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Bassmaster Pro and RAILBLAZA Pro team member Bill Lowen shares techniques and proven baits to help you boat more bass during the mayfly hatch. Links and resources can be found at the end of this article, the original video from Bassmaster YouTube channel also linked below.
“Mayflies “hatch” (emerge as adults) from spring to autumn, not necessarily in May, in enormous numbers” Wikipedia
I want to share some tips with you on how to catch bass around the mayfly hatch or what some people call willow flies. At this time of year, the mayflies are so thick on trees and the bushes around the water that the branches are actually sagging down almost touching the water. What that does is it brings baitfish to the shoreline and when I say baitfish I mean bluegill and bream, sunfish things like that.
The bluegill is a species of freshwater fish sometimes referred to as “bream”, “brim”, “sunny”, or “copper nose”. Wikipedia
What happens is those mayflies will fall underwater those bluegills will come up there to eat them and in return the big bass like to feed on the bluegills, especially post-spawn bass they really like big bluegill. Post-spawn bass like a big meal and bluegill fit the bill perfectly for that, it’s no different than when bluegill are spawning, those big bass are always hanging around bream beds so when the bluegills get done spawning they transfer over to feed on mayflies, the big bass follow them.
I have a couple of top bait suggestions for you, one is always my tried-and-true swim jig, you want to use some type of bluegill coloured swim jig that matches the hatch, this is my Signature Series swim jig from lure parts online with a Strike King 4” swim’n caffeine shad, as you can see it’s just a perfect bluegill imitator because that’s what’s up there feeding on the mayflies and that’s what the bass are eating.
Bill Lowen’s Signature Series Swim Jigs are designed to glide perfectly through the water, enticing aggressive strikes. Bill loves a Swim Jig because they consistently catch fish for him. These jigs are extremely weedless. Pair these jigs with the Lowen line of swim jig skirts, and you have the best swim jig combination on the market. Features include Mustad UltraPoint hooks, oversized 3-D moulded eyes and premium colour patterns. Available in all the popular swim jig sizes. Link to the range at the end of the article.
My second choice is going to be an IMA Lures 2.6” finesse popper, a little topwater popper and as you can see it’s in a bluegill pattern as well. once again, those bluegill are coming up there to feed on those mayflies and this finesse popper is going to imitate that perfectly
TIP: Tie a loop knot to the finesse popper as it will give that popper a lot more action and that action is going to imitate the mouthing or splashing on the surface of the bluegill feeding on the mayflies.
If things aren’t going on the way you want them and the fish aren’t being very active you got one or two choices, you can either trolling motor over there that bush and shake it with your hand and knock all the mayflies loose onto the water then go somewhere else and come back a little bit later. That will stir up the bluegills to feed and a lot of times the bass will follow up there after you leave.
Another option and what I like to do is take a frog, really doesn’t matter what kind of frog you use but I traditionally like some type of popping frog because it’s got a cupped mouth on it. Take this frog and throw it up there in the limb, not necessarily get it hung but pull that popping face up to a limb, try to get it stuck on the limb and shake that limb a little bit. Once again it’s going knock those willow flies or mayflies out of the tree they’re going land on the water starting a feeding frenzy
So take these tips to the water when the mayfly hatch is going on I guarantee you it’s going put a few more fish in the boat for you. Bill Lowen