Tag Archive | fly tying

Hudson’s Shag Nasty

Over the last two weekends, I introduced a bunch of local pike to the Shag Nasty. It’s a rather small streamer designed for pike, bass, and fall brown trout. The pike I introduced last Sunday were definitely not hatin’…well they hated it after they got a little taste.  The “shag carpet-like” yarn used to create the body has a really nice flow in the water, and the stinger hook rarely fouls.

I’m kinda lazy when it comes to fly tying. So the Shag Nasty, like most of my flies, is really, really easy to tie. Enjoy!

Material for Hudson’s Shag Nasty:

Hook: Gamakatsu Octopus 02408 #4
Hook Shank: Fish Skull Articulated Shank 35-55mm
Head: Medium Fish Skull (pictured below) or Large Black Nickel Coneheads (much cheaper and same results)
Eyes: 3/16″ Oval Pupil 3D Red/Black
Tail: Dark Olive Marabou
Body: Fun Fur yarn
Thread: red and black

Directions:

Step 1: If you are using the Conehead instead of the Fish Skull, you’ll want to add that to the shank first. You will need to bend the tail of the shank just enough so you can get the cone on the shank. Then bend the shank tail back into position. In these destructions, I’m using the Fish Head instead. Next, add the stinger hook.

Step 2: Start the thread toward the back of the shank. A few tight wraps will ensure the hook stays in place. While you’re there, tie in a small bit of marabou. This gives the nice place to hide, and it gives the tail a bit of extra action.

Step 3: Next, tie in some of the Fun Fur and wrap forward making sure all the loose strands get pulled back. Many wraps will (obviously) produce a bushier fly, and fewer wraps will craft a thinner fly. Your call, Boss.

Step 4: Tie off right behind hook eye, and a few drops of Zap-O will allow you to place and solidify the Fish Skull. If you opted for the conehead instead of the Fish Skull, you’ll tie off tightly behind the cone.

Step 5: Finish off the fly with a few wraps of red thread in front of the Fish Skull or conehead. Top the thread with a drop of Zap-O. Finally, glue on some 3D eyes for that finished look.

Step 6: Because that was so easy, go tie a half dozen more in silver, red, and purple. It’s an almost indestructible fly, so you don’t need too many. After a dozen pike thrashings, it still looks brand new.

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Easiest Egg Pattern Ever

It’s that time of the year. The ice shelves are breaking up and the ever-present cold wind gives way to the trickle of running water. Other than the occasional crocus peeking through the snow and the moans of allergy sufferers, increased fish activity give us an indication that winter will soon be over. It’s also spring spawn time, and egg patterns can be effective producers. Are you looking to tie the easiest egg pattern this side of the Mississippi (or maybe even both sides)? This pattern probably ranks in the top 10 as the easiest fly pattern to master. All you need are plastic beads, a few hooks, Loon UV Knot Sense, and a beer.

Step 1: Open a beer and round up some hooks. Umpqua U501 hooks in #6 or #8 work great. You can alternatively use just about any scud or nymph hook with a decent gap. A pair of pliers are always useful for tweaking the proper gap when necessary.

Step 2: Raid your kid’s art supplies to scrounge up a few plastic beads that might pass off as a fish egg. No kids? Go down to the closest hobby store and plunder their craft bins. In a flash you could mimic a salmon egg, rainbow or cutthroat egg sac, or even mountain whitefish roe.

Step 3: Here’s the most difficult part, place a nice glob of UV Knot Sense on the hook, slide it over the hook, and then shine the Loon UV light on the bead for a few seconds. Finally, drink your beer.

Yep, that’s pretty much it. What the hell did you think it was gonna be? You could be completely shit-faced drunk and still pull off a dozen of these killer flies in a half an hour. So, get ‘er done.

Hudson’s Mud Bugger and Sand Bugger Variations

There seems to be quite a few variations of the Hudson’s Mud Bugger fly that have appeared, and there’s probably no end to the fun stuff you could do with it.

Here are a few variations:

Hudson's Mud Bugger
Hudson's Mud Bugger
Hudson's Mud Bugger
Hudson's Mud Bugger

Tier: Gregg Martin.
Notes: I use predominately a scud type hook size 6, but some also the M3366 or equiv. I try to match the tail to the hackle, either sili-legs or spanflex, sometimes centipede or tarantula legs. I like staight up tan for carp, but only recently came upon good hackle so only have a few tied up.


If any other tiers have other variations, send a pic or a link, and I’ll post them here.

