Tag Archives: Spotted Bass

After driving north through the Ouachita Mountains and the Arkansas River valley we made it to our next destination with daylight to spare.  At an overlook we got to see the river we’d get a chance to fish over the next couple days, it was as it looks in a summer time aerial image, low and teal in color.  A sign told us the color was due to the high mineral content in the water.  Large quantities of sulfur, manganese, and iron combined with the sediment load carried in the water causes it to appear aqua in color.  We continued on and got camp set up fast to walk down to the river and try our luck.

Chucking spinning rods it didn’t take long to get into fish.  The big green sunfish were ever present on this river as on the last, but so were the juvenile Neosho smallmouth.  We were able to catch a few before it got dark.  I even managed to catch a rock bass, a fish I haven’t caught since I spent some time in the Tennessee River watershed in North Alabama.  This river was quite different than the last, far less elevation change, no more big boulders, but tons of gravel.  Big long gravel bars along big long pools, not many fast flowing sections.  A tougher place to fly fish due to the slow water, but we’d give it a shot tomorrow.  I wasn’t too worried about tomorrow at this point, I was looking forward to dinner.  The NY strip, onions, and potatoes that were made on the cast iron pot were incredible.  I think we are getting better at camp cooking, even with interruption from dive bombing cicadas.

The next day was spent dodging rain showers and spot hopping along the river.  There were several access points upstream of where we camped that we checked out.  We fished at a few of them and probably should have spent more time at some rather than others, but that’s the joys of scouting.  It was nice to have a road alongside the river for much of the way, the only slight annoyance was when the large groups of ATVs drove by.  We must have been near some major OHV trails with the amount of ATV traffic that was in the area.  The fishing was pretty good, no real big fish, mostly smallmouth with some spots and sunfish mixed in.  There were plenty to keep us interested though which was nice.

After lunch we drove up to the local general store to have a look around.  The Ozarks seem to have no shortage of these types of places.  We each got a slice of caramel apple pie a la mode that may have been the real highlight of the trip.  Really good stuff.

After pie we hit arguably the best spot on the river that we had found, where a major trib emptied into the main stem of the river, we fished sections of each and caught multiple Neosho smallmouth.  This spot had more riffle and run than any other section we fished and that suited us perfectly.  Wish we would have stumbled upon it earlier.  It was there we wrapped up the fishing portion of our trip.  We had a long drive ahead of us on Sunday so we would not be hitting the water in the morning.  We had another solid dinner that night when Blake cooked up some chicken fajitas that had been marinating a couple days in the ice chest.  The trip, even with the shorter planning period, came together nicely.  I don’t know where the next one will be but I always have ideas.


After a disappointing performance by the Tigers on Saturday night, I found solace in the cool, clear waters of a Florida parish creek on Sunday afternoon.  It’s been too long since I’ve made a wade trip on a creek, but yesterday was a great time for it.  The weather was perfect and the water low and clear – great for the fly rod.  It was reinvigorating spending some time outside alone with Mother Nature.  The weather may have been too perfect though, they say that fishing is always tough on a bluebird sky, yesterday proved that theory. The idea is that the higher pressure gives the fish lockjaw – that will be my excuse as to why the fishing was so slow yesterday.  I did bring two to hand and in thrilling fashion.  Each bass annihilated my topwater popper on impact with the water, then tailwalked across the surface, dancing around sunken logs upon realizing they were hooked. It was an impressive show that I’m happy I got to see twice.






Hard to believe it has been almost five years since Blake caught his state record spotted bass.  It’s also hard to believe that back then redfish weren’t our primary focus, it was spotted bass.  We were intent on breaking a record we thought was very attainable – the state record spotted bass on the fly.  Don’t call us record hunters though as it took 2.5 years for one of us to finally land one over 2 lbs, Blake came through and landed two in one day.  I’ve still yet to catch one over 2 lbs on the fly rod.  Shoot, it’s a good day when you catch one over 1 lb!  Thinking about his record and after a short conversation I had with Mike Tringali about the Choctaw bass earlier this week, my interest in our local spotted bass has been restored.  I had to go back to the old Riverbassin’ forum where we relayed our trip reports to each other and read about Blake’s day again.  I think it is worth a share here(I updated links and edited for spelling and grammar from the original):


Well, August 14th was a good day that was about two casts from being one of the most frustrating days that I have ever had fishing. I had put in a few extra hours at work during the week and decided to take off to the stream, arriving around 2:30 in the afternoon. I started fishing and was doing pretty well on a crease fly catching above average fish in both size and number. I waded all the way to where I normally turn around and decided that I would just go one more bend in the stream just to check out what things looked like. Well, when I got around the bend I saw a deep pool that I figured would hold some nice fish. I was pretty surprised at what was about to happen. First, a little background about the stream, the average fish that we normally catch on the stream is around 9 – 10 oz and maybe 8 – 9 inches (maybe a little smaller). This day, I was getting bites from (not always catching) spotted bass that were ranging anywhere from 3/4 to 1 1/4 pounds on a consistent basis.

