Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fishing The Sink Tip for Spotted Bass

I have to admit that this hasn’t been a bumper year for popper action on Smith Lake for me. I realize a number of factors have affected the top action, such as dropping water levels, cold fronts, and of course the angler himself. Every time I go on the water I wonder if I’m using the right fly pattern or am I working that pattern well enough to get a hit. Sometimes anglers including me want the fish to hit what they perceive as the best fly for them to take at a particular time, place and season.  I think that is one of the reasons why my catch ratio has gone down this year on Smith. I assume every time I launch the boat on Smith at daylight that the fish are going to nail the popper, why because I love to see the fish blow up on the popper. If the fish are chasing shad a cream colored popper will get their attention, but if there is no surface activity at all then the best option is working a pattern down under. That pattern could be something that resembles the actual shad that the bass are feeding on. The slow top action on Smith this season has driven me to work harder at analyzing what the fish really want. Could it be a bead head nymph, streamer, or a variation of a popper? To fish all these different patterns and poppers, one really needs an extra fly rod aboard; 5 to 6 weight for poppers and nymphs and a 7 weight for streamers. Keep in mind most of the time on Smith, if one is using the fly rod to fish for bass the spot is the fish that is going to nail their offering. This fish is a ferocious fighter and the heavier the fly rod the better, so two fly rods one in 6 weight and the other being a 7 weight. I seldom fish the lake without a 3 or 4 weight to handle the lighter patterns that will produce when nothing else is working. In fact I am always armed with 3 fly rods every time I fish Smith Lake.
My latest daylight trip on Smith a few days ago enabled me to apply all the above tactics.
A mouth full of beadhead nymph, which this spot just couldn’t resist.
Posing for a side view image; this spot put up quite a fight on the 5 weight. I usually fish the sink tip either with my 5 or 6 weight 9 ft. fly rod. This size spot can you make you think he is much bigger as he makes numerous runs to try to break free. I have started fishing the sink tip with a 5 ft. piece of mono usually 8 lb. test. I get a fairly quick sink with the light line and beadhead nymph attached.
This was one greedy spot, with his belly full of shad he just had to have one more, which was his undoing. The cream bugger got his attention.
I couldn’t leave the lake without trying to land a few bull gills on the popper which is always a blast. My bluegill goal is lost for this season,  but there is always another season to give it a try.
A lot of residents on the lake like to use platform decks to view all the activity; this is one of many that can be found up and down the waterway.
No need for the gym, working your way up these steps to the top of the rock wall is exercise enough


Kevin Frank said...

Great stuff, and I'm not trying to be "that guy" but I think it's actually harmful to the fish to hold them that way. You'll break their jaw. The jaw can't support the weight of the fish holding it horizontally.

Drew LooknFishy said...

Those are some good looking fish. The gill inhaled that popper..I hate when they do that!

Howard Levett said...

I've got some poppers that Owl Jones sent to me that I'm really itching to try out on some local ponds, but it's just been too hot. I haven't fished with a sinking line in years...too much trouble in my estimation. Those are pretty spots.

Bill Trussell said...

I think the jaw thing is true for the larger bass, but the smaller ones can withstand a short pull down on their jaw better, this is according the boss Bill Dance. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

True the sink tip can be a pain if you are not using the right weight fly rod. A 5 through 7 weight makes a difference in casting it. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

For sure not going to lose the gill when they shallow it like. thanks for the comment

penbayman said...

Looks like your boat fishing that unusual for you? Nice photos..

penbayman said...

sorry Bill...I mean't Bill...too early for me to be thinking too much..

Bill Trussell said...

Yes the boat is used less this year, because the trout fishing on the tailrace has been really good. Thanks for the comment

riverwalker34 said...

I also enjoy nymphing for bass. Well, Smallies. I bought sink tip last year for deeper bass fishing on the local lake. Ended up using it for trout. I like it when you share those spotted bass photos.

FlyFshrGrl said...

I find the sink tip on my 5# or a 150 grain line on a 4# to be some of the most productive fishing in August, if I'm fishing later than 8:30 a.m. or the overhanging trees have disappeared. Loved your multiple-species day, but my favorite is the Sunfish!

Bill Trussell said...

I haven't tried the sink tip for trout, but I'm sure it would work on those slower days. thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

July and August are some of the hardest fishing times on the water, using the sink tip can make a difference. Thanks for the comment

Brk Trt said...

Bill I agree those steps are equal to a gym workout.
I've used full sink lines when I trolled streamers for salmon in Maine. I also use a sink tip in some of the lakes I fish here.