Bass is a species loved by all manner of anglers, with the main disciplines in the UK considered as bait anglers and lure anglers, though each of these primary categories can be considerably broken down given the vast number of methods one can utilise to catch this popular species.

Having covered some more mainstream methods in considerable depth previously, this month we look to some insight from fly angler Ashley Le Cornu from Guernsey. Over to Ashley.

Getting started

The fly I’m going to talk about in this feature is a minnow that I like to use on a Saltwater 12wt Rio Striper Inshore-30ft Sinktip Flyline. I set this up with around 4-5 feet of leader material, though not tapered as this is not necessary. Rio lines are good as they have a loop to loop connection for your leader which saves so much time and hassle.

I match this flyline with a 9 ft G-Loomis Asquith fly rod in 12wt paired with a Nautilus Silver King fly reel, this is a very good saltwater setup in my opinion and will hold anyone in good stead.

When fishing the fly I like to place the rod under my arm and use two hands to strip the line quite quickly with short to long pauses. I find this method very effective when fishing this particular fly for bass, or any other fly for that matter. However, you can fish it any way that suits your style.

Because of the sparseness of the type of fly (and along with the sinktip line) you will find you can fish through the water column to find where the fish are feeding, or you can utilise a float and let the fly swim in the current, which can be a very effective method. This fly will also work well on multiple species besides bass, such as on a trip to the salt flats abroad or fishing for tarpon in Costa Rica, South America.

After fishing for bass on lures for some time, I had decided to try saltwater fly fishing for the species as it seemed a more natural way to present an imitation bait to the bass, so I tried it out and loved it!

It’s an amazing journey in my eyes, a never ending learning curve in search of the fish that brings so much joy. In fly fishing  and indeed in all other forms, striving to learn more is what fires my passion for angling.

For those who are not too familiar with fly fishing, by all means give it a go, it does not mean breaking the bank. When I started out I had purchased a cheap clamp vice for £12 with a cheap set of tools to try a few ties. I also sorted out a cheap rod and reel, as you will well know, when fishing the cost of tackle can start to snowball quite quickly, so if you’re interested in the concept of the fly don’t think you’ll need top end gear as this is not the case, more reasonable price gear to start out is fine and will do the same job.

There are also very good books available that explain fly casting, ties, tools and methods, as well as the age of YouTube offering a wealth of knowledge and instant information at the click of a button. If you’re interested in checking out the materials that are used then look up the mad scientist at I’d also recommend checking out the FTD Facebook page to check out some of their ties.

FT Dungeon has a huge range of quality materials at a very competitive price with worldwide shipping at a very reasonable rate, plus they are very knowledgeable and will go out of their way to help and provide as much information as possible for you.

The Ghost Minnow

The fly I’ll be demonstrating to you is a (Congo hair) Ghost Minnow, which is a saltwater fly offering life like action in the water, especially when running in fast currents if stripped on a sink tip flyline or under a float such as a bombardier.

The saltwater baitfish bass fly can be tied in any colour fibre of your choice (or available to you) and in any colour scheme you like.

The Materials

  • FTD Congo hair glow white
  • FTD Congo hair chartreuse
  • FTD Congo hair red
  • FTD Congo hair yellow
  • FTD Flash white crystal snowflash
  • Contact adhesive (of your choice)
  • Marker pen (black)
  • Trabucco Hisashi hooks 1/0
  • Mono thread (150lb clear)
  • 8mm fish eyes
  • Super glue
  • Sharp scissors
  • A Stonfo Transformer Vice

You can use any hook to your preference, though bear in mind the bigger the hook the bigger the fly and the more material that will be required. I like the 1/0 Trabucco as it’s slightly offset, which I think helps to assist in better hookups.

The offset hook should stop the material getting in the way of bites and bumping the fish off the hook. Another good hook for this fly is a Gamakatsu SS15s in size 1, a very popular hook.

The recipe

4 Strands of chartreuse, 4 strands of glow white and 2 strands of yellow fibre 10 inches long folded and cut in half – feather the ends of fibres with fingers.

2 inch pinch of red fibre,

5-6 strands of white snowflash

When preparing your fibres you want the amount of a toothpick compressed, with this recipe less is more!  With less material the fly will sink deeper, the more material that is added the more the fly will be inclined to swim higher in the water column. As I fish for bass I prefer to keep the material to a minimum. 

Now click through the following carousel of images to get the steps on tying this fly.

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