Beginner Bass Flies

Video bass flies to tie

Some of the best, most productive flies I ever tied for bass… were actually saltwater patterns.. Here’s two, the first one for really shallow waters – my version of the old Seaducer… in sizes from #4 all the way up to 4/0….

Tie in any colors you choose – what’s not showing is the wire weedguard we do this bug in. Fish it a number of ways but make sure to pause between strips since it suspends in place (or sinks so slowly it appears to suspend) if tied properly. Pretty simple pattern – every part of it is saddle hackles – three on a side splayed for the tail (six total…), a bit of pearl flashabou in the middle of the tail, then three saddles for the collar tied in butt first with as much of the “fluff” left on the saddles as possible (where the thick stem of the feather begins to thin down so that the saddles as a unit can be palmered forward. Thread – any you choose – I use flat waxed nylon since I just don’t need the fine threads that most freshwater tiers prefer…

The second bug is tide very similar to the Seaducer – with a few exceptions… Called the Tarpon Snake – this fly also is a perfect alternative for anyone used to working plastic worms for bass (and I used to catch them all the time with it when a house we had backed up on a freshwater canal..). Here’s a pic or two…


Once again an all saddle hackle pattern – I’ve tied this in sizes from 1/0 up to 4/0 and a bit larger (the 4/0 size is between six and seven inches overall)… and it’s meant for working slow in bad places so it has a wire weedguard (for bass fishing work it slower -but keep it moving…). With hook in vice tie in large beadchain eyes one eye width back from the hook eye (the same size beadchain that’s used for pulls on vertical blinds – old time hardware stores call it “plumber’s chain”). With eyes in place, wind thread (flat waxed nylon) back to just in front of the hook’s bend then tie in eight saddles (four on a side with curve inwards, streamer style, on top of the hook. I mate up the ends of four saddles at a time, hold them in my hand while doing the next four saddles – then marry them the same way you would with a Deceiver pattern (streamer style) and tie them in as a unit… Flashabou accent in pearl is then added to each side – at least 8- 12 strands, staggered… then the tie in point gets a tiny drop of super glue… Then three wide, webby, saddles are tied in by the butt with fibers stroke from the tip of the hackles back towards the tie in point to make them stand at right angles to the feather stems, and allowed to sit for a moment while you move the thread in front of the beadchain and tie in the weedguard under the hook shank… leaving the end of the wire sticking out. Now you go back to the saddles for the collar and wind them back over the beadchain to the hookeye – then tie them off, snap off any saddle tips still remaining and finish the thread with a few more turns of thread – then a whip finish, and a tiny bit of super glue (on the thread only…). When it’s dry, bend the wire down into position, trim it even with the hook barb then add a slight finishing bend where the wire meets the hook point. By the way, the size saddles I use for a 4/0 fly start out as 6-7″ strung saddles – not easy to find these days in good quality…. For a 2/0 size six inches or a bit shorter saddles will do just fine.

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Tie this bug in any color you choose – light colors if lots of bait is present – dark colors to fish it deeply in tangles, bright pink for discolored or muddy waters… When we’re using these for giant tarpon we fish them with a full intermediate fly line that allows us to fish them just sub-surface or all the down to the bottom in small rivers nine to thirteen feet in depth by counting the fly down, since it sinks at the exact same rate as an intermediate line sinks. For bass fishing in shallower waters a floating line will work – but that intermediate does provide quite a bit of flexibility to the angler as far as exactly what depth you want to fish the fly….

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>