Try for that Trophy Bass on the Fly
by Capt. Jim Freda
Shore Catch Guide Service
t this time of year every angler that I know has one thing on their mind and that is trophy bass, big bass in the 30 and 40 pound ranges that are migrating along our coast at this time. If there ever was a window of opportunity to get one of these fish on the fly now is the time.
But this is easier said then done as these big bass have a preference for the real deal, that is live or fresh dead bunker. It is easy to hook into a trophy bass by these methods as many times hook-ups are instantaneous coming as soon as one of these hooked baits hits the water.
To get a trophy bass on the fly at this time requires patience and persistence with the long rod in your hand. You will need to keep casting and not succumb to the ease at which you can catch a fish if you were to pick up a conventional rod and employ traditional livelining tactics.
So what tactics should the fly fisher employ to connect with a big bass? Here are a couple of tactics that I recommend that have worked for me over the years.
My first and usually most productive tactic is to cast directly into the center of a pod when striped bass are erupting in them with a big popper that will make a lot of commotion. This would be my first choice of a fly to use rather than a big bunker fly.
To me this makes sense because if you look at all the spin fishermen that are connecting with big bass at this time the majority of them are throwing big pencil poppers. In a frenzy bass will zero in on this commotion as it flees away across the surface.
Another method that has worked is to fish a big bunker fly on a quick sinking line and allow the fly to quickly sink to the bottom of the pod. From here just twitch the fly along the bottom so it resembles an injured helpless bait that had dropped down from the pod above.
You can of course just fish your flies in the traditional manner of just casting out and retrieving so don’t rule this out either. In any method that you choose however you will also need a good amount of luck that your fly will be taken. Many times the bass that hit the flies in the bunker schools are the smaller size fish in the teen to low twenty pound ranges. But these are great fish to catch too and will put a hefty bend in your rod.
So if you want that trophy bass of a lifetime on the fly the fish are here. They should stay in Monmouth and Ocean counties waters close to the beach until the middle of July. So as I said, be patient and keep the fly rod in your hand, it will pay off.
Copyright © 1998 - 2014 Jim Freda, All Rights Reserved
Articles by Captain Jim Freda
- A Quick Lesson for a Little Night Flying
- A Word to the Wise...Wader
- August, More than Meets the Eye
- Bang'em Up
- Beach or Bait? Perspective on Surf Fishing & Beach Replenishment
- Bunker and Trophy Bass
- Bunker, Bunker, and More Bunker and Big Bass Too!
- Busting the Blues
- Clams, Bunker, or Herring for Springtime Trophy Stripers
- Coldwater Stripers, Dredging with the Fly
- CPR for the Fly Fisher - Color, Profile and Retrieve
- December’s End, Watching or Catching?
- December's Grand Finale
- Fall's Surf Smorgasbord
- Fly Fishers-Pick Your Tools Wisely When Getting Started
- Four Baits to Know For Your September’s Surf Success
- Get'em with Sand Eel Imitations
- Getting Started in the Salt
- Know Your Baits and Flies
- Jump to the Back for Early Spring Stripers
- Longest Yard, The
- More Lines Less Flies
- My March Madness
- New Jersey’s “Striper Bounty”
- November Trophies
- October' Harvest in the Surf
- Peanut Bunker Blitzes-Jersey Style
- Running and Gunning, Proper Boating Etiquette
- Saltwater Fly Fishing Perspective
- Saltwater Fly Fishing in the Surf
- September Surf
- Shooting the Suds, Albies on the Fly
- Simplifying Fly Lines
- Slack Water Explained
- Springtime Big Bass
- Spring Baits and Flies
- Stretching into Spring
- Striped Bass Game Plan of Summer
- Striped Bass Game Plan of Summer (Part II)
- Stripping for Success
- Surf Scanning
- Tackling Big December Bass on the Fly!
- Take Me to Your Leader
- Ten Degrees of Blitzes
- Tips and Tidbits
- Trophy Tactics
- Trophy Weakfish on the Fly
- Try for that Trophy Bass on the Fly!
- Wind Direction and its Localized Effect on the Striper Bite
Jim Freda is a highly respected charter captain, author, outdoor writer, seminar speaker, and photographer. His first book Fishing the New Jersey Coast,
has been a best seller and received the “New Jersey Center for the Book Award” as one of the most notable NJ books. He co-authored a second book Saltwater Fishing a Tactical Approach, A Guide for Northeast Beach and Boat Fishermen,
with his Shore Catch associates Capt Gene Quigley and Shell E. Caris.
Jim has weekly fishing columns that appear in the Bergen Record, NJ's second largest newspaper and the Coast Star and Ocean Star newspapers of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Nationally, Jim is a contributing editor for Fly Fishing in Saltwaters magazine and also writes for Fly Fisherman magazine, Saltwater Sportsman, Eastern Fly Fishing, Big Game Journal, and StriperSurf.com. Regionally he writes for On the Water magazine where he has is own monthly column, The Fisherman magazine and the NJ Federation of Sportsman Clubs newspaper.
As a seminar speaker Jim is featured as one of the celebrities on the Saltwater Sportsman National Seminar Series, as one of the “Stars of the Show” at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ, the Northeast’s largest fly fishing show and is on the National Pro Seminar slate at the Toyota Saltwater Expo also in Somerset. He is also regularly featured each year at many of the local fishing clubs in the surrounding area including the State’s two largest clubs the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association and the Saltwater Anglers of Bergen County. Capt Jim has also been a guest speaker at all the Trout Unlimited Clubs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jim has also been a special guest speaker at the Bloomberg Network in New York City.
He is a member of the National Factory Pro Team for St. Croix Rods and pro staff for Fins Fishing Line, AVET Reels, Spro, Gamakatsu, Hogy, Korkers, Costa Del Mar, Columbia Sportswear and Aquaskinz.
For more information, please go to Shore Catch Guide Service www.shorecatch.com