Monday, October 25, 2010

FE October Trout Fly of the Month

Tying The Zonker Minnow Fly Pattern
Hook:Tiemco #300 size 4 (any long shank streamer hook, sizes #2-#8)
Thread:Olive&White 6/0
Weight:Large lead wire
Underbody:White antron dubbing
Body:Pearl mylar piping
Wing/back:Olive Zonker strip
Hackle:Dyed olive grizzly marabou

How to tie the Zonker:

Many tiers omit the hackle, or use red to suggest the swollen gills of an injured bait fish. Some use marabou as a beard, instead of a hackle. A strip leech is a Zonker tied with a marabou tail (like a wooly bugger), gold or silver sparkle chenille wound as a body, and copper or brass wire to bind down a zonker strip on top. As you can see, there are many flies that owe their fundamental design to the Zonker…and for good reason. The rabbit strip pulses, breathes as it is stripped. It undulates, and seems to never stop moving. Once you see rabbit fur under water, any doubt you may have in it quickly disappears.
In the original pattern, adhesive lead tape is used over the top of the hook shank and taped to itself on the underside. It is then trimmed to the body shape of a minnow before the mylar piping. I tie some this way, but have found that once a good-sized fish (trout or bass) gets a grip on that tape underbody, it deforms it. The problem is that the mylar piping fibers often get pulled apart to some degree. In the pattern below, lead wire is used (strong, tight) with a smooth, dubbed body over it. This "holds" the shape of the mylar and gives a bit when the fish takes. I believe that the fish holds on just a bit longer when it bites a soft body.

Happy Fishing!

FE Saltwater Lure of the Month: Zara Puppy

FE Saltwater Lure of the Month: Zara Puppy

The Zara Puppy was originally created by Heddon, a fishing company started in 1894.  In the early 1900's the "walk the dog" technique began to take off in popularity, so Heddon knew they wanted to keep up with the technique, creating their Zara Puppy model. These lures are designed to allow you to control the lure's action, much like that of the Zara Spooks.  It takes a little practice, but once you get it down, these lures have a reputation for attracting fish from as far as 20 feet away and the strikes are vicious!

The Three L's: Lob, Lift, Lead and Set
"Lob the cast. With a short line loading the rod downstream using water tension to cast, form a tent with the rod and fly line. Raise and rotate the rod hand and in a chopping motion, drop the forearm toward the target (usually slightly upstream). This will allow the flies to sink to the desired depth. After the cast 'lift' the rod horizontally so all or most of the line to the indicator is off the water, leaving a slight bit of slack for a natural drift. Lead the tip of the rod above or slightly downstream of the indicator. This position will help with the hook set. (When thinking of lead, think about 'Walking a Dog'. If the leash is too tight, you are choking the dog. If it is too loose, the dog can get out of control.)" The hook set is when the indicator does anything other than drifting naturally, such as slowing, dipping, pausing....When in doubt, quickly set the hook downstream by moving your rod tip towards the water. This will pull the hook into the trout's mouth and keeps the rig in the water and not flinging in the air. Remember that most tangles happen in the air and not in the water."

Questions or comments?

October Freshwater Lure of the Month

Fishing Enthusiast Freshwater Lure of the Month: The Little Cleo!

The Little Cleo is a classic among the freshwater casting spoons.  Dating back to 1953, the lure was originally created by the Seneca Lure Company of New York City and was designed for salmon and steelhead anglers in the Great Lakes region.  Seneca lures was founded by Charlie Clark, a man with a very creative personality who began as a songwriter and publisher, only to later in his career get into selling fishing equipment.
As an avid fisherman in upstate New York, Charlie knew that if he could come up with some metal lure designs to take advantage of the growing demands, he could launch Seneca into a major player in the fishing industry.  His most popular lure was designed with a concave, humpbacked shape that Charlie felt wiggled so enticingly that it would be irresistible to any predatory fish that came its way.  Once he had tested the lure, he only needed to come up with a name.
As the story has been passed down over generations, it has been said that Charlie had become secretly enamored with an actress named Rhonda Fleming, the star of a 1951 film called Little Egypt.  The film popularizes a form of dancing that is now widely referred to as “belly-dancing”.  In Charlie’s head, he felt that the enticing, wiggling action of the lure would be as tantalizing to the fish as Ms. Fleming was to him.  So, Charlie wanted to name the lure after the movie, and decided upon “Little Cleo”, which was short for “Little Cleopatra”.  He even went so far as to imprint the image of a belly dancer on the packaging and on the inner concave of some of the Little Cleo’s themselves, his own personal joke.  This practice continued for the next 45 or so years, until the image finally became a casualty of politcally correct sensibilities in the mid-1990’s.    

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