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
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