Bananas: Fly-Tying Edition
If, like me, you have an Instagram feed filled with strangers who share the passion of fly fishing, you’ve no doubt noticed that the big deal right now is streamers. It seems like everyone and their brother is coming up with new ways of slapping a fancy head on a couple of wooly buggers that are joined together by coated wire and plastic beads. But rip’n and swing’n streamers is a ton of fun and for those that TYOF (tie-your-own-flies…it’ll catch on, trust me), putting them together is the ultimate way of flexing your creative muscle and earning sick social media cred.
So, as a budding tier , I thought I’d get in on the game before it’s over and come up with some new patterns myself. The following are some recent creations I’ve conjured up based off of trends I’ve noted on Instagram and Facebook. I’ve shared as much of my recipes as I can….but honestly some of it is just pure unaccountable genius that comes from bourbon and copious amount of snack foods from the health food aisle at Kroger.
First up….I call this the Fire ‘Tot Jr. I derived this pattern from the growing trend of using “masks” for the heads of streamers such as the Fish-Skull brand helmets (which in keeping with the tradition of natural materials for flies, are made from real fish skulls. Gross right?!) For the FT Jr., I’ve made my fish helmet extend a….bit….longer down the body of the streamer. I’ve also taken the little “cone thing” that goes with the Salmon Snake pattern, cut it in half and used it on the front of the mask to help with the dive and wiggle of the fly. The hooks are custom made “triple B10s”…but as a friend-to-the-fish, I’ve bent all the barbs so they won’t get hurt. Rounding it off, we have a dubbed collar and legs up front with (of course) copious amounts of marabou out back. This is a big hit for Michigan Salmon and Steelhead.
My second pattern came from watching Chief Rocka’ have a pre-mid life crisis last year with Muskie streamers. Looking more into these patterns, I’ve decided that there are three things you MUST have. More deer hair than you can possibly imagine, Game Changer levels of articulation and massive proportions. What I’ve done here is taken that to extremes…so much so that I need three vices to make it. For hooks, I’ve selected four that Tiemco list as suitable for Blue Marlin and something called a Giant Trevally (I have no clue what kind of fish that is…I’m afraid of the ocean so I’m not Googling it). I’ve wrapped each hook with a full pack of buck tail and distributed at least three packs of Flashabou throughout the pattern. The fly is garnished with some wing feathers from a red tail hawk to give it extra enticing action when you do the required Figure-8 move! Get meat!
My final pattern is aimed at the more artistic tyers who design patterns that look so lifelike, you’d think it were a real critter! Some of you tiers out there are crazy talented with spinning deer hair, shaping “game changer” materials or crafting resin into super realist streamers and to emulate that style I’ve chosen to create a lifelike baby trout pattern. This streamer was made 100% with a hot glue gun, sharpie markers and googly eyes. I have some improvements to make in my next rendition so it’s OK if you don’t quite see the “fish” shape in the pattern. When it’s wet and moving in the water is when it all comes together.
To wrap this up, my last fly here is not a new pattern but more of an idea for an accessory. It’s a known fact that by adhering large quantities of fly fishing brand or shop logos on your truck windows, laptop, boat or family pet you increase your chance to catch fish by eleventy five percent. So why not put them on our streamers as well? If you can super glue googly eyes to a streamer, you can sure as heck glue a small decal on there as well. By doing this, you not only increase your odds of hooking fish, but you increase the odds of getting high fives from your brahs when you show them your Bugger Box. And if you are a fly shop owner or fly fishing gear manufacture, what better way to advertise than to have your logo hanging from trees and logs along the riverside by means of snagged flies? This is my MBA at work here people….
**Special thanks to all you folks out there that share your fly tying creativity and talents with us hack trying to better flies!