I can't wait to take this fly for a swim! I have played with worm hooks as a base for streamers before. Over the years, fly tyers have turned to conventional hooks to create unique keeled fly patterns. Most recently Hud's Bushwacker has gained some notoriety. The Bushwacker is an unweighted streamer tied on a wide gap worm hook. However, the Bushwacker was not the first to take advantage of the keel-hook design. For instance, a few years ago Kelly Galloup devised the Stacked Blonde and the Peeler (a cone-head Stacked Blonde), both of which were tied on a now extinct keeled hook and are now tied on off-set worm hooks. And I believe east coast striper guys have been tying these kinds of flies for years. There are many more examples as any simple google search will prove. In any event, with these flies as my inspiration I have developed the fly pictured above.
This particular fly is designed to imitate a shad or alewife. By adjusting the colors you could easily have a bluegill, crappie, or any deeper bodied bait fish (a pin fish or sardine for the florida flats). The fly's length is relatively short - only about 3" - 3.5". However, the wide gap hook gives the fly a particularly deep profile (though it will certainly slim down in the water). I envision a large lake brown taking particular interest as they cruise the nearby harbors for food. Or a largemouth bass cruising the shallows of a lake. I do not have a Flymen Fish Mask but using a mask instead of a skull would probably make a great slow sinking version. Coupled with a jerk-strip retrieve, this fly should dart, dip, and weave like a prize fighter (or better yet a fleeing baitfish!). Here is the recipe and tying instructions:
Hook: VMC Extra Long Neck Wide Gap Hook (the extra long neck is pretty critical for an adequate base) 3/0
Belly: Medium Krystal Chenille in pearl
Gills: Pink Ice Dub
Under Wing: Three sparse bunches of white buck tail and pearl flash
Second Under Wing: 2 gray saddle hackles
Over Wing: Gray Marabou
Hear: Medium Fish Skull
Eyes: 7/32" Silver 3D Eyes
Place the hook in the vice. Secure the chenille and wrap towards the hook eye. Tie off the chenille where the off-set of the hook begins. Cover the off-set with a small rope of pink ice dub. At this point all that should remain bare is the neck of the hook. Note, with this fly it is critical to be in control of the amount of material and thread. At the beginning of the neck, tie in a sparse bunch of buck tail. Tie in the buck tail on the side of the hook that faces you. Do the same on the opposite side. Then, add the third bunch of buck tail on the top of the first two, using the secured buck tail as a base. The buck tail that is covered by thread should take up about 1/2 to 2/3s of the neck of the hook. Secure a bit of flash over top of the buck tail. Secure one saddle on each side of the hook. The saddle feather should be tied again using the thread covered buck tail as a base. Moving slightly forward towards the eye, secure a tuft of marabou on top of the hook. Whip finish the fly and cut the thread. If you have maintained discipline with the amount of material and thread, then the Skull should slide over without event. If necessary add a thread dam in front of the Skull if desired.
The tying sequence is a little tough to explain. I will try to post a Step-By-Step in the coming days.