How To Catch Bucketmouth Bass On The Fly | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
Skills
A man holding a huge largemouth bass. Photo by Hunter Harlow

According to Hunter Harlow, he holds the unofficial record for most time spent in dirty, Texas rivers. Although we couldn’t verify this accomplishment, flipping through the BOTE pro’s photos of giant bass on his Instagram feed, we have to give him credit. “If I wanted to catch a lot of fish, I wouldn’t fly fish,” he jokes. “And if I wanted an easy day of fishing I wouldn’t paddle 10 miles on a flooded creek.”

For Harlow, an inflatable standup paddleboard is the only way to access isolated creeks and navigate rocks, dams and deadfalls looking for giant largemouth bass. A SUP also offers the most stable platform to stand and cast a fly rod.

In the spring, he finds big bass on the beds. “I can pick out five pounders and put a fly right over them,” he says. During the rest of the year, he takes his SUP through low water to isolated pools and pockets where the bass hide. “That’s where I downsize my tackle.”

For the spring spawn, he relies on a 7wt rod and floating line with various poppers. After the spring fling settles and the bass escape to the deeper pools, Harlow breaks out a 5wt set-up and various crawfish flies. “The important thing is to understand how the fish’s behaviour changes through the year,” Harlow says, “Tying my own flies gives me the ability to match the current menu with incredible accuracy.”

He also suggests reducing the amount of time the fly line spends in the air. “Quickly pick up the fly line and make the next cast with little or no false casting to avoid making course corrections.” Minimizing false casts will also keep you from spooking fish.

BASS TACKLE BOX

Rod: Orvis Recon 9' 7wt

Reel: Orvis Hydros IV

Backing: 30-lbs Rio Dacron in Chartreuse

Line: Orvis Hydros HD Bank Shot, WF 7

Leader: 9' 10-lbs Rio Bass

A Few Key Flies: Size 1 Gartside Gurgler, Size 4 Circus Peanut.

Essential Gear: I like to carry a 10' detachable sinking line and some split shot.

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