Bigger isn't always better...

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by GAT, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,013
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,593 / 0
    Normally, when I think of patterns to use for LMB, I think of big. During the Spring months this isn't always the best solution.

    I can think of a number of instances when large LMB took small patterns.

    One day, Rocky and I were fishing a slough off Willy. The water was cold so we headed to an inlet stream that fed the slough. We were tossing the usual large stuff for the bass and were not doing worth squat. Rocky finally decided to switch to a Bluegill Bee and target the gills. The Bluegill Bee is never any larger than a size 10.

    Bluegill Bee:
    IMG_1584.jpg

    He figured if he wasn't catching bass at least he'd catch some gills.

    I watched him make a few casts and while he was retrieving his last cast his rod bent double and the tip hit the surface of the water. He must have hooked a damned big bluegill. Nope. After a bit of a fight he wrestled in a huge LMB into his float tube. It was the largest LMB he'd ever caught and the thing had to be 5 pounds if it was a pound. It ate the Bluegill Bee. To this day, I believe that is the largest LMB he has ever caught and it was with a size 10 Bluegill Bee.

    Different lake. I was fishing with Deke Meyer at a private lake with lots of lilly pads (my favorite). The lake holds gills, crappie and LMB. Again, bass catching was slow. So I decided to switch to a much smaller popper that is designed for crappie. I made a fine cast (if I do say so myself) into the lilly pads and an opening no more than a foot square. Something grabbed the popper. I didn't even see he take, the popper suddenly vanished.

    Ah, I figure, a crappie. Nope. It was one big muther bass! Fact is, I've always referred to her as "momma bass". I had a devil of a time fighting her out of the lilly pads and then she proceeded to drag me and my tube around the lake. I yelled at Deke to get his camera ready -- I was oddly optimistic that I'd land the thing -- she pulled so I finned backward. I knew I had to tire her out if there was any chance of landing the fish. Eventually, she did poop out and I was able to lip her.

    Again, if that bass wasn't at least 5 pounds, I would have been shocked. I could barely hold up the beast. Deke took a few shots and I let her go.

    For years I tried re-catching Momma Bass but never did.

    I kept the popper as-was and never used it again.

    I bought it at a Bi-Mart so I don't have any idea what the thing is called:
    IMG_1581.jpg

    (It is noteworthy that both patterns are black and yellow.)

    So, while I still think big bass means using big patterns, I sometimes tie on something much, much smaller when my efforts are fruitless. Sometimes it does work to switch to smaller patterns to fool the bass but I have yet to fool one as large as Momma Bass with a small popper. But I did learn my lesson. Conventional wisdom does not always apply. .....hmmmm, guess I should tie up some of those small poppers but they sell them cheap at Bi-Mart :)
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  2. Brandon4455 Bobber Down!

    Posts: 68
    Western oregon
    Ratings: +80 / 0
    funny you mention that gene-although i catch almost all of my bass over 3 lbs on big streamers/poppers during the evening hours,i have caught several 1-2lb bass and one that was 3 1/2 on a size 8 damsel nymph like pattern,and ive caught a few less 1-2lb bass one red chironomid patterns while bluegill fishing,and some on ant pattern as well..definitely doesn't hurt to go outside the box
  3. Shawn West Active Member

    Posts: 276
    Vancouver,Washington
    Ratings: +117 / 0
    I believe Jack Ellis has a pattern called the Fence Rider. He says the size of this pattern is perfect for catching nice bluegills as well as nice bass. Most of the flies I use can be cast with a 5wt rod. Right now I am tying hairbugs in the 2/0 and 3/0 size range. I am going to have to pack a larger rod.

    I too have been surprised a few times fishing for gills with a small nymph/popper, and wound up hooking some brutes. Gene is correct about conventional wisdom not always applying.

    Shawn
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