John's Journal...


Fishing with Tom Schneider

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: Tom Schneider has fished with a fly rod since 1988, and has guided fly-fishermen since 1992. He guides primarily for saltwater stripers, hybrid-striped bass, spotted bass and largemouth bass on Lay Lake. But he also has access to some private ponds and guides some small streams in Alabama.

Question: If a person books you for a half day of fly-fishing on Lay Lake, what should they expect to catch on that day?
Answer: The determining factor on how many and what type of bass they will catch is when the current starts running from the dam at the head of Lay Lake. On a bad day, I'll expect to catch 12 bass. On an average half-day trip, I'll expect to catch 20 fish. On a good half-day trip, I have had anglers catch at least 40 fish. Even on a full day trip, I have had beginners to catch 40 bass.

Question: What type of bass will a fisherman catch? Click to enlarge
Answer: If an angler wants to target strictly stripers, we'll spend all-day catching stripers. But, if he prefers to catch bass all day, we'll catch primarily spotted and largemouth bass.

Question: If I wanted to catch saltwater stripers, spotted bass and largemouth bass in a half day of fishing, how many of each species can you expect to catch?
Answer: On a good half day of fishing, if you want to target all three species, I'll expect to catch 12 stripers, 12 largemouths and 12 spotted bass. Most of those fish will be caught late in the afternoon.

Question: If an angler prefers to target only saltwater striped bass, what do you suggest he do? Click to enlarge
Answer: The striped bass bite depending on how much of a current and when that current is coming through the dam. Therefore, I suggest that a fisherman call me first to learn when the current is will be running. Then we'll set up his or her trip based on the flow of the dam.

Question: How critical is the current to catching spotted and largemouth bass?
Answer: We fish a drift-boat style like fly-fishermen do out West. For this reason, having current is critical to catching any kind of bass on a fly rod. We are fishing primarily pools and cuts in the bank. When the current comes on, the bass really turn on. When the current goes off, catching any bass is extremely difficult.

Click to enlargeQuestion: What is your best fly for each species of bass for summer?
Answer: Either the Bama Slammer, which is a shad-pattern fly, or the soft-plastic jerkbait, are the best two flies, when the current is running, to catch any of the species in Lay Lake. If the current isn't running, I'll throw creature baits like the Baby Brush Hog. In the upper tailrace, there are a large number of trees lying in the water, and oftentimes I will find my fish in those places. I will usually fish under logs, brush or on open edge banks. The Brush Hog I use is a 3-inch tiny bait, and the bass bite really well on it.

To learn more about how to catch bass with flies, or to schedule a guided trip with Tom go to; call Tom at Sunrise Anglers at (205) 669-2110 or (205) 410-0964; or e-mail Tom at


Check back each day this week for more about BUSTING BASS ON BUGS ...

Day 1 - Why Tie Your Own
Day 2 - The Hexagenia Limbata Fly
Day 3 - Schneider's Bama Slammer
Day 4 - Other Types of Baits for Flies
Day 5 - Fishing with Tom Schneider

John's Journal





Entry 256, Day 5