The Big Walnut- Late September – Low Water


Fly fishing in low water conditions can sometimes be a tough gig; truth is I have found that usually it is all or none. The water while being low…can create a ‘fish in the aquarium’ situation, making for potentially easy fishing; it also adds a definite level of difficulty as the water is usually clear and the fish can detect your presence. The solution is to make long, accurate casts into viable water. Such was the case on this, the last day of September, 2017. I would be traversing a familiar piece of water…but one that I hadn’t been on for over a month. My buddy Frank, would do the top portion while I took the lower; we would rendezvous three hours later and compare notes.

The first half hour and the first two pools of the day…they were of the ‘none’ category. I was beginning to worry if we might have just caught the fish on a sour note? The first fish of the day was a small-smallie…but a smallie. I knew that if this little 10 inch fish had taken a swipe at my reverse-tied bucktail…then other would as well. Forge ahead and besides-it was one of those gorgeous early fall days when everything just looks a bit better.

My next fish was indeed a bit larger and a pattern had emerged as it was evident that the fish were lying back within the shade, in deeper water…waiting for an unsuspecting baitfish to float into the pool. As you will see in the video, the fish of the day then charges out and eats my fly, presenting one of the most beautiful smallmouth I have seen in a while.

Stealth is all important and one must not only watch their physical shadow but make sure that the dirt track doesn’t spook the fish; therefore, most of my casts were done from the gravel bars adjacent to the stream. The reverse tied bucktail proved to be an effective fly…allowing it to simple fall and twitch its way through a pool was the ticket to bring a few fish charging out after a meal.

If the water is low in your area…don’t be too hesitant. Grab your gear, keep your profile low and watch where and how you walk…you can still find a trophy or two interested in gobbling up a meal prior to the winter slow down.

Fly Fish a Mouse Pattern

Hi folks…. here is a great article from another fishing web site that demonstrates how to fly fish a mouse pattern. It is very well written and for sure, lots can be learned from the article and the illustrations.

If you haven’t ever fly fished with a mouse pattern, you are missing out on some of the most explosive top-water takes you will ever experience. The author speaks mainly to using a mouse for trout. It is without question one of the most productive means of hooking into a big, mean trout…seems like browns for sure are into the hunt for the big meal of a mouse. I use a mouse pattern here locally in southern Indiana for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. I have a few lakes in the Greene-Sullivan area that are perfect for chucking a mouse in and under an overhanging limb…one of the things I have learned through the years is pretty simple; your casts has to place the fly (mouse) as close to the bank or shore as possible. Mice, voles, etc…often fall off of limbs and when the hit the water with a big ‘splat’-it alerts the larger predatory fish that a meal is in the water…and they race to the surface. With smallies a well drifted mouse pattern can be deadly…I particularly like the fact that the silhouette of the fly from below will cause a smallie to bust upwards, through the fly and into the air for what can simply be called an amazing and awesome take.

So, give this a read and go forth and give a mouse a try in your local waters…hope you can use, learn and enjoy from this offering. By the way….fall is a perfect time to present a mouse as most fish are looking to put on weight and a mouse is a big meal!
Mastering the Mouse Retrieve

Source: blog

Fly Fishing Poppers for Late Summer Smallmouth


I have had a couple of requests on the ‘how-to’ of popper fishing for smallmouth. While fly fishing poppers is a method I don’t use all the time (poppers just don’t always attract smallies)…when the time is right, as it was on this night in early September, a popper is not only fun, but very productive as well.

As you can tell from the video, the water was down, hardly moving…and this is for sure the perfect time to throw a popper or Chernobyl at them. This year in Indiana we have had enough cicadas buzzing around to make it interesting and thus I chose a black Boogle-Popper for the night. I often see others fishing poppers and the big mistake is simply way too much movement. It is so hard to do…but so necessary-cast your bug and LEAVE IT ALONE!

If you watch a cicada that has hit the water, and I recommend that you take this opportunity if ever presented…you will see that they hit with a ‘splat’. Next they just sit there. I am assuming they are trying to come to their senses. What happens next is a quick twitch, I might even call it a vibration on the water. They may ‘vibrate’ for a couple of seconds, then they simply float. As you can see from the video, this is a technique that has been good to me for many years and very productive.

As I moved into the last pool I could see smallies chasing and busting baitfish as several points and therefore I changed flies and tied on one of my reverse tied bucktail flies (that I showed you how to tie in the last video). I had only a dab of light left…but it proved to be productive as well as I landed two nice fish before succumbing to darkness.

