I kinda look at fishing rods like i do hunting rifles....anything will work if need be, but its better to arm yourself with the right gear if you have that option. (polar bears have been killed with .22 caliber rifles, but that doesnt mean thats what id choose to hunt one with )
so, there are couple things to consider. your casting style and ability will be an important factor when deciding on a fly rod for bass, and also the size bass you will be chasing and the size bugs you plan on throwing. for this region a 6 weight will work, but if you are throwing for larger fish a 7-9 weight might work better. i throw larger flies with less effort with an 8 weight, and it makes a difference when you spend a long day in a float tube bucking wind. throwing 3/0 bass flies with a 6 weight grows old kinda quick...ive tried it. i usually bass fish with a 7 or 8 weight around here, just for ease of casting large flies and levering up bigger fish out of weeds and cover (well, when i catch bigger fish, that is...) Back east i had no issues with fishing a 9 weight...bass were on average bigger and the cover was heavier so i could justify a beefier rod. i know some guys that fish slower action 8 weights for bass, although i am a fast action rod kinda guy...but with proper technique slow rods cast very well with large flies or no.
if you only fish for bass once in awhile your 5 or 6 weight will work fine...but if you plan on doing it on a regular basis you might want to go a bit heavier. and plus, you can turn around and use that rod for wipers or large trout or pike...so if you can justify the expense it might be worth it.
if you dont have alot to spend, go look at some of the heavier weight rods in some of the retail stores around here...you will find something that will work no problem, it doesnt have to be a $650.00 Thomas and Thomas...although those are nice
Last year I had trouble casting the larger bass bugs with a 6 wt. But after reading a book on casting by Lefty Kreh (something about Modern Casting Method) I believe that 75+% of us cast wrong, including me. And I think that if I cast correctly then I'd have less issues with that 6 wt.
That being said, an 8 wt would be easier to cast large bass bugs with-- especally in the wind.
And faster action rods are a bit less forgiving but they would probably work better with the larger bugs as well.
Thanks for the responses! Im gearing up for the spring and would like to have some fun with ole mr bass with a fly rod. I usually use spinning gear with 10lb test...I bet even a smallish bass would really give me a run for my money on fly gear.
Since I just got done trudging along in the snow with my dog...I think fishing for bass in my local ponds might prove a tad bit silly.....
As others have said, it depends on the size bass you're after and the size flies you're planning on throwing.
My first bass rod was a 9-weight that I used extensively fishing for bass up to 7 pounds in the California delta. The fish were generally larger than the bass you come across in CO (average at my favorite spot was about 3 pounds) and were close to, or in, heavy cover (water hyacinths, tules, and some massive logjams). I threw a lot of big (1/0 - 3/0) poppers as well as some heavily weighted bunny flies and crawdad imitations and there was always a real chance of stumbling across a striped bass, so having the extra backbone came in handy. Out here in CO I use the rod a bit for largemouth, but with a couple of exceptions, few lakes have large populations of big fish so it might be overkill. The 9-weight now sees most of its action on wipers and northerns, so if you're planning on tackling those species with the same rod, going with a bit of overkill might not be a bad idea.
My second bass rod is a 7-weight. I bought it to throw smaller (8 - 1) poppers and various streamers and nymphs at CO bass, especially smallmouth and spots. It has also become my favorite rod when I'm stalking bigger carp (10 - 20 pound class) because it has the backbone (and the real has the backing capacity) to give me a fighting chance when a 15-pounder heads for the other side of the lake at flank speed, or decides that becoming intimately familiar with the interior of a weedbed is suddenly a good idea.
In either case, definitely get a line designed for throwing bass flies...they can be quite bulky and the specially designed taper makes it a little easier to get the flies into those sweet spots where you just know a big fish is waiting patiently for something to wander by.
yup, don't want to beat a dead horse...but there are certain rods that are meant for certain things. I personally like knowing I have the right set up for any condition so I have nothing to blame but myself if I dont catch fish. If I'm going to quincy and plan on throwing goldy-lock buggers (hint hint) for bass, I bring my 5 wt. If I'm going meet hunting at quincy with big decievers etc. I use my 7 or 9. Anymore, I just like going with a game plan and sticking to it and finding a way to make it work. If I want to work on my bugger presentations, then I find a way to catch fish on buggers. There are days when my goal is to find a way to catch as many fish as possible, but by and large I like perfecting things so on those all out days I know how to use my entire arsenal. Bass unlike trout are very opurtunistic feeders and won't key in soley on minnows if a crayfish happens to shuffle on by.
