Fly Fishing Is Not Only For Troutbums
A couple weeks ago, I introduced a teenager to the sport of fly fishing on a remote river in West Virginia. The young man learned the tricks to casting a fly quickly and after a day of river time, he brought his first fly-caught trout to hand. I’m not sure who was thrilled the most – him or I. Later that evening at camp, we chatted about the trout meeting and planned another for the next morning. He mentioned how he wished there was a trout river close to his home back in Ohio. It was then I encouraged him not to restrict his fly rod and box of flies for trout only. Every fish that swims will take a fly if it mirrors the fish’s food source and if the fake feast is presented realistically.
Fly fishing and trout are synonymous when one or the other is spoken of. Fly fishing small streams, ponds, and even reservoirs offer fly fishers a wealth of opportunity to learn and polish fly fishing skills, as well as put a couple panfish on the dinner table. As the calendar shows we are in the last half of summer, bugs such as grasshoppers, ants, beetles, spiders, and caterpillars are on the top of many fish species menu. Along the shore of any body of water, these insects jump, flip, or fly the wrong way and end up on the water surface. And then, SLURP! Gone. Taken into the lips of a bass, bluegill, or other fish cruising the edges. Hand-tied flies that replicate those insects can be picked up at many tackle shops or online stores. Even trout like those summer snacks as well.
Lessons learned from presenting a fly to a pond dwelling bass or bluegill are valuable when confidence and experience delivers the fly fisherman to taking the next step to more preferred gamefish. The sight of a six-inch largemouth sipping a fly off the water’s surface or shooting out of nowhere to clamp down on the fly and run, is one that will build the desire to any angler new to fly fishing, no matter what age. Cast away!