If you get a chance to try some late summer or early fall popper fishing…go for it. I would suggest that you use a 6 weight or a rod big enough to make long casts with a heavy popper. These pools are low and skinny and the big fish will spook easily! Have fun, move slowly and stay patient…

Fly Tying a Reverse Bucktail Fly


This video came about from several requests for me to tie the reverse bucktail fly after several videos over the past couple of months. Like any fly… this is a fly that continues to change and morph into what it currently is today and I am sure that there will be future changes as well.

I like this fly for a few reasons; first it is very lifelike in the water and can be fished at many levels depending on the line used with the fly. Currently we are in mid-summer and the water levels are low. The bucktail fly allows me to make long casts into a pool and treat the fly as if it were almost a top water fly and a top water presentation. With the weighted line you can also make upstream casts and allow the fly to swim downstream past ambush points…this technique has proved very effective and the takes have been jolting.

As I said in the video, I like white. I like the visual response I get from white…but also feel like it is the closest color to many of the baitfish that are in the locals waters. The shape of the fly allows for water to be pushed and displaced…while at the same time allowing the tail of the fly to be quite active. I am sure that you can find other color combos that will be good for your neck of the woods.

I have thrown on three additional pieces of video whereby I am fishing the reverse bucktail fly. I do so with the idea of giving you an idea of when and how to best use this fly…although I think the possibilities are quite limitless. I have concentrated mostly on smallmouth but I am sure that this fly will also do well for largemouth, crappie, pike, musky, etc….

If you have any questions you can contact me via this website and I will try and get back to you as soon as I can.

Choosing the Right Fly Rod and Reel

I recently read an article about choosing the right fly rod and reel. I have included the link to this article on my site because it answers so many questions and does so very well with great illustrations. This will allow the beginner to sit, read, think and relax a bit before being confronted with choices. Let’s face it… starting out in the fly fishing world is a big and scary place. Often the questions I get are excellent questions but they come after someone has already bought a fly fishing outfit that just isn’t what they were looking for. Fly fishing is hard enough. We don’t need to over-complicate all of it by purchasing a stiff 8-weight system when all you want to do is catch a few bluegill from the farm pond down the road; or you plan on heading out west to fish dry flies for cutthroat and wind up with a heavy duty 6-weight rod that is stiff-flexed. So, that being said… take some time to read through this well done piece made for fly fisherman of all levels, particularly you folks who are just starting out. If after reading you have specific questions then please go to my question section and shoot me an email and I will do my best to give you what I think is good advice.

Once again here is the link to the article … Choosing the Right Fly Fishing Outfit by Charlie Robinton.

Below is an example of one of the illustrations in the article …..
Understanding Rod Action - Choosing the Right Fly Fishing Outfit

Even More Sizzling Summer Fly Fishing Action


When the water is right you need to get all the fly fishing action you can…and the water continued to be perfect this past weekend. My buddy Frank joined me and we once again headed north about an hour to one of our favorite haunts. This was a good day for Frank as this was our first trip together since Frank had a serious heart surgery in June and if you have ever been down, been away from your passion, fly fishing…then you know how good it feels to be ‘back in the game’.

This may not be a surprise to anyone, but smallmouth are ambush predators; at least they start off in an ambush position. I actually like to think about them as the cheetahs of the water-in that they want to get as close as possible to any unsuspecting baitfish or crayfish, etc…and then if they have to, they pour on the gas, accelerate and overtake their prey. Smallmouth are amazing fish and on this trip, partially because of my new Smith Optics glasses, I was able to watch big smallmouth stage directly behind or under my fly…then in a burst of speed and power, engulf the fly!

The fly that I have been using for a few months is a combination of one that I purchased in the north woods of Wisconsin and my own creation; it has a very fluid tail made up of soft hackly feathers…the middle of the hook shank has chenille wrap in silver or silver/blue palmered forward to the front of the hook where I am tying in white bucktail backwards, folding it backwards then finishing the shape with a craft glue. This gives the fly a bullet shape that pushes water, yet a tail section that is fluid enough to move and vibrate while in the water…it is a lethal combination. Look for a tying demo at some point in the near future.

Pay attention to the fact that once again while fishing downstream, I am doing most of my casting back upstream into pockets where an ambush is a possibility. What I find is that little fish will follow and nip at the fly while the larger fish will as I said earlier, accelerate and quickly over take the fly. In a summer pattern you can’t ever pass by a smaller bowl or trough of water as I have found big smallmouth lurking in some very tiny spaces; in fact I am sure that this is indeed their MO and is how they surprise many of their meals.

I hope you enjoy the video below, if you have any questions please direct those to the question section of this very website where I will do my best to answer those questions completely.