My fishing hack
Noteworthy concepts, ideas and innovations from Inner Circle Members, as posted on the Clubhouse Wall. Too good to allow to disappear forever, these have been rescued from the stream and saved for all time. A huge thanks to each and every member whose great hacks end up here.
Steve Peach’s Bass Minnow Fly Pattern
I wanted to share with you the development of a new fly I’m working on. This is a bass minnow, specifically designed for wild river and creek bass and estuary perch as opposed to impoundment bass.
Pretty much all of the features of this design are chosen for functional purposes rather than aesthetic ones, and I believe that is an important fundamental of fly design — how it behaves in the water and why we choose certain characteristics. So I’ll go through the design choices and the thinking behind them:
- Worm hook — I have been tying a version of this fly on a traditional hook which rides point down for a few years. It’s a fantastic fly on a point down design and it catches loads of bass, but the one downside is that it is not snag resistant. So I have started tying this on a worm hook in order to get it to ride point up. Normally in fly design if you want a fly to ride point up you just add weight such as dumbbell eyes underneath the hook shank. But I did not want to add extra weight in this case. One of the most important characteristics for a good river bass fly is to have a slow sink rate — you want the fly to waft in front of their face with a long pause in between strips. I’ve seen bass sit right on the tail of a fly almost with their mouth on it for several seconds before striking — particularly in early season when the bite is slow. If the fly just plummets to the bottom when you stop the retrieve, the bass just swims away, and you end up snagged. The worm hook allows this fly to be snag and weed resistant, ride point up, and still maintain a fairly slow sink rate / hover. All of these are important.
- Rattle — sonics are important for bass, especially if the water is discoloured. The rattle also serves the dual purpose of filling out the body inside the mylar tubing, but does not seem to affect buoyancy too much as it contains air as well as the rattles.
- Mylar tube body — the flash from the body section of the fly helps with visibility in slightly discoloured water, and does not seem to put them off in clear water. The mylar also helps to hold the rattle in place and protect it.
- Saddle Hackles and Rabbit Strip — one of the most important factors I have found in good bass flies is having good natural materials that move very realistically in the water and create the impression of a living thing. While most synthetic materials do a fairly poor job of this, rabbit strip and feathers are fantastic for this purpose. It allows you to make the fly look alive in the water, without having to strip it quickly out of the strike zone. Bass almost always take on the pause, so 2 quick very short strips and then a long pause, allowing the tail of the fly to waft in the current, will usually bring a bass undone. The key is not to move the fly out of the strike zone…
- Fish Skull Fish Mask — these heads are very light weight plastic and so do not sink fast, but they also help a great deal with durability of the fly. In the point down version of this fly, I originally had some patterns like this but with just a thread tied head. I soon discovered that after 1 or 2 bass the fly would fall apart. With the fish mask I put some UV epoxy over the thread, put the head over the top and then hit it with the UV light. This creates a very light but extremely strong head, these flies will stand up to dozens of bass without falling apart.
This pattern can be cast into absolute tiger country and still be fished back without snagging up. I’ve pulled it over logs and sticks, through mangrove roots, rocks, you name it. It doesn’t have the disadvantages of traditional weed guards, which in my opinion negatively affect the hook up rate. It’s best fished with a full floating fly line, on a mono leader about 8-9 ft of 12-15lb.
I’m sure there are some more improvements and developments that can be made to this — it’s still a work in progress — but I hope you guys get something useful from it!
~ Steve Peach
(extracted from the Clubhouse Wall and reposted here with Steve’s permission.)