Iowa Fly Fisher

 Yes, fly fishing in Iowa 

Thoughts on Bass Bug Design

It seems the predominant theory on bass bug design states that a bug should have absolutely as much crap as you can possibly cram onto the hook. I've seen patterns so overflowing with marabou, saddle hackles, flash materials and (especially) rubber legs that they must take 45 minutes to tie.

By contrast, one thing you'll immediately notice about my largemouth bass fly boxes is the utter lack of any rubber legs, and the relative scarcity of flash materials. I use Krystal Flash in the Half-and-Half. Other than that, my favorite patterns are all relatively simple. The deer hair bugs take about 20 minutes. Everything else is a 5-minute tie.

But there's more to this than time savings. It's mainly about casting ease. Whenever you put material protruding out the sides of a fly like airplane wings, you dramatically increase the pattern's wind resistance. You also cause the fly to spiral through the air, causing line twist. Largemouth bass have proven to me time and again that they don't care whether my leech patterns have Flashabou in them, so I stopped including it. They also don't care whether the surface bugs have rubber legs, so I quit that, too.

My deer hair bass bugs have only two ingredients: saddle hackles and deer hair. Four hackle feathers lay out behind the fly, slightly splayed. A hackle skirt is then wound, and finally I spin the deer hair head. The resulting bug casts about as well as deer hair bugs can cast. (Admittedly, foam bugs would be much easier to cast than ANY deer hair bug. But deer hair is so pretty.)

 Finally, sliders and divers will cast better than poppers. Why? Imagine trying to make a badminton birdie fly backwards. The bugs fly through the air face-first, because they follow your unfolding line loop. There is no more miserable thing in the world to cast than a deer hair popper. (But I still use them; they're cool.) Divers and sliders often work just as well or even better than a popper, and they are easier to cast. Keep that in mind when at the vise.