9 must-have summer bass flies (including some you’ve never heard of)


Photo: Umpqua


Another newer creation, the Slumpbuster is known for tempting plus-sized river trout from their lairs. Such a fly is also usually good for bass (of any size), which this one very much is. The Slumpbuster tantalizingly fills the important—and often overlooked—food category of “small, meaty and not too flashy.” Bass might prefer a big meal, but they still have to eat when their ideal prey isn’t available. If you’ve ever looked at their stomach contents, bass in both rivers and lakes do eat a lot of bugs, small crustaceans and other less-glamourous food.

The crucial element of the Slumpbuster is its pine squirrel wing and collar, and there really is no substitute. Pine squirrel fur is shorter and thicker than other common fly-tying furs, such as rabbit, giving this smallish fly an extra-dense profile. Pine squirrel also looks beautifully alive in the water, undulating and breathing. The result is a versatile fly for dead-drifting or swinging in current, while in slack water it swims with a subtle jigging wobble. You can’t go wrong with the classic creepy-crawly colours of rust, black, olive or the mottled grey-brown of the natural fur.


  • Hook: 2XL streamer/wet, sizes 8 to 4
  • Weight: Cone, sized to hook
  • Rib: Fine wire
  • Tail & wing: Pine squirrel strip
  • Body: Flat tinsel, standard or sparkly
  • Collar: Pine squirrel strip, palmered