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Fly Fishing For Bass

Media Review By Dave Votaw


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Lefty Kreh and Bob Clouser are two icons of bass fishing.  If you’ve every picked up a fly rod to fish for bass – largemouth or smallmouth – your approach to this challenge has been influenced by these two men.  For anyone wishing to start fly fishing for bass, this DVD is the place to begin.  Whether you’re a lifelong trout fisherman who has become interested in warm water fishing, a spin fisherman curious about those guys “standing in the water waving a stick,” or someone completely new to fishing, Clouser and Kreh are talking to you, bringing you the information you need for success in pursuit of the gamest fish that swim.


Watching this DVD, it is immediately obvious that these two guys come from a background that included both spin fishing and baitcasting.  You will not see fly fishing snobs dressed in fancy clothes, no "Brad Pitt" types going in over their head chasing a trout on a Western river.  These guys are  two good ol’ boys; country gentlemen who don’t speak perfect English but have figured out that under certain conditions fly fishing for bass is the right approach.  And they’ve got some surprises for the viewer with preconceived ideas about fly fishing.  Forget the size 20 dry flies, 7x tippet, and 4-weight fairy wands.  Bass are looking for some serious “meat.”


Kreh and Clouser open by pointing out that fly rods are simply another tool in the arsenal of their bass fishing equipment, and their use is dictated by the conditions a fisherman faces at the start of a trip.  Their primary application takes place when water temperatures rise above 65 degrees and under low-water conditions; below those temperatures they recommend hardware.  Casting rods and spin gear are also more effective when bass suspend deeper than 10 to 12 feet of water.  And, in Clouser’s words, you’d be “crazy to fly fish” in the wind.


After the introduction, the viewer gets approximately 80 more minutes covering almost all aspects of fly fishing for bass in both flat and moving water.  This review includes tips and basic information such as how to string up a rod, but also more important recommendations on what type of rod to use.  Kreh and Clouser agree that the all-around best rod for bass is an 8.5-9 foot 8-weight, made of fiberglass or graphite, and with a half or full wells grip to provide a thumb rest rather than a cigar grip.  During the summer season the most practical line is a weight forward floating line, particularly a bass bug taper, although sinking and sink-tip are also discussed.  They also spend a good deal of time talking leaders due to the potential for confusion to new fishermen by the vast array of choices.


Kreh and Clouser are very up front in talking about their thinking on flies for bass, i.e., 2-3 inch flies are too small for larger bass.  They spend time explaining the flies needed, colors, and sizes, especially Lefty’s deceiver and the Half-and-Half fly (half Deceiver and half Clouser) in sizes from 6 to 8 inches long!  Again in Clouser’s words, you want to “give them groceries.”  Any hardware fisherman will show you baits every bit of 8 inches that have been attacked by bass no bigger than the bait.  We need to be regularly reminded that bass aren’t trout.  Clouser and Kreh also teach you how to present these big flies, including the “Susquehanna strip,” which involves stripping the entire swing of your arm and turning the thumb down at the end of the strip to cause the fly to drop, often precipitating the strike.  For new bass fly fishers, this discussion of flies and how to present them may be the most useful section of the DVD.


Clouser also explains wading techniques, smallmouth habitat in rivers, how to work a pool, and several techniques for fishing streamers in current.  His casting technique may not be what the viewer expects as he utilizes the efficient pick-up-and-lay down approach; long casts generally are not necessary and with a big fly on an 8-weight a lot of false casting is counter productive.  (Keep repeating, this isn’t trout fishing.) 


Kreh takes responsibility for reviewing flat water techniques for largemouth bass, including ponds, bigger lakes, and reservoirs.  Most of the same flies apply to both species, and he prefers moving up to a 9-weight rod for longer casts.


For fishermen who already know how to handle a fly rod, this DVD has everything you need to get started successfully fishing warm water for bass.  New fly fishermen will need additional instruction on how to cast a fly as Kreh and Clouser don’t review basic concepts of fly casting such as shooting line or hauling.  Lefty Kreh & Bob Clouser on Fly Fishing for Bass is great stuff to view and highly recommended.  The disc runs 90 minutes and is available from Reel Resources for $29,95.

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