Classic Podcast: Panfish on the Fly, with Bart Lombardo


Panfish are the way many of us relieve the frustration of snotty trout, spooky carp, or saltwater fish that can’t be reached because of bad weather. They’re always on the prowl for a snack and are seldom very fussy. But you do need to know where to find them, and to catch the larger specimens, a little finesse is often required. So this week, I talk to Bart Lombardo, creator of Panfish on the Fly. We concentrate on the sunfish family. Although many smaller freshwater fish fit into the panfish category, sunfish are the most abundant and widely distributed. I think you find some great tips for maximizing your fun with these feisty little guys.

In The Fly Box this week, we explore a number of interesting questions and suggestions:

    • Is there one rod I can use for both tightline (Euro) nymphing and dry flies?
    • I found out why my knots were breaking on tippet rings!
    • Rattles for redfish.
    • When you might want tapered leaders for bass.
    • What is the difference between freshwater and saltwater fly lines, and the difference between coldwater and warmwater lines?
    • What lines do I need for coastal fishing in the Northeast?
    • Do I need to take special care when wearing wading boots on my inflatable SUP?
    • What do you eat to keep going during a full day of fishing?
    • Can I imitate both Hendricksons and March browns with one fly pattern?
    • Can I use my 6-weight Clearwater rod for stocked trout?
    • What does good carp water look like?

If you don’t see the “Play” button above, click here to listen.

2 thoughts on “Classic Podcast: Panfish on the Fly, with Bart Lombardo”

  1. I like the list of topics but they are not in order. I was hoping to listen to the one on tippet rings but I somehow missed it. I will have to go back and try to find it.

  2. Very enjoyable Podcast, Tom. When I was a kid, one of the major fishing & hunting magazines ran an article on tying and fishing black ant wet flies for bluegills and other species. The recipe is simple:
    – #10 or #12 wet fly hook
    – black thread
    – soft black hackle. (A crow neck works well.)
    – head cement or epoxy
    1. Tie a hump at the rear of the hook shank.
    2. Tie in a hackle and give it two or three wraps. Keep it fairly sparse.Tie off and trim the hackle.
    3. Tie in a hump behind the eye of the hook.
    4. Finish with 2 or 3 half-hitches and a drop of head cement on each hump.
    After reading the article in the magazine, my friend and I tied up a few of these, went out and caught bluegills! Cheap, easy and quick to tie up, nearly 50 years later I still haven’t found a more effective bluegill pattern. This is always the first fly I have new tiers tie. For bluegills, these flies out-fish anything else I’ve seen – including live bait.
    This is also an effective pattern when crappies are shallow and gleaning insects and crustaceans off of lily pad and reed stems. Crappies in these situations can be quite wary as they are in shallower water than is usual for them and are keying on small food items. These subtle, buggy-looking ants are just what they’re looking for.
    Along with redbreast sunfish and pumpkinseeds, this pattern also appeals to finicky redear sunfish (shell crackers) and for me have taken four species of trout, largemouth bass, small channel cats, perch, shiners and several other species.
    Kids can enjoy dapping ants with a tenkara pole or using them while learning to cast a fly rod. They are deadly fished as a nymph on small streams for rainbows, but a really fun way for a person new to fly-fishing to experience them is to fish them in still water one to six feet below a small, bright orange foam indicator. Simply cast out an ant and let the indicator bouncing gently on the surface impart action to the fly. Virtually anything in the lake except for dedicated piscivores will sample these simple, deceptively effective flies. Again, the reason I bring them up here with such enthusiasm is that even a youngster (or older person) new to fishing can tie up a few of these and go out and start catching fish on his or her own creations. And any color works, as long as it’s black.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *