Dragonfly patterns with resin or foam bodies are effective for raising lone bass in tight holding areas, such as short eddies behind boulders. That’s because these bugs produce an ear-catching slap on the surface and draw a fast reaction strike. After splashdown, your job is to make the fly look like a disoriented dragonfly trying to regain its composure and take off again.
A.) Position yourself 30 to 40 feet downstream and slightly across from the spot where you think a smallmouth is holding.
B.) Cast to where you imagine the fish’s head is positioned. Just before the fly lands, drop the rod tip to create a slap.
C.) As soon as the fly hits, make two quick strips. This will make the dragonfly look like it’s panicking as it gets washed downstream.
Smallmouths in deeper, open river channels will often track a dragonfly for a distance before attacking. If you’ve ever been on the water when these bugs were around, you’ve probably noticed that they land on the surface for a second, take off, and land again close by. Using a feather- or hair-based fly that will land softly, you can re-create this dance–but with a twist that drives bass wild.
A.) In an area where you’ve seen smallmouths sipping on the surface, make a 20- to 30-foot upstream cast. The fly should touch down gently.
B.) Shake the rod tip to wiggle the fly for a few seconds, then quietly pick up your line and recast it within 6 to 8 feet. Repeat once more.
C.) If you haven’t gotten hit, drag the fly across the surface after the third laydown until your line straightens in the current, then start over.
Illustration by Jason Lee