How to fly fish like a bassmaster all summer long



Dahlberg Diver = Floating/diving minnowbait

Every bass fly box should have a Dahlberg Diver or one of its dozens of slight variants. You can run wild with colours, tail styles and lengths (from two to six inches), but as long as the fly has a deer-hair body trimmed into that distinctive cone-and-collar shape, it will behave as it should. Like a classic balsawood minnowbait, this fly floats at rest, dives and sways when retrieved, and wobbles back toward the surface when stopped. If you use a weedless Diver, you can also throw it into areas where hardbaits bristling with treblehooks fear to go. Whether bass see it as a frog or a wounded baitfish or something else, it rings the dinner bell, and not subtly—both largemouth and smallmouth will attack it with reckless abandon.


Bonus tip: Delivery System

Bass fly gear is mercifully simple. The main consideration is matching your rod and line weight to the size of flies you’re casting, and to the size of the fish. If your outfit is too small, you won’t be able to deliver larger flies, especially in wind. If it’s too big, you’ll need a cortisone shot in your shoulder by day’s end. Bronzebacks go for flies at the smaller end of the scale, making a 6-weight a good general choice, though for small waters a 5-weight may suffice. For largemouth, try an 8-weight, both to move the bulkier flies and drag a fish out of cover. I never bother with tapered leaders on bass. Instead, I just use a length of eight- or 12-pound mono. Two to four feet of leader is plenty with a sinking line, and four to six is all you need with a floating line.