I have a lot of success on clouser crawdads, clouser minnows (chart./white), and woolly buggers. For woolly buggers, I use olive, white, and black. If there's a lot of helgramites in the stream you fish for smallmouth, black buggers work very well.
The Cooper Bug may be tied in many other colors, including one particularly popular variation tied with dark deer body hair pulled over a peacock herl body. This pattern is also known by other names, including Devil Bug and Doodle Bug, and there are several different schools of thought regarding what this fly represents. Don't underestimate the value of this simple fly.
Hook: Dry Fly or Nymph, 1x long, size 8- 14
Thread: White or Red
Body: Red Chenille
Tail, Shellback and Head: Natural or White Deer body hair
Sometimes I hackle the body too to make "legs". Depending on how the head is trimmed it can be a popper or slider. Saturday fishing the Olentangy I caught a dozen rock bass and eight smallies on it. Most of the smallies were only a pound to a pound and a half except the last one ... three and a half pounds. All the rock bass were a nice size.
Fishing is at once the ultimate quest, the ultimate joy, the ultimate frustration. And anglers wouldn’t have it any other way.
Poppers are a lot of fun. I'm a big fan of sneaky pete's. Quick pop and long pause.
Another great pattern for bass, trout, stripers, etc. Todd's Wiggle Minnow with the fire tiger paint job. Wiggle minnows act a lot like a Rapala for the fly rod. Can be fished on floating line and used like a popper, or on any sinking line to probe deeper. Great pattern.
And as mentioned, Woolly Buggers, Clouser Minnows, and rabbit strips are great producers. Use Tungsten cones and beads to help get them down in faster water.
Clouser minnows! Chartreuse or olive/white all day! Even brown and orange works together! I think they think its a crayfish? Try all colors. red/white is good too!
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crawdad imitation i tie it's called "Devils Reject" pretty wicked on smallies it has 10 wraps of lead wire goes pretty deep and still can be cast with a 3wt.
i tied up 13 of them for the Michigan sportsman bass fly swap a couple years ago no complaints they must work in Michigan to ...
The fly in the rock bass' mouth has been one of my go-to flies for smallmouths(and crappie and stocked trout) this year and last. I usually tie them in sz 10s, yeah, on the small side for bass and I get a TON of smaller fish(<11in) on them, but I have caught my fair share of lunkers too. I've been experimenting with some crayfish patterns too lately which have produced some fish, but my top two flies have been the white bugger thing in the pic and just a plain bead or conehead brown bugger.