Thunder, Lightning and the Wet Bandit

23 Apr

In East Texas, this week's thunder, lightning, and the "Wet Bandit" articulated fly continue to produce big fly rod bass.

 Word from Lake Fork today is that the season’s best big bass fly fishing action is on.  

And so is the spring severe storm season.  

As tornado watches this afternoon caused East Texans to glance nervously at the region’s stormy skies, guide Rob Woodruff and his client Graham Sones hoped to take advantage of the falling barometer to hook a giant bass.  

A sudden cloud-burst interrupted those plans, forcing guide and guided to duck under a bridge in an effort to keep from getting speared by a lighting bolt.  

A half-hour later, with the stormy weather having passed safely by, the duo was back at it trying to conjure up a big jolt from a lunker largemouth.  

In one electrifying smash-mouth moment, mission accomplished.  

A nine-pound, four-ounce largemouth bass caught on the fly. 

“(This was the) biggest bass landed in my boat in 2010,” Woodruff said. “It was caught on the (Danny) Soltau Wet Bandit fly.” 

The client was obviously thrilled with a near double-digit fish on Texas’ best lunker bass water.  

And the guide was equally thrilled as warm weather, near perfect water conditions, a later than normal spawn, and an approaching full moon appear to all be coming together for a run of epic warmwater fishing on the fly.  

” Things are finally getting rolling at Lake Fork,” Woodruff said. “The next couple of weeks should be great.”  

After hearing this report, three thoughts strike me.  

First, while most anglers despise the passage of a spring front, the truth is that some of the spring’s best fishing action will often be on the pre-frontal side of things.  

When the barometer falls, the opportunity to catch bass rises.  

One of my best days ever came in such a scenario as a powerful spring front approached.  

As the southerly breeze fueled the atmosphere with juicy Gulf of Mexico air, the day’s intermittent rain showers and clammy temperatures made for some uncomfortable conditions. 

But the lightning paced big bass action more than made up for that. 

Second, I’m becoming a huge believer in tossing articulated flies for big springtime bass.  

I’ve seen first hand this month how well the Danny Solatu “Wet Bandit” fly fishes for shallow water spawners at Lake Fork. 

This salamander like fly seems to infuriate skinny water fish with its wicked motion in the H2O. 

On the trip I chronicled in “Bucketmouths,” I watched this tan and white fly momentarily hook up with an 8-pound bass. 

Later that afternoon, the Bandit struck again for a 5.25 pound bass that was brought to the boat for a quick CPR session. 

This past Sunday, Woodruff’s Louisiana client Randy Street used a Bandit – in inclement weather conditions as a cold front approached, no less – to boat an 8.0 pound largemouth bass of his own at Fork.  

And after today’s stormy action, I’m betting that Mr. Sones is now a big believer in tossing the “Wet Bandit” fly when the thunder rolls.  

Why do articulated flies like the Bandit prove to be so successful in hooking bedding bass? I’m glad you asked – look for a blog column on that topic early next week.  

The third idea that leaps out at me from today’s report is that I’ve got to get to Lake Fork.  



Without fail.  

And you need to do the same – beg the boss, plead with the boss, bargain with the boss.  

Do whatever takes to get out of the office and onto this hallowed Lone Star State water body during the upcoming seven to 10 day period with an eight or nine-weight fly rod in your hand.  

Because my prognostication is that the spring’s best run of big bass action is about to unfold at the 27,264-acre East Texas toad factory.  

Call it a good week to be on Lake Fork, perhaps a great week to be there, maybe even an epic week to be there as another wave of late spring spawners moves up shallow on the April 28th full moon cycle.  

Sore back or not, I’m going to be there.  

Slinging “Wet Bandits” and praying for the barometer to be falling on the cusp of another round of Texas spring storms.  

And with a little piscatorial luck, maybe this time next week it will be my double-digit fly bass that you’ll be reading about.  

I can only hope so.


2 responses to “Thunder, Lightning and the Wet Bandit

  1. Graham Sones

    April 26, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for the great account of this trip. That’s me in the picture, doing my best to mask how excited I was to catch such an awesome fish. I don’t know anything about bass responding to weather patterns, but can assure your readers that they’ll have a great time fishing with Rob Woodruff. I highly recommend him.

  2. Robin Rhyne

    May 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Soltau Wet Bandit – wow! Well, where does one get a supply of these flies? My Google came up with no results. And it sounds like a real winner!


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