FLY FISHING FOR BASS?
ďAbsolutely!Ē, says Ted Warren who is the local organizer of the 2nd World Championship Bass on The Fly Fishing Tournament.
While there arenít many bass fishermen in East Texas who fly fish for bass, there are a lot of folks who bow hunt for deer. Fly fishing for bass is like bow hunting for deer. Sure you can increase your chances of getting a deer, and perhaps even a bigger deer, using a rifle but utilizing a bow adds to the challenge, skill, and reward of hunting for deer.
Itís the same way for bass fishing. Sure, you can probably catch more, and maybe bigger, bass using a bait caster or spinning outfit. But, are you up to the challenge of developing the skill and patience to catch bass on a fly rod? The excitement of catching a bass of any size on a fly rod certainly surpasses that of overpowering them with conventional tackle. On Lake Fork, catching fish below and in the slot is fun and exciting rather than boring and something to complain about. And shouldnít that be our primary motivation for fishing?
For some reason fly fishing went from freshwater trout fishing to saltwater fishing and bypassed bass fishing. Some say thatís because of the ďbubba factorĒ Ė bass fishermen are essentially meat hunters rather than sport fishermen. Others say itís because fly fishermen are snobbish and the sport is too expensive. If either of these statements were ever true, they are no longer true. While working in a fly shop in Colorado in the Summer, I meet hundreds of ordinary folks who want to learn to fly fish even though they use conventional tackle the rest of the year. And many of these folks are Texas bass fishermen! In addition, the cost of good fly fishing equipment has come down in recent years and is now comparable to conventional bass fishing tackle.
While I am a dedicated bass fishermen, Iíve come to appreciate the challenge of fly fishing for trout and now bass. Since I donít know anyone who really fishes for bass as a food source, I believe bass fishermen are sport fishermen at heart. You donít have to use a fly rod to fish for bass but it sure is fun when youíre out there to relax.
But, does a fly fishing tournament for bass make sense. Absolutely! When everyone uses the same equipment, itís a level playing field and many of us enjoy a little competition in our chosen sport. Since Ray Scott started B.A.S.S tournaments bass fishing has exploded, techniques and equipment have continually improved, and conservation has gained significant attention.
While there my be some die hard fly fishing traditionalists who will never approve of competitive fly fishing, there are plenty of fly fishermen who are interested in the sanctioned trout fly fishing competitions around the world. So, if there are successful trout fishing tournament and successful bass fishing tournament doesnít it make sense to have a fly fishing tournament for bass? The Fly fishing industry could certainly use a shot in the arm by engaging the 10 million bass fishermen and B.A.S.S. proved that tournaments do that.
Apparently some manufacturers think so as they have developed fly rods specifically for bass fishing. And, one of our local Lake Fork guides is part of a group asked to advise one of the national bass fishing organizations about organizing tournaments exclusively for fly fishing. So, letís enable more folks to enjoy a fly fishing experience close to where they live that includes education, resource conservation, and a little competition.
This years World Championship Bass on The Fly Fishing Tournament will be held May 21, 2011 at Lake Fork Marina. More details and an entry form can be found at www.bassonthefly.org
. This tournament is endorsed by the Federation of Fly Fishers Ė Southern Council. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Federation of Fly Fishers.