One thing that I have really enjoyed the past few years has been fly fishing for smallmouth bass on the Broad River. I had been fly fishing seriously for five or six years before I ever targeted anything besides trout. I have been a fisherman for most of my life, but until a few years ago I fished for bass, bream, and other species of fish with conventional spinning or baitcasting tackle. Then I decided to check out some rumors I had heard about decent smallmouth bass fishing at a local river that was publicly accessible. I had caught a few smallmouth before, but mostly by accident when I was spinner fishing for trout. I decided to check out the river and see for myself what kind of fish I could find, and for some reason I decided to grab a 6 wt fly rod and some poppers and see what I could do.
The majority of what I caught on that first trip (and just about every trip since then) were longear sunfish (bream to most anybody around here).
The river is absolutely full of these guys, and I have to admit, they are a blast on a fly rod. However, I had made it my goal to catch a smallmouth. I did wind up with one that day, a small bass that I caught on a grasshopper fly of all things! I didn't know a whole lot about warm water fly fishing then, other than what I had read, but I figured a popper would be a sure thing on bass. Not on that first trip! However, I had so much fun catching bream that I almost forgot about the bass. Several days later, I returned to the river determined to catch some bass on the fly. This time I was in for a surprise. I started out catching more bream, and then this guy nailed the small popper I was fishing with.
I knew I had a bass, but it wasn't the species I was expecting! It turns out there is a pretty healthy population of both largemouth and smallmouth bass where I was fishing. This was just icing on the cake for me, and I have always been the type of fisherman who is happy just catching fish. Size and species come in second to the experience of being out there.
This is what I've come to really enjoy about fly fishing at the Broad River - even if I don't catch a bunch of smallmouth (which is what I'm targeting when I fish there) I can usually count on enough fish of some type to be interested in my flies to make it an exciting trip. I still enjoy fishing with conventional tackle and do fish that way some, but more and more I find myself grabbing my fly rod no matter what I plan to fish for. If you are a fly fisherman but have only ever fished for trout, I encourage you to give bass and bream a try. You may be like me and find out that there is some excellent fly fishing to be had right close to home! Later, I plan to do a few more posts about smallmouth and trout both, as well as posting a few fly patterns that I have had success with lately. Thanks for stopping by!