experience. Once that you will want to have over and over just like I do.

This year my fishing buddy Jamie is going to experience fly fishing for New Brunswick’s chain pickerel and smallmouth bass and I guarantee you that he will be dreaming about how much fun it is. Jamie and I been fishing together for a couple of years now and he’s never given it a try. He does fly fish for trout but has yet to experience what a pickerel or a big bass can do for one’s fly fishing experience.

The video above is an example of how you can create a big bug that these pickerel and bass love to annihilate. It’s a very basic video but really it’s all you need to know. Once you have the deer hair bug all tied up you can then shape it into whatever you want to throw. I love through mice a bass and pickerel and I don’t even need to put those little eyes and ears to get the job done. The fish don’t seem to mind a bare bug at all.

You don’t need much for fly tying materials to tie up a bass bug. Just need a hook, thread, deer or elk hair, a hair stacker and some head cement to secure the thread and make the head shiny.

  • Hooks: Bass Bug Hook in what ever size you want. I usually go big or stay home.
  • Thread: I keep a dozen or so colours and use the colour that matches the fly.
  • Deer Hair: I use deer hair that has been died various colours so that I can tie my flies in the colours I prefer. But I do like the nature colour of deer hair.
  • Hair Stacker: A hair stacker will help you to get the butt ends of the hairs to all line up for easier spinning on the hook.
  • Head Cement: This is what you use to secure the thread to your fly. Usually used on the head of the fly.

Go ahead, give fly fishing for bass and pickerel a try and I am sure you will be tying a lot more flies and having an entirely new fly fishing experience. Enjoy

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