Register now on PaFlyFish.com! Login
HOME FORUM BLOG PHOTOS LINKS


Sponsors

Browsing this Thread:   1 Anonymous Users





Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 9102
Offline
Redbreast sunfish are a summer favorite for small stream FFers in Pa – or if they’re not, they ought to be. Redbreasts have saved many days for me when bass wouldn’t cooperate. Sometimes I target them deliberately and consider smallies to be incidental catches on those days. Among my favorite rivers for RBS is the Raystown Branch of the Juniata. As you scout out bass creeks, you’ll often find some that are just terrific RBS fisheries and, hopefully, you’ll come to have some favorite RBS creeks of your own. They hang out in many of the same streams and in essentially the same habitat as smallies: chunk rocks in mid river current often hold RBS, esp larger ones. Smaller RBS are often hanging out along the shoreline over sandy flats and woody cover. They’re in lakes too but much prefer creeks and rivers – which is where I prefer to fish myself. Anyway, when I’m bassin and things are slow, I’ll typically put a small nymph as a dropper behind a larger bass nymph. In my experience, RBS, even large ones over 6 inches, prefer smaller flies. Their mouths are bigger than bluegills and almost as large as green sunfish but they seem to prefer smaller flies than greenies and certainly smaller than rock bass prefer. I get a few on poppers or streamers from time to time but, in my experience, if you want to slay the RBS, you need to downsize and fish subsurface. Here’s my setup: tie on a large, heavy bass fly (the big ones on the right in the pic, for example) and then drop the smaller RBS nymph about a foot behind it or as a point fly. I actually tie my big bass nymphs with a wire eyelet back at the bend of the hook to make this easier. This eyelet is visible in the big, lower nymph if you look closely. For the RBS, they’re not picky when it comes to patterns. As a rule, for RBS nymphs I like narrow profile flies tied in bright colors. They need to be durable. You’re likely to catch a lot of fish on a single fly and will often need to use hemostats to get the hooks out of their small mouths (sunnies take flies deep!) and your flies will really take a beating. I don’t bother with hackle or legs or similar stuff as it just gets destroyed when you’re catching fish after fish. Use longer shank hooks as this will also make it easier to get the fly out of their mouth. The flies on the left are typical examples of my RBS nymphs: small (about 1”), narrow, bright colored, and durable. Fish this combo dead drift under an indicator. SMBs and rock bass will (usually) grab the big nymph, while RBS will get the little one. Often, when you’re having a blast catch sunnies you’ll be pleasantly surprised to get a nice bass (or a bunch of them) when fishing this combo, or something similar.
Now is prime time to wade a small creek and catch a mess of redbreast sunfish. They’re great fun.

Attach file:



jpg  Flies7.jpg (103.34 KB)
26_50172c906040b.jpg 319X232 px

Posted on: 2012/7/30 20:53


Re: Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips

Joined:
2009/6/11 1:27
From York, PA
Posts: 1413
Offline
FI,

Excellent thread!

I have so much fun doing the same thing. I usually just use the tiny flies with a 3wt..... usually 1/2" size 14.

I agree about the hackle. It gets chewed off pretty quick, and it really slows down the sink rate.

When the trout slow down, and with the decreasing bass numbers, I go after sunfish 99% of the time!

Posted on: 2012/7/30 22:34


Re: Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips

Joined:
2009/9/9 14:52
From Bel Air, MD
Posts: 703
Offline
I agree with you on the enjoyment of catching and even targeting RBS. My local warm water stream, Deer Creek, is chock full of them, and some upwards of 7 or 8 inches. They put up a nice fight on a 3 wt. too!

Unlike you, I have much more success with poppers - small Betts bluegill/panfish poppers and sliders in size 8. When the sun gets high and is on the water, I will go down deep for them. My go to when that happens is a big prince or pheasant tail nymph.

As for habitat, again, I agree with you. If it looks like smallmouth are there, RBS are there too. Steep banks with rock ledges, deep runs, anything shaded. I recently fished a big, deep boulder pool and would throw my cast to the opposite bank as close as I could get - a few strips of the popper, let it sit, and BAM! I caught RBS over 6" on just about every cast.

You can tell when the little ones are messing with you, because they will nip at the tails and legs of the poppers - but leave it sit for a few seconds and the big ones will come up and hit it. I recently sight fished to a pod of RBS - caught one after the other - all around 7". Just when I thought to myself that surely the would not fall for the same popper, they just kept coming!

Posted on: 2012/7/30 22:41


Re: Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips

Joined:
2006/11/10 8:32
Posts: 1700
Offline
And if you are close to the Delaware River, it generally has the biggest RBSFs' in Pa. Using round numbers the RBSF in most Pa waters tend to top out at around 7" or so; those in the Delaware typically top out at a length that is closer to 8". I don't know why, but the conditions are clearly more ideal for some reason. I also fish the Schuylkill for RBSF, especially in Berks Co. They are larger than in most streams but not quite a large as those in the Delaware. When you find them then can be a blast on light tackle or a fly rod. They are much stronger fighters than bluegill of similar sizes. If it's been a slow day or if you are lacking time for a longer trip, you can maximize your catch be fishing the last hour before dark. They really turn on and it can be a fish on every cast affair.

