Smallmouth Bass on the fly !

Of all the freshwater species I catch on the fly rod, the small mouth bass is one of my top favourites! I’ve been fortunate to enjoy fishing for “smallies” from a young age of 7 to the present day, and I never get tired of catching them on the fly.

To get started in bass fishing, you don’t need special gear. You don’t really need anything different than your regular trout gear (except some of the flies)!


Here are the essentials you need for smallmouth bass :


ROD: 6 or 7 wt fast action 9’ rods will do great. I often use the same six-weight I use for trout.

REEL: Smooth drag with large arbour – even the small bass can “bulldog” down to the lower water columns and manage to wrap the line on something – it’s best you have excellent stopping power in your reel.

LINE: During the spring and summer you will use a floating line most of the time and into the fall season you will want to switch up to a sub-surface 200 + grain full sink “lake line” with 7 ft tapered leader in 12 – 20 lb test. I use Cortland fly line, leader and wire leader.

Small mouth bass share the same water with pike…..both will take the same fly – so be sure to put on wire bite tippet (about 2 ft) connecting to your leader. Total length being 7 1/2 ft (give or take ). The wire bite typically sells in 15 – 20lb test. Connect your wire bite tippet section to your leader with a desired knot. A popular knot used is the double surgeons knot.

Flies: Streamers are my top choice and hands down the popular “Clouser Minnow” is a go-to-fly for bass.

There are endless flies to use but here are some of my top choices: Tequeely fly , sneaky pete popper, flash monkey, dahlberg diver, leftys red and white, clouser minnow, shiner minnow, and the cone headed black crystal buggar.

Most bass, no matter the size, can be cast to from 20 to 50 feet as long as you are being very quiet on the water. Let the bug make all the noise, not you.


It’s hard to beat the fun of catching small mouth bass on the fly!
Use barb-less hooks and keep your hands out of the gills if you intend to release your catch!