The dragonfly bite

About the author

Michael Iaconelli

Michael Iaconelli

Michael Iaconelli is the only angler to have won the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year and B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

I was out fishing with the girls on Sunday. We had an interesting experience that I thought might help some of you guys this summer. Conditions were tough. We fished the dragonfly bite. Here’s how it works:

During the summer when the water’s down, you’ll find a huge number of dragonflies around lily pads, matted vegetation and old, rotten wood. The bass find them, too. This is a specific bite that will put a lot of bass in your livewell, but only if you do it right. The trick is to show the fish something that looks real, something they’ll bite. To do this you don’t need to be a fly fisherman. You can do it with ordinary bass tackle.

First, you’ll need the right bait. I generally throw a weightless Havoc plastic. On Sunday, we used Subwoofers, not because of their design but because they had a blueish cast to them just like the dragonflies we saw. Sometimes they’ll be brown-orange and at other times they have a green or a red hue to them. I’ve even seen them so dark they look almost black. No matter, pick your bait by color. That’s the most important thing.

The next thing that’s critical is size. Trim your baits so that they match the size of the local dragonflies and so that they look like a dragonfly body. Add a No. 4 hook and you’re ready to rig.

It’s essential that you make long casts. This is a light-weight bait — I’m guessing one will weigh no more than 1/16 of an ounce — so you’ll need to start with a long spinning rod that has some tip to it. My preference is an Abu Garcia 7-foot, 4-inch Vendetta. I mount a Revo Premier PRM 40 reel to it. I want a big spool that’ll hold a lot of line.

The best line for this technique is Berkley NanoFil. It’s tough as nails and will come off the spool easy and smooth which helps you get the distance you need.

We fished pads last Sunday and caught several good fish under really tough conditions — low, shallow water that was really hot. The reason we were able to do that was because we ignored the more traditional forage such as shad, bluegill and crayfish. We targeted bass with baits that mimicked the forage they were actually eating. And we carefully matched that forage by color and size.

I’m not going to say that I’ve ever won a big, national type tournament doing this. I haven’t. I have won a ton of money doing it in smaller local events, though. In fact, it was one of my bread and butter techniques back when I was just getting started.

We used it in New Jersey last weekend but it’ll catch them anywhere in this country. I can’t think of a lake or river I’ve ever fished in the summertime that didn’t have a bunch of dragonflies buzzing around.

You can also find Mike Iaconelli on Facebook and Twitter.

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