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Part One hundred eighty-two

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Bass or Panfish?


By Johnny (aka Hillfisher), Texas

Llano River
My most favorite place to fish is the Llano River. It has beautiful bream and plentiful bass. This is a beautiful river with cool clear spring fed waters. The river begins in Sutton County as the North Llano Fork and Edwards County as the South Llano Fork. The two come together at the city of Junction, Texas. From here the Llano runs out of Kimble County, through Mason County and finally ending in Llano County where it joins with the Colorado River at Lyndon B. Johnson Lake.

Llano River The river's course is through the Texas Hill Country, which consists of the famous Pink Granite, which our state capitol is constructed of. Also the Spotted Guadalupe Bass is found here. This Texas native species of bass only exist in the Texas Hill Country. Between the granite and the limestone, which acts as a natural filter, the water remain clear throughout its course. In many of the small lakes formed by park dams, the bottom can be clearly seen at depths of 30 feet. This clarity can make it a real test of one's skills.

Still the Llano

The flies used in this article are used from Castell, Texas, down through Llano, Texas. They also work in other areas, such as San Gabriel River and Brushy Creek, which will be, included in future articles.

Spider Spider patterns have been around awhile and there are many variations. The one I use is quick and simple. Average time for tying is about a minute each. My good friend Scott introduced this surface terrestrial to me. He purchased a couple from a local flieshop and was catching fish after fish until the trees on the San Gabriel claimed his last one. Since the River is only 10 minutes from my house and it was lunchtime anyway, we went by the house and I changed the recipe to tie a quicker pattern. The result has been an extremely productive one.


Spider Material

    Hook: Size 12 or10, 2X.

    Body: Yellow closed cell foam.

    Legs: White rubber.

    Thread: Yellow or black.

    Zap a Gap: For attaching the foam body to the thread bed.

Hopper The other pattern, which works really well, is the Hopper. There are many variations of the hopper and just about all of them work on the Llano. Small size 12 to 10 for bream and larger sizes for bass. The theory of bigger flies equal bigger fish is generally true, but it also equals fewer fish. For me the X-Hopper has worked very well.


Hopper Material

    Hook: Size XX, 3X.

    Body: Yellow closed cell foam.

    Legs: Yellow or green rubber.

    Thread: Black.

    Ribbing: Gold tinsel over laying thread.

    Head: Natural deer hair tied in bullet head fashion.

The method I use for fishing these flies is really simple and is always in moving water. I don't know if these will work on still water, I don't frequent any lakes here so if you decide to try them the method will probably have to vary.

Smallmouth Bass The flies work best when cast up to the bank while wading out mid-channel when possible. Typically, due to the water clarity I will wade in the water carefully and try not to approach the banks any closer than 20 to 30 feet. The deeper I wade, the less the fish can see above water movement. As long as my body movements below the water line are at a minimum, it does not seem to bother them. In fact on several occasions I have had bream, bass and catfish come quite close to me until they see the above water movement of my casting.


Look for an area that has brush, weeds, grass or trees overhanging the water. Also any large rocks protruding into the river harbor bream and bass. Stand facing the bank and cast the spider at about 45 degrees up river from your position to within a foot of the bank. Now move your rod tip across your body at the same speed as the current. This allows the spider to move at the same speed as the current giving the appearance of a terrestrial caught in the current. As soon as your rod tip gets at a position of 45 degrees down river, stop your rod movement and let the current take your spider down river until it straightens out the line. Once the line is straight out strip the line back in and repeat the process. There have been times when it took a few casts to get anything and times when I have pulled in fish on every cast.

Ed with 1st fly rod bass Now here is the little secret of this method. When the spider is cast up river and you are moving the rod tip at the current speed, this is the Bream phase. By this I mean that the bream will typically strike as the spider is moving at the natural current speed. Any faster and they usually will not touch it. When the rod tip reaches the down river stopping point the current will catch the line and cause the spider to pick up speed and now is in the Bass phase. From this point including stripping it in causes the spider to produce turbulence in the water and this entices the bass to strike which have also have been watching the spider. This method has worked consistently on every trip for those whom I have this method to. Just ask Ed, here with his first bass on a flyrod.

Next Stop, Brushy Creek. Johnny, AKA Hillfisher

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