Posted on: 2012/7/30 22:44


Re: Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 9102
Offline
Quote:

Mike wrote:
And if you are close to the Delaware River, it generally has the biggest RBSFs' in Pa. Using round numbers the RBSF in most Pa waters tend to top out at around 7" or so; those in the Delaware typically top out at a length that is closer to 8".


Interesting!
RBS do tend to run in larger sizes in larger bodies of water in my experience. There are big ones in creeks too but I see my bigger ones in bigger waters like the Juniata or Potomac. I think, like most sunnies, RBS are vulnerable to fishing pressure and I'm often surprised how many big ones I get in large rivers as these rivers are usually fished much harder than local creeks. I suppose these days that sunfish (like their black bass cousins) are the lucky beneficiaries of the C&R ethic now. The habitat/food in larger rivers just - for whatever reason - produces a bigger class of sunfish. Perhaps there's a genetic connection too(?).

Posted on: 2012/7/31 8:27


Re: Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips

Joined:
2011/5/3 12:22
From South Lebanon Township, PA
Posts: 1925
Offline
Overall they may very well be my favorite fish to fish for. Beautiful colors, good numbers usually, aggressive, and good fighters...makes for a good sport fish IMO. The fact that they're native to the Susky and Delaware drainages doesn't hurt either. In most streams they're the dominant "Sunnie" in those watersheds.

Agree with the above...look for Smallie habitat, they like the same stuff. Rock ledges, rocky pools with decent current coming into them, shoreline rip-rap, and even deeper, boulder filled runs with heavier current. Shade lines are key too, just like they are for Smallies.

I've caught them up to about 7"...not sure if I ever had one go a legit 8" but I'm sure they get that big, or bigger. My go to technique is just a size 12 BH Bugger. This is small enough to catch RB's, but big enough still to entice Smallies. Chartruse/White being my favorite in clear water, Black in murkier water. They'll often nail it as soon as it hits the water...if not, the usual drift, swing, strip works too.

Posted on: 2012/7/31 8:45


Re: Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips

Joined:
2011/4/20 8:08
From Phoenixville Pa
Posts: 212
Offline
I caught a few of nice size in the east branch of the perk this weekend. Aggressive takes but once I started realing them in they just kind of layed down like they've been there a million times. I'm not aggainst sun fish but I get bored with them after about the 5th one. They're too easy.

Posted on: 2012/7/31 9:15


Re: Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips

Joined:
2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
Posts: 5478
Offline
Mike wrote;
Quote:
And if you are close to the Delaware River, it generally has the biggest RBSFs' in Pa. Using round numbers the RBSF in most Pa waters tend to top out at around 7" or so; those in the Delaware typically top out at a length that is closer to 8".

Have caught them over 10" mike near eagle and Hendricks island. very large and fat. Largest ones I have ever seen..

Posted on: 2012/7/31 9:31
_________________
sandfly

So many Fish, So little time !!!
from the outer edge of nowhere
fly tying and fishing ghillie..
https://www.facebook.com/BigMeadowsFlyShop




Re: Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips

Joined:
2009/9/9 14:52
From Bel Air, MD
Posts: 703
Offline
Had a blast catching some this evening on Deer Creek - didn't need anything but a Boulder Hopper...something big and meaty!

I would post a pic of the one I tied, but it got beat to hell.

This link has some great foam hopper patterns - Hopper Fishing Blog

Threw it into likely holding spots - under over hanging trees and shaded banks. Caught the biggest one of the evening - about 7" - in about 8 inches of water by a submerged log.

Posted on: 2012/8/1 0:18


Re: Redbreast Sunfish - Some Flies and Tips

Joined:
2010/7/18 7:23
From Lansdale
Posts: 959
Offline
I've been having a good time with ANY size 12 or 14 dry I may have with me. Cast under trees, in any shade, or through the bubbles. If they don't strike, give it a twitch.

Posted on: 2012/8/1 10:45
_________________
To err is human, to forgive depends on the error.






You can view topic.
You cannot start a new topic.
You cannot reply to posts.
You cannot edit your posts.
You cannot delete your posts.
You cannot add new polls.
You cannot vote in polls.
You cannot attach files to posts.
You cannot post without approval.

[Advanced Search]





Site Content
Login
Username:

Password:

Remember me



Lost Password?

Register now!
Stay Connected

twitterfeed.com facebook instagram RSS Feed

Sponsors
Polls
Do you keep a fishing journal?
Yes
No
_PL_TOTALVOTES
The poll will close at 2014/8/22 12:38
1 Comment





Copyright 2014 by PaFlyFish.com | Privacy Policy| Provided by Kile Media Group | Design by 7dana.com