I would make the argument that the fly rod is the ultimate panfish and bass angling tool.
Presenting small artificial food objects and making them twitch and move seductively to cooperative fish is one of the joys of fly fishing that so many people pass up. On a trip to an area pond recently, the bobber and worm anglers were skunked and went home, while my friend Eric and I cleaned up. What was the difference?
- Fish like to eat things that look like food they see every day. Small buggy poppers are more representative of the common foods in a pond than nightcrawlers.
- Bobbers make a HUGE splash on the water, literally scaring away the fish for several minutes after the cast, while a fly rod can deliver a 'fly' with a satisfying and attractive splat.
- Fishing with worms, the angler is hoping that a fish swims by the worm, sees it wiggling or smells it, and eats it. The fly angler attracts the fish to the fly.
- Many fish are looking up for their food. Largemouth bass are notorious for this, and suckers for well presented poppers.
- With a fly rod one can make five or ten casts in a minute and cover a huge amount of water.
This leads me to another thought on fly fishing. More than any other angling technique, it is a thinking man's sport.
The discovery and questioning/exploring/learning process is as fun as catching fish. A trip is often ended with the words "Well, we figured it out!" I saw this in Lake Michigan recently where I took my friend Eric to fish for small rainbows holding in a heavy outflow. The local fishermen were trying to throw slip bobber rigs, crank baits, and worms to the fish holding in water that has the characteristics of a river. Some of the bait they were using was the size of the fish being pursued. We analyzed the situation and used small streamers swung in the current to successfully catch the fish. The locals were not very friendly.
All we had done differently was to actually analyze the situation at hand. It made all the difference!
Anybody can do this. Just get a cheap flyrod combo, a bunch of poppers and small streamers, and go exploring.
Let the learning begin.