Snake Eyes (orig. Wes Wada, 2009)
DESIGN RATIONALE & PROBLEM SOLVING
The Snake Eyes bottom bouncing bugger illustrates how a new original fly can be designed by studying fishing techniques and rigs used for other species or other types of fishing. Designing a fly meant to hopped across the bottom, and through weeds, without snags, is another challenge.
PERSONAL FISHING DISCOVERIES FROM DEVELOPING THIS FLY.
A common reaction to seeing an electronic fish finder in use, is that an overwhelming number of fish spotted – are on or near the bottom. When a hatch is on, fish occupy more of the water column, and feed on the surface. But, most of the time, they are denizens of the deep.
When I started fishing Snake Eyes, I realized that I had developed bad habits, I didn’t know I had. Follow me.
Problem #1: when I thought I was fishing near the bottom, my fly was tracking higher up, and was often above where the fish were feeding.
Problem #2: the retrieve was started too soon, and was too fast. in a nervous attempt to keep it from snagging the bottom. Both of these faults caused my bugger and streamer fishing to be less productive. The bug was being worked at too shallow a depth, and retrieved too quickly.
When I first started fly fishing, I asked a mentor what he thought was the number one thing most stillwater fly anglers did wrong. His answer was, “They move the fly too fast.”
THE DYNAMICS OF BOTTOM BUMPING
Fishing with a snag- and weed-resistant bottom bumper, you can feel through the resistance of your line when the fly is on the bottom. Pop the fly upward with a quick jerk, and let it settle back, without any additional pulls on the line. Work your way across the lake bottom with hops and pauses. That action mimics sculpins very nicely.
Many types of trout prey are not in constant motion. They move by fits-and-starts. Or act startled, then dive for cover. From a predator’s point of view, the action is a tease. I’ve had takes with Snake Eyes where the first twitch after a long pause triggered a smashing strike.
Another truism about takes in stillwater, is the fish may be tempted by your offering, but will swim around it, bump it, follow it, and nip it, but not be aggressive enough to eat it. That’s particularly true of big, wise lunkers. Big fish don’t get big by being aggressively stupid.
However, one thing that triggers a fish to take is when the fly is about to “escape” into the bottom weeds. With a fly like Snake Eyes, you are always letting the fly settle back into the cover on the lake bottom, and that often will trigger a strike.
While you’d be smart to add Snake Eyes to your fly box, that’s not the point. What‘s key is that you possess, or buy, or create a fly that will perform in a similar manner.
Not having a snag- and weed-resistant fly, designed to work from the bottom, is a major hole in most fly anglers’ fly boxes. If I am describing your tackle, then you know what you need to do next. If you are dedicated stillwater angler, make it a priority. It’s that important.
For reasons that defy logic, trout fly anglers mentally segregate trout fishing and bass fishing, as if the two facets of the sport were incompatible with easy other.
More than three times as many anglers bass fish than trout fish, and techniques developed to catch the wily bass are plentiful. Lures and flies for bass can be wildly inventive.
Yet, everyone knows fly anglers who will have nothing to do with bass fishing. By stubbornly dismissing a whole swath of fish-attractive techniques, they’ve cut themselves off from a fertile source of inspiration.
You can take other forms of fishing, for other species, and say the same thing. Often just a few simple tweaks are needed to make the adaptation, and you are rewarded with a successful fly.
If you’ve never tried fly fishing for largemouth bass, you’re missing some fun experiences. Bass are feisty and explosive, and are a great change of pace. The flies, for the most part, are large, colorful, and easy to tie.
AN EASY ESSENTIAL TECHNIQUE
Study other forms of fishing, for other species, and borrow and adapt to create flies for your favorite fish.
With Snake Eyes, we are creating a new trout fly by redesigning bass fishing’s famed Texas Rig.
Above: a Texas rigged rubber worm
Photo courtesy of Jason, FishingLoft.com
(See link for more photos about Texas rigging. Close window to return to this page.)
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