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since my slip cork rig seemed to spark some new ideas for myself and others, i'll share my method of live bait fishing witha fly rod. this may be more common in other parts of the country than my slipcork rig....we'll see. to start with, i use an automatic fly reel, and a 7.5' rod. all i do is roll cast so no need for anything fancy. i use a 4'-6' leader, a very small natural colored cork, tiny split shot and a #5 aberdeen hook. i crimp the splitshot 6"-1' above the hook and the cork 4'-5' above the hook, near the top of the leader. how i fish this is more key than the rig itself. i use it in oxbow lakes off the rivers i fish, and farm ponds in the spring and summer when the fish are shallow. i usually slowly troll the banks roll casting to structure along the bank in 2' to 3' of water. im bottom fishing when i do this. the key is the roll cast. it allows the line to fully extend whitch in turn extends the leader completely. the bait slowly falls to the bottom and the smal cork stays away from the bait, but is still effictive because with the leader fully extended if the bait moves, the cork moves. when done correctly, it appears tto the shallow fish that a snack simply feel from a bush overhead. its a very subtle and effective presentation when the fish are shallow and spooky. its ultra quiet. i learned this technique from my grandad years ago and have caught some trophies using it. we all know how much fun a slab is on a fly rod.

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Tomas, I too use a fly rod with live bait, and been doing it for the last 40 years. Crickets on a long shank #8 hook, with a split shot 6-12 inches above the hook, 6ft 6 inches of 10 pound  flourocarbon leader,and as my float/ strike indicator I use a 8-10 inch porcupine quill on the line. My rod of choice is an 8 1/2 ft. graphite 5 weight rod ,with a manual reel. The only reason I use a manual reel is a weight issue, I have 3 automatics , but after all day fishing , they get a little heavy. I dont get fance with my casting but still get 25 to 35 feet away from the boat depending wind,any rougher casting and you could throw the cricket off the hook. We get right into the thick with this rig ,and if you get hung up ,just pull straight on the line,and bend the hook back and keep fishing. After you get use to fishing with this set up and go with a artificial fly or bug you will be a black belt at casting artificials, its a wax on wax off type of thing. Rarely will you ever catch me on the water not using this technique .       LOFR

Great stuff, guys My eyes are starting to glass over just thinking about it. I know what I want for Valentines Day....

lofr, my grandad taught me in the swimming pool 15 years ago and i havent put it down yet. he could put a cricket in a shot glass at 30 feet. lol. once youre accurate with this, you catch fish you couldnt even et to with any other method. i understand completely why youve been doing it for 40 years.

Hello from Australia,

I now use a fly outfit for just about all my freshwater fishing. I can use it to pitch a fly, bait or even really light fly spoons. I carry a few boxes of assorted flies but always have a little bait box on my wader belt with some worms. I mostly fish local small creeks for trout but sometimes lakes and ponds for other introduced fish like perch, roach and carp. My favourite fly rod is an 8 foot Silstar fly rod that I picked up at a garage sale for $5. I match this with either a Heddon or Southbend automatic reel, both of which I bought on ebay. Auto reels never caught on in OZ and I'd never seen one in the flesh until mine turned up in the mail. I'm sold on them as they are great for small creek fishing and alot of fun to use. I think if I lived in the US I would become a keen bluegill fisher.  They sound like alot of fun to fish for using many methods and pretty good in the pan, aren't they?

Cheers,

Steve

Excellent write up Tomas. 30' feet..shot glass..cricket? I thought the baitcaster was accurate for some of us, with a bucket 50 feet away, but 30' and a shot glass? Jeeze!

he was amazing to watch with a fly rod in his hand. i dont remember ever seeing him use anything else.

great post!!!

How do y'all keep the crickets from flying off the hook? I tried but I guess the crickets I used were not good..they wouldn't stay on during casting.

i use a roll cast and have no problems with worms, crickets, catalpas, meal worms... honestly i dont know how to cast any other way with a fly rod.

When I fish small creeks, I rarely use an overhead cast due to the overhanging vegetation. Sometimes a roll cast but usually a simple pendulum, flip or dap cast--whatever is needed to get the fly or bait into a tight spot. I've even just chucked, by hand,  a bait or soggy wet fly into some spots. Not poetry in motion but it gets the job done and catches fish out of spots that I used to pass up when I was locked into the rigid 10o'cock/ 2o'clock casting mode. I've only used worms on the fly rod, I'll have to try hoppers, crickets and anything else I can find.

Cheers,

Steve

What Stephen said on casting,with live bait your first cast is the one to reach the target area , dressing on the line is important, anything that will make the line shoot smoother through the eyelets, also instead of the basic 10/2 position,think outside the box, a horizonial cast  parallel to the water, a backhanded cast  comes in handy when in a boat, you dont want to hook your buddy , and the basic roll cast. The porcupine quill  add a little weight to your cast for further distance and it is the most sensitive strike indicator  I have ever seen, it's almost like using a net on them.  Once you are use to this technique , going back to the old 10 and 2 with just a fly on  is a piece of cake, if you have enought room for a backcast you will be surprised how far you can cast , just imagine you are the Mastro of the fishing orchestra, and your fly rod is the baton.  When I'm not in close combat with the bluegill, I really enjoy wading  our small Ozark river chasing smallmouth and Kentucky  bass , casting from one bank of the river to the other and working the shoals.It's not hard to make a flyrod do what you want it to , it just takes a little practice and patience. Good Luck          LOFR

I've found that a fly rod setup is  very versatile as it can be used with flies, bait and even very light spoons or spinners. Before fixed spool reels came along, this is all that many people used for all their freshwater fishing. I've been reading an Australian flyfishing book and the author relates how he used a fly rod in the 20's and 30's to fish baits and fly-spoons. Only in the late 30's did he get around to casting flies. I can get into tight spots much easier with quirky casts and drifts on the fly rod. I spend more time fishing and less time trying to get lures or bait rigs out of overhanging vegetation.

I still use my automatic reels and they are great but I recently put a 25 yard L6F line onto a small Southbend clicker type reel. No backing as it's too small but the length is entirely adequate for small creek and pond fishing. The level line roll casts quite well and with a porcupine type float like Lord of The Fly Rods suggested and a level mono leader, it works very well on pond fish. Besides it still casts a wet fly with no problems.

Cheers,

Steve.

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