Thursday, February 2, 2012
Intruders. I love them. They are fish-catching machines. They are fun, complex, and time consuming flies to tie - what else can you ask for? While the pictured intruders are destined to swim in midwestern streams, they share some of the traits of their pacific-northwest cousins. Some of them use waddington shanks ("WS"), some of them use cut long-shank hooks (9xl in some cases - my favorite). Personally, I prefer to use long shank hooks cut at the bend. They are cheaper and I like building from a slimmer base. That being said, when I want a heavier fly for swinging slow and deep I go with the WS.
The most attractive element of all intruder flies is the hook. The hook hangs off the back of the fly towards the tail and, as such, it sits right in the face of the steelhead - no short strikes with these flies. However, this design creates a problem - Hook Hang Down. Frankly, I don't know if it truly is a problem. I don't know if it turns fish away or causes hook penetration issues. But if you look at the fly in the water and the hook dangles below the fly, the profile appears unnatural. Steelhead are hard enough, why give them a reason to turn down the fly. To combat this I've used a number of different materials: wire, fireline, mono. I find the best material is beadalon wire (found at craft stores). Also, adding weight to the front of the fly balances the hook and allows the fly to maintain a natural profile in the water.
I can't think of a better fly design when swinging for steelhead.