The Color of a Crayfish

When I’m tying flies, I’m always conscious of material colors. Sometimes it doesn’t really make a difference, but sometimes it does. Present a strange color (or size) to a pressured fish and they’ll likely bolt in the opposite direction. When I fish crayfish patterns, I typically have the best results with shades of green. But why?

Hudson's Mud Bugger
An army of Hudson’s Mud Buggers ready for deployment.

If you were to ask the average person to draw and color a crayfish, you’d probably end up with something that looked like a bright red dwarf cooked lobster. In fact, the only red crayfish I’ve ever seen was a cooked one at a Cajun crayfish boil. So why are there so many crawfish dubbing colors offered in the shade of red and/or orange? Most of the mud bugs I see in the wild are various shades of brown, rust, green, and even blue.

A 1901 article in The American Naturalist  sheds some light on the color of the crayfish…

“It was first noticed, while studying the habits of crayfish by observations in field work, that the color of itzulmunis in nearly all cases closely resembled the color of the environment. In one small pond of water, where the soil at the bottom was a blue clay, the crayfish were all blue in color. In another pond with a black, muddy bottom they were all black, and in still other places of different colors. But in nearly all cases they were of the same color as the environment”

Blue Crayfish

Crayfish can adapt their color to their surroundings. Here a crayfish blends in with the blue gravel of an aquarium.

The article also explains the occasional red or rust color observed in a few crayfish…

“One exception to this was found with those which were red. These were confined entirely to the shallow water in the small streams, and the color was not always similar to the color of the environment. The crayfish in all colors except red were found almost entirely in the ponds with deeper water and muddy bottoms. But it was discovered later that this red color in crayfish may be caused by exposure to sunlight.”

So, in addition to environment, it appears color variations in crayfish can be attributed to age, size, molting stage, and migratory pattern. Next time you see a crayfish note its color and the color of the surroundings. It might help you become a better fisherman.

Source: W. J. Kent, The Colors of the Crayfish, The American Naturalist, Vol. 35, No. 419 (Nov., 1901) (pp. 933-936)

Hudson’s Sand Bugger

For a recent bonefishing trip to Andros Island, I took my Hudson’s Mud Bugger fly pattern and turned it into a bonefish fly. It was a total experiment, but it turned out to be an awesome fly. The only problem was that I didn’t tie enough of them. Well, unfortunately, I’m not heading off to another tropical trip anytime soon, but my dad has been spending the fall chasing redfish and speckled trout down in Texas. So, I tied up and sent him a few variations of the Hudson’s Sand Bugger for his Texas flats adventures.

If you’re interested in the carp variation, Hudson’s Mud Bugger, you can find it here – https://unquenchablecuriosity.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/hudsons-mud-bugger/

Is it a shrimp? Is it a crab? Who cares. It’s damn easy to tie. So, let’s get started…

Materials for Hudson’s Sand Bugger:

Hook: Umpqua Tiemco TMC 811S #4-8
Thread: UTC 140, florescent orange or fl. shell pink
Eyes: Large lead dumbbell or bead chain, silver
Tail: Turkey biot quills, hendrickson (also try variations of tan and brown)
Hackle: Whiting Bugger Pack, ghost barred white (also try grizzly brown or a combination of brown and white)

Optional: .025 lead wire for extra weight

Directions:

Step 1: Tie in the eyes directly behind the hook eye leaving only enough room to whip finish at the end. I apply a spot of Zap-A-Gap to solidly anchor the eyes. This is a pretty durable fly, so let’s just make it bomb-proof.

Optional: This fly lands very softly on the surface, but you can play with the sink rate by adding 12-14 twists of 0.25 lead wire to the hook shank. Otherwise, leave off the extra weight as the large eyes are enough for most skinny water applications.

Step 2: Wrap the thread a bit past the bend of the hook, and build a small thread ball. This helps keep the turkey biots splayed out for a consistent presentation.

Step 3: Clip two small sections from the turkey feather. Match them up evenly by the tips and tie onto either side of the hook just in front of the thread ball. The turkey feathers should extend outward past the tie in point approximately 3/4 to a full hook shank length.

Step 4: Pull two feathers from the Bugger Pack that has fibers approximately 1 1/2 to 2x the hook gap. Strip off the fuzzy fibers and tie in just in front of the turkey biots. Wrap the thread all the way up to the eye.

Optional: Experiment with using one feather or two. I definitely use two feathers on a size 4 or 6 hook, but I sometimes just use one feather on a size 8 hook. Your call. Also, try one white feather and one brown. Mix it up because you never know what type of bottom you may be fishing.

