Jump to content

The Christmas Parade of Flies


Rob G
 Share

Recommended Posts

First, Merry Christmas to all !

 

As I restock my own fly box for the upcoming season, my parade of flies will for the most part be "users", meaning those that I use day in and day out and have proven their worth. Because this is such a busy time of year for me, end of the fiscal year and the beginning of next, along with the fact that I plan to be out of town a few days, I may not make the ideal dozen but we'll see.

 

On the First Day of Christmas, I present some Hoppers and my personal favorite, your Basic Big Black Bug. All tied on a size 4 Mustad 33903 kink shank popper hook, which btw, I use for a lot of my Smallmouth flies and not just for poppers but many streamer patterns as well. These bugs measure approximately 1 1/2" long. I use Montana Fly Co. cutters to cut the body but you surely don't have to. The BBBB can be used any time of the year when you feel Mr. Smallie will dine on the surface and not just July on. Many of the takes will be subtle so you have to watch your fly closely, they won't always smash this surface fly which they often do others. Work it slow with lots of small twitches and delays that will seem like forever and let it drift downstream as close to cover as possible. Of course very good for those green bass as well when thrown along the edges.

 

 

hoppersx_zps7f75255f.jpg

 

004x_zpsedd780a5.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have used something very similar, for the last ten years, or so. They have worked very well for me, too. But, mine use solid yellow legs. It seems very counter-intuitive. But, the solid yellow legs work better than the yellow grizzly barrred legs. I just couldn't believe it. But, I'm not going to try to force feed them what I think works, when the fish tell me different. Same tan back, yellow body is what I found to be best, also.

 

If anyone wants the MFC cutters, I can get them at a steep discount. Can't mention a price here, but cheaper than you'll get them anywhere else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Greg for the suggestion above, will definitely tie some up with solid yellow legs and thank you John and Mark for the kind words.

 

And on the 2nd Day, we have Christmas Crease Flies (always a sucker for alliteration)

This might be my favorite surface fly for bass in general and not just because it has fooled several of my largest Smallmouth over the past few years. Most takes will not be subtle as they tend to smash it in order to finish off this wounded minnow in distress. I think of it as the Rapala Minnow of the fly world and it says “easy meal” better than anything. Originally designed for saltwater and a full sinking line, it’s very effective in freshwater with a floating or sink tip line as well. A twitch and a hard strip and you can make it dive underneath and then on the pause it will float back up to the surface and roll over. I’m not quite sure I’ve found the ideal hook yet but still experimenting.

 

And btw, if you have any suggestions that you think will improve my offerings, please don’t hesitate to speak up.

 

014x_zpsd37d369f.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the 3rd day of Christmas we’re going subsurface with this Spey fly. I have not used these a lot, but it’s similar to the Zoo Cougar without the spun deer hair head and I was able to fool a few largemouth at the end of the season with them. The origin of Spey flies comes from Scottish anglers along the River Spey, Scotland, in the the early 1800s. At Tom L.’s suggestion, I’m finding that by tying the bucktail in above the shaft, it reduces to some small degree the fouling of the large Mallard flank feather with the hook. Using a non-slip loop knot, quick jerking the retrieve, along with the natural fluttering of Mallard flank feather and marabou, I think this 200 year old fly could easily tempt Mr. Smallie.

035x_zps00e05a54.jpg

037x_zpsfb0d1ed2.jpg

030x_zpse4956889.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hoppersx_zps7f75255f.jpg

 

004x_zpsedd780a5.jpg

Nice looking bugs. I've not fished surface bugs much. I'll have to try some this coming season.

 

 

014x_zpsd37d369f.jpg

Pretty minnows. What are the bodies made of?

 

 

035x_zps00e05a54.jpg

037x_zpsfb0d1ed2.jpg

030x_zpse4956889.jpg

Simple and beautiful. These reminded me of the old Mickey Fin and Black Nose Dace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Simple flies for the simpleton that I am :)

 

