There are times when fishing streamers along the banks when floating smallmouth bass rivers can be very effective. However, some anglers on our guided float trips believe they are slow in detecting these strikes. We solve this problem by attaching a Shenandoah Blue Popper size 4 to our Bright Butt 9 foot 2X Compound Knotted Leader and attach twenty four inches of 2X tippet material to the bend of the popper hook with an improved clinch knot. I attach a Murray’s Pearl Marauder size 10 to this as a dropper. When floating the river this combination popper and dropper is cast down and across stream at a twenty degree angle so it lands close to the river bank. A slow strip-pause-strip retrieve will bring many strikes from bass along these banks. When the bass takes the popper the strike is easy to see and the bass can be quickly hooked. If he takes the streamer it will cause a quick movement of the popper which is the signal to set the hook and you hook the bass solidly.
Learn to Fly Fish with our Fly Fishing Workshop–This November we will be starting our fly fishing workshops on Saturdays in the fly shop from 10a.m. to noon. I will be covering various topics throughout the winter into the spring including fly casting, fly tying, trout fishing in the Shenandoah National Park, smallmouth bass fishing in the Shenandoah River and NEW this year Selecting the Proper Fly Rod Outfits.
For more information or to register for a fly fishing workshop …click here or call 540-984-4212
In order to catch large bass consistently on hard surface bugs it is very important to be able to adjust the bug action to the type of water we are fishing. I have designed the Shenandoah Surface Bugs with this goal in mind. (1) For example, we often find bass feeding in water two feet deep along the shaded banks and a gentle teasing bug-action is very effective. The Shenandoah Slider with its long slim pointed nose is very productive here. (2) Four feet deep banks with fast currents produce large bass to a bug that can create a loud water-throwing action. The Shenandoah Chugger with its fat body and deeply cut face quickly brings these bass to the surface with a firm stripping action. (3) Grass beds and gentle current areas hold many bass that will take bug-action between these two extremes. The Shenandoah Popper with its long tapered body and up-sloping face will take many of these bass.
The most valuable skill a smallmouth angler can develop is learning to read the water accurately. The few minutes spent analyzing a section of a river in this way will give you more bass on the spot and a better understanding of all sections of the rivers in the future.
I see this as a three step process. First I strive to determine where the bass will be holding. The best of these areas are a combination of a feeding station and a holding area. The second step is determining where to present my fly so I can fish it effectively through the basses feeding station. The third step is positioning myself at the precise spot which will enable me to make my presentation accurately and swim my fly convincingly through the basses feeding station.
For many years a Cricket Dry Fly has been one of my most dependable flies all across the country in all types of trout streams. I have experimented with many different ties but Ed Shenk’s Cricket has given me many more large trout than all of the other patterns. I believe the reason Ed Shenk’s Cricket is so effective is because when he designed it he was able to use materials and a style of tying which effectively mimicked the light pattern of the natural cricket. Ed Shenk’s Cricket can also be fished with a very realistic kicking action when desired.
Ed Shenk has been a good friend for many years and he still ties his Crickets and Letort Hoppers for me to sell in my fly shop, Murray’s Fly Shop in Edinburg, Virginia.
When I hike into the remote hollows to fish mountain trout streams I wear my felt sole boot foot hippers if I am going two miles or less. If I am going to hike in more than two miles I wear hiking shoes and hang my hippers over my shoulders. Then when I get to the area I plan to fish I put my hippers on and hide my hiking shoes behind a tree. When I finish fishing I retrieve my hiking shoes and wear these back to my jeep. I never wear chest-high or waist-high waders when fishing small mountain trout streams because they limit my ability to crawl along the streams.
Smallmouth Nymph Tactics from early April to mid May
Spotting Trout while fly fishing can be beneficial and a significant advantage under the right circumstances.