Any keen bass angler knows how fickle and pedantic bass can be.
Their feeding patterns are heavily influenced by weather, barometric pressure and other factors. They will regularly shut down, showing little interest in most food offerings put before them. During periods when their metabolism slows, they will only occasionally show interest in small food items, which is the reason why keen fly fisherman and tournament bass angler, John Schofield invented the bass vampire.
Schofield used this pattern to good effect to target shut down bass in deeper water and subsequently won many of the early BASS events at a variety of impoundments whilst using this pattern.
The shut down bass theory can be assimilated with factors in human life. If you were not feeling hungry then you would probably turn your nose up at a succulent looking steak meal on a table before you. However, there is a pretty good chance that you may still eat a sweet out of the bowl on the table. The bass vampire is simply this, a small tasty looking treat, which bass will often show interest in, even when they are not in a feeding mood.
Often when bass are lethargic and not actively feeding, they retreat to deeper water on the edges of old riverbeds or adjacent prominent geographical features such as points and pinnacles. As such, the Bass Vampire pattern is weighted to help it get down to these depths.
In addition, the eyes are coated in luminescent powder paint to afford the pattern more visibility in the deeper water where less light penetrates.
Powder paint coating can be added to any lead or metal eye by simply heating the eye and dipping it in the powder. Or conversely, you can buy pre-made eyes such as the ones I have used in this pattern. Originally John used glow-in-the-dark chartreuse green eyes but the white glow-in-the-dark eyes I have used here will also glow a green colour, similar to those that John made.
The Bass Vampire pattern has undergone many changes and additions to how it was first tied, however the principle has basically remained the same. Alternate winging materials can include bucktail (this slows the descent rate), Hi-vis, Streamer Hair, Neer Hair and DNA Holo Fusion. Varying chenille materials of different colours can be used for the body and the tail can also be one of many different types of flash or mylar materials.
I like the mylar tubing because it’s tough, crinkled to allow light to reflect from many different angles and it moves as the pattern is sinking.
There is an endless array of possibilities for the Bass Vampire, but the pattern tied here is fairly similar to the original. When applying winging material, less is better. The crinkled effect of the Kinky Fibre gives it volume without having to use a lot of material. This is important as the more material you use the slower the descent rate of the pattern. Also this pattern may not swim well if the winging material is too thick.
The Bass Vampire can be fished in a similar fashion to that of the many different clouser clones, which anglers use successfully on a broad array of species. The most commonly used retrieve is two or three short and sharps strips with a pause to allow the fly to again sink back into the strike zone. This darting action is similar to that of many prawns and freshwater shrimps, species which bass find irresistible.
A slow draw of the line and a sizeable pause can also work effectively. The sinking attributes of this fly make it ideal for working in deep water, through suspended schools or down the face of slopes and points.
The popular fly line for this form of fishing is a Scientific Angler Striper IV, which has a short compact head for distance casting on the flats, a fast sink rate and the ability to turn over fairly heavy flies, such as the Bass Vampire.
This pattern can be fished over most forms of fly line from weight forward floating lines to high density shooting heads.
(1) Place the hook securely in the vice. Cut a length of mylar tubing approximately 1.5 times as long as the hook, remove the core and then pass the tube over the hook shank. You will need to fray the rear end as shown. Attach the thread just behind the eye of the hook and then secure the front of the mylar tube with a series of wraps as shown.
(2) Attach the eyes with a series of wraps approximately 4-5mm behind the eye of the hook. Make sure these are secure by using a figure-of-eight wrapping pattern. Whip finish but do not cut away the remaining thread. Add a little vinyl cement to the entire thread area so that if one thread is severed, it won’t all unwrap.
(3) Wrap the thread down along the shank, over the mylar tubing until you get to the bend of the hook, which will be roughly opposite the barb. Take the end of your Estaz Chenille and tie in at this point, whip finish and then wrap the remaining thread back up to behind the eye.
(4) Palmer (wrap) the chenille evenly along the hook shank until you are up to the eye of the fly. Tie off the end of the Estaz, and again whip finish, but do not trim the remaining thread.
(5) Turn the fly over in the vice as shown and re-secure. Cut a small portion of black kinky fibre that is roughly 1.5 times as long as the entire hook. Tie the end down between the eye of the hook and the eye of the fly.
(6) Next, cut a section of purple kinky fibre that is roughly the same length as the black but approximately half the volume of it. Tie this in at the same point, on top of the black. Whip finish, trim the remaining thread, add a little vinyl cement and the Bass Vampire is ready for an assault on some deep water bass.
|HOOK:||Gamakatsu B10S size 2|
|THREAD:||Flat-waxed nylon – black|
|TAIL:||Mylar Tube – small dyed olive|
|EYE:||Tiewell painted eye – glo|
|BODY:||Estaz Chenille – black|
|UNDERWING:||Kinky Fibre – black|
|OVERWING:||Kinky Fibre – dark purple|