September 1, 2012

Best Flies Over the Past 6 Months

To go along with my 6 month rod review, I decided to show you what flies have caught most of my fish this past 6 months. I preface this report with the the fact that I only report here subsurface flies. I used to be such a mediocre subsurface fly fisherman, but since starting tenkara I have improved immensely. This is one of the gifts that tenkara has given me. In the past, given a choice between fishing dries or emergers, or nymphs (including soft hackles, flymphs, and the like) I would almost always go with a dry or emerger. I started Czech nymphing about 3 years ago and this helped my subsurface skills, but tenkara has made me a much better fisherman in general.


Utah Killer Bug


Hook: TMC 2457
Thread: Pink Uni-Thread 8/0
Body: Shetland Spindrift yarn, Oyster
Tag: thin gold wire (optional)

This fly has caught a lot of fish for me this past 6 months. Prior to that I had never even heard of the UKB. I like the TMC 2457 for this fly because it imparts some weight to the fly, getting it to sink along the bottom. Sometimes I'll add lead wire under the yarn if I want a really heavy fly. I generally tie this pattern in sizes 6-14, but 8-10 are my big producers. I most often omit the gold wire tag. I don't think the fish really care.


Soft Hackle Grey sakasa kebari


Hook: Dai-Riki 135 or TMC 2457
Hackle: natural Partridge
Head: Grey Uni-Thread 8/0 or Red Uni-Thread 8/0
Body Thread: Grey Uni-Thread 8/0
Body: Grey Hare-Tron
Rib: copper wire

This fly has been great this past 6 months. I generally use sizes 10-12. If I add lead wire under the body I tie the head with red thread. That way I can keep the weighted and unweighted flies separate. It is quite amazing to watch fish dart out from under foliage to grab this fly!


Beadhead UV Prince Nymph


Hook: TMC 5262
Bead: gold, copper, or silver
Thread: Black Uni-Thread 8/0
Hackle: Brown
Body: Synthetic Peacock, mixed with UV fibers
Rib: wire to match bead color
Tail: Brown biots
Wings: White biots

OK, so this is not a "traditional" looking tenkara fly. That's fine with me because this fly catches fish like crazy. Cutthroats, rainbows, browns all love it. I don't fish for brook trout much but they should like it too. I really like size 14 for this fly. It works in moving water as well as slow water (like beaver ponds). When I fish two flies, I often use this fly as the dropper. I think the UV version works better than the natural peacock version. Also, I have always like the TMC 5262. I think it is one of the best hooks out there. This guy agrees with me.


Red and Black sakasa kebari


Hook: Daiichi 1150
Hackle: Brahma Hen Cape Natural
Head: Red Uni-Thread 8/0
Body Thread: Black Uni-Thread 8/0
Rib: silver wire
Collar: Black UV synthetic dubbing

This fly works well also. It sinks fast and the UV black synthetic dubbing seems to add attraction. This fly has a minimalist profile when compared to the previous patterns. Sometimes that is just what the fish want.


Redtail sakasa kebari


Hook: Dai-Riki 135 or TMC 2457
Hackle: natural Partridge
Head: Black Uni-Thread 8/0
Body Thread: Black Uni-Thread 8/0
Collar: peacock
Tag: red wire

I like to have this fly sink fast so using the heavier gauge hook and the wire tag greatly aid in this goal. What brook trout I have caught, I have caught with this fly.


Peeking Caddis sakasa kebari


Hook: TMC 2499SPBL
Hackle: natural Partridge
Head: Red Uni-Thread 8/0 or Black Uni-Thread 8/0
Body Thread: Yellow Uni-Thread 8/0
Body: olive-brown synthetic dubbing
Rib: copper wire
Collar: PMD Superfine dubbing

This has been a nice producer this past 6 months as well. I really like this hook; the gape is wide and the hook is ruthlessly sharp. It has a nice wire gauge as well. I doubt this fly is taken by the fish as a cased caddis pattern. I bet that the yellow acts as a hot spot, contrasting with the olive/brown body. It can be tied with a black head as well.


I must admit that I fish the top three flies most of the time.  For my freestone streams they just seem to work. This winter will be different, however. I'll have to switch to much smaller and more "match the hatch" flies such as those for midges and BWO. I'll keep you informed of those patterns as the weather changes.


8 comments:

  1. I nominate this for one of the best posts concerning fly fishing/tenkara of the year!

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    1. Thank you. I always hope these posts are helpful and informative.

      -Tom

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  2. Terrific Tom!
    Now if only my fly tying skills were as good as yours.
    Really enjoy your blog, keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks for commenting!

      Ah, yes, fly tying skills. Sometimes I am all thumbs!!

      -Tom

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  3. Excellent flies Tom....The sakasa kebari were excellent additions to my new sakasa kebari site. I have caught 95% of my fish this year on (in order) a Killer Bug, Royal Sakasa Kebari, and an olive Wooly Bugger. I think this post could make an excellent thread on the TUSA forum.

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    1. Hi Chris,

      That is a good idea. I posted on the TUSA forum under "tenkara flies". It would be great to see what works for folks around the world.

      -Tom

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  4. Red tail is a winner here in Star Valley Wyoming. I just caught a 22" cutthroat with it. I was using a 12' Iwana and 5x tippit with 18' of 3.5 level line. I have been fishing this fly for 2 weeks and have caught 3 to 6 fish an hour each time. Thanks for the recipe.

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    Replies
    1. That's great!! It too has been a great producer for me. The weight in the tail helps it get deeper. Star Valley huh? We ought to get together and fish some time! I'm just a few hours away.

      -Tom

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