This past year I’ve had too many monster Largemouth Bass go after a 6-12” fish I’ve had hooked on my standard Meat Whistle rig. I’ve committed this Fall & Winter to fishing nothing but bigger flies and to me that meant Blane Chocklett’s Game Changer dressed up like a small bass. The articulations give the fly plenty of movement while the dense body pushes as much water as anything else we sell at the shop.
The first thing about fishing this fly, is to squeeze the air out of the fly and waterlog it so it sinks when it hits the water. I go as far as keeping a cup of water in my car just so I can presoak the fly. This saves a few splat downs at my initial spot.
There are a few ways to swim the Game Changer. For instance, hard strips with a “pop” on the end can create a walking the dog action that makes the fly look like an injured baitfish. Alternatively, long steady strips with a tight wiggle of the rod tip will give the articulated tail a bit more nervous action. You can fish it deeper by giving it time to sink and using strips with longer pauses to let it stay down. You’ll also get violent strikes by letting it do its thing on the surface.
Early winter in South Florida, the Bass are either spawning, eating out of aggression, or bulking up in preparation for the spawn. When walking, covering a lot of water is important as you’re after the one or two big fish in a particular stretch of shoreline. Take more time at culverts, concrete walls, and bridges as these structures are perfect for finding that hungry big fish. Filing your hook tip improves strip sets as a few head rattling bass and running though structures can dull the point.
It’s a big bulky fly at 4-5” long so an 8wt rod is recommended. My current set up is an 8’4” Scott Meridian with a Royal Wulff Bermuda Shorts line. The short head loads quickly and helps turn over a big fly. I recommend using an 8-9’ leader with a 12-16lb mono tippet. The strikes are wildly entertaining as you’ll see Bass push wakes and aggressively pounce on the fly. Whether you tie your own or buy them and mark them up yourselves, I highly recommend adding a Largemouth Game Changer to your arsenal.
Game Changer Ingredients
- Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #2/0
- Thread: Ultra Thread 210
- Underbody: Fish Skull Articulated Fish Spines with RIO Powerflex Wire 20lb
- Tail: DNA Holo Fusion coated at the base with Clear Cure Goo Tack Free Brushable
- Body: Chocklett’s Body Wrap Pearl White
- Eyes: 3D Eyes 5/16” Red or Mirage
- Markings: Prismacolor Markers in Dark Olive Green, Light Olive Green, Sepia & Crimson Red