Matching the Hatch for Bass

Lately, with the rivers low and clear I have switched gears on trips by myself or with Lynae to 100% fly-fishing. I’ve personally needed to dive back into that world a little and have had a lot of fun targeting smallies plus wild trout this summer on the fly.

I’d been pumped about this past Saturday’s trip for a long while and knew the bass fishing would be amazing on some of WNC’s larger flows. Water levels are super low and water is gin clear: clearest we’ve seen all summer. So I knew “matching the hatch” very precisely would be the key to putting smallies in the boat (flashy lures like an in-line spinner or crankbait might get some strikes, but also a lot of short strikes and boat followers with no hits). We quickly narrowed down that the bass were absolutely devouring 3.5’ soft swimbaits on lightweight jig-heads. Keitech’s Swing Impact swimbait in very natural colors like Silver/Gold Flash and a greenish/grayish-silver color was the go to bait of choice. At times we were sight fishing and dropping in baits to fish mere feet from the raft. I have never watched so many bass take the baits like that as I did yesterday. A medium retrieve with letting the bait drop in deeper holes was the ticket. If rigged correctly those swimbaits have a deadly wobble on the fall. At the end of the day, they had caught a ton of smallmouth with a few rockbass mixed in.

Besides catching lots of bass, what made the trip a top-ten day on the water was the fact I got to guide and teach some of the coolest clients who really made the trip a fun adventure. Here are a couple of pictures from our day.

“I love how one type of fishing will help you see another type differently and that makes you better overall.” -Neal

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