Sunday, August 7, 2022

The Redworm and the Fly Rod

 Most fly fishermen will tell you they don't use live bait when fishing with a fly rod. I've never seen anyone using live bait fishing with the flyrod on the Sipsey. I have seen many individuals on the Sipsey using a spin cast fishing with redworms, corn, or crappie nibbles.  

Live bait works when artificial flies and lures will not produce. Just ask my daughter about the success of live bait fishing when she would go with me years ago and fish the many nooks on Smith for bluegill, catfish, and bass. She was more into live bait fishing than my son.

So many memories here, Jenny was a junior in high school when she landed the largest bluegill she ever caught fishing with me on Smith. She was using a cricket fishing with her 7 1/2 ft. micro-light combo. I've never been able to convert her to fly fishing. She still loves to fish the cricket for the bluegill when she has the time to go. Three children and another little girl on the way keep her occupied these days. 
At some point in one's fishing career, they usually land a fish they never forget. This was the case a couple of weeks ago when l landed this supersize Shellcraker or Redear as some would call this fish. What got the big females' attention along with the two quality size bulls was live bait. The live bait thing is something I've never tried using the fly rod on Smith. You might say that anything I try new when it comes to fishing is always a plan in advance for me and this type of fishing was no exception. First, I wanted to get as deep as possible using a sink-tip line and a tiny bb shot crimped onto my 5X tippet about 6" above the hook. I found it is best to tie a knot in the tippet 6 inches above the hook to keep the bb shot from slipping to the eye of the hook when casting a small redworm. The bigger worm was difficult to stay on the long shank hook. The long shank hook is best as opposed to the short shank because you can thread more of the worm onto the long shank hook. I found even with false casting the worm would stay in place. So, in reality, if you want to think of the live worm as a nymph you can, which gives you the feeling of fishing a soft nymph with a scent. On this particular morning, nothing was happening even a nymph fish slow wouldn't produce. The poppers never got any attention from the bass or bluegill. This time of year on Smtih the fishing is extremely slow due to the fast pull-down on the lake. Receding water on any body of water is not the ideal situation to catch fish!


  1. Interesting - all of the venues I fish are 'fly fishing only' so this tactic would certainly throw the cat among the pigeons. Congrats on that nice fish... and another grandchild on the way!

  2. I prefer the small red worm to a "chunk" of nightcrawler. Always seems to get their attention a lot faster. I applaud you for taking the step to worms on a fly rod. A lot of fun you fly rod purist's are missing out on.

  3. Bill, there's no question that live bait such as redworms can be the ticket for good fishing results, and I say this as a so-called flyfishing "purist" who knows the bottom line but still prefers the artificial on a fly rod for the challenges it presents. Thank you for an interesting post.

  4. Justin
    I thought I would share this post with those who have tried most everything to get a take from any fish----and yes the redworm works. Thanks for the comment

  5. Mark
    Agreed the slimer redworm works much better, and will actually will still be on the hook even after landing a couple of fish. thanks for the comment

  6. Walt
    I would not use a redworm fishing for trout. It would be difficult removing the hook from their throat without killing them. Like you, I perfer the artificial flies to get their attention. Thanks for the comment