Step 5: Palmer the hackle all the way (past the bead chain) up to the eye. I usually make a few wraps around the eyes if I have enough feather left. Anchor the feather down behind the eye and whip-finish.

Step 6: Now it’s time for a haircut. The head-stand effect of this fly is caused by the angle at which the hackle is trimmed. First run your fingers through the fly and get all the fibers sticking straight out. Take your scissors and start cutting as close as you can to the bead chain and eyes. You’ll want to angle your cut at an approximate 30-40 degree angle from the hook shank. After I’m done with the haircut, I’ll usually dab a bit of Hard as Hull head cement on the whip-finish.

That’s it.

What? You expected more?

Now tie them in different colors.  Legs and a bit of flash are other easy additions that could be fun, but I’ve found I didn’t really need them.

If this fly works for you, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment.

Swamp Thing or Carp Fly?

Here’s a glimpse of a new fly I’m tinkering with. Swamp thing or carp fly? It’s a carp fly for some fairly aggressive carp I’ve been after and the water’s really off-color. I’m going for mouth feel. If you were a carp, would you eat it?

It’s inspired by the leggy Gotchas I tied early this summer for an Andros bonefishing trip. So why wouldn’t it work for Colorado bonefish?

Hudson’s Mud Bugger

I have handed out quite a few of these flies over the past few months. So, I guess it’s time to share it with everyone else.

This is, without a doubt, my “go to” pattern for carp. This fly was tied with carp in mind, but it works great for other species too – largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, catfish, walleye, and even bonefish. For the latter, I tie it in lighter colors and add some legs – Hudson’s Sand Bugger.

Update: Here’s a link to the Hudson’s Sand Bugger – https://unquenchablecuriosity.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/hudsons-sand-bugger/ and variations of this fly – https://unquenchablecuriosity.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/hudsons-mud-bugger-and-sand-bugger-variations/

The pattern is easy to tie, and it slays carp. So, let’s get started…

Materials for Hudson’s Mud Bugger:

Hook: Gamakatsu SL45 #4-8
Thread: Danville 3/0, black
Eyes: Large bead chain, black
Tail: Turkey biot quills, green (also try brown or black)
Hackle: Whiting Bugger Pack, grizzly olive (also try grizzly brown or black)

Optional: .025 lead wire for extra weight and/or lead eyes

Directions:

Step 1: Tie in the bead chain directly behind the hook eye leaving only enough room to whip finish at the end. I apply a spot of Zap-A-Gap to solidly anchor the eyes. This is a pretty durable fly, so let’s just make it bomb-proof.

Optional: If you plan to fish this in a river or deep, you’ll want to add 12-14 twists of 0.25 lead wire to the hook shank. Otherwise leave off the extra weight as the large bead chain is enough for most shallow still water applications. With or without the extra weight, this fly has a nice soft entry into the water.

Step 2: Wrap the thread a bit past the bend of the hook, and build a small thread ball. This helps keep the turkey biots splayed out for a consistent presentation.

Step 3: Clip two small sections from the turkey feather. Match them up evenly by the tips and tie onto either side of the hook just in front of the thread ball. The turkey feathers should extend outward past the tie in point approximately 3/4 to a full hook shank length.

Step 4: Pull two feathers from the Bugger Pack that has fibers approximately 1 1/2 to 2x the hook gap. Strip off the fuzzy fibers and tie in just in front of the turkey biots. Wrap the thread all the way up to the eye.

Optional: Experiment with using one feather or two. I definitely use two feathers on a size 4 or 6 hook, but I sometimes just use one feather on a size 8 hook. Your call.

Step 5: Palmer the hackle all the way (past the bead chain) up to the eye. I usually make a few wraps around the eyes if I have enough feather left. Anchor the feather down behind the eye and whip-finish.

Step 6: Now it’s time for a haircut. The head-stand effect of this fly is caused by the angle at which the hackle is trimmed. First run your fingers through the fly and get all the fibers sticking straight out. Take your scissors and start cutting as close as you can to the bead chain and eyes. You’ll want to angle your cut at an approximate 30-40 degree angle from the hook shank. After I’m done with the haircut, I’ll usually dab a bit of Hard as Hull head cement on the whip-finish.

That’s it.

What? You expected more?

Now tie them in different colors. The sky’s the limit. I found that olive green, brown, and black to be the most productive colors for carp. Legs are another addition that could be fun, but I’ve found I didn’t really need them.

If this fly works for you, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment.

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