Six Of The Best Largemouth Flies
The Complete Fly Fisherman|Jan/Feb/Mar 2021
Fly­Tying Field Editor Murray Pedder lists the top six largemouth yellowfish flies for the Orange, Vaal, Vanderkloof and Gariep dams.
Murray Pedder

It has been one helluva busy largie season at Flyz Inc. We may have lost our tiger season due to Covid-19 with very few tiger flies being ordered due to the travel restrictions, but the factory has been inundated with orders for largemouth flies. Guiding and travel operators for the Orange River, Vanderkloof, Gariep and the Vaal have seen hundreds of anglers targeting this magnificent fish this year. Each of these areas and the guides fishing them adopt a certain approach and use specific flies when targeting the elusive largemouth. The questions around lines, terminal tackle, rod weights are fairly standard and all have merit in certain applications. Obviously flies and fly selection are at the top of the list of priorities, as this is where it all comes together. The right fly for the right conditions and how to fish the various patterns is the final puzzle piece to bring that trophy to the net. It’s the same with all fishing, I guess. We supply all the fly packs for African Waters, X-Factor Angling, Mavungana Flyfishing, Fly Fishing Vanderkloof and a number of private individuals targeting largies on the Orange and Vaal rivers. In this article and with the feedback we are receiving, I offer you six must-have flies that have been very effective. Before we get into the actual flies, let’s take a look at the main criteria in order of importance when selecting or tying largemouth yellowfish flies: weight, profile and size, water displacement, colour.

WEIGHT

Weight in all largemouth flies is critical. It is also dependent on the water type you are fishing, current speed, depth you are fishing at and where the fish are holding. Fly lines play an important role here as well, aiding the fly to get down to where the fish are holding. The angler’s line management and skills with presentation are also critical and all need to come together to get the job done. This is most relevant in river sections where current, angle of the cast, line mending and line control are important. Slower pools and still sections are more forgiving but these areas are not always the best places to find feeding largemouth yellows. Fishing off anchor or on the drift needs to be factored in as well when it comes to weight of the fly, line control and mending. Most of our patterns are tied with dumbbell eyes in the 4mm to 4.8mm size range. They are brass, and occasionally smaller patterns are tied with 3mm dumbbells. Tungsten dumbbells are available, but in limited colours and configurations. In as far as a pupil and iris is concerned, I personally prefer a fly with a distinctive eye as opposed to a simple dumbbell. Most guides carry a selection of split-shot sizes that can be crimped to the bottom leg of the loop knot to aid in getting the fly down. This works really well on location. The idea of the sliding tungsten bead on the lower leg is effective but has one downside: during continual casting and movement of the sliding bead up and down the mono leg slowly weakens the lighter mono or fluorocarbon. The angler does not realise this until a fish is hooked and then lost on the first run as the knot breaks. Daniel Factor tells me this is not a problem on heavier tippet of 15lb and up, but if you want to fish lighter be very careful with this setup. In some of our patterns we combine a dumbbell and tungsten beads tied Belly Scratcher-style: rolling tungsten beads tied into the belly of the fly keel of the pattern to get it down very quickly. One of our six patterns illustrates this in more detail. In the perfect world you should have a selection of flies in a number of weights or you can overcome carrying dozens of flies with a few weight options and a good selection of split-shot applied as described above.

PROFILE AND SIZE

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