Q. In June, I fish largemouth and smallmouth in clear water in the Northeast. What types of spots should I fish and what type of tackle should I use in that clear water?
Life Member Edward Rigsby
Hillside, New Jersey
A. By June, bass in your area should be postspawn, and entering their early summer patterns. Often, small bass will retreat to deep structure while big females hang around spawning areas to rest up. To find them, look for rocks (smallmouth) and emerging weeds (largemouths) as well as man-made structures like docks and swimming rafts.
Use a bait that can be worked slowly, yet has plenty of action; jumpbaits like Zara Spooks, Frenzy Walkers and Skitter Walks, as well as suspending cranks and weightless worms are all good choices. Also try a downsized jerkbait. In clear water, I recommend 8-pound fluorocarbon line or low-vis monofilament – green or clear.
Rapala’s Mark Fisher showed me this early-morning dock pattern, which is effective while bass roam nearby sand flats. Approach the dock from the east, staying offshore so your shadow doesn’t reach the fish. Cast a small, shallow-running crank, like a size 5 Storm SubWart or size 9 or 11 Jointed Rap, tight to the dock so it splashes down behind the fish, which typically face toward the sun. Make the fish turn to see what it is; they’ll often strike as the bait swims past.Q. I recently started fly fishing, and I’m a little confused. What is the tippet? And how does a tippet work?Member Lee Gault
A. It’s easy to get confused, but the tippet is an extra section of line tied to the end of your tapered leader. It’s sold in spools and is available in various diameters and strengths. The material is commonly super-limp monofilament, but tougher, abrasion-resistant tippets can be used for dealing with heavy cover, weighted flies or toothy fish.
Tippets are valuable for two reasons. Number one, they save you a lot of money because you can change flies many times without cutting into your expensive tapered leader. Second, a tippet lets you go to an even lighter line than the end of your hair-thin leader – perfect for casting micro-flies like midges and small caddies imitations.
A supple, low-diameter tippet will fall slowly and lay in small curves atop the water, leaving slack for the fly to drift naturally.
I almost always take the time to use a blood knot or surgeon’s loop to attach a tippet. The only times I don’t are near nightfall or during a furious bite, when I have to change leaders quickly and time is limited. With a little instruction and practice, you can also learn to tie your own leaders and tippets, which saves a lot of money.