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Questions for Us Fly Fishers...


Guest Mark P
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1. In your opinion, what is your most effective fly color?

I ask this question because it seems that the fish in the water where I typically fish prefer all white or flies tied with at least 50% white

over any other color(s).

 

2. What is your preferred method for Smallies; topwater or subsurface?

I ask this because I have taken the occasional Smallie on top but most all my fish come from down below. Am I doing something wrong?

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1. I know what you mean about white! On clear streams, white (or some combination with white) is real hard to beat. On darker colored streams, I'll usually fish brighter colors.

 

2. My preferred method would be topwater (more fun), but I catch most fish on weighted subsurface flies.

 

1. In your opinion, what is your most effective fly color?

I ask this question because it seems that the fish in the water where I typically fish prefer all white or flies tied with at least 50% white

over any other color(s).

 

2. What is your preferred method for Smallies; topwater or subsurface?

I ask this because I have taken the occasional Smallie on top but most all my fish come from down below. Am I doing something wrong?

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1) White or black. The advantage with white is I can used a permanent marker on the stream to adjust the color.

Black is better for terrestrials and bottom dwelling macro-invertebrates.

 

2) Subsurface in where the action lives!

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1. When color does matter, these two color combination work as well as anything. Black with blue flash and "Albino Shad". The latter being a pearl or white, with a purple to pink to lavender back or a combination of all three. Lavender materials are hard to find. Pearl or irridescent flash helps. Subtle is best.

This is hand me down knowledge from conventional fishing. The albino shad Bass Assasin at times will smoke anything else and I've found black with blue flake to also work as well as anything else in other times.

Clousers in these colors have been catching fish for me.

 

2. Topwater of course! Unfortunatly the fish have no sense of style and prefer to be caught on clousers. In fact I'll go out on a limb here and say that Clousers are probably ALL you really need to catch smallies. am I wrong? Of course, what fun would that be?

I'm still carrying around some mayfly patterns in hope of someday being on one of those legendary hatches on the kank.

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With aggressive fish, white rules. With non-aggressive fish, olive/brown is the ticket. And when nothing is working go to purple. Top water is fun but on most days you will catch many more fish subsurface. In fact I'll go out on a limb and say if you're ticking bottom with your fly, you'll catch even more than someone who is fishing subsurface but higher up in the water column. Make it easy for the fish to decide if he wants your fly. Put it where he doesn't have to move at all to take it.

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1) natural colors: olives, grays, dark browns, etc. However, I don't put too much weight behind the color selection for river smallies. I think it's more about opportunity; for example, how many chartruese baitfish are there in our rivers? Seriously?! But a chartruese Clouser minnow is amoung the top flyes of all time.

 

2) preferred method is the one that's working. I love top water and it's my favorite. I usually start out with a deer hair popper every time, if I don't get hits, it gets switched to a subsurface. Here's a hypothesis I've recently put together about top water: if the smallies are well fed, there's no point in reacting to top water. Over the last 3 weeks I've fished plenty in our local rivers and the top water bite isn't there. The smallies I've caught are fat, full, healthy fish that have hit rather lightly, not the smashing hits that tear the rod from your hand. Our flood conditions must have pushed the forage and smallies up against the banks and the smallies could feed at will. So Mark, it may not be what you're doing, but how the smallies have been living.

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The most effective fly color is whatever the fish seem to prefer at the time. White on white or white with another color like olive or grey have always worked well for me and are usually what I first try to fish, but the last few times that I have been out, more subtle colors, especially olive have been the ticket. An olive bunny fly tied with a chartreuse body has produced some nice fish for me recently on the Apple and Kish, which are running slow and clear. Gaudy, flashy flies like white or copper sparkle minnows, which usually work very well, have resulted in follows but very few hits. It seems to me that the action of the bunny fly is what made the difference as much as anything for the larger fish. The next time out, things could change completely.

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Per Buck Perry, depth, speed, size, color, and action are the controls-things you must control. The list is in descending order of importance with color almost the least important. I think Buck got it right; so color does not keep me awake at night. Typically I want to have two patterns in a fly like a Clouser-one dark, one light. For example, one is an Emerald Shiner-White, pearl flash,light olive back; the other is a Perch-yellow belly, orange middle, green back with some gold flash. A white bugger and a black bugger might be all I really need.

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Guest One More Cast
Per Buck Perry, depth, speed, size, color, and action are the controls-things you must control. The list is in descending order of importance with color almost the least important.

