When I first started chasing smallmouth with my flyrod, my bible was Harry Murray’s Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass, which sadly seems to be out of print (though easily available used through Amazon.com). Murray has a more recent condensed and updated book about flyfishing for smallmouth, but it’s not the same book. It has more recent fly patterns and color photos, but lacks the depth and cool Dave Whitlock illustrations of the first book.
The book is really chock full of advice on fishing for smallmouth in streams and rivers while wading. He breaks down the parts of a stream, and walks you through fishing the different parts.
It’s also full of great fly patterns that I first found here: Murray’s Strymph, James Wood Bucktail, Silver Outcast (my go-to shallow minnow pattern), Murray’s Hellgrammite, and more. I’ll be tying and writing about some of these patterns in the coming weeks.
More on this later, but I recently rewatched Dave Whitlock’s video on tying and fishing his NearNuff Sculpin and NearNuff Crayfish. Dave’s tying videos are top notch, and those two flies are my go-to patterns for smallmouth and trout in the Ozarks.
My smallmouth boxes are looking pretty sparse these days after years of virtually no fly-tying, so I started in on some tonight. Got six bodies started on size 6 Near Nuff Crayfish. Need to get some brown paint to cover the lead eyes before I dress them. Will do both of those things tomorrow. Enjoyed tying something I can actually see with my aging eyes (damned trout flies!).
After years of tying on a Renzetti Traveler, I’m back with Dyna-King. I recently picked up a Dyna-King Squire, which sadly is being discontinued (but I got it for 25% on a closeout deal). It’s not true rotary, but I can live with that, because my preferred right-hand tying position (I’m a lefty) just doesn’t work well with the Traveler. Plus, I really love the jaws on the Dyna-Kings.
Was fishing at Roaring River State Park today, and we observed a big crayfish with one claw missing. The relevant thing to this pattern we noticed was that the tips of the pincers on the remaining claw were bright orange-pink, just like Dave recommends painting the tips of the claws on this pattern. He’s dead right.