The other day I had a little less than three hours after lunch to kill. So I got in my vehicle, which is fishing ready (canoe on top, fly fishing gear in back), and drove to a nearby lake that holds a healthy population of largemouth bass. I needed a serious dose of fun to break up an otherwise stressful day. And using topwater tactics for largemouth bass provides fun in spades. I was also looking for a couple of dinner fish.
With that in mind, I took a 9-weight rod along with a box full of deer hair bass bugs, launched and then paddled within easy casting range along the outside edges of lily pad beds, dropping my bass bug in likely spots as I went. In that time I landed two decent bass and missed several others because I had to put the rod down to adjust canoe position.
And, as predicted, it was a whole lot of fun.
Then again, anyone who has ever fly fished with deer hair bass bugs knows that much.
I won't get into the techniques. Suffice it to say, most times they hit on a slow retrieve interspersed with excruciatingly long pauses. But there are other times when it pays to speed things up a bit. On this day, the slow, steady retrieve definitely worked best.
I was also once again reminded of the need to keep the deer hair bug dry in order for it to work properly. If you've fished them before, you know that they get waterlogged easily after a fish takes them under.
There are two traditional ways to deal with this issue. One is to keep several bugs of the same patterns in your fly box and change them up when the one you are using starts getting too wet. The other is to coat your deer hair bugs in silicone, Scotch guard or some other waterproof coating to keep them floating high a little longer.
I prefer the first way, for aesthetics and because it's easier.
In any case, it's important to keep your rod tip low and a straight line between you and a high floating bass bug. Any slack at all will lessen the chance of hook ups. And a waterlogged bug does not chug and pop as well as it could. A dry one, on the other hand, works like a dream.
Sometime between here and the weekend, when I get out from under this mountain of work, I'm going to make a full day of this type of fishing. What can I say? I just love to have fun.