If you need a 8wt rod to cast a bass bug you might just consider getting a 7ft broom handle instead.
A 6wt will work in most conditions, even turning over a #1/0 Dahlburg diver. Just remember that bass typically aren't leader shy, so go with a 7.5ft 1x tapered leader or just tie 2.5 ft of 10lb mono below 5ft of 15 lb mono.
First off Castell, welcome. I'm sure in the time to come we will have many more posts we agree on but I think Im gonna have to get this started with a disagreement. I have scene very few people who can line a 6 wt with a dahlburg. Even if you could the amount of false and double haul cast you would have to use would be to many for what I like to do. With an 8 or a 9, a 70-80 foot cast is relatively effortless with about any fly.
Welcome Castel to the forum! Its nice to see some new faces...
I gotta disagree with you though also...while its possible to cast a heavy Dahlburg or other bass bug with a 6 weight, the amount of effort and strain you would put on your rod would be more than i would want to deal with for long periods of fishing. A heavier rod would be more suitable for such applications, not to mention a better setup for dealng with large or heavy fish. Most of us here have tried this at one time or another, and im thinking would agree?
While I will agree that you can turn over larger flies at distance with a 7 or 8 wt rod, very seldom have I found that I need to make a cast over 60 feet for bass. Kayaks, kick boats and float tubes get me in close to the fish and most casts are 40ft and under.
Now for my mea culpa: I am a Texan who will soon be moving to Colorado for a new job. I read & post to a few Texas boards and am glad to have found what seems to be an active and friendly chat about Colorado fishing. Also, for most bass fishing where I live, I use a 4 wt. rod, unless the wind is up.
Here is a photo I took of a buddy of mine on the Pedernales River in the Texas Hill Country. We were both fishing 4wt rods that day and did very well:
If you use a 5 wt. make sure you use a 1x or 2x tipit. I forgot once and kept my 5x on, and a nice bass snapped the leader very quickly. The excitment sure was fun though. I did use bad language for a while.
You can catch bass, sometimes big bass, on a 5-weight or even a 3-weight, but it's not necessarily optimal. I used to do a lot of fishing for bluegill, green sunfish, and some aggressive bluegill X redear sunfish hybrids on this one creek in northern California using poppers on either a 3 or a 5 weight. It was a rare trip where a largemouth bass didn't find the little size 8 - 12 popper attractive and came up to eat. I normally didn't lose the fish, but landing them required more finesse than would have been necessary with a 9-weight. I have to admit it was fun when a 2 - 4 pound largemouth came up to say hello, but sometimes I felt pretty undergunned (especially on the 3-weight). Of course, there was the one bass that ate the bluegill that ate the popper (the bass then went around the drowned tree, through the willows and onwards, but that's another story)...
Here's one of those "incidental" bass that took a liking to a little bluegill popper.
Also, I'd hate to try to throw a big fly, like a 1/0 or 2/0 Dahlberg Diver or worse still a 3/0 bunny fly that's waterlogged, into the wind on a lighter rod...a better caster than me could do it, but I don't like to struggle any more than I have to. Distance is normally not a problem because I, like Castell (welcome!), do most of my bass fishing out of a float tube or pontoon boat. Those man-powered craft are a great aid to poor casters like myself...if you can't cast far enough, just close in!
I have fly fished for bass for many years in MO and OK. All I have ever used is a 5 wt because that is all I own. Have caught many 5-6 lb bass. Even with a lighter rod, if you use a stout enough leader, casting a big fly and landing a large bass can be done w/o too much trouble. Can't wait to get back at the bass/bluegill on a fly!