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David Sparks Ph.d Hot Bronze
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Sportsman's Spotlight
Date: August 08, 2017

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Chatting with senior deputy editor of the excellent magazine Field & Stream, Colin Kearns about one of his August issues stories called Hot Bronze Summer can be cruel to devout trout fisherman. If drought has turned your usual flyfishing spot into something more like a rock garden, don’t fret—there could be smallmouth nearby. An old pair of wading boots, a few choice flies, and a couple of tweaks to your usual trout presentations are all it takes to light up a smallmouth stream during the dog days.

Last summer Steve Culton piled up his trout fishing chips and went all in on bronze. Focusing exclusively on smallmouths for an entire late-summer season gave him a true crash course in the methods and approaches that can make or break you on a summer bass wade. There are certainly similarities between targeting skinny-river smallmouths and trout, but you can forget about micro bugs and 12-foot leaders. Here are the most critical smallie lessons I learned.

Don’t Be Dainty

Have you ever thrown an articulated streamer into a pool of delicately sipping trout? At best, the fish will ignore it. At worst, they’ll scatter. Not so with smallies.

Get Big and Weird

Subtle and sparse are not words commonly used to describe smallmouth flies. In-your-face is more like it.

Mix It Up

Trout will turn their noses up at anything but the perfect imitation of that moment’s hatch. Smallies don’t.

Fear No Frog Water

Smallmouths are ambush feeders, so unless there’s a hatch they’re keyed into, these fish are less likely than trout to hold in open runs. With that in mind, avoid featureless areas and extreme shallows.

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