Bass patterns.

When the majority of fly anglers discuss 'patterns' they are talking about 'fly recipes'.

To a bass fisherman, though, 'pattern' means something else.

A 'pattern' is a combination of location and presentation that is 'repeatable'.

You can, with some work, 'pattern' the bass. This can be hard to do at times, but often it will let you 'call your shots' and catch large quantities of bass by focusing your efforts. It will also open 'new' areas of the lake to you.

What a pattern is can vary from pretty general, to VERY specific.

It takes concentation to get a successful 'pattern'. You need to pay attention to each fish you catch and understand what that fish is telling you about where it's holding and why.

Once you catch that first fish, each sucessive fish can help you to 'refine' the pattern.

The first 'element' of a 'pattern' is the 'location', or 'where' the bass is. Not 'specific', like under 'the I-15 bridge', but 'on primary points' or 'in the back of secondary coves'. The other critical element of 'where' the fish are is the depth.

You can 'refine' the pattern to include things like the type of bottom; chunk rocks, rip rap, smooth rocks, sand, etc.. Type of cover; grass, brush, reeds, large rocks, docks, etc.. Transition areas, edges, structure breaks. Things like wind direction, current (if it's there), sun or shade, can all be part of refining' a pattern.

The other part of a pattern is the presentation. This includes the type of fly, the depth it's fished at, and HOW it's fished.

When trying to establish a pattern, work from the general to the specific.

A 'general' pattern may be a simple as fishing 8 feet deep on main lake points with a clouser fished slow.

You can get much more complex. Main lake points, 8 feet deep, over chunk rocks where they meet sand. Chartruese and white Clouser fished on a sinking line with two inch strips followed by one second pauses. Cast parallel to the structure and allow the fly to sink for a five count before beginning the retrieve.

The nice thing about a 'pattern' is you can now go to each area on the lake that fits those characteristics and probably catch bass there. This lets you go to places you've not fished before with some conficdence of success.

When this works, and it WILL work if you take the time to figure it out, it can be a true eye opening experience. You get to 'know' that you've figured the fish out, for 'certain', each time you do this. Kind of like the trout fisherman that truly gets the hatch 'matched' and is catching a trout on each cast.

One thing, though. Remember that one fish does not a pattern make.

Good Luck!