Friday, March 25, 2011

Introducing the "Bunny Butt Slider"

I promised a report on one of the most effective flies we used for Largemouths among the lotus and lily pads. Hammond Lake, where Kelly caught her big "bucketmouth," is full of lily pads. Based on the fact that most of the pads had a split in the leaves, I would say that most of what we encountered were water lilies (Nymphaea sp.) and not American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) which do not have split leaves. The reason I just happened to notice the split leaves... is because they are quite annoying while retrieving your fly because somehow your line always manages to find the split thus pulling your fly under the floating leaf, and either your line ends up tangled or your fly hook ends up embedded in the stem. I have fished several places, including Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee and Ross Barnett Reservoir in Mississippi, where the American Lotus is more prevalent and they don't seem to be quite as annoying.

Either way, fly fishing for bass among the pads requires a certain amount of finesse coupled with a little brute strength. It requires heavy tippet and a weedless floating fly (with a strong hook) that you can gently drag across the surface of the pads while working it effectively through the gaps of open water. I've used all sorts of weedless poppers for fishing the pads- cork, foam, and even deer hair. I prefer slider style bodies because, as you might expect, they slide easier over the pads. Casting the fly on top of the pads and then gently sliding it into the water is a very good strategy. I would say it's the bass bug equivalent of a delicate presentation.

Before we went on our trip to Florida, I was browsing Ebay for fly fishing stuff and found some really cool looking sliders that I thought would work well for fishing the pads. Meet the "Bunny Butt Slider"...

"Bunny Butt Sliders" tied by Steven Milburn

It turns out I was right. The design was perfect for fishing the pads, and the fish really liked them. Unfortunately, I didn't land either of the big bass that I hooked on them. Kelly also missed a few fish with the same fly and almost landed a pickerel with it. The problem certainly wasn't the flies. I did land a single 12" bass using one. We only had three in our arsenal from the start, so we switched flies a lot to try and conserve our limited resources. We just happened to land more fish on other stuff.

Kelly landed her big bass on a more conventional cork bodied slider after she lost the last Bunny Butt slider she had. The "Bunny Butt" was getting lots of attention so Kelly picked the next closest thing in her box.

The foam bodied "Bunny Butt" is a bit more subtle than your average cork or deer hair slider because it has a slim profile and no silicone legs. The bunny strip tail also has a very subtle action that elicits strikes when you're not stripping the fly. It's a simple design that works. Whether I tie them myself or not, I really like simple but effective fly designs.

The "Bunny Butt" does a good job of approximating topwater "minnows" which is probably why it worked so well in Hammond Lake. The lake had several "minnow" species that hang out near the surface including Brook Silverside (Labidesthes sicculus) and Mosquitofish (Gambusia sp.).

The fly tying genius behind the "Bunny Butt Slider" is a gentleman named Steven Milburn. He sells his flies and fly tying materials on Ebay under the name "sneektip79." He starts his auctions with low starting bids, ships his products quickly, and if you're lucky he may even send you a bonus with your order. Mr. Milburn's flies are well designed and well constructed, and I highly recommend them to my fellow bass fly fishers. They've definitely earned a slot in my bass fly box.

12 comments:

  1. The "Bunny but slider" looks like a great bass fly!

    Phillip

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  2. i like anything with bunny fur. the bunny butt slider is included. great looking fly jay.

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  3. Phillip, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Ivan, I honestly haven't had too much luck with bunny fur in the past... I've always had better luck with marabou concoctions which I think have a similar quality... but I'm starting to like bunny fur more and more. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I wouldn't know a good bass fly from a flying saucer, but I think those are pretty cool looking. I think I'll ask an expert...hey Kelly!

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  5. Glad to hear it worked well for you. I havent used bunny before but I have used micro pine squirrel in some of my streamers and it works great.

    Jeff
    www.gotflyfishing.blogspot.com

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  6. Thanks for the heads-up on these Jay. I know a few bass around here who might take an interest. Great looking flies.

    By the way, that pic of the green sunnie in your blog headers is way cool.

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  7. I finally decided I needed something up there to spruce up the header. It's an old photo from the South Fork of the Spring River in AR. I cropped it and brightened it up a bit so the text would stand out. If it gets enough positive feedback, I guess I'll leave it. I may change it up every now and again just to keep things fresh.

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  8. Thought that green sunfish might be an LRC resident. Caught more than a few of these there.

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  9. this guy Steven Milburn is a hidden gem. every fly in both of my boxes has been tied by him. his attention to detail is amazing, and i will ALWAYS be a customer of his. it's about time he came across someone's radar

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  10. M,
    Thank you for your comment. I've been informed that your opinion may be just a bit biased because you are kin to Mr. Milburn... but I only have great things to say about him too, and would have to agree with your assessment. So, I actually don't think your comment is an inflated opinion. I have been more than delighted to have Steven and his fly tying creations come across my radar.
    I think if family believes in you that much, then you must be doing good work.

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  11. That fly just looks like it has great motion in the water. Sometimes I find that the weed guard messes with my ability to land a fish; is that possibly the case here? Thanks for the great tips on this fly, where to find them, and for Phishing your fly.

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  12. FlyFshrGrl, I don't think the weed guard was the problem. I think the two big fish I lost were just strong enough to roll the hook out of their mouth during the fight. I can only guess, but the bigger of the two fish I missed was at least 5 lb. It doubled over my 9wt... and it simply won the battle. I have since found that a lot of lesser fish (1/2 pounders) will grab the bunny strip tail and pull it underwater and I've missed a bunch of hook ups because of this. I did get Steven to tie me some without weed guards for fishing in places where they are unnecessary... but it hasn't improved my success... yet.

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