 

Ah, the late Buck Perry, the Father of Spoonplugging. I believe his list (and the decending order of importance) lends itself more to his method of spoonplugging than it does smallmouth fishing. Buck tended to spoonplug deep where color is indeed, the least important factor and therefore I think we are comparing apples to oranges.

 

Fly size, shape, color and movement (pick whichever order make you happy) are equaly important to my own myopic eyes, your mileage may vary but I like white and olive.

 

Joseph

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Ah, the late Buck Perry, the Father of Spoonplugging. I believe his list (and the decending order of importance) lends itself more to his method of spoonplugging than it does smallmouth fishing. Buck tended to spoonplug deep where color is indeed, the least important factor and therefore I think we are comparing apples to oranges.

 

Fly size, shape, color and movement (pick whichever order make you happy) are equaly important to my own myopic eyes, your mileage may vary but I like white and olive.

 

Joseph

Other than using brighter colors in dirty water and quieter colors in clear water I don't think color matters much.When it comes to surface fishing Lefty Kreh subscribes to the Henry Ford approach,i.e. you can use any color as long as it's black perhaps because it shows up best against the lighter sky it's silhoutted against from below. I prefer white or chartreuse because it's easier to see when cast amid shoreline cover.The past few years I've mostly fished the Dupage. Since it's shallow and clear I've mostly fished the surface at least after the water gets int the mid 50's and above.It's more involving and exciting. I seem to catch a high % of big smallies on the surface. Also the obscene increase in weeds just below the surface makes a nuisance out of subsurface fishing.Those weeds do give the flyfisherman one big advantage as he can pick up the fly to avoid them and snap them off with a strong backcast.On the Kank I fish mostly subsurface and both on Sugar Creek in Indiana. I haven't fished the Fox much but plan to fish it more now that the Dupage has become a 20 mile long salad bowl.

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Fly size, shape, color and movement (pick whichever order make you happy) are equaly important to my own myopic eyes, your mileage may vary but I like white and olive.

 

Joseph

 

Joseph,

 

One light color (white) and one dark (olive). Buck would be proud of your simplified equation.

 

After a 30 year layoff, I reread Buck's classic on Spoonplugging. There is a great difference between Spoonplugging and trolling a Spoonplug I recently found out. I was surprised to see how much attention Buck gave to using surface lures, live bait, and jigs. Though I own a complete assortment of the magic Spoonplugs, it has been years since I used one. In spite of that I consider myself a Spoonplugger because I follow the philosophy. Simply stated, work fish holding "structures" controling "depth, speed, size, color, and action."

 

But, I ramble. Please come back on the question of shape which is missing from Buck's list. We catch bass on long skinny things (plastic worms), fat worms (Senkos), minnow shapes (clousers), hot dog shapes (surface plugs), bulky craw shapes (flies, hula grubs, and jigs), and egg shapes (crankbaits). So how do we figure out what shape fly should be used?

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Joseph,

 

One light color (white) and one dark (olive). Buck would be proud of your simplified equation.

 

After a 30 year layoff, I reread Buck's classic on Spoonplugging. There is a great difference between Spoonplugging and trolling a Spoonplug I recently found out. I was surprised to see how much attention Buck gave to using surface lures, live bait, and jigs. Though I own a complete assortment of the magic Spoonplugs, it has been years since I used one. In spite of that I consider myself a Spoonplugger because I follow the philosophy. Simply stated, work fish holding "structures" controling "depth, speed, size, color, and action."

 

But, I ramble. Please come back on the question of shape which is missing from Buck's list. We catch bass on long skinny things (plastic worms), fat worms (Senkos), minnow shapes (clousers), hot dog shapes (surface plugs), bulky craw shapes (flies, hula grubs, and jigs), and egg shapes (crankbaits). So how do we figure out what shape fly should be used?

 

We let the fish tell us what would work best....delivered from the end of a fly rod, spinning rod or a baitcasting rod. At times, a fly that has more of a sonic footprint seems to work better than a fly with a slim profile. Other times, it's the other way around.

 

That issue, and the size and color preferred are the mysteries that need to be solved every time we head to the stream. My boat bag has over 500 flies in it and some days it seems as though I go through evey single one.

 

If it was easy, every one would do it.

 

Joseph

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1) I'm with Michael on this, I tend to fish more natural colors. Olive and black mostly but I carry bright colors too, chartreuse and white, orange and red.

 

2)I have caught most of my fly smallies subsurface, I'm fairly unimaginative these days with fly selection and tend to fish buggers and Clouser's and vary the presentation(though I haven't smallie fly fished in over a year).

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