Written by: Alvin Dedeaux, All water guides
Just like trout, largemouth bass spend most of their time feeding below the surface of the water. And while most people would agree that catching trout on a dry fly is more exciting, watching a bass explode on a popper chugging across the surface is even more exciting. The strikes are just so brutal.
But as much as I am a dry fly junkie, I will nymph my trout when conditions call for it. After all, I want to catch as many fish as possible. The same goes for the bass. If the top water bite doesn’t occur, I use a few sub-surface bass patterns.
1. Clouser Minnows
I caught more warm water and salt water species there Clouser Minnow than any other fly. Favorite colors are chartreuse and white, pink and white, and gray and white. For larger fish or deeper water, try the clouser/deceiver Half and half.
2. Crawfish pattern
My personal best flying largemouth bass – as well as one of our clients’ world record Guadalupe bass – was caught using a crawfish pattern. Especially when water temperatures are low and you have to do some hopping across the bottom to attract a big, lazy bass to feed Cohen’s Jiggy Craw and the ghetto crawl are my favorite patterns.
When the water is discolored or the temperature is low, it’s hard to defeat a large, dark leech gliding across the bottom. Think of it as the fly rod version of a Texas rigged gummy worm.
Some of the main feeder fish in most bass lakes are allice shad. If you see bass swarming and chasing a bait, they are most likely allice shad. One of my favorite shad patterns is this double bunny.
5. Dive bugs
While not really a subsurface pattern, diving fish are one of my favorite flies when bass aren’t hitting the surface. The beauty of a big one deer hair grebe is how much water they move. Bass will come from far and wide to find out what is causing such a stir. The added benefit of being a diver is that you can still see the blow.