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Part One Hundred-twelve

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Great Flies for Texas
(and a few other places)

By Allen Crise (aka flysoup)

There are a lot of flies to choose from, when you pick up a 'Fly Shop' Catalog. That is why I headed down to the local fly shop, like most fly fishermen I asked, "What do you think they will be takin' today?" The young skinny kid said in his best college English,"You are in pursuit of Rainbow Trout or Brown Trout?" Maybe he just assumed that I was looking for the hatch of the day. In any case he led me to a display that had about a 'billion colorful little flies,' some that would require you to have a magnifin' glass just to tie it on the line. "Here is what Doctor Cutslow was using on Wednesday when he took that big cutthroat from the tailrace at Broken Bow." He informed me beaming with pride in his knowledge. "It is a "Klinkhamer Special," tied on a number 16 Partridge K12ST long-shank. Doc said that he thought that, 'The light tan dubbing was very close to the Cedar boar'." He was offering more than I needed to know.

At this point I was almost to intimidated to say that I was looking for Bass flies. When the president of the local bank came in, the preppy clerk's attention was diverted to the new arrival. He left me standing there looking at the 'Billion colorful little flies' case. I stood there with my good ear, the one without the hole in it from the jig head fly my 'fishin buddy' decided to use to take a gar with, straining to hear. The Bank President, not looking like an executive in his blue jeans and state college tee shirt, started asking about some 'Deceivers.' I knew that was a bass fly. So I moved a little closer just to get a better light on the 'Killhammer Special' I was still holding in my palm.

I could look like I knew what I was looking at. After all, I had looked at flies before. What I wanted to hear was what the 'Pres.' was saying about the largemouth bass he was taking on the lake. Now here was someone I could relate to. A real fisherman and he had been using a fly rod for a while. Maybe I could absorb some knowledge about the flies I should be using. "Along the point . . ." He was saying, wait what point? There are several points on the lake. "Bendback in the lilies" What was a Bendback? A dive or a duck? I had to get closer. I was missing so much.

I started to put the little "Sledgehammer Special" back in its tray along with the other 'Billion colorful little flies'. Hoping that it was the right tray. So the preppy clerk, with his tweed pants, would not think I was stealing a fly or that I did not know where the "Slidehammer" went, I just placed it on the edge of the tray.

Now the President was telling about "Working a high profile up near a bank." Was he still talking about fly fishing for bass? I saddled a little closer, if only Jack had not tried for that turkey from the pick-up. The blast rang in my ear for a week. Now I can make out the conversation. Mr. Dunn is giving the clerk all the latest on the bass fishing on Opossum Kingdom Lake. Hey, I know where that launch ramp is! At this time he turned toward me to ask if I had tried the black bass on PK. "Well not this week, but last week I did a little Fly Casting. Took a couple on Deceivers," I said, remembering what it was he came in asking for.

Well that broke the ice. Forever after, when I get around fly fishermen I will just throw out a name like Deceiver. If I could work a 'Deceiver' in to the conversation then they would know I was a Bass fisherman and not a highbrow trout fisherman. Just a good ol' bass fisherman. OK, so I used a flyrod that put me just a little further up the gene pool ladder.

"Well Mr. Dunn," I started.

"Stop, just call me Mike" he corrected. " In here or on a lake or stream it is just Mike." I put out my hand in a good ol' Texas hand shake. The same one that had held the little "Doc's Killbammer" but a short time ago. He returned the courtesy and started asking about what type of leader I was using on my outfit. Now here is where I had some knowledge. Just last night I had read all about the leaders and tippets. Man I was rocking and rolling so to say. Standing here talking about leaders and flies with an Executive officer and fellow bass fisherman put me in 'high cotton'. About the time I was running out of leader information, having covered the sinking lines' short leader and the new Fluorocarbon mono lines. He asked if I would like to go with him this very afternoon.

"We could take my bass boat and try the weed bank along the south shore., be back before the dogs start howling." It only took a half breath for me to accept his invitation.

What I learned that afternoon about fly fishing and flies could fill a book or two. Mike was a great teacher and if he were real would have become my best fishing buddy.

This is what I can share.

'Bend-back' is a fly that has the hook's shank bent up about a quarter inch from the eye. Not much, just enough to kick the point down to almost the same plane as the hook eye; the hook point is bent open about five degrees. The hair is tied on the hook shank between the hook's eye and the bend. This makes the fly almost weedless, as the hair forms a weed guard. The hook rides point up, so that you can fish it right close to the bottom and not hang-up.

You can cast the fly right up on a lily pad and then work it off very slowly. Stripping it in eight to ten inch pulls, makes it act like a wounded minnow. This is a deadly fly for hungry bass that take up a hunting position under the lily pads.

The second fly that will do some bass catching is Lefty's Deceiver. This fly is no longer a special fly like a Griffins' Gnat, or a Klinkhamer Special, but more a style of tying a fly. What makes this fly special, other that it will take Bass; largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, striped, and even trout, is that the hair and feathers do not entangle in the bend of the hook, due to the way the hackles are tied to the hook shank. The fish hair and hackles can be about any color to look like about any baitfish. The Deceiver can be from one and a half to nine inches long. This fly when fished in fast water or slow is a very effective bait fish imitation.

Much of the food for a bass in the lakes are Shad and Bluegill. These fish have a body that is higher than wide and the flys that best imitates these are the 'High Profile' flies, often tied of wool or a synthetic hair with a weighted body. These are fished in deeper water or along the bank working it slowly with a fast short strip every once in a while.

The surface flies are varied, with the time of the year, as to what is hatching. There are always the 'Terrestrial' flies, like the grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and ants. There are 'frog' patterns and deer-hair mice.

One of my favorite top-water flies is the Elk Hair Caddis,tied on a number 12 or 10 hook. This fly looks much like a moth that is often seen around the water in the evenings.

I guess I should include poppers made of foam, wood, plastic and deer hair. The simple to the very accurate, all catch Mr. Bass.

There you have some of the best flies for bass. Do not be afraid to enter 'The Fly Shop' just because you do not know what to ask for. Just go ahead and tell the 'preppy kid' that you go after big ol' bass that would destroy most trout outfits. That should establish you as a Fly Fisherman Texas style. Of course now you can use names like Deceiver or Bend-backs and get away with it.

The bigger flies will require a heavier weight outfit like an 8 or 9 weight. The stronger tippet is required when fishing thick brush or where the bass can wrap the line around an obstacle.

I have found that if you can stop the first run, or the attempt to escape, you will disorient the bass and half the battle is over. He only knows one way out and if you stop that he will just be fighting with you and not able to use the natural hang-ups.

Good luck and remember, casting is as easy as flysoup. ~ Allan Crise, FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor.

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