Monday, February 8, 2010

Fly Tying Series #8 Crappie Flies (nightmare series) and first attempt at spinning deer hair

This week, I"m going to post a couple flies I have recently tied.  I'm not going to do the usual step by step for a couple reasons.  First, I'm feeling incredibly lazy and was tying flies right before the big game party with our church youth group yesterday (Go Saints by the way).  For some reason, the people at Church considered me "adult" supervision for the teenagers.  Oh, what a misconception that was.  It was more like the kids were the supervision for me.  But, this is fly tying and not what a kid Jeff was with the other kids at church.

So, today, I'm going to post some photos of a couple styles of flies I tied yesterday.  I'll give a description and materials.  These fall on the easy side of the easy to tie scale.

I also tried my first time spinning deer hair.  I'll post those at the end.

Read after the jump for some photos and see some of the really ugly flies Crappie seem to eat.

This first fly I have no idea what to call it or what the real name of the pattern is.  I will say if it does not give you nightmares, I think you should check your pulse.

On the easy to tie scale, this is about a 1.5.  On the ugly scale, it's a 10+.


OK, I told you to beware of looking at these photographs.  However, Crappie seem to have a much more twisted sense of humor than most fishermen believe.  This "Bordello" hot pink monstrosity is readily eaten by our local crappie.  I don't know why, but the crappie like this hot pink nightmare generator.

The one thing I do with this fly that you can see in the photo is I tie on some small dumbbell eyes to the top of the hook shank.  This causes the fly to "swim" through the water hook point up so it doesn't get snagged in stuff on the bottom as bad.  I have also had success with this same fly with a opalescent pink plastic bead head.  The one with the plastic bead head sinks much slower and a lot of crappie hit it on the sink.

I also tie this same fly using chartreuse green marabou in the tail and chartreuse chenille for the body.

Hook of your choice.  I like Mustad streamer 2X long hooks.  These are size 6.  It just depends on what size you want.
Tail: Hot Pink Marabou
Body: Hot Pink sparkle chenille
Weight: Lead dumbbell eyes (I like yellow mainly for the shock value but any color should work).
Thread - 3/0 and I use red but really any color will work.  I think the red, especially as it's criss crossed over the dumbbell eyes and tied into a thread head in front of the eyes makes a hing of a "gill".

Again, it is ugly as a mud fence but it does work.

Really Ugly Flies

More in my nightmare series.  The above 2 flies are variations on the tinsel fly from an earlier series.  The materials and tying instructions are the same the only thing different is the clown like colors.

I'll be honest, I haven't tried these particular color patterns yet.  I tied them mainly as a joke because the hot pink Crappie flies were so darn ugly.  I wanted to see if I could top out the ugly scale with even more hideous colors.  I think the chartreuse and purple with the yellow eyes may just be the ugliest fly I have ever seen.  I may even give this pattern a name.  Naah, I'm going to forget I tied it (unless it actually catches fish then I'll be glad I have 1,000 strands of this ugly purple holographic tinsel at my disposal at an average of 2 flies per strand, I have enough for a lifetime of tying these ugly flies, if it does not catch fish, I"m out a buck.  It was worth the dollar just to tie this beast.

First try at deer hair bugs

Spinning Deer Hair
Here's what I've learned from feedback so far at FAOL and
  1. I needed to pack it in tighter.  I thought I was packing it pretty tight but it seems as if the consensus is I needed to pack it tighter
  2. I should have used bigger bundles of deer hair which would have made it more full.
  3. I was right in separating the tail feathers out like I did here (I do that on my poppers too).
  4. The flat bottom was right.
  5. Trimming this stuff to shape is a black art practiced and mastered by a few sages and hermits who read obscure manuscripts and chant incantations in mystical ancient languages.

I'll never be an artist.  I doubt if I'll ever get to the point where I'm tying in intricate designs but I did kind of like tying with deer hair.  There is something kind of fun about watching it spin around the hook shank when tightening the thread.

I didn't post any step by steps here because I don't feel like I have tied enough to have anything of value to say or any tips from my own experience.  Tying 5 or 6 flies of a given type doesn't give me the right to offer any tips or suggestions to make it easier.

As I tie more of these I will make updates regarding my learning curve and what I've learned that has made it easier (remember, the emphasis on these flies is easy to tie, effective and inexpensive).

So far, the spinning of deer hair seems to be pretty easy once one gets the hang of it (by fly number 6 I was kind of in a rhythm).  I know deer hair bugs are effective because I've caught a lot of fish on ones someone else tied.  The jury is still out on inexpensive.  Deer hair isn't cheap unless you have a buddy who hunts and you feel like dying your own.  But when compared to the prices the fly shops get for deer hair flies, tying your own isn't going to hurt you either.

That's about it for this entry.  I'm not sure what I'll cook up for next week.  I may need to get busy tying some trout flies for my April trip to the Smokey Mountains.

I also want to tie up some of the diver / wiggle bug / wiggle popper flies too.  This would be a continuation of the series number 6 and my quest for tying a fly that works like a Rapala.

Stay warm, keep tying, and just remember, spring is about 9 weeks away.



  1. Jeff; Nice going on the first attempts at tying deer hair!
    You obviously got some good, tight, packing of the hair and that's one of the hardest parts of getting hair flies to look good and float like they should.(not to mention, it's also nearly impossible to trim and shape a poorly packed deer hair fly, so you're off to a great start!

    As for the "pink" tie........... well, considering the color and the fact that you were right......"I didn't feel too good, after looking at it for longer than I should have...... how about calling it "The Bismuth Diver"? "The Bismuth Worm"?
    Tie up this fly, using pink deer hair and leave off the eyes and you could have "The Pepto Popper"?

  2. Pink Belly Bomber is another naming possibility to seriously consider! :-)

    I do like the Bismuth Diver. And when I get some hot pink foam, there will be the ever popular Pepto Popper.

    I can hear the commercial now:
    Bubba Bass had a few too many Jalapeño Poppers and Budweiser last night. What can he do to make him feel better? The Pepto Popper!