View Full Version : New to Smallies with an Empty Fly Box...

Appalachian Outdoors
01-21-2009, 09:26 PM
Hey Guys,

I recently purchased my first fly fishing outfit, mainly to target smallmouth and largemouth as well. I have always fished for largemouth's, but I have seen the light and I'm ready to put the bait caster down and go after smallies with a fly rod.

So I've got the rod and reel, but my fly box is empty. From previous threads and posts on this forum, it seems that wooly buggers are essential, especially until topwater action takes off. But that is about the extent of my smallmouth knowledge.

So I'm just wondering what you guys would recommend that I must have in my fly box? What is your favorite fly to tie on in search of those golden beauties?

Appalachian Outdoors

01-21-2009, 09:35 PM
Crayfish man, crayfish....smallies will go after a crayfish imitation any day. Also poppers, bass bugs and big helgramites will often take a few. Stop by LRO and they'll set ya up with some of their flies...

Appalachian Outdoors
01-21-2009, 09:45 PM
Thanks Tarheelflyfishing.

01-21-2009, 09:58 PM
Hey, if you go after the bronzebacks in the future, post the results..

01-22-2009, 02:42 AM
Apologies for ramblings, my wife is ill and I can't spend much time here. Get a Copy of Harry Murray's smallie book- a must!!!. It has a lot his ties most of which are excellent, any Crayfish pattern, Wooleybuggers, and my favorites Clouser Minnows and Zonkers. Smallies seem more interested in the ACTION than realism, keep them simple and expendable.You will need to throw them into brush and rocks!! Will Ryan has a crayfish pattern made from deerhair that has had good results for me. Dave Whitlock is another "superexpert" has many excellent patterns but personally, I think he puts too much effort into some of his patterns. The artist in him!! His Hare Grub and Deep Minnow are two I tie large number of for my boxes. For a surface fly, I prefer a white Dahlberg Diver. Checkout Riversmallies.com. I like deerhair bugs over "harder" cork/foam bugs. I feel bass hang on to them longer.

Randall Sale

01-22-2009, 02:34 PM
Always wooley but some clousers in white and brown, white and Chartruse and some poppers. Should fix you up nicely. Get sliders and poppers.

01-22-2009, 02:46 PM
I totally agree with KY, Murray's book is excellent. Check out Murray's Hellgrammite and the James Woods Bucktail. Both effective and easy to tie.

Tarheel is right on track about the crayfish, especially later in the season. Use small versions early - like Jim's Lil Bugger. Gummy Minnows, or as I like to call them - "The Expensive Fly" are also a good choice.

Try this - 2X nymph hook in size 4,6,or 8. Add bead chain eyes near the eye on top of the shaft. At the bend, add some rabbit (or other soft fur, even maribou) to make a tail about half the length of the hook. Then wrap chenille halfway up the shaft and then wrap a second color, that matches the tail, to the beads. Turn the hook over and add a few strands of a flash material long enough to cover the hook point. Colors I have had success with are Yellow/White/Yellow, Yellow/Chartreuse/Yellow, and Blue/Black/Blue. Fish it like you would a Clouser. This was taught to me by Jim of Jim's Lil Bugger. He calls it his spinnerbait fly. Oh yeah, don't tell anyone about it. Shhhhhh.

01-23-2009, 07:53 PM
My favorites are nearnuff crayfish and nearnuff sculpins. Heavy to get to the bottom and if one won't work then the other one will. Also like black bunny leeches in about an eight or six.

01-23-2009, 11:35 PM
If they are looking up toward the surface, these work quite well too:
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b1...s/P1230006.jpg (http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b110/jeffnles1/Flies/P1230006.jpg)
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b1...s/P1230007.jpg (http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b110/jeffnles1/Flies/P1230007.jpg)


01-30-2009, 02:34 AM
Everything everyone said above is correct. Since you are new, I would think you want to get the most bang for your buck. I think you could do that with black, brown, olive, and white bead-head buggers in sizes 2, 4, and 6. With that set of flies, it is my belief that you can catch any smallies anywhere year round. You just have to learn to fish them how the fish want them... Sometimes like a crayfish, sometimes like an injured minnow, sometimes like an escaping minnow, sometimes like a very slow leach or hellgrammite on the bottom. Like said above, the action you impart matters enormously. 2 of each of the above flies might cost you $25. If you make the buggers yourself, consider using less hackle and lots of chenille. If you buy buggers from a store, often I trim the marabou tail a lot shorter and some of the hackle off.

01-30-2009, 01:59 PM
Another benefit to tying your own is that you can add additional weight to the bugger. Added toward the head or the whole length of the body. Also you could vary the length of the tail or even the color. I like olive body with brown hackle and tail. Or white with black hackle. Just my ideas nothing more nothing less.

Appalachian Outdoors
02-02-2009, 12:37 AM
Another benefit to tying your own is that you can add additional weight to the bugger. Added toward the head or the whole length of the body. Also you could vary the length of the tail or even the color. I like olive body with brown hackle and tail. Or white with black hackle. Just my ideas nothing more nothing less.

Hey Flyred06,

That's funny that you would say that, because my brother ties his own flies and over the weekend he taught me to tie wooly buggers and so I added a few to my box that were olive body with brown hackle, but I didn't put on brown tails, but it's definitely something I will try.

You were talking about adding weight to the fly, which is what I did, but I was wondering, do you prefer to weight your fly or weight your line, or does it just depend on the situation?


02-02-2009, 01:42 PM
I weight the fly. I have some that are not weighted and some that are weighted. I find it easier to just tie on a weighted fly that adding weight and the casting several time just to find out I had lost the weight I add to my line. But that is just my way, doesn't mean it is right. But to answer your question, I just tie up several weighted and several non weighted. But I am a woolly bugger fan. I also like rubber legs on mine.

02-02-2009, 02:20 PM
Search Tim Holshlag or smallmouth angler. Get his book, Mr. Murray is good and an excellent source but I think you'll like this book better. He covers A to Z on Smallies with the long rod, Winter, Summer, and all in between. He will give you the flybox layout for each season and type of water and then he goes into a lot of detail about presentation and Smallie habits and habitats. Great source of info, it was recommended to me and I, in turn, will highly recommend it.