Welcome to the first installment of "Fly of the Month". Following our mission to help grow the sport through weekly blog posts, we are also planning on adding some variety with fly tying tutorials. For this first installment, I want to share one of my favorite redfish flies from the last two years.
In the Spring of 2016 I was sitting at the local VFW as we were finishing up our Project Healing Waters meeting. In front of me lay a scattering of left over barred saddle hackles. I put a hook in the vise and splayed out a pair of feathers on each side of the hook bend, and then palmered another pair of hackles up the hook shank. I topped it off with some dumbbell eyes tied in Clouser-style and called it a night. The fly was very basic, but the sillouette and stance looked like it might be a pretty good crab or shrimp imitation.
A day or two later I carried the same fly with me on a flood tide trip. A few minutes into wading across the first flat, a tail popped up and I made a cast. Two strips later, the water exploded as the fish blew up on the fly.
That event has occurred over and over throughout the two seasons I've fished this fly. I've made a few changes over time, such as adding mono eyes and replacing the dumbbell weight with a Flymen Shrimp Tail, but it fishes just as good as ever. What makes this fly great is that it has a big silhouette, but it isn't bulky at all. Because of it's sparseness, it is easy to cast and it sinks very quickly to get down in front of the fish.
If you bump into me on a flooded flat, there's a very good chance you'll see this fly tied on to my line, with a few more in my pocket.
Gamakatsu SC15 1/0 hook
Rooster Cape or Saddle Hackles in natural barred colors
Marabou in natural/mottled colors
30lb Hard Mono
Place a hook in the vise and cover with thread from right behind the eye to the beginning of the bend in the hook.
Tie in the Shrimp Tail (or dumbbell eyes) on the side of the shank opposite of the direction the hook bends. Make sure to leave a small gap between the weight and the hook eye to allow for thread and weed guard.
Coat the wraps with some Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails or similar thread glue.
Tie in a plume of marabou at the bend of the hook. When tying down, I usually throw in a few wraps in the area between the marabou and the hook bend to help lock it in. Add a little thread glue.
Rotate the vise around and tie in a pair of mono eyes.
I bend the mono eye stalk about a 1/4" behind the eye to form a V-shape at the point where the mono will attach to the hook. Tie the mono stalk in at the V-shaped bend to the hook right where the marabou was tied in.
Cut off the tag end of the mono about 1/4 to 1/2" back from tie-in-point. Adjust eyes so that they sit out and up and tie down the rest of the mono tag end to the hook shank and hit it with some thread glue.
Repeat the process on the other side with the other eye.
Time to tie in the claws.
Tie in a matched pair of hackles where the eyes are tied in. Splay them out deceiver-style. Repeat the process on the other side.
Time to tie in the body.
Take 2 or 3 matched hackles and cut across the feather shaft to remove the back section with the downy feathers. Hold the feathers together and tie their shafts down to the hook right behind where the claws were tied in.
Make sure to tie the feathers so that the inside curvature of the feathers faces back towards the bend of the hook.
Hold the tips of the feathers together and palmer them forward until you get to the Shrimp Tail or dumbbell eyes. Tie the feather tips down.
Take 3 or 4" of 30lb mono and bend it in half to form a sharp V. Place the V of the mono under the eye of the hook and tie it in place building wraps in front of and behind the mono so that it stands up straight. Cut the mono off just a little higher than the hook point sits.
Tie off your thread and hit all exposed thread points with thread glue.
Crab in fighting position.
Fly from opposite angle.
Redfish approval guaranteed!