Monday, August 29

An introduction to the casual vacation shore fly fisher: Part 3, flies. Well, streamers, mostly.

Yes, there's weird shit in there. Never used 'em. A weeks
worth of snook fishing was done with the simple Clouser.
So, you've got a clue as to what to take on your trip, how about what to throw on your trip? Guess what. Its even easier to get bit straight. Frankly, I could make due with one pattern and feel well armed, although generally speaking my hired gun tends to suggest two patterns for subsurface, and everyone loves top water, so let's make it a total of three.

I know, I know, you look at books that have page after page of really awesome looking flies, but when it comes down to it, sometimes you just make shit needlessly complex for yourself. This is something that I continually rail against, even if I often skip my own advise. Rather than getting lost in the mess, just keep it simple and concentrate on a few simple patterns that work. Simple, effective streamers. Sure, sure, some times you'll want shrimp, crabs, or who the fuck cares what else. That's your problem to figure out. I'm just dealing with simple shit, and all fish eat baitfish.

So, three simple patterns. Beyond that, fuck it, you're just gonna vary size and colour. And weird shit you saw on the Innernets that you really, really want to try. That's cool. What the fuck, we're fly fishers and possibly tiers and dumb shit's what we do, just ask our spouses/children/non-fishing cohorts/stoner-kid-who-witnesses-us-flailing-at-surf-at-3am.

Anyways, three simple patterns, right? Right!
The Clouser Minnow. Best. Streamer. Evar.
Those three basic patterns are the Lefty's Deceiver, the Clouser Minnow, and the Gartside Gurgler. If I had to put my faith into only one pattern, it would be the Clouser above all others.

The Gartside Gurgler. Simple, cheap, versatile top water.
So, we'll start with that then. The Clouser is simple. Lead eyes, tied on the top of the hook to have it ride point up. A bottom layer of material, usually white bucktail but I've been happy with ones tied from blue krinkle fibers. A bit of krystal flash, then either one or two more colours of bucktail. The inventor, Bob Clouser, suggests that you tie them so sparse as to look incomplete, and many people swear that after repeat use, they just get better and better.

Next up, is the Lefty's Deceiver. This is closer, in its way, to a classic feather wing streamer, with multiple pairs of soft, undulating hackle providing the primary body. A collar of bucktail provides more body profile, and can be tied with different colours to suggest or attract attention. A Deciever tied with dumb bell eyes is called a Half-and-Half.

A bucktail and hackle Lefty's Deceiver, classic proportions.
Finally, in my triumvirate, is the Gartside Gurgler. This is a wonderfully simple top water fly tied with craft foam and, originally, bucktail although marabou can provide a much more lively tailing material. The true beauty of the Gurgler is its versatility in use, with a pair of scissors you can tailor the head to make a gurgling noise, a distinct churning popping, or even a slider.

Let's start with size, shall we? Fly size and line weights are often correllated, and using Orvis' suggestions,  that would be from 1/0 to 10. Feel free to violate this as much as you want, I do. If you're comfortable with something smaller (eh wot?) or larger (more than likely), then so be it. I cast size 4/0 flies on my 8wt constantly, but they're sparse Clousers without giant eyes.

Another Lefty's Deceiver, way more Peanut Bunker shaped.
You could get by with only one hook, the Mustad 34007. Its a stainless hook, which you will need if you plan to have them hold up to repeat use, with the O'Shaughnessy bend. They're stout, heavy hooks with longer shanks and a good bend that will help hold in a fighting fishes' jaw.

This Deceiver emulates an eel with its long saddle hackles.
Next, there's colour. Easy enough. Match the natural. There's a theory I've read to add touches of unnatural colour, to make your fly look more attractive by virtue of difference to the rest of a bait ball. Ergo, I've tied some with splashes of pink or blue in them. Plenty of chartreuse, too. Again, whether its that touch of difference from the naturals, or the oft-suggested UV reflectance of the colour, shit works.

So, it would seem the bulk of the patterns tend to be something over white, or white base. When I've made deceivers to emulate peanut bunker, I used grizzly and white hackle to help emulate the natural pattern, although all white versions seem to be just as commonly suggested and viable.

Dark, or all black, flies can be used to provide a good silhouette in murky water, or inky night fishing.

EP fibers. Well, generic EP fibers at least.
An important part of salt water patterns are distinctive eyes as part of the design. Wether you accomplish this with sticky eyes expoxied on, doll eyes, paint, markers (Sharpies are surprisingly effective), or just the painted dumb bell lead eyes, its a good design feature as it gives the predators something to key in on, like a hot spot in a trout nymph.

For materials, you probably already have the basics. I've bought all sorts of fancy synthetics, but it seems to consistently come back to bucktail and webby hackle. Add some craft foam from Sprawlmart, some lead eyes, and you'll be set. Oh, and krystal flash.

Doesn't mean you're limited to just these few patterns. Every year I try something different, although I consistently go back to the Clouser. This year I tried buying some new fangled EP Polar SF whatever hair fiber shit to tie up some of those swanky minnows. I didn't really use them but to try them, but I'm amazed at how lifelike they look gliding through the water. Beyond that, I've tied up zonkers and double zonkers, merkin crabs, and even wooly buggers for use. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Part four is next, picking a time and a place to maximize your chances.

No comments:

Post a Comment