A little light reading –or photo perusing — on Labor Day weekend. A smallmouth bass bug fly tying binge is good for the soul.
In the middle of Gurgler tying land, I noticed that I tend to render my bugs far sparser than most of the ones I see in bins. No surprise there — sparse is how I usually roll — but it’s also because I learned to tie them from Jack Gartside’s website. You can see how the pattern’s creator tied them here.
These ones below are just like the ones I use for smallmouth bass. They’re the same as Jack’s original recipe, save for the hook. Instead of a long shank, I’m using a Gamakatsu B10S stinger hook which is light, strong, and sticky sharp out of the box.
Gartside Gurglers lovingly rendered in white. I can’t say that color is critical, but I will choose different colors based on light level and water clarity, and sometimes for my own visual reference. It’s a high confidence pattern, and is often on everyone’s Top Ten list when it comes to topwater smallmouth flies.
Another quick-hit mission to the Hous. Fished from 7:20pm-8:45pm and the action was much better than earlier in the week, if still not spectacular. This year’s weird pattern continues: instead of a building feeding frenzy with a crescendo at dark, the bulk of the bigger fish came when there was still plenty of light. No white flies yet, but I would think that will happen this weekend. Water was a little below average cfs and 78 degrees, light stain. Some decent sized bass, but no monsters — biggest were in the foot-long range, a very respectable size. Fished subsurface (TeQueely) and on top (Gurgler and Countermeasures). Did take a couple right at 8:45, but they weren’t huge.
Dolomieu the Leaper.
Don’t neglect the frog water-like shallows. This brute hit the Gurgler in a about a foot of water, right after the bug landed.
I fished the Housy the other night from 6pm-8:30pm. Virgin waters for me, below the TMA: some pocket water that dumped into a long boulders-on-the-bottom run, shoulder deep in the middle ringed with frog water. Action: underwhelming. Hatches: underwhelming (mostly tan and black caddis). So it goes, but I did catch fish and I had the place all to myself.
I took the usual assortment of late afternoon dinks. Pre-hatch swung wets produced very little interest (not surprising given the weak evening rise) and all the action came on the Black Magic top dropper. The smallmouth bite window was torturously brief: 8:00pm-8:15pm, then shutdown. I had switched over to a grey and chartreuse Gurgler, and my best fish of the evening came on that fly. Toward dark I did get the largest bluegill I’ve ever landed, but that’s really not why I was there.
Nearly a foot long, this dude whacked the Gurgler upon landing, then hunted it down about ten feet across a current seam. Almost put a burn in my rod hand forearm.
Tied for a client, this neat little collection will drive smallmouth bass (and trout) out of their minds. We have the subtle (size 12 August White soft hackles), the traditional (size 12 Black Magics, tied as a 14-16), the horrible (size 4 TeQueelys), and the noisy (Gartside Gurglers, size 2 and 4).