A few thoughts on bass fishing flies.

Unfortunately for the sport of bass fly fishing, the development of flies and fly fishing tactics for bass has historically been done by trout fishermen.

This is logical, when you think about it. The majority of people who fly fish exclusively, fly fish for trout. When the trout weren?t available, for whatever reason, and bass were, they would try to catch bass. Since what they ?do? is trout fish, they approach bass as if it?s a warm water trout. Taking the lessons they?ve learned on trout lakes, ponds, and streams, and applying it to bass fishing.

The 'problem' with this, and why they seldom do very well on bass with this approach, is that whole mindset about visually 'imitating' the fishes prey.

Flies for trout are constructed to 'look' like something the trout will eat, often to an amazing degree. Even with the more generic patterns, the converstaion is usually about 'what' the trout 'thinks' the fly is: "the fish probably mistake it for a drifting nymph" or 'they take is as a hopper".

Bass are the 'most sought' quarry in the fishing world. Bass tournament fishing is a multi million dollar business, and the 'sport' of bass fishing generates billions of dollars.

There are hundreds of university level studies done, thousands of papers published on bass, plus hundreds of millions of dollars in industry research conducted each year.

We have records, from over forty years of tournament fishing, that accurately record 'what worked when' for bass fishing.

There are currently zero successful mainstream bass lures that are ?functionally realistic? (look and ?move? just like the real thing).

The technology is out there. There are no 'purists' in the bass fishing world that would complain about what materials were used, nor would they debate whether it was really a 'lure' or not.

Lure designers have the capability, and more importantly the funding, to produce almost exact replicas of just about ANY type of prey that a bass might eat. The ability to make them move ?realistically? is unchallenged. Micro technology is here, and has been for a while.

But they don't do it. Or, rather, the few lures of that type that HAVE been designed don't work well.

Even the realistic looking trout shaped plugs that have taken so many big bass over the last few years have some type of built in action, either a diving lip to impart a ?wiggle? or an ?action tail? which makes this part of the lure swing from side to side or vibrate.

And, understand this, if they had 'replica' lures that worked, regardless of cost, bass fishermen would buy and use them. I've seen some of the 'fad' lures come through. Topwater plugs that sold for $200, and you couldn't GET them. Crankbaits that were 'renting' for $50 a DAY with a $100 deposit against loss back in the 70s. Plastic worms that sold for $25 a pack of five, fishermen driving over 100 miles just to BUY them.

Bass fishermen will spend money to catch fish.

We have the technology, we have the money, we CAN make a fish that swims exactly like a fish (or a crawfish that moves exactly like a crawfish, etc.). No one does. Why? They don?t work very well.

NOTHING in the bass' world looks like a plastic worm. Earth worms don't generaly get into the water in bass lakes except draped on a hook. Yet plastic worms are one of the all time best producing bass baits ever created.

The Zara Spook, one of the enduring and endlessly copied top water baits looks like a short cigar. But the placement of the line tie and the way the bait is weighted lets the skilled fisherman produce an action called 'walking the dog'. This side to movement has fooled millions of bass over the years.

A spinerbait looks like some kind of otherworldly collision between flying saucers and giant squids shrunk down. Catches bass like crazy.

The new sensation, the 'Senko', is a soft plastic bait that was patterned after an ink pen with concentric rings cut into it. This bait has, due to it's shape and texture, an enticing 'wiggle' as it drops through the water. It's taken more big fish (over five ponds) in the last ten years than all other bass lures combined. Looks like a stick.

I could go on and on, but its proven, not surmised, hypothesized, or 'thought', but 'proven' that what makes a good bass lure is the ACTION.

So, think about this when you tie flies for bass. How it 'moves' matters. How it 'looks' is irrelevant (at least to the fish).

Good Luck!