Top 5 Fly Patterns You Need To Start Fly Fishing for Bass

Choosing flies are not always easy so here is a list of our top 5 fly patterns you need to start fly fishing for bass.

1. Clouser Minnow


One of the simplest but yet extremely effective and versatile fly patterns for targeting both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass is the classic Clouser Minnow developed by Bob Clouser. 

Clouser Minnow

This fly, which due to its weighted nature belongs to the underwater streamer bass fly category should be a staple in every bass fly fisherman's fly box. The Clouser Minnow is also fairly easy to tie and only a small number of materials are required. All you need is two different colours of bucktail, crystal flash and hourglass eyes to weight the fly and get it down into the strike zone. 

 For fly tying instructions see the this video.  

2. Woolly Bugger

Woolly BuggerAlthough an old traditional pattern the Woolly Bugger is by no means obsolete and is many times the go to bass fly when nothing else works. The efficiency of this fly comes from the fact that it does a great job of mimicking many types of bait that both largemouth and smallmouth bass love. In addition, it can also be fished anywhere in the water column and is a great example of an attractor or a search bait type of bass fly pattern. Fish it close to the bottom as a crayfish or swim it higher up in the water column to mimic a baitfish. 

Carry multiple Woolly Buggers with different weights and colours in your fly box to be ready to target and search for bass on the fly in a wide range of conditions and depths.

The Woolly bugger is generally tied in hook sizes from 2-12 with a marabou tail and a chenille body palmered with a soft hackle and counter-wrapped with copper wire. The Woolly Bugger is generally weighted using either a bead (brass or tungsten) or a conehead but can also be tied weightless. 

3. Dahlberg Diver 

Dahlberg Diver Catch Fly FishingVery similar to the bass popper (#4 on the list below) the Dahlberg Diver is a floating fly used to target bass on the surface and is an absolute must in everyone's big bug box. The Dahlberg Diver was originally created by Larry Dahlberg the host of the Outdoor Channel show, The Hunt for Big Fish. His design of the deer hair spun head not only makes the fly pop on the surface whenever it is stripped but also makes it dive and resurface in a similar fashion to a diving frog. Bass simply cannot stand this enticing real-life motion which often result in crushing strikes. Use it in early morning, at dusk or whenever you think the bass might be feeding at or close to the surface. You will not be disappointed.

4. Bass Popper

Bass PopperOne of the most fun ways to fish for bass wether you are doing so with a fly fishing rod or a baitcaster is to target them on the surface. One of the best ways to do so fly fishing is to use a bass popper. When stripped, the feather legs move enticingly and the cup-shaped cork head creates a popping sound that draws attention of nearby bass.  As with the Dahlberg Diver discussed above, fish it at dusk, dawn and over prime bass haunts such as weed beds or lili pads. All we can say is: hold on.  

5. Crayfish Patterns (Croffs's Kickin Clyde)

Croff's Kickin ClydeBass absolutely love crayfish and Croff's Kickin Clyde does a terrific job imitating them. The weighted head allows the fly to get down into the strike zone fast while the rabbit fur strip pincers offer life-like movement to induce strike. Use it together with a long fluorocarbon leader and tippet on either a floating line or sinking line and fish it over rocky areas holding plenty of crawdad-eating largemouth and smallmouth bass. Use natural colours such as olive in clear water and dark coloured crayfish fly patterns in murky water and low light conditions during cloudy days.

For another great crayfish pattern see our realistic crawdad.

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