|This bass couldn't resist the new worm fly.|
How stupid can I be?
Bass anglers have been using plastic worms for age to fool fish. Those multi-colored plastic creations have taken literally tons of bass over the years.
I'm sure plenty of fly anglers have used worm patterns to fool bass.
I bought a few worm flies at Bass Pro Shop in Fort Myers and used them a few times. I cast them for 15 minutes or so along Alligator Alley, an area that is home to lots of bass.
But I have yet to get a hit on any of the commercial worms flies.
So, I took matters into my own hands. I designed and tied my own.
|Early prototype of the worm fly.|
I surfed the Internet for ideas, but I really didn't see any flies I liked. I found some that used rubbery stuff designed to be used as legs on freshwater and saltwater flies. I found worm flies in which the body was fashioned by braiding chenille or other materials. I saw worm flies that employed chamois for the body.
I settled on zonker strips. I knew these rabbit fur strips would be lively in the water and easy to work with.
I had a few bass "stinger" hooks around. I slipped one into my vise and began creating.
The fly is simple, easy to tie and, as I found out, deadly on bass.
Hook: 1/0 Stinger
Thread: black flat-waxed monochord
Tail: 4-5-inch black zonker strip.
Body: Black opalescent Estaz
Head/nose: Black conehead
Weedguard: 50-pound test monofilament
1. Add conehead to hook and place hook in vise
2. Tie in thread just behind hook eye and build up thread to seat conehead.
3. Tie off thread, clip and push cone forward to eye of hook.
4. Reattach thread and wrap entire shank.
5. Tie in mono weed guard at bend.
6. Tie in zonker strip about half inch away from cone.
7. Tie in Estaz and wind forward and whip secure.
8. Bring mono forward and tie it behind cone.
9. Whip finish.
These flies are quick and very easy to tie. I can whip out a dozen in less than an hour.
The beauty of these flies is that they can be tied on any size hook so that you can adjust to different fishing situations.
I also tie them using bead-chain eyes and with no weight at all.
I headed to Webb Lake at the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area south of Punta Gorda to give the new worm flies a try. My plan was to cast them for at least an hour. I want to give them a fair test.
Didn't take long to hook up. First fish was a nice speckled perch (black crappie). I later added 13 bass up to about 1 1/2 pounds.
When I got home, I tied up a few more using the stinger hooks and coneheads. My first prototypes consisted of Aberdeen hooks and bead eyes.
I wanted a larger profile fly that would sink a little quicker.
The next day, I put them to test.
Strangely enough, I started fish a Myakka Minnow and then switched to a No. 10 popping bug. I caught a few fish before switching to the worm.
I hooked a bass on my first cast, but lost it. I landed small bass on my next three casts.
I was impressed.
On the day, I caught and released 15 bass to about 2 pounds.
The fly is pretty easy to cast, although you might need a 7- or 8-weight rod for the task.
I cast it out, let the worm start to sink, then strip it in slowly and somewhat erratically. If you're paying attention and your line is tight, you can often feel the bass take the fly. If not, you'll know you have a fish when your line goes tie.
I know the new fly will produce some big bass.
Now, I've got to name the new creation. Isn't that what fly tyers do? I'm thinking I might call it the Webb Worm because I caught my first fish on it from Webb Lake. I haven't decided on that name, but it's in the lead.
I plan on "field testing" the new fly several more times over the next few weeks.
Maybe be then I'll have caught a trophy bass and come up with a final name?