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General Practitioner

By Ken Abrames

Excerpt from A Perfect Fish
Frank Amato Publications, Inc.
P.O. Box 82112, Portland Oregon 97282
Phone: 503-653-8108

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Fly Tying Terms

General Practitioner

The General Practitioner is a very old pattern that imitates a shrimp very well. It is made from natural materials fashioned with traditional techniques. It is fun to tie and experiment with.

Materials List:

Hook:  255NA, Eagle Claw.

Thread:  Orange.

Antennae:  Hot orange bucktail.

Head:  (Short feelers and mouth parts) fire orange hackle tip.

Eyes:  Golden pheasant tippet feather with center cut out
to form a vee shape and lacquered.

Carapace:  Red golden pheasant breast feather.

Body:  Hot orange wool.

Ribbing:  Oval tinsel, gold.

Hackle:  Hot orange, palmered over whole body.

Back:  Red golden pheasant breast feather.

Tail:  Red golden pheasant breast feather.

Tying the Fly:

There are several ways to tie this fly, all are effective.

1. Tie in the bucktail fibers directly above the barb of the hook. They should flare slightly and be pointed down.

2. Then tie in the hot orange hackle tip above the bucktail horizontally.

3. Next lay the trimmed golden pheasant tippet on top of the hackle feather with the fibers pointed parallel to the bucktail fibers.

4. Then place the first golden pheasant breast on top to form the carapace: The feather is tied on flat like a little roof. Wind the material ends down the shank to form a uniform underbody and then wind the thread back to the starting point.

5. Pick a hot orange hackle with fibers one and one half the length of the gap of the hook and tie it in at the bottom of the shank. Next tie in the gold oval tinsel at the bottom and then the hot orange wool.

6. Wind the wool to the middle of the shank and tie off on the bottom of the shank then wind the ribbing to the same point with three turns and tie off on the bottom also. Do not cut off the ends but leave them long as they will be used for the front part of the body.

7. Next, palmer the hackle down with each turn behind and touching the turns of oval tinsel, tie it off on the bottom and cut the remainder. Clip the hackle off the top of the hook and fasten the second golden pheasant breast feather as a flat roof above it.

8. Tie in another orange hackle and repeat these steps for the front part of the body. Top off the fly with the third breast feather.

9. Make a neat head and whip-finish with four turns, three times.

Fishing the Fly:

In the spring, on the New Moon, shrimp come to the surface to mate. They are carried along by the currents and are preyed upon by stripers and other game fish.

Stripers that are feeding on these mating shrimp hold in feeding stations. They position themselves in the current and sip in the shrimp as they drift down over their feeding station.

A floating line with a dead-drift presentation will catch these fish. The fly should be high in the water, as close to the surface as possible. Greasing the leader and fly helps. With the dead-drift presentation the fly should be cast above the rising fish and allowed to float over the fish's position in the current. This maneuver can be executed either upstream, cross-stream, downstream and every place in-between. You will have to tend your line differently depending on what you choose.

If you choose to fish upstream you will have to gather in the line as the line and the fly come down the current towards you. If you choose to fish cross-stream then you will have to mend the line so that drag does not pull the fly out of the fish's feeding lane. If you choose to fish downstream then you will have to have slack line in hand and be prepared to feed this line into the drift to allow the fly to drift over the fish naturally.

When fishing the downstream drift one has to learn how to hook fish consistently. The fish do not aggressively pursue the fly and engulf it, they simply rise and sip it. The tightness of the line prevents the fly from entering their mouth as a free-floating shrimp would and when they close their mouth there is nothing in it. When the angler attempts to set the hook after seeing the rise or after having felt the bump of the fish's attempt to suck the shrimp in, there is no fish there to hook. Often the angler concludes that the fish has struck short but this is seldom the case, the tension on the line is the force that prevents the fish from completing the take. The secret is in finding the balance of just enough slack in the leader and just enough patience to wait for the fish to turn down with the fly securely within its mouth. ~ Ken Abrames

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