Thunder Spin Revival
By Johnny (aka Hillfisher), Texas
Archive of Panfish
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
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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