Welcome to Panfish!

Part One Hundred

Randy Fratzke

Panfish Chat- Host FRITZ FRATZ - Monday. 6-8 p.m. PST (9-11 EST)


By Randy Fratzke

Every once in a while some one in the chat room, or along a stream, asks, "What's your favorite fly?" We all have them, what we call our 'favorite fly.' They're our 'lucky' flies, or our 'confidence' flies. Some of us even have several.

My response is usually, "For what species of fish?" Some people are a little put out by the response for some reason. I guess they think I should have just one fly, some sort of 'super fly' or something. You know what I'm talking about, an all-around, knock-every-specie dead, magical fly, for every day use. For me, the question is an honest one, and as important as knowing what the current hatch is for a trout angler.

I guess, for me, the answer to the question of "favorite, general use, confidence, fly" would have to be a Clouser Minnow, tied in the original bass colors, usually tied on a #6, 8, and 10 3x hook with brass dumbell eyes.

I also prefer to epoxy the "nose" so that it lasts a little longer than the conventionally tied version. Another trick I use is tying a few strands of flashabou in, usually gold colored, but sometimes silver, or green, or opalescent. I use it a lot here on my home waters and it's has probably caught me the most smallmouth bass and crappies. But then those are the species I fish for the most and not surprisingly, they're also the species that are the most plentiful in the waters I fish. (Ya think there's a correlation here somewhere?) It's far from the only fly I use though. Otherwise why would my fishing vest be so full? It's certainly not to impress other anglers (or is it? Hmmm, let's not get Freudian here…).

I also tie a lot of Clouser Minnows in what some would call 'unconventional' patterns, for other species. I tie chartreuse, yellow and white and chartreuse, red and white versions for Walleye fishing in the local river. These are usually tied on #1, 2 and 4, 3x long hooks, and use heavier eyes to get down to their level of water. I also usually use either about ten-pound-test mono line or a fast sinking or lead core line for a leader. I also tie some smaller versions of these patterns for my brother-in-law, with lighter weight eyes, because he primarily fishes the local lakes in his area and doesn't have to deal with the currents like I do with the river.

For larger species, such as Northern Pike and Musky I've been known to go up to #0/1, 0/2, and 0/3, using nickel plated hooks, and a stainless steel leader, and usually tie them in a large chub or blue gill pattern. Again, I add a little extra flashabou or crystal flash to help attract them.

For my brothers, who live and fish down in the gulf, out from Galveston, TX, they prefer the larger, #0/3, 0/4 and 0/5 sizes. The hooks have to be either stainless steel or nickel plated because of the salt water. Their favorite colors are a long ways from the original bass pattern! They like a Dorado Dolphin, rainbow pattern, fluorescent green, pinks, yellows, oranges, blues and a lot more flashabou. Not to mention some really heavy epoxy work on the nose and under body so the fly can withstand more than one assault with the heavily toothed creatures of the gulf region.

So, as you can see, I have a 'favorite' fly but there are a lot of variations of it. Size, color, and weight are really determined by what it is I'm fishing for and where I'm fishing. And this is only one of several favorites I use. In the up coming weeks I'll try to talk about a few of my other favorite flies, what I use them for and what the original was and how I modified them for non-trout species.

If you have a few favorites and want to write about them please let me know or send an article or paragraph or two about them to me and I'll try to include them. (If you're really worried about grammar or spelling then put something together with enough info, if possible a photo of the fly, and I'll edit or 'co-write' it with you and you'll still get the credit.) ~ Randy Fratzke

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