“Float and Fly”

A relatively unused technique to catch panfish is to use a fly suspended under a bobber. The weight of the bobber allows you to cast out a lightweight fly.

Flies are artificial insect baits that are tied on a hook. They are normally used for trout fishing. Because of their light weight, they usually require a fly rod to cast.

Pan fish consume large amounts of aquatic insects, particularly the nymph stages that live in the mud, sand and rocks along the lake bottom and “hatch” into the water column where they swim or crawl to the surface. During the hatch they are very vulnerable, and fish feed heavily on them. Panfish are constantly on the look out for free-swimming nymphs.

Almost any “buggy” looking fly will work. Tie it on the end of the line, add a small weight, and clip on a bobber. After it is cast out, let the fly sink and then S-L-O-W-L-Y reel it back in. Adding a few twitches or faster speed is fine. However, you should pay attention to what you are doing so you can replicate it after you catch a fish.

This technique can be very effective for bigger fish during the summer months when the fish may be suspended in deeper water and scattered in small schools.  A slip bobber may be needed to get to the required depth.

Adding a second fly on a “dropper” line can add to the presentation’s effectiveness.