Tom and John,

I use regular sheet foam that you can buy at Hobby Lobby. The white middle Crease fly is made with 2mm white sheet foam with an adhesive side that I lay on top and bond a thin sheet of mylar, which you can also find there or let me know and I'll send you some, no need to buy a huge roll of the stuff. The white middle fly really shimmers and changes color due to the prismatic effect of the mylar. My largest green bass of almost 6 lbs came on that one last year. The others were made from sparkle sheet foam and it is important that you cover your fly with either a few coats of Sally Hansen's Nail Polish, or epoxy. I use rod building finish because it dries crystal clear and is very hard. Of course you don't need sparkle sheet foam, just use white and add some very fine sparkles to your Sally Hansen's or epoxy when adding the final coat if desired.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All nice flies so far, Rob. I haven't fished hoppers for smallmouth, but seeing your flies makes me want to give it a try. For my crease flies, I use a mustad 34011, which is something like 6x long w/ a straight eye. Unfortunately I don't think they make it bigger than 2/0, but that's obviously not a problem I need to solve for smallmouth. And the 2/0 is fine for a 3-4.5" popper, covers smallies & inshore saltwater fishing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim,

thanks for the suggestion of the Musty 34011. I'll definitely look into them as my present hook choices aren't "ideal" My problem is I feel I need a really long shaft hook to get the point "back there" but most hooks of that nature don't have much of a gap, or even one I can open up nicely. I know, too finicky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 4th day of Christmas finds me working on some simple Blockhead poppers, again black seems to be my most consistent color, especially in low light conditions. I’ve definitely improved my hook-ups with poppers over the years by opening the gap of my hook slightly, making sure it is extremely sharp, trimming away most of the material from inside the gap and taking Lefty’s advice when he states, keep the shaft of the hook long enough so that the point sits behind the fly and not underneath. He also feels that by selecting the proper material and keeping the tail sparse, the tail of the fly will sit lower in the water, which in his opinion gives you a better chance of hooking up. Who am I to disagree with the man?

 

010x_zps0cf9ba74.jpg

 

016x_zps9c549a9c.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Lefty’s advice when he states, keep the shaft of the hook long enough so that the point sits behind the fly and not underneath. He also feels that by selecting the proper material and keeping the tail sparse, the tail of the fly will sit lower in the water, which in his opinion gives you a better chance of hooking up. Who am I to disagree with the man?"

 

Well said. You also have practiced what Bob preaches. For a popper the hook shank should be twice as long as the head; and the gap should be as wide as rhe diameter of the head (or thickesss for a rectangular head).

 

Nice bug.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 5th day of Christmas, finds me restocking some of my crawdaddies. The one on top is my modified Clouser crayfish and the one below is Craig Reindeau’s Hairy Fodder (the jig and pig of flies). Obviously Bob’s version has the more lifelike appearance of a crayfish but which do you think I’ve had far more success with? Yea, the Harry Fodder and it must be due to the fact that it has greater movement inherent in the materials used. The crosscut rabbit breaths every time you give it a twitch or a hop and those rubber legs surely add to the “come-hither” appeal. Again, in my mind, profile and movement trump dead-on appearance most of the time.

 

uuuux_zps8ec050a8.jpg

 

038x_zpsfe6d30e4.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously Bob’s version has the more lifelike appearance of a crayfish but which do think I’ve had far more success with? Yea, the Harry Fodder and it must be due to the fact that it has greater movement inherent in the materials used. The crosscut rabbit breaths every time you give it a twitch or a hop and those rubber legs surely add to the “come-hither” appeal. Again, in my mind, profile and movement trump dead-on appearance most of the time.

Absolutely agreed. Close enought is good enough for me too. Great flies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And on the silly 6th day of Christmas, I present Mr. Kermit the Frog, of which I swore I would never tie another because I have yet to catch anything meaningful on this fly. But Mike had to go and present his killer articulated frog pattern so here it is.

 

I have to ask, has anyone ever seen a single frog in their lifetime scooting across any open water?.....Anyone?.....Bueller? When I was a boy and used a live frog for bait, you couldn’t keep it on the water, it knew how vulnerable it was and it wanted to get to the shore asap. Anyway, the only thing I've ever seen Kermit catch is Miss Piggy.

 

023xx_zps5a0316f4.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest rich mc

those eyes make it look just like kermit!. what's next a gieco lizard? i have actually worked on a few chenille lizards after don rego did well fishing lizards this summer. rich mc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And on this belated 12th day of Christmas, I thought I would try my hand at another fly that is a couple of centuries old, a Maine style streamer. I'm thinking this pattern could do some real damage as well, that is if it doesn't get too damaged first. The problem is that these are not an easy tie for me and I can just see spending all that time only to have an 8" smallie come in and tear it up on the second cast. Ha

 

xx-1_zpse51643bf.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rob, really beautiful fly. Except for the ones you frame on the wall, flies are meant to be expendable...that's why I rarely tie anything that pretty! (That's my excuse, at least)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...