This is my “Go To” smallmouth bass fly. I have caught more smallmouth bass on a Black Byron’s Knucklehead, than any other top water fly. This one is yellow.
During the winter of 2011, I decided to design a smallmouth bass fly for my specific needs. Please note, I have been tying flies since 1962, and never once designed one. Other more talented designers did that for me and I always tied other people’s flies.
I wanted a top water foam fly that floated well in current, and one that I could see. My intent from the beginning, was to design a 3 dimensional fly, that did not need to be painted or colored in any way. Notice the eyes. They are one component of design influenced by that 3 dimensional idea. Of course, it needed rubber legs. And last, but important to me, is that almost clear wing on top, that can be seen in all lighting you would encounter when fishing. I tried many different colors of Krystal Flash and settled on the color “Pearl”.
I named it Byron’s Knucklehead, for internet searches. You would not believe how many different things or people are referred to as Knuckleheads.
This fly lands on the water making a noticeable but not a crashing noise. The smallmouth bass know it is there, but they are not spooked by it. This fly was designed to drift down a river, without any angler induced movement. It looks like a large insect that just landed on the water.
It worked well. After Spring arrived, the smallmouth bass in Little River ate it up. Then, I tried this fly on lakes. I simply cast this fly to the bank and let it sit. If a smallmouth bass does not eat it in a few seconds, I pick up and cast a few inches or feet away, near the bank. Most often, smallies just sip it from the surface.
The first Byron's Knucklehead was black. Later, I tried tying the Knucklehead in different colors. I chose Chartreuse for the second fly. It worked very well in rivers and on the lakes. While fishing with Josh Pfeiffer on a tailwater near here, fishing was slowing. We could see bass but they were not interested in most of the flies we used. I tied on a Yellow Knucklehead. They ate it up. I used the yellow version in other rivers with the same result. So, this fly is offered in three colors, Black, Chartreuse and Yellow.
Not only are Byron's Knuckleheads deadly for smallmouth bass, they also work well for trout, largemouth bass, large bluegill and shellcrackers.
Give them a try. They work!
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Little River Outfitters is a fly shop and mail order company located in Townsend, Tennessee, a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We have been family owned since 1994.
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