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


Photo: Orvis


Sometimes aggressive topwater flies actually turn off fish, which is when you need a slider, which creates a wake rather than a splash. My layman’s theory is that excessive popping makes the fly appear too formidable a prey object when a fish is only looking for an easy meal. Either way, the Sneaky Pete is the classic slider. It works everywhere, and on all kinds of bass. As it burbles along, the bushy little tail and trailing legs give it a slightly frantic wiggle, but at 1½ to 2½ inches in length, it’s still easy pickings. And surprisingly large fish will hit it.

I bought my first—and only—Sneaky Pete in 1986, and it landed so many bass and sunfish at my local pond that their sandpapery mouths eventually ground off the colour and feathers. Since then, I’ve made my own, first out of spun deer hair, and later from pre-shaped foam bodies. By the way, you don’t need a special “slider” body; you can just install a popper body backwards. I think the colour of your hat is more important than the colour of this pattern, but I like them in easy-to-see chartreuse or yellow.


  • Hook: 2XL streamer, size 4 to 8
  • Tail: Rubber strands on either side of a clump of synthetic fibres (shown) or marabou
  • Collar: Saddle hackle
  • Legs: Rubber strands
  • Head: Foam, cork or spun deer hair
  • Eyes (optional): 3D or prism tape