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Monthly Archives: January 2014

For January’s fly of the month, we present Blake’s version of a fly originally developed by Frank Smethurst for Baja roosterfish. I told Blake I wanted something for an upcoming trip so he had to make due with materials that he had on hand. You can find the original pattern here and to see how crazy Frank Smethurst is about roosterfish, watch this:

I won’t be running down the East Cape of the Baja Peninsula, but I am hoping to catch a roosterfish on the fly next month. The three main requirements of the pattern seem to be:

1. More natural with less flash
2. Black edge on tailing material
3. Big head to push some water
Materials used:
– Gamakatsu sc15, 3/0.
– .030 lead
– Farrar flash blend
– EP foxy brush
– Pseudo marabou
Step 1. Clamp hook in vise and put as much lead as is desired. Wrap lead with some thread to secure it. I like to add a little super glue to make sure it stays in place. Bring thread to the bend.
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Step 2. Pull out an amount of flash blend that is half as much as you want on the finished fly. I tie it in in the middle of the material and pull the rest back to double the quantity. The pattern calls for super hair, or something like it, that has no flash in it. The flash blend has a good bit of flash, but it’s all i had. Fish around here normally don’t care about that sorta thing, we’ll see if roosterfish do.
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Step 3. I use some UV cure epoxy and hit the base of the tail to help prevent fouling. This is easier for me than tying in a mono foul guard or something like that. The body materials will cover the section that is glued.
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Step 4. Tie in the EP fox brush at the back of the hook and wrap up the shank of the hook. The tightness of these wraps will help to determine the thickness of the body of the fly. If you are trying to imitate a thick bodied fish such as a menhaden or shad, take more, less spaced out wraps. If going for a more mullet shape, spiral wrap the brush so that there is less material along the shank (see last picture for different body thicknesses).
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Step 5. As with wrapping most materials, some of the fibers will become tangled. Use your bodkin to pick out the material
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Step 6. Tie in a clump of pseudo marabou on the bottom side of the hook. I try to taper the ends of the clumps. (I found this material at Cabela’s in the Bargain Cave for cheap. I prefer it to synthetic wool as it stacks well to make a full head, but it doesn’t carry much water or weight)
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Step 7. Repeat Step 6 with your dorsal color. Make sure that the top and bottom colors meet on the sides of the shank to fully shroud the hook.
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Step 8. Bring the thread to the front of the fly behind the eye and create a thread jamb to force the materials back. I also use my bodkin to pick out the material so that none is trapped. Part off thread.
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Step 9. Trim the pseudo marabou to the shape that you want. I was going for a more mullet look so i made the head a little more slender.
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Step 10. Pull the tail material taught, decide the length you want (remember that the material will spring back and will be shorter than it is stretched), and mark the end with a black sharpie. I also made a few light marks along the tail to the body of the fly.
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Step 11. Cut the tail at the back of the sharpied mark. Finished fly.
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As with most unruly flies, I like to run them under warm water and hang them by the eyes to dry and fix a more realistic shape. See the different shapes of the following. The top fly had tighter brush wraps and two sections of marabou while the second is the fly tied with the above steps. Enjoy.
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Blake and I set out Sunday morning in search of bull redfish. Conditions were very favorable as well, with temperatures somewhat mild for winter and partly cloudy skies, tide and winds low, and water clarity very good. If we could even have a taste of how this same day went down last year for me it would be a very good day.

We fished an area of marsh I’ve been dying to check out for some time now. I initially wanted to hit it for the IFA championship, but weather kept me close to the car that weekend. This would be new territory for both of us and I hoped this exploratory trip would pay off. As I said earlier conditions on Sunday were very good, the only thing that would have been better is if water temps weren’t so cold. We were fishing in between polar vortexes so beggars can’t be choosers.

After a short paddle we made to an oyster lined bayou and began to sight fish. Clouds were thick early on so it was pretty slow going. We spooked a few reds and Blake even had an eat, but he threw the hook during the fight. The size of the fish we were seeing was very promising though, these were above slot reds, junior bulls.

We made our way to another oyster lined bayou and soon saw what every redfisherman loves to see, a tail out of the water. Blake made a good cast, but the fish spooked and took off, just like all the others before him. As my drift carried me past the commotion I realized that I was about to run over a pair of reds suspended over oysters. I stuck my paddle down in the mud to stop my kayak and picked up the fly rod, hoping they wouldn’t run off on the little flip cast. Sure enough one took off, but the other inhaled the fly and the skunk was off. At 31″, it wasn’t a bad start to the day.

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I tagged this red, took a CPR tourney picture and set him back on his way. After a bit of re-organizing/re-situating I took off in pursuit of Blake, sightfishing along the way. Blake was some distance ahead of me and called to tell me the bayou became narrow and featureless and that he was turning around. I decided to wait for him at a wide bend and investigate the area a little further. Sure enough, hanging behind some oysters and tucked up under some mangrove was a nice redfish. I laid out a good cast that managed to lure him out of hiding. He followed the bait and ate it on the swim. A nice upgrade from the earlier redfish at 33.5″.

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I tagged this fish as well, took the terrible CPR picture you see above and set him on his way. Things were going pretty good, we had seen a fair amount of fish and I just boated two in a short period of time, but as was the case for the past two weekends, things just sorta stopped. The tide came in and the number of fish sighted dropped off sharply. We still had good clarity and now we had water over the exposed oysters, but that didn’t translate into success.

We were hoping for an aggressive redfish bite, but it never happened. I thought they might warm up when the sun was at its peak and things were warmest, but they remained laid up, usually around oysters, tucked out of the current – almost like trout in a river. Fishing the winter of 2014, the coldest I can recall for South Louisiana, continues to perplex and leaves me wanting for the warmer days of Spring.

Two redfish is still better than no redfish and I was very happy to have boated a couple of junior bulls on the fly. Plus it really was an incredible day to be outside, the weather was gorgeous. And knowing that another cold front is about to sweep across the state I’m glad I was able to get out. We had icy conditions two days last week and right now we are forecast to potentially have 6″ of snow – unbelievable.