Whitesburg KY

Gabby’s Fishing Fever

The float and fly is a wintertime bass fishing system that will catch largemouth and smallmouth bass. This form of fishing was born at one of the greatest smallmouth bass waters in the world, Dale Hollow Lake.

The world-record smallmouth bass (11 pounds, 15 ounces) was caught on the Kentucky side of Dale Hollow by David L. Hayes of Leitchfield on July 9, 1955, and is one of the oldest big fish records.

Some anglers, myself included, feel that the new record smallmouth will be caught at Dale Hollow on the float and fly.

The float and fly is a very basic fishing system, but its results when fished correctly and at the right time can be very extraordinary. This rig consists of a small weighted floater, a three-way swivel, and the fly.

The rod used for this rig is usually a long rod in the seven- to nine-foot range. The rod has a fairly limber tip and a good backbone for setting the hook. The main reason for the long rod is to pick up the long length of slack line when you make your forward cast with the jig.

The rig is made up of a main line, usually a clear braided line like the Berkley fire line crystal line in a six- to eight-pound test range. This is tied to a three-way swivel and the weighted floater is attached to a ring on the swivel and the leader line is tied to the other ring.

The weighted floater plays a very important role in this system. The floater with the weight on the bottom will stand up in the water. This is very important because if the floater lies over on its side in the water after the cast is made, the jig is on the bottom and not suspending in the water and will not be effective.

The leader is usually in the 10- to 15-foot range but can be adjusted to suit each fishing condition. The leader line needs to be a clear fluorocarbon line in the four to six-pound range. This clear fluorocarbon line is practical invisible in the water and will not spook the fish like a heavier, more visible line.

When you get ready to make your cast with the float and fly, drop your line down in front of you and lift your rod high and come back and let the whole rig hit the water behind you. Then come forward with your cast to the area you want to fish. By making this forward and then backward casting motion, you will keep the rig from tangling and make a better, more accurate cast.

The fly used for this type of fishing is made to look like a small dying shad minnow, which is one of the favorite foods of a wintertime smallmouth. Some of the flies are made of duck feathers.

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