Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Flyfishing for Smallmouth

The past few weeks have been very busy for me, so I haven't had time to do anything fun outside. After tearing apart the engine of a lawnmower and ordering parts yesterday, I decided I would go fishing for a few hours on the Shenandoah River. The river is pretty low right now, so wading and fly fishing is my favorite way to try and catch Smallmouth Bass.
I was using my Cortland 5 weight fly rod, a 6 foot long tapered leader, and about 3 feet of 3 pound tippet. My go to flies and lures on this river is anything that is white and has a nice flash to it. I use white rooster tails when spin fishing. The closest thing I had yesterday was size 6 White Woolly Buggers with some Crystal Flash material wound around the body of the streamer.
I fished for about two hours and caught ten smallies, all on White Woolly Buggers. Most of them were around a pound but they put up a great fight! The biggest one I hooked was holding in some riffles that stretched all the way across the river. He struck at my fly 3 times before I finally hooked him. Unfortunately, he broke the tippet and the best glimpse I got of the fish was when he jumped out of the water and threw the fly from his mouth about 25 yards downstream. I would judge the fish to be about 2 pounds. I wish I had gotten a chance to actually fight the fish!
I am hoping that I will be able to get back out on the river at some point this weekend. I may take my kayak out and try fishing some of the deeper stretches of the river.


  1. Sounds like fun. Let me know when you want to do that float trip.

  2. Gotta' love those Smallies! They are some tough, broad shouldered fish. Keep us posted on your next trip.

  3. It's good to see you made it back into the outdoors! I keep wanting to do more fishing with woolly buggers, but I always turn to something else instead. What kind of action do you give your woollies when you bring them in?

  4. Paul- I lower my rod tip and pull the line every few seconds to draw the woollies in. I typically cast slightly upstream and then work the fly until it is directly downstream of me. Sometimes a small shake of the rod tip is enough to draw a strike also.

  5. Sounds like a great time. We go after smallies in our local rivers quite often as well, but I usually go after them with a spincast reel armed with either a Mepps #3 or a beetle sping. I've never thought about going after them with a flyrod. I might have to give that a try.