Bass fishing with a fly rod? Try it – they’re not just for trout anymore

Like many bass anglers, John Deshauteurs has an abundance of specialized tackle. Rods with a broomstick-strength backbone and multi-gear reels that are engineering marvels. Tools to drop a jig into a teacup-size spot and the muscle to wrestle a hefty, hard-fighting largemouth or smallmouth bass from thick cover.

Then, a few years ago, Deshauteurs, who lives in Vancleave, Mississippi, and who works as an angling entrepreneur and serves on several fishing-related pro staffs, including Jackson Kayak, decided to add another tool to his fishing arsenal.

A fly rod.

“I started fly fishing for bass about six years ago when I saw a couple of buddies doing it,” Deshauteurs says.

Many – perhaps most – anglers associate the fly rod solely with trout fishing. And with good reason. Fly rodding for trout is steeped in fishing history, soaked in angling literature and occasionally – and somewhat unfairly – carries a bit of a snobbish air.

“Yeah, I’d guess a lot of people would mainly associate fly fishing with trout,” Deshauteurs adds. “But it’s largemouth bass in my part of the country. And it is great fun.”

Bass on the fly: Your gear guide for tackling this new take on bass fishing

John Deshauteurs, who serves on the pro staff for Jackson Kayak, displays his fly casting prowess on the Niagara River. His advice for kayak anglers: “Always wear a personal floatation device – always.” (Photo: Gary Garth)

Deshauteurs hasn’t abandoned his traditional bass tackle for the fly rod and has no plans to do so. Fishing is his business. But he now makes fly rodding for bass part of his time on the water and would suggest to his fellow bass traditionalists – and fly rod enthusiasts who have not targeted bass – not to knock something they haven’t tried.

“It’s another tool to use. Just another way to fish,”Deshauteurs notes. “But bass on a fly; I do enjoy that, very much.”

Michigan based angler and Simms Fishing pro Mike Schultz is another fan. He relates wielding a long rod for bass to archery hunting.

“Fly fishing for bass is a completely unique experience, especially for anglers who have never tried it before,” says Shultz. “In my mind, the coolest aspect about targeting bass on fly is that it’s really a close connection to the fish. It’s really kind of like comparing an archery hunt with a rifle hunt.”

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