Fly Fishing Tip – Smallmouth Nymphing

Have you been rejected lately?  I have…I’ve been smallmouth fly fishing a lot and while I have caught and landed a good number of smallies…I have also been rejected, a lot, in fact at one point last week it felt like my junior year in high school all over again. I am a stripper; whoa, don’t go thinking weird thoughts, I love stripping streamers and over the past two weeks I have landed several smallmouths in the 16 to 17 inch range. I have also been rejected and even snubbed by clear water and smallmouths that won’t take a fly…so for the first time ever I relented and tried nymphing for smallies. I went back to the fly tying bench and made a few flies that resembled spiders and flying ants and decided the next time I was getting ‘snubbed’, I would give it a try.

Friday afternoon I received my new TFO 2 Weight Fly Rod and was quickly off to one of my top streams. I started off stripping an Irish jig and watched repeatedly as one smallmouth after another swam over, took a look and turned away. The second hole I came to is a classic small stream hole whereby the water flows over the bedrock and into a deep pool. I moved around downstream and tied on one of my new flies and made a cast past the hole allowing my ant to dead drift over the rock and into the deep pool. This was trout fishing 101 and on the first cast I saw a flash within the pool; the second cast was successful as a 15 inch fatty nailed the fly. The new TFO rod was up to the task and within a couple minutes I had hauled in the powerful fish.

My next cast was just a few feet right of the previous cast…but with the same result as a 14 inch smallie inhaled the fly. This was a very heavy fish with a pronounced ‘beer’ gut and I had to back the fish out of the pool to land it. A few more photos and I quickly had the fish back into the pool. My next cast landed my first ever carp as in the back of the pool were a few carp bringing up the rear and this 14 inch rocket took the fly and did its best bone fish impersonation as it ripped back and forth through the small pool.  While we were a few thousand miles north of the Bahamas my carp experience had me wanting more contacts with carp…or bonefish?

So…the next time you get the ‘snub’ by your favorite smallie; give dead drifting or nymphing your fly a try…as they say it is never too late to teach an old dog a new trick!


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