Smaller fish never know what lies below the depths or what is lurking in the shadows. This was the case when I took my kids out to catch bluegills one summer and they kept catching a bunch of three to six-inch bluegills and sunfish. After they would land a fish, they or I would chuck them back into the water. We started to notice that a nice largemouth bass was lurking under the water and was catching the fish we were throwing back as well as the fish we were catching. As long as I’ve fished for bass, there has always been bluegills around. Bluegills, sunfish, and their hybrids are a constant food sources for bass wherever you fish for bass, particularly largemouth bass but also smallmouth. For this reason, I’ve fished an Enrico Puglisi bluegill/sunfish pattern for many years. I’m normally not a big proponent of match-the-hatch-flies because they often have bad or simple action, but this fly has such a convincing profile and a nice dropping motion, that it catches bass fairly well. It’s a pattern that I always have in my arsenal. Here are some tips on tying and fishing the pattern.
FISHING THE ENRICO PUGLISI BLUEGILL AND SUNFISH PATTERN
Enrico Puglisi fibers give us some cool options for a lot of different fly patterns. They have some great qualities to them in that they shed water, take markers, are cut into shape nicely, produce wide bodied patterns with a great profile, and they come in a huge amount of colors. However, this particular pattern has limits and benefits. Here’s some advice on the pattern.
First, the action of the fly is, more or less, a profile action, although the fly will tip forward and even nose dive if you let it. I like this in the pattern because it imitates an injured or dying sunfish. The more you tie the fibers back on the hook, the more the pattern will kick forward, so keep this in mind when you’re tying your flies, and adjust how much bare hook you want. The best time to fish the Enrico Puglisi bluegill/sunfish is during the summer on days when the fish are a little sluggish and you want to bounce the fly around or during the spring early post spawn. You can also burn the fly during the summer over weed beds. The best places to fish it are where bass are relying heavily on bluegills. Bodies of water that are relatively clear are also the ideal for this fly because bass will use their eyesight more. Bass ponds and any fishery with heavy weed beds are great, particularly if those weed beds have a really defined edge or sit just under the surface a foot or two. In these cases, I like to either burn the fly or fish it slowly, letting the fly dip, hang, and drop. There are lots of better patterns for fishing at moderate speeds such as the Hollow Fleye.
TYING THE ENRICO PUGLISI BLUEGILL AND SUNFISH PATTERN
You can use whatever Enrico Puglisi fibers you like, but I prefer to not get carried away with my colors. What I mean by this is that I don’t buy ten different colors for one fly. For this reason, I use menhaden 3D and tan. The 3D part simply means multi-colored. Then, I use markers to give the fly some different shades. People often go on about the sparseness of Enrico Puglisi fibers. You can tie patterns as sparse or as dense as you like. Just play around with the pattern. You can definitely get away with using less material, but use as much as you need to make the pattern perform and look how you like it. That’s why I tie this pattern with multiple low and mid ties. It gives me what I want. Flash is also something that I add to the fly perhaps a little more than the original pattern. I almost always love flash in my patterns because it can add to the triggering aspect of the fly. As far as hooks go, I use a Tiemco 8089, and this hook is very thin. I like thin hooks for bass, but I always prefer the thinnest hook I can get while not sacrificing the ability to land the fish. The Gamakatsu B10S #2/0 is the exact same size as the Tiemco 8089 #2, but it’s thicker. Finally, feel free to add your favorite weed guard on this fly. Weed guards are a whole other topic, but for this pattern I recommend going light. I personally wouldn’t use wire on this pattern since I want to keep it light, and it’s already front heavy in most cases. Another good option is to tie a modified version of this fly on a weedless style worm hook. The fly will be pretty weedless in this case. Well, give it a try and see if it fools a few more bass for you. I’d love to hear how you do in the comments below.
- Hook: Tiemco 8089 #2 or Gamakatsu B10S #2/0 (Heavier Hook)
- Thread: GSP 100; UTC 140 (white, tan, or olive)
- Flash: Wing-N-Flash (pearl and med. brown)
- Body: Enrico Puglisi Fibers (menhaden 3d and tan)
- Eyes: Stick-on Eyes 9/32”
- Color: Permanent markers (gold metallic, black, orange, and yellow)
- Lacquer: Zap-a-gap (brushable) etc.