This is my list and only my list. Not everyone will agree with everything that is on here, that’s cool – we all have our own favorite patterns. The important thing is that you are fishing a pattern that you have an extreme amount of confidence in. Having the confidence in every cast is important to anyone’s success. Here are the bugs that give me the most confidence:
- Galloup’s Heifer Groomer (Yellow). Big fish and streamer aficionado Kelly Galloup created this relatively simplistic pattern that imitates an enormous variety of food opportunities for fish. It’s easy to see, it’s easy to cast, and it moves and darts around and can simulate either a fleeing or injured baitfish or sculpin. Find them here.
- Danny Ward’s Double Deceiver (Cotton Candy). Truth be told, I was a bit dissapointed at how this bug swam when I first started to fish them. It didn’t give that long side to side swimming action that most other Double Deceivers I’d fished before. But then, magic started to happen! This pattern was responsible for more 20″+ fish, in the group of guys that I fish with, throughout 2014 than all others combined! The thing that I realized is this – this bug swims exactly…EXACTLY…how a bait fish would swim. Quick twitch, short bursts – its perfect. Just adds to the age old question of, “do your flies catch fisherman, or do they catch fish?” Connect with Dan on his Facebook page. there is not a nicer, easier guy to do business with.
- Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin. Pure and simple – it looks realistic, it moves realistic, and it fishes deep just like a real sculpin would. In higher water this is a bug of choice. In deeper pools and runs, this is a bug of choice.
- Galloup’s Boogie Man (White). A big wool head that pushes a lot of water, and a large mallard flank on the rear hook creates a realistic swimming action to this pattern. Once again, this fly is general enough that it simulates a multitude of different food sources for trout. I carry 4 different color combos in my box.
- Cohen’s Slop Mop. Pat Cohen really pisses me off – he does things that are absolutely un-natural and seemingly impossible with deer hair, and makes it look so easy that it instills in me a false sense of confidence and hope. I will then sit down and try to re-create exactly what he does step by step and it comes out looking similar to a 3 year old’s coloring book – messy and all over the place. Pat has an unbelievable amount of creative talent and he spins up wild streamer patterns that look like works of art and fish even better. See the link here for more color combos.