America's Fish // Largemouth Bass and How to Get 'em

April 13, 2020

Bass fishing is America's most popular sport.  They are found all over the country in waters both big and small.  I recorded a podcast with some very detailed information but wanted to provide a full blog post with some tips and links to the my tackle.

Basic Tips/Highlights for Catching Bass on Fly Rods:

  • Fish small water, try to find ponds and small lakes for fly fishing bass.
  • Get this App to find public access
  •  I personally like a single person boat with fins to keep my very steady (no blowing around or under the power of noisy oars).  An electric trolling motor is nice, but there still seems to be more drifting than with fins.
  • Get a sturdy 6 or 7 weight rod.
  • Focus on the evenings, especially from late May - August
  • Sense the strike, bass takes can be super subtle a they will often engulf the fly while it's on slack line.

My Personal WaterMaster Boat

Joe Rotter Bass Fishing in WaterMaster BoatI personally use a WaterMaster Kodiak boat. It's the best. I have perfect control using fins to hold my position while fishing and slowly move down the shoreline. The oars I use for traveling around the lakes to fresh water, and stow up out of the way. In this photo I didn't have my stripping apron in place, which is included with the Expedition Series.


Bass Fishing Specific Tackle

I like to use a very stout 6 weight rod with a fighting butt, or a 7 weight rod.  A big Largemouth is 5 pounds and pull pretty hard, but the main reason for avoiding 5 weights is that this job is very hard on light rods.  Working the shore line with big flies means you will be snagging up a fair amount, but since your tippet is strong you'll be able to free up your fly 9 out of 10 times.  This is hell on a 9' 5 weight rod built for trout and delicate tippets.  It will break.  Maybe not the first day out, or the next but it will break.

My Chosen Bass Rods:
  • Sage PAYLOAD 689-4 (preferred)
  • Sage MAVERICK 790-4



Fly Line for Bass Fishing

I really like the RIO Big Nasty floating fly line. It is purpose built for pitching big flies accurately. It's not just a shooting head designed for indiscriminately blasting out long casts.

Tippet:  You will want a "stiff" tippet.  Don't use traditional trout tippet measured with an "X". Those products are meant to be supple, we want stiff!




Flies for Bass Fishing

Flies should be broken into 3 categories, and you'll need a few of each.  I go into detail during the Podcast about when and why to fish each one.

  • Poppers for Bass Fishing
  • Suspended Baitfish (unweighted or lightly weighted baitfish)
  • Weighted "Jig" style flies

These are some of my favorite patterns: