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.

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