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Best Bass Flies – Fly Fishing

Fishing for bass is a classic activity that has been around for a long time. Fly fishing for bass can be an absolute blast as well. Most areas will have a bass pond nearby, so it is pretty accessible for most folks in America. Even if you don’t live near a trout stream, you probably live near some bass!

There are many fly patterns that specifically target bass. This article will go over my favorite patterns and colors. It is best to use a 7, 8 or 9 weight when fly fishing for bass. They fight hard and the flies are also big. Using heavier rods will give you an advantage when fighting bass on the fly. You need a rod with a stiff butt section in order to turn these fish. Leave your 5 and 6 weights at home!

The cool thing about bass is that they aren’t super educated like a trout. You can get away with crazier flies and brighter colors. Bass will often attack a fly out of instinct. Fishing larger hooks and heavier tippets is a must when going for bass. Bass can easily break tippet and bend out smaller hooks. They are a true freshwater gamefish, and it’s best to be prepared with the right gear. If you get into fly fishing for bass, it is nice to have a dedicated rod outfit for them.

Clouser Minnows, Meat Whistles, Worm Sliders, Game Changers and Near Nuffs are some of the best Bass flies around.

Clouser Minnow Fly

The Clouser minnow is a fly that can catch most species. It probably holds the record for the #1 fly that’s caught the most species. If it swims, it can be caught with a Clouser minnow. Clousers can be tied in many different color patterns to imitate a large variety of baitfish. Although this was originally a saltwater fly, it works for bass quite well.

If you’re unsure of which fly to use, the Clouser is a great pattern to start with. The lead eyes get it down fast, and bass love to eat it.

For bass fly fishing, there is no need to fish super large Clouser minnows. I like to fish sizes #6 or #8 for bass. I often get more eats by fishing a smaller Clouser vs a larger one.

People like to fish crazier colors for bass. Pink, green, purple and red Clousers all have a place in my box. Since bass aren’t super educated fish, it is fun to play around with different color patterns.

Make sure to bring some Clouser minnows on your next bass outing – they work!

Meat Whistle Fly

This John Barr pattern has a jigged hook which gives it some great action underwater. Although this fly is normally for bass, you can catch many different species on it.

The Meat Whistle works well for deeper lakes. The cone head gets it to sink fast, and then you can jig it for a more vertical presentation. It is an extremely simple fly, but when jigged it looks beautiful.

The meat whistle comes in many colors, but my favorites are black, white, and chartreuse. Some Meat Whistles will come with a weed guard, which makes it easier to fish weed beds and shallow bays. Without a weed guard, you’ll get moss and algae all over your fly.

This is one of the most famous and productive bass flies, so be sure to give it a try.

Worm Slider Fly

The Worm Slider is a pretty goofy looking fly. It looks a lot like a worm bait that conventional anglers would use. Since bass love to eat large worms, this fly works great.

It comes with a weed guard so you can fish it over logs and weed beds. Bass are often hanging out in these areas, but it can be easy to lose your flies on logs and weeds. The weed guard eliminates that problem.

Since the worm is so long on this fly, it moves very well through the water and has lots of action. This often triggers some very aggressive strikes from bass.

I generally fish this fly in purple, but chartreuse works well too. It is an expensive fly, so try not to lose it!

Game Changer Fly

This fly is expensive, hard to tie, and hard to cast. However, it catches lots of fish. It is tied with multiple shanks to give it lots of movement. You can get it in many different color variations, or you can use sharpies to make your own colorway.

The Game Changer holds a lot of water, so I recommend at least an 8 weight rod to cast this fly. When you pick it up out of the water, you will feel the weight of it. Since this fly holds water like a sponge, it is not pleasant to cast, but the underwater action really triggers bass to bite it.

A lot of times, I will just fish a white Game Changer with no color. Bass respond well to it, and it is easy to see underwater. White Game Changers can be found at most fly shops.

Game Changers are around $15 a piece, so you don’t want to lose this fly. Try to avoid snags – and fish heavier tippet. I will always use at least 20 lb tippet when fishing a Game Changer, if not heavier. They’re just too expensive to lose.

Near Nuff Cray Fly

Crayfish are a huge part of a Bass’ diet. They are a large meal, and they can be found in most rivers and lakes.

Crayfish patterns have really advanced over the years, and lots of patterns now look very realistic. The Near Nuff Cray catches lots of fish, and it looks great as it swims. It is one of the most popular crayfish imitations, and it can be used to target many species. I have even caught trout on this fly. It can be used to target carp as well.

The olive color works quite well, and I have also done well on the Orange Near Nuff.

Getting this fly down near the bottom is a great method. Make short strips and wait for a bass to see it. If you are fishing a bass river, you can also dead drift this fly to entice a bite.

Damsel Flies

Damsel flies can be found in most bass water. They have prolific hatches and the bass really key in on them. Fishing damsel patterns can be very effective in most warm water fisheries.

There are tons of damsel patterns on the market, which can be overwhelming. I usually stick with simple patterns that are blue. The Horny Damsel and the Adult Damsel are a couple of my favorites. I like to fish these in shallow bays where bass like to live.

Looking for lily pads is a great way to target bass with damsel flies. Bass will come out from the depths to attack surface flies, especially damsels. Weedy areas with structure are a good place to look.

Although damsels don’t work all the time, they should definitely have a space in your fly box. When they’re hatching, you’ll be glad to have these flies on you.

Popper Flies

When most people think of bass fishing, they think of poppers as well. Bass love to eat off the surface, and popper fishing is a blast. There are many poppers used for spin fishing such as Hula-Poppers. These work well, but there are some productive popper flies as well.

There are lots of popper fly patterns. I like to fish larger poppers for bass, they make more noise and the hooks are stronger. I will often fish a #2, #1/0, or #2/0 sized popper.

There is really no “wrong” popper pattern when it comes to bass fishing. Try out different colors and see what works best for your body of water. Green poppers can work well since they look like frogs. I will often fish a dark green popper when i’m not sure what to use.

When poppers are working, it is probably the most fun way to fish for bass. The takes are violent and it’s a truly great time. Summer and fall are often the best times to fish poppers for bass. When the water is warmer, bass start to look towards the surface for food sources.