Photo of the Day: Pattern-Testing for Smallmouths


Written by: Phil Monahan

Grace Vieth offers definitive proof that the new fly works. . .and works well.
Photo by Kip Vieth

Shawn Brillon, the Orvis product developer in charge of new flies, recently sent some samples of a potential new smallmouth pattern to Kip Vieth of Wildwood Float Trips, based in Montecello, Minnesota. Kip sent back this photo of his daughter, Grace, who is also one of his guides, along with a note that said, “I think they’ll do.”

One thought on “Photo of the Day: Pattern-Testing for Smallmouths

  1. Adam

    If you’re looking for an AWESOME smallie pattern try the Bonefish Bitters in a size 10. A few years ago I had an opportunity to fish a stream in PA that I had never fished before for a fish that I had never caught before. An Orvis store nearby hooked me up with some info and a box of new flies. At first I tried my luck on dries (as that was my go to method at the time) in the 75 degree water with little productivity . . . . then I tied on the BB. I sent a few casts down stream working the shallow rock bottom with a slowish retrieve. I didn’t feel any hard strikes but what I did feel was a few short moments on each retrieve where the line suddenly felt like I was pulling my fly through mud. Not thinking anything of it, I sent another downstream and decided to light a cigar while my rubber legged saltwater fly dangled gingerly in the current. I barely had time to take my second puff, when WHAM!! . . . the rod nearly jerked out from under my arm. I laughed at myself for a second in that “of course it would happen now” moment and brought in my first respectable smallmouth of the day. It wasn’t to be my last. Cast after cast, wading down river over the smooth rock bottom was bringing up fish after fish, one bigger than the next. It got to a point where I joked with myself for having considered bringing anything smaller than the 7-weight that I had decided to pack. As it was, at some point during my excursion I had figured out that those initial casts . . . where my fly felt like it was being pulled through mud . . . was actually a strike!!!!! Similar to walleye they were coming up from behind my fly, mouthing it for a moment, and then spitting it out. From then on every time my retrieve got “muddy” I set the hook and watched the show. The only time I changed flies was when one broke off, and I tied on a fresh Bonefish Bitters. I guess no one told those PA smallmouth that The BB was a saltwater fly!!

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