Warmwater fish is an ambiguous term for non-trout freshwater species. These fish’s feeding habits and habitat range widely, making it a challenge for a small group of flies to cover all the potential situations you might encounter when pursuing warmwater species. My core flies to match warmwater species are Conehead the Barbarian, the Sluggo and the Swamp Monster.
I’ve used this set of flies to fool warmwater species in Montana, Idaho, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, California, Hawaii and Brazil, and the species I’ve fooled with these flies range from bass (smallmouth, largemouth, Guadalupe, spotted, white), to skipjack, channel cats, freshwater drum, carp, gar, bowfin, pike, pickerel, walleye, perch, sunfish, suckers, stripers and exotics, such as peacock bass, jacunda, matriexa, triara and oscars.
So, if I were to whittle down a box of flies for such a variety of species, these are the ones I’d certainly carry . . . and I’d feel like I had a pretty good chance of hooking fish, no matter where I fished or what I fished for. These are patterns I’d fish in any season and I’d get busy tying them this late fall and winter so that I was well armed when spring arrives.