by Joe Cermele


The smallmouth spawn is long over, the fall cooldown is months away, and every hour you spend on the water feels like a session in the sauna. If you’re a fly angler, you could retreat to the AC inside, or you could wipe the sweat off your face and tie on a dragonfly. In late summer, these large insects transform from aquatic nymphs to the buzzing morsels you see zipping over the water’s surface. These two approaches will get even the most sluggish smallies rising.

1.) Fly Pack Fishpond’s new Dragonfly Guide Pack ($90) is ideal for the fly caster using big bugs. The front fly pouch is deep and domed so you won’t crush your on-deck flies, and a large main compartment holds an extra box or two, plus other essentials.

2.) Fly Line Rio’s Smallmouth Bass Specialty Line ($75) has a heavy front taper designed for casting big–and non-aerodynamic–bass flies. And its hard coating prevents the line from wilting in the summer heat.


3.) Hard Body Want to get the attention of a fat bass fast? Drop a B-17 Dragonfly ($4.50) right on his noggin. The plastic body and wings make for a loud landing. Start stripping and you’ve basically got a buggy version of a traditional popper.


4.) Soft Body The bushy hair wings of Gibson’s Dragon Fly ($3) provide plenty of surface area for long-lasting buoyancy and soft landings. This is the perfect big-meal pattern for hopping, skipping, and skating across the water.

Check out the casts you should use for smallies on the fly here.

From the August 2012 issue of Field & Stream magazine.

Photo by Yasu + Junko