Anyway, I started casting in the last deep pool that I was going to fish and caught a pretty nice fish on my first cast.


On the next cast, I caught a fish that I believe would have surpassed the Louisiana state record spotted bass on a fly rod. So now I have a decision to make. I didn’t have my scale or a stringer and I was 1.75 miles away from my truck and would have to carry the fish all the way back. I decided to just bite the bullet and let the fish go, hoping that I catch it again in the future. This fish far surpassed any fish that I have caught in this stream in the past 2.5 years. Below is the picture that I snapped using the timer feature on my camera before I let it swim…


After this, I was pretty p.o.’d about not being prepared to catch a fish like this, this far away from the truck. So to pass some of the time on the walk back, I called Ben and told him that I thought I had just released the state record (he and I have been saying that we were gonna break the record and I even said that I would when I introduced myself on a thread on this site). Well, I get pretty close to my truck and it’s still daylight, so I figured I would fish a stretch that I didn’t have much luck at earlier in the day but Ben had caught a good one at on a previous trip. On my second cast I had a huge bite and set the hook. I thought I was caught on a log. Then the fish ran and I realized that I had a fish that was fighting harder than the one that I had released. I ended up landing the fish and in the end, It weighed 2.34 lbs and should be the state record. I’m still getting all the needed info together to send it in. Thought it was a cool story and figured I would share.



I had the fish weighed on a certified scale witnessed by two others (my wife and Ben), identified by a biologist other than myself, and signed off on by myself. The only thing that I have left to do is print out the pictures and send in the paper work with a 25 dollar check. I also have to send in the fly and leader that I caught the fish with.

I had the fish analyzed at work. Turns out that it was between 5 and 6 yrs old. The upper limit for spotted bass in the area is 7 years old. The fish had a 5 inch longear in it’s gut that helped push it over the edge on the scales.

I got to talking with some of the biologists that are doing spotted bass profiles in the watershed and have been included in the “collection” of fish from the streams that I fish. Looking forward to the next sampling day for sure


Congratulations to Blake on officially making the record books. Scroll down to page 33 – Fly Fishing division, spotted bass.


Here it is:


But I’m sure that it will be broken soon with Ben, Barret and I all really getting into the river fly fishing and spotted bass thing. Especially with the kayaks, it opens up a lot more and bigger water to fish. If it wasn’t $25 and I didn’t have to give up my fly and leader, I would fill up that list just to see my name on it nine times.

Blake had an incredible day that day and we followed it up a few days later with another great day.  No 2 lb bass were brought to hand then, but several 1+ lb bass were.  Most were caught on his crease fly which I’m going to go ahead and post that below as it is still an awesome fly to use for spotted bass.  He has also done an articulated version that you can find in the Fly archive, but this is the original, and Blake’s first SBS(Again, I took the liberty of editing the original for spelling and grammar).

Chartreuse baby bass crease fly SBS

Well here goes, my first step by step:


  • Hook – Size 2 Orvis Bass Bug, Item No. 8810.
  • Tail – Chartreuse and Olive marabou, crystal flash
  • Thread – Danvilles 3/0 waxed monocord
  • Body – 2mm closed cell craft foam
  • Coloring – black and red permanent markers, Roseart metallic marker
  • Googly eyes
  • 5 minute epoxy
  • Superglue
The first step is to tie in the chartreuse marabou tail and the crystal flash on top of that.
Next, tie in the olive marabou. I try to wrap the marabou all the way down the shank with thread so that I have something with a little bulk to glue the foam to. Cut the flash to about an inch behind the marabou tips. I leave it a little long as it can always be cut down later on.
Next would be to cut out the piece of foam using a template. I messed around with different shapes until I found a shape that suited most of my crease flies and then made the template out of card stock.
Color the foam. The metallic markers don’t dry right away, so I make a pretty heavy line and smear it with my finger to get the faded look from top to bottom. I find it easier to draw the lateral line and add eyes after the fly is glued, but it doesn’t really matter if you do it now or wait until after.
I glue one side of the foam to the shank leaving enough under the shank so that when I glue the other side of the foam, the ends of the foam are glued together so that the shank doesn’t show through the crack.
Then glue the other side.
I then draw the lateral line and add the eyes and the gills(I use both googly eyes and stick-on eyes).
I cut a hole(using a hole punch) from some red foam and insert it in the end of the fly using my bodkin. I use super glue to secure it in place. The second picture shows the closed ends of the foam on the bottom of the shank and also the red plug in the mouth of the popper.
The white baby bass is another good pattern. For it, I would substitute white marabou for the chartreuse marabou. I also colored the mouth part red on this fly. No reason why, just thought it looked good.
I then add a light coat of 5 minute epoxy for durability – finished fly.
Proof of concept…