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Bass Fly

Tim Holschlag in his excellent book, Smallmouth Fly Fishing, 2005, divides bass flies (specifically smallmouth) into two types based on stimuli.

  • There is the "Supernormal" fly like a nosiy topwater or a subsurface fly with wildly undulating tail or swimming legs.
  • There are "Subtle" flies like a quiet topwater or a small natural -hued subsurface fly.

He goes on to look at fly descriptions:

  • Depth:  Is it a topwater, or a shallow-runner, or is it best fished mid-depth or near the bottom?
  • Action:  What does it primarily do in the water?  For topwaters, does it pop, dive, buzz, slide, dart, or is it a dry fly?  for subsurface flies, does it undulate, hop, swim, wiggle, or have other distinctive motion?
  • Weight:  If it's weighted, how heavy is it?  The ounces in the head or the number and size of lead wraps in the body.
  • Profile:  Its overall shape -- bushy, bulky or sleek.
  • Color:  The primarily colors of hed, body and tail, or belly and back.
  • Body Material:  Its primary compostion -- cork, foam, chenille, hair, etc.
  • Tail Material:  Marabou, rabbit strip, hair, feather, silicon, etc.
  • Extras:  Any extra features not already listed -- legs, wing, rattles, large eyes, etc.
  • Length:  Total length of the fly in inches.
  • Hook Dimensions:  The hook shank length (hook eye to bend) and the hook gap (point-to-shank distance).
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