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Float-n-Fly 101

9421 Views 36 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  bluetickblues
I'm just a guy that really likes to fish for smallmouth... especially in the winter.

A few notes about the FNF.

- The colder and nastier the weather... the better they bite.

- Water temp has to be between 40-55 degrees for them to really eat it.

- 8-10' spinning rod is a must

- 4lb test P-Line (I prefer the green mono)

- Small pear shaped bobber

- 1/16 Jigs work the best

- Depth fished is usually 7'-14'

This is a dynamite lure for big winter smallmouth! It has been known to catch a few other types of fish as well... Stripe (just ask Joe), Crappie, Bluegill, Drum, Largemouth & Spots. Around this area Norris, Cherokee and South Holston produce your larger stringers but Chilhowee, Tellico & Loudon produce a few decent fish with it as well.

I have been using this technique for 12+ years... now that I think about it I am getting old!
There have been days on all 3 of the top lakes I mentioned above when I could have weighed-in 25 - 28lbs with my best 5 smallmouth. Understand as with all fishing though, not every day is a good day and some of them can even be humbling. It's still a ton of fun though!

A special rod and real is not a must item but for the beginner, it sure makes life a lot easier. I have taken numerous people on their "first" FNF adventure and because we use mostly light line (4lb) the extra length and action of the FNF rod gives the beginner a little more room for error as they learn the technique (Just ask JOE
). Remember... this isn't a flippin stick with 20lb braid on it... you have to get use to giving the fish a little time to run and play. For most of your "power fishing" types, this takes a little time to get use to.

There's no need for you to run out and buy one right now unless you just have the itch and the extra cash... If you do decide you have to have one right away... you can get a good outfit (rod &reel) for around $60 if your a thrifty shopper. Of course you can always pay more if you want too.

There are all kinds of ways to rig your floats, your line, and your flies but the easiest and most consistent way I have found has been just to use a standard small pear shaped float and a single fly (never tipped as that's cheating... anyone can catch fish with live bait.
). The smaller the fishing line...the better. Determine the depth you want and then wrap your line around the bottom of the float 2-3 times. This allows you to change depths quickly without tying and re-tying each time you want to adjust. I know several people who use the swivel method others have spoke of and have had success but for me, I like to change depths regularly and this tends to slow me down. Everyone likes to fish a little different though, so find what works best for you and stick with it.

The type of banks or cover varies as you really need to get a feel for what stage or pattern the fish are at during the time you are fishing. Rocky banks are always a safe bet but can sometimes be distracting to where the fish are really at and what they are really doing. As a rule of thumb I typically start off in deep pockets and work my way to the points and/or bluffs until I determine their location and/or pattern.

As for warm and/or pressured water... I've caught fish on this lure in all different water temps and conditions, but the issue becomes the quantity & quality. This technique is designed to target suspending schools of fish. During the winter months the smallmouth school up, move less and feed less. The fly which looks like a minnow being drug in front of their faces is to tempting as it takes little effort for them to eat. This is why if you locate a good school, you can land several nice ones in a row. The issue I have run into with warmer water is that the fish typically don't school as much, they move more, eat more and want bigger sized bait. Suddenly this little minnow (fly) that was so tempting during the winter isn't even considered worth the effort during the summer months. Again, they can be caught but not as consistently.

Dale Hollow is a great place to use this lure... I usually make 1 or 2 trips a year down there. The lake is loaded with smallmouth so it's a good place to learn the technique. Norris and Cherokee are very good as well though.

There are a few other tricks as well but we'll save that for a later time... A guy cant tell all of his secrets at once.

Rule of Thumb: If you wake up, look out the window and say... "a man would have to be crazy to fish in this weather", then you should definitely put your cloths on and go on to the lake. It should be a good day!
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I would like to get to go FNF fishing with you one day and learn how and where to use it I have tried it a couple of times with no luck.
Been wanting to go try out these new hair jigs on Cherokee........gonna be 11 degrees in the morning
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good info right there G3.....thanks for the crash course
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yea, my club (Bloomingdale) is fishing a TX there in the A.M.

Guess what.....Dale wont be with them!
yea, my club (Bloomingdale) is fishing a TX there in the A.M.

Guess what.....Dale wont be with them!

I think they fished today Dale. I didn't go.

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I think they fished today Dale. I didn't go.


HA! Im more behind than usual....
That is some good info thanks for that info. I was wondering how they tourny turned out this morning down on the Indian.
Thanks for Posting that Up Brian! That will help alot of the members out with great info on the GOod Ole FNF!!

Oh and on a side note. If anyone went fishing today. I give them major
Didn't get above 27 here today and it is going to be 5 here tonight!!
Wheew Wee, I was content hangin around in the house.
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Thanks G-3 thats some really good info.
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I don't know much about fnf hope to learn it next winter
I have a question when fishing the float n fly do you look for schools of shad on your depthfinder @ the right depth or do you just fish certain spots such as bluffs even if no shad are present. I have tried the float n fly a couple of times on Cherokee with no luck.
I have a question when fishing the float n fly do you look for schools of shad on your depthfinder @ the right depth or do you just fish certain spots such as bluffs even if no shad are present. I have tried the float n fly a couple of times on Cherokee with no luck.
That's a good question RR91... Unfortunately like most things to do with fishing there is no exact answer. The answer to this question depends on several different things such as the time of year, water clarity, temp and to complicate all of those things further, it can also vary by body of water. On South Holston and a lot of your other clear water Appalachian mountain lakes like Fontana & Chilhowee, the SM usually follow the bait in winter which means you should use your graph to locate them. On other lakes like Cherokee and Norris, the bait doesn't necessarily have t be present. I've pulled in on banks with absolutely no bait showing on them and caught lots of fish before. Many times the SM will hold close to a particular area because they know the bait will come there way soon.

It's important to keep in mind that this technique was designed to catch those fish whose metabolism had slowed down and no longer wanted to chase food for the winter. During the cold winter months those SM typically back out away from the banks and suspend in schools. This lure is used to target those fish. While they may not be as active and go looking for food as much in the winter, they will seldom turn down a free meal that swims by right in front of them (your fly).

As you can probably see, there are numerous factors to take into consideration... probably the best advice I can give you would be to practice... practice... practice. Each lake holds its own little secrets. The fun (and sometimes frustrating) part is trying to figure those secrets out.

God Bless & Best of Luck
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Great Reply Brian!!

I've never really located schools of bait. It's somthing I probably need to do, but Mostly I fish areas i've had success on before. I'm always learning new stuff all the time though, so I need to start looking for bait.
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ive learned a little somfin today thanks for the info....
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