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Thunder Spin Revival


By Johnny (aka Hillfisher), Texas

Recently an individual via e-mail asked me if I have ever heard of a fly called the Thunder Spin. A Google search revealed only a very obscure reference from the Pineywoods Fly Fishing Club located in East Texas. It mentioned the fly was popular for White Bass but no description. Walter Mclendon of the Pineywoods Fly Fishers was very helpful in getting me onto the right track but he and his fellow members were not sure of the pattern either. Of course everyone I communicated with, knew only of the Thunder Creek Fly that will show up on a Google search with complete instructions and pictures. Of course various sites will also have some variation of the Thunder Creek fly as well.

One night while on FAOL Chat, Halycon looked in one of his many collections of magazines and found a small picture but still no instructions for tying the fly. The best I can tell is the Thunder Spin is a variant of the Thunder Creek by which a spinner blade is attached to the bend of the hook. With this added feature I can certainly see why the white bass as well any other bass would be attracted to it. The big drawback to this fly is the additional weight from the spinning blade. I found that 6wt systems and above are best for this type of fly and I prefer the 8wt. Of course you can add smaller spinning blades and use smaller hooks if so desired. I have found that for bass, the wide gap bass bug hooks will improve your chances of hook up and keeping it on the hook. There have been several times that I have hooked a really nice bass while fishing for bluegills only to have it shake out the hook before I can get it in.

The reason for this is the biological construction of the mouth of a bass. Their mouths have a hard bone/cartilage rim where the teeth are located. No matter how sharp a hook is, it is very difficult to penetrate this area and the larger the bass, the larger this bony area and the more difficult to keep a hook in place. Small gapped hooks get into this bone area and never truly set. Every time the bass changes course or does that great leaping in the air tactic, the chances of the hook dislodging, especially barbless hooks, is exceptionally good. The wide gapped hooks get in behind this bony ridge and have a far better success rate of keeping the bass on. Myself being a fly-fisher of bluegills and other panfish tend to lose a few bass because of the smaller gapped hooks. Whenever this happens I will switch over to the wide gap hook with a similar pattern or better yet a tube fly and catch a few of the bass just for the fun of it.

In the instructions below I used a basic Thunder Creek pattern and while the patterns for all the Thunder Creeks call for buck tail hair, I substituted Orvis synthetic Super Hair because I like the qualities of this material especially when tying streamers of this nature. Also some of the Thunder Creek variants have a dubbed body overlaid with tinsel to add more substance as well as flash to the fly. The single thing that they all have in common is the epoxy head.

    Step 1 - Tie in the spinner blade first at the hook bend with several cross wraps to hold it in place.

    Step 2 - Tie in the white super hair keeping it gathered at the bottom of the hook. Tie in at the mid-section of the hook shank and wrap forward to the eye. Wrap the thread back to the starting point.

    Step 3 - Tie in the Chartreuse super hair keeping it gathered at the top of the hook. Tie in at the mid-section of the hook shank and wrap forward to the eye. Wrap the thread back to where it's about 3/8 of an inch from the eye.

    Step 4 - Take both the top and bottom bunch of super hair and fold them back over themselves along the top and bottom of the hook shank. Take the thread that was left hanging and whip finish where it was left hanging.

    Step 5 - Over the white collar we just whip finished, wrap over this with red thread and whip finish. We started with white as it is a neutral color and has little to no affect on altering the super hair color, which is translucent. The overlay of red thread will give the appearance of gills.

    Step 6 - Trim the hair to the desired length and we are almost finished.

    Step 7 - The last thing is placing eyes on the head. There are two methods. One is to place self-sticking eyes of the desired color on either side of the head area and then cover the head area from the red gill section to just behind the hook eye with 5-minute epoxy. Add enough epoxy to give the head a nice rounded teardrop look. If you feel even more creative then instead of self-sticking eyes paint the eyes on after the epoxy head is cured. Either way, this gives the uniqueness of the Thunder Creek and the Thunder Spin.

    Until next time Good Fishing! ~ Hillfisher

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