Float and fly? Who

New Melones Reservoir spotted bass

If you have been living under a rock and you haven’t heard of the float and fly, I hope this post helps you learn what you need to know to get started catching winter time spotted bass.

Float and fly leaders with round indicators.


It doesn’t get more simple in the fly fishing world. While you could spend hours finding the perfect rig.

In reality a 5-8wt fly rod loaded with a quality floating fly line. My personal rod is a 10” Echo Boca in a 6wt while Brian likes a 10” 7wt Echo Ion Xl. 10” rod. Yes you can use a 9” rod the extra rod length helps pick up longer leader lengths.

Any reel in the appropriate size will do. You will want a reel with quality drag for the occasion a big bass makes a run on light line. I am a fan of Galvan’s Torque series of fly reels. They are reasonably priced and have one of the best drags on the market.

The Rig

If you are in the market for a new combo. I love the 10ft 8wt Maximumcatch Predator combo available for only $200 from our online fly shop. If your looking for a new versatile fly rod that can do everything from float and fly to throwing big balsa poppers for bass the Maximumcatch Predator rods have you covered.

Leaders and indicators can be the most complicated or the simplest part of the float and fly rig. While my day to day rig is slightly different than the one I am describing here the basics are the same and I used this exact rig successfully for years.

Any strike indicator that is capable of holding your fly up will work but a balanced indicator is best. Spotted bass will strike very softly in the winter months and may not pull your indicator down. So balanced indicators will work best. The indicators are balanced so that if a fish grabs the fly it tips over letting you know you need to set the hook.

I like a mix of a 20lb upper section followed by a swivel and lower section of lighter fluorocarbon. Below the indicator you’re going to want 6-10 feet of 4-9lb fluorocarbon fishing line. This method saves you from losing your indicator and makes it much quicker if you have to retie.

Float and fly starter kits and leader system are available from the online store.

The Flies

Simple yet effective Jiggy buggers

Any balanced fly that will hang level underneath and indicator will work. But we prefer 1/32oz and 1/16oz jig headed flies. You need to make sure your jig headed fly has a solid hook some of the cheeper crappie style heads online will straighten out when a big fish surges. Multiple patterns are available on my Float and fly product page. But baitfish are your big go to flies. The baitfish flies account for 70 to 80% of the fish put in my boat every year. With the White and Rainbow Sparkle Bunnies producing the most fish equally.

A small Dropper fly can be added for a little more action on the water, and in the winter moths can be responsible for some incidental trout and in summer can be an amazing bluegill rig.

For flies and indicators please visit the float and fly collection at DeltaBassBugs.com.


In winter moths we spend a lot of time in the inlet arms of our large reservoirs and while bluff walls are the primary location for the float and fly the backs of creek arms and even shallow offshore humps can be fished successfully.

DBB guest LaRon with a beautiful Melones spotted bass.

Instructional videos from Ryan Williams

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