When cold temperatures hit anglers have to fish deeper for those largemouth and smallmouth bass.  With this technique, they can catch some nice bass as well as an occasional sauger or bluegill.

The float-n-fly presentation is popular with winter anglers plying the deep water structure of large lakes and rivers.  It works best in water in the mid- to low 40’s.

In such waters the threadfin shad swim in circles and twitch erratically as they fight for life.  The predator species take advantage of the situation by eating the easily captured bait fish.

Using 8 to 11 foot spinning rods or fly rods, anglers are able to present the light terminal tackle great distances from the angler.  These rods allow the angler to fish very light line of less than 6 pound monofilament.  Monofilament line, and a good flexible rod, permits the fisherman to play large fish because of the stretch in the line.  The flexibility of the rod allows the angler the ability to lift the fly from the water on the back cast.

The typical terminal set-up involves small float (½ to 7/8-inch long) mounted on the line 8 to 13 feet above the fly.  The practitioners of this style of bass fishing do not like the slip float and use only a slight weight if any at all.

The fly is usually a tiny-feathered fly that will pulsate below the surface as a dying shad imitation.  Duck feather flys work best in the cold water.  Weights of the flys vary from 1/16th to 1/32nd ounce.  Colors tend to be combinations of chartreuse, white, pink, blue or gray.

Fishermen suspend the fly on monofilament line about 8 feet under the bobber to begin a day on the water.  If the water has some wave action, the float will provide some action the fly beneath it.  Once cast out, allow the float to bounce on the waves.  If no strikes from a fish, then one reels in about 5 feet of line and allows the rig to float once more.  Repeat the action until a fish strikes the fly.

In a calm water situation, the angler can provide some action on the fly by moving the rod up and down.  Allow the float to sit for a few minutes before repeating the action.

The depth up or down can be adjusted depending upon the location of the fish.  Trim the fly to parallel the bend of the hook.  The slimmer profile gives the lure a more subtle action.  Scent applied to either the body or head of the fly results in varying degrees of success.

Some of the larger fish will rise from the depths to mouth the fly and not move.  In this case the float will lie over and the angler should set the hook immediately.

The float-n- fly is most effective in clear water that is between 38 and 48 degrees.  Bluff banks, rocky points, sloping rock or clay banks are the first areas to probe with the rig.  It is most effective in areas of a lot of rock.

Regardless of how the float-n-fly rig is presented, it is an effective way to entice those big predator fish from their winter homes deep in the river or lake.  It is also a great break from those winter doldrums between waterfowl season and pre-spawn bass action.


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