Fly Fishing for Bass
Inside the Outdoors, July 12
, 2013

When I saw a gent standing in the water at Keystone State Park recently, I observed action that was very simple – something any adult can do. I say adult, because I don’t want children thinking they can walk into the waters ignorant to the fact of the unknown. Adults have, for the most part stepped their way forward into certain bodies of water always knowing that the next step could be very slippery, descend downward at an unsuspected drop, and sink into mud that will literally suck one in and hold him there. These are some of the challenges one has to take in order to accomplish his goals.

So there he stood. I watched as he made a cast outward, maybe five to six feet in front of him, not far at all. I thought to myself, here we spin fishers are throwing way out and then retrieving our lures, while this fellow is tossing his imitation out not far from his person at all. Now, as stated before, how hard could that be?

When he came back to shore, I had to ask him his name and he identified himself as Gene (only) and that he was from Delmont. He told me the reel alone cost well over $660. He didn’t have to state how much the rod went for other than to say, the two were made for each other and looked like the Cadillac of fishing equipment.

So, here two of us stood, trying to tag a bass, Mark Ludwig fishing his trustworthy worm, and yours truly, throwing lures, something I enjoy doing best ever since I put live bait aside for the time being. Seemed Mark wasn’t the only one catching fish on those plastic worm imitations. A young girl also caught a 12-inh bass using a similar imitation.

So, I threw my lure out occasionally, but was now more interested in the tactics Gene was employing. His silhouette against the sunset and the beautiful colors on the water made for a perfect in itself. This type of thing always occurs when I don’t have my camera. Oh well…I came to fish, not take pictures.

I did ask Gene what he was using and he made reference to a frog imitation that floats. He would cast it a short distance from where he stood. He told us that up closer to the dam, he hauled in 7- pound bass using this system. He left us with a lot to think about.

“Many times,” he said, “I have tied imitations that are mine exclusively and they have worked. I even invented a fly for steelhead fishing that has worked fantastically,” he said.

Rich Rohrbaugh, owner of The Angler’s Room, 333 Route 217, Latrobe, told me “A lot of guys will tie patterns that don’t look like anything, but will catch fish on them.” Sound familiar? That is exactly what Gene told me. In my book, Rich is one of those fellows who has all the knowledge one needs to know, ties just about any fly known to him and even has a wonderful display in his shop. “Fishers will use the gray fox variant for catching all fish,” Rorhbaugh stated. “This is an imitation without wings.”

I decided to go on line as I figured there would lots of material on many websites – and I was right. I settled for www.waywardflyfising.com and learned a bit more that I thought I’d share. Here the author said, “Bass fishing has everything trout fishing has, only scaled up – lots of impressive top water action; strong long fights, and very big fish

Pitching in my thoughts on the matter, unless one visits coldwater streams, which is basically very difficult to do this time of the year without a vehicle or transportation, he better get used to fishing for bass or panfish, for example.

Here again, referring to the website above, the author states, “Bass are modern fish, genetically speaking. They are a very survivable species capable of living in the warmest and filthiest of pond water. Certainly, they are better than at trout at doing a few tings, like stalking an ambushing their prey, which consists of everything from trout-like fare such as chironomids and mayflies to large frogs, popcorn and baby ducks.”

Here are some added suggestions if one chooses to bass fly fish. Try tequila, yellow, frog and black hard poppers, a hair mouse, black lead-eye leeches, soft-shell crayfish and wiggle-minnow imitations. These may be one’s ticket for added excitement to this sport.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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