We all know that hot weather really affects bass fishing and for the fly fisherman it can be even more of a challenge. Don’t let the fact that largemouth bass don’t want to feed, or cooperate during periods of heat keep you from getting out there and catching you some. Here are some tips for the hot weather bassin’ on the fly. First, let’s discuss what you need to set yourself up with to fish for these evasive creatures. When fly fishing for bass you’ll need to throw big flies and poppers so you’ll need to step up the size of your fly rod. I recommend a 7 or 8wt rod. My personal “go to” rod is the TFO (Temple Fork Outfitters) 6/8wt Mini Mag. The Mini Mag is a hybrid rod with an S-Glass butt section and carbon fiber mid and tip sections. This fly rod has enough backbone to turn those big bass when they head for structure or cover, and it also has the strength to lift those big fish. Because it is a 6/8wt rod, it also will fling big flies with ease, and it is also an 8 foot rod which makes it really nice for a kayak fisherman.
I use straight mono or fluorocarbon line for a leader. I generally use between 6 feet of 17 or 20 pound test and I tie a perfection loop in the end of it and connect it to my fly line via loop-to-loop connectors. The shorter leader makes casting the bigger flies much easier. From a kayak most of your casts will be in the 30 to 40 foot range so the shorter leader helps to make your cast more accurate as well.
Topwater fly fishing is probably my favorite and it’s about as exciting as it gets. When a big bass blows up on a topwater fly, it will make your heart race. That type of action occurs in the early morning before the sunlight shines upon the water. Topwater fishing is generally best in the back of creeks where the water is the most still. When the bass are on their morning feed I have found the best flies to be large topwater poppers resembling frogs. These can be foam, plastic, or hair type flies. The trick is patience. Cast the fly out and let it sit until all of the shock rings disappear. Then, give it a little twitch. Let it sit, and then twitch it again. Before long you’ll have a blow up. When it blows up it is important to remember to “strip set” the hook. Tip setting will cause the fly to move way out of the zone if the fish doesn’t actually have the fly in its mouth. By strip setting, the fly is still within range and the fish may hit it again. Once the bass move down in the water column, you’ll have to change strategies and go with a deeper running fly. I often go with something that imitates a 3 to 4 inch worm or lizard. A good fly for this application is one with a weighted head and a 3 to 4 inch rabbit zonker body. I tie that fly several ways. One method is just the zonker body and a small amount of flash and the other has 5 glass beads that rattle when the fly is stripped through the water column to help irritate and/or attract the bass.
Another good pattern for deep staged bass is any weighted streamer such as a Clouser Minnow. These flies can be up to 4 or 5 inches. Don’t be afraid to use bigger baits. Deep staged summer bass like bigger baits. Remember, “match the hatch”. Of course there’s always the wooly bugger. This bait will almost always catch fish. I tie them bigger (#1 and 2) for summertime fish. I also tie them in non-traditional colors such as chartreuse and pink as those colors don’t fade as easily in the deeper water.
Now that you’ve got the knowledge how to overcome the hot weather bassin’ on fly and chase those summer time bass, don’t let the “Summertime Blues” get you down. Get out there and catch some big ole bass on your fly rod!