We've spent a lot of time covering the early years of Larry Koller of late, but I'd be remiss not to reprint this early article on the subject of bass bugging with a fly rod. Much of what Koller wrote back then is still applicable today. It was published, like much of his early work in the Middletown Times-Herald, this particular one from June of 1938.
To read the original posts Click Here and for the update Click Here; for the first Voices from the Past article Click Here.
FLY TACKLE FOR BASS
by Larry Koller
The fly rod for bass fishing has developed during the past few years into a tool designed for a specific purpose. Early bug fishermen used the regulation type of trout rod of about nine feet in length with medium action. Since the development of bass bug fishing as an accepted and highly successful method of taking both species of bass, the rod makers have been putting forth more effort to produce rods just for this style of fly casting and at a price within the reach of the fishing public.
The rod ideally suited to handling a bass bug must have a greater casting power and more length than trout rods. The big flies and bugs offer a great deal of air resistance and can only be handled with a heavy line. This line of course necessitates a rod of ample power to make a well balanced outfit. Then, too, the large hooks require a heavy strike to set them in the tough mouth of a large bass. Length is needed to give easy pickup and quick striking ability, for most bass bugging is done from a boat with the caster in a sitting position, placing the rod in a lower position relative to the water surface.
Bass fishing causes severe strain on the rod to which the ordinary trout rod is not subjected. Serrated ferrules are almost a necessity, in order to eliminate any possibility of breakage at the ferrule which is a common occurrence with the shouldered type. A good rod for bass under general lake fishing conditions should be about nine and one half feet long, weighing about 6 1/2 ounces. Such a tool, equipped with tungsten guides and tops together with a screw type locking reel seat and serrated ferrules is the last word in bug rods.
Next in order of importance is the line. A rod of the type just described will handle well with a size C level line, preferably with an oil-waterproof finish. There is sufficient weight in a line of this size to handle any of the larger lures even against a breeze. The more particular angler will prefer a Big-Head or Torppedo Head tapered line in size GBG for his bug casting as it will give greater distance with less effort than any level line. Such a line is constructed with the heavy portion in the forward end in order to unpart maximum earning power.
Either type of line wifl give good results after an application of line dressing for the line MUST float in order to set the hook and to give clean pickup for the cast.
The reel can be single action, large enough to comfortably carry the line and balance the rod. The automatic is preferred bv many bass fishermen for its quality of giving complete control of slack line. The choice in a reel is largely a matter of personal preference for it serves no purpose other than to hold the remaining line which is not used in actual casting. However, no matter which type is used single action or automatic, a reel large enough to carry the line without crowding should be selected. Jamming a large line on a small reel will soon strip off the finish, ruining the line beyond repair.
Leaders should be either 4 1/2 or six feet long, and of six to ten pound test. For the beginner, the shorter leader will handle the easiest, but under some conditions, the long leader will produce more strikes. Only genuine silkworm gut should be chosen for bug fishing as it retains its full strength after soaking and gives a certain amount of spring to the cast which helps to lay a straight line. The artificial or knotless type of gut possesses neither of these qualities and in addition, can not be depended upon to give good satisfaction after it has been used once. Natural gut, on the other hand, will retain its strength and elasticity for a whole season if it is kept always moist.
-- Dr. Todd