Thursday, February 26, 2015

Craft Fur Minnow

This is a fly that needs to be in all fly boxes. The craft fur minnow is easy to tie, easy to use, and catches fish.  When tied small in length but on a light saltwater hook the fly can catch a smallmouth in a cold northern lake and then trick a snook cruising the beach.  Moreover, the fly can be manipulated using permanent marker, which takes well to craft fur. I recommend tying many in all white and dress them up with different colors as the need arises.
Hook: TMC 800s size 2-8 (choose a hook to suit your needs)
Body: Flashabou (color is up to you)
Wing/belly: craft fur reverse tied (hollow tied)
Eyes: your choice of size and  color to match the fly profile and design

You may coat the head with some UV adhesive for extra durability.

Steps (I omit the obvious steps e.g. secure thread to hook):
1) lash 2-5 strands of flashabou to the hook above the point - tie in the flash at its midpoint so that the same length of fibers are laying towards the hook eye as towards the bend of the hook;
2) double over the flash fibers so that all are pointing towards the bend the hook and trailing off the back (flash should be 1-1.5 times the length of the hook shank);
3) wrap the thread to the eye of the hook;
4) cut two bundles of craft fur - each bundle should be roughly the size of two match sticks*;
5) tie in the craft fur by the butt ends with the tips of the craft fur point towards the direction of and draping over the hook eye;
6) hollow tie the craft fur by stoking the fibers toward the back of the hook**;
7) hold the craft fur in place and make a few thread wraps behind the hook eye to secure the fibers;
8) whip finish and glue*** on 3D eyes on either side.

The hollow tie technique creates an elongated teardrop shape reminiscent of the typical minnow or fry. The glue and eyes will hold the fly together. The number of steps listed is deceptive. Most of the steps occur seemlessly and in close succession. 

* Tying Tip: ideally the bundles should be indentical, however in practice such a goal is not practical; the bundles should be as close to the same size as possible. Nevertheless, if one bundle is going to contain more material than the other make sure said bundle is secured to the top of the fly. Having more material on the top of the fly helps the fly track correctly (hook point down in this case). For example, this technique is employed for unweighted bonefish flies to allow the flies to track hook point up without the addition of dumbbell eyes or other weight. 
** an Internet search will provide step by step instructions on how to "hollow tie" a fly.
***Use Super Glue Gel.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DH Pass Crab

The deer hair ("DH") pass crab.  This pattern is another Tarpon crab fly I put together.  I'm sure other crab eaters would take a bite as well but the structure and style is directed at enticing Tarpon.

Hook: Gamakatsu SC-15 2H  size 3/0
Tail: Two pair of tan grizzly neck hackles plus one tan and one purple rubber leg (doubled over)
Eyes: EP mono eyes
Body: Tan (natural) deer hair with purple and blue ice dub fibers mixed in.  The deer hair is spun and trimmed to a crab shape

Deer hair crabs are nothing new to the world of saltwater fly fishing.  This particular crab pattern is my recipe only to the extent that I didn't follow a previously designed crab recipe when I was tying (though the addition of the ice dub to the deer hair may be a new twist).  You may substitute the ice dub with bits of Krystal Flash for the same effect.

This crab pattern designed for ocean side or beach side Tarpon, which are cruising outside or near passes in southwest Florida (the "mud" line).  I suspect it could double as a permit fly when permit are cruising with the Tarpon in the same context (big permit will do that from time to time).

Full disclosure, I have no idea if this fly actually works but it swims properly and looks "fishy" so I suspect it will.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Tight lines.

Dreaming of Warmer Days

Like much of the country, the Midwest is trapped under a relentless cold and never ending sheet of ice - not particularly conducive to fly fishing.  So, as with my brothers in arms around here, I am forced to dream of warmer days, of flowing water, of tides, tails, and a savage tug at the end of the line rather than experience the same. Metaphorically, I was recently laid off, so I also dream of warmer, more certain times and more viable futures.  Under the circumstances, I've had some time to read, get behind the vice, and ponder new patterns, fishing techniques and destinations.  Having Florida and Tarpon on the brain, I have been reading up on flies and techniques tailored to Southwest Florida.  The following posts will discuss a great book and some new flies destined for the King.

Here's to warmer days.