Fly Of The Week

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Deluxe Mako Deceiver
By Richard A. Lewis, El Segundo, CA

Pattern History:

Lefty Kreh deigned the Deceiver Pattern a the mid-1960's. Most active fly tyers have their own version of a Lefty's Deceiver, as Lefty's great fly pattern is deadly on most any species of fish that you would ever want to tackle.


I was asked to create an 8/0 Deceiver-style fly for Captain Conway Bowman of San Diego, California USA. Conway Bowman hosts a fly fishing show on ESPN2 and is known for his abilities to tease-up, hook and land sizable Mako Sharks for his clients. Conway needed a fully dressed fly that would have a full profile, while at the same time be easy to cast. His choice was a huge Deceiver on the specific hook used in the step-by-step instructions that follow.

The Spring 2005 issue of Fly Tyer magazine features an article on the "Right Way" to tie a Deceiver by Lefy Kreh himself! Apparently enough people were tying Deceivers incorrectly to warrant this "How To" article on a 40 year-old fly pattern. I took Lefty's teachings to heart when "Super-Sizing" the Deceiver for Capt. Bowman.

A Note on Choosing Mako Fly Colors:

Captain Bowman likes his Mako flies colored Red, Orange, Pink or combinations of those colors. Terry Hayden, a good friend in Australia, manufactures saltwater fly reels and fishes for Makos too. He often chooses green baits for sharks on-the-fly. Another fishing buddy and fly tying mentor of mine is John Brazelton. He fishes the salt in Florida. JB also thinks "Green" when chasing Makos. I have no doubt that a well tied fly in any one of these colors presented correctly to fired-up Mako Shark will most likely result in a tug of war.

About this Big Fly:

Having tied so many red and orange Mako flies lately, I thought I would tie a green fly for this Fly Of The Week. This bright green, jumbo-sized 8/0 fly could come in handy when fly fishing for Largemouth bass, Pike, Muskies, Brown Trout and most any exotic freshwater or aggressive saltwater fish that feeds upon 8-12 inch long baitfish. Refer to Lefty Krehs article for the precise proportions and the tying techniques he has outlined for us all to follow. Hopefully you will find this FOTW interesting and useful in illustrating how a very large fly is constructed.

Materials: Deluxe Mako Deceiver

    Hook: TMC 600SP 8/0.


    1) Danville's 3/0 Monocord-Pale Green.

    2) Larva Lace nylon - ultra fine - clear.

    Wing: Schlappen Grizzly Hackle by Jay Fair's.

    Flash Material: Mirror Flash-Lime Green, or Flashabou Mirage-Fl. Chartreuse.

    Ribbing: Lateral Line- Pearl (Wide Crimped Synthetic Strands).

    Collar: Mirror Image-Chartreuse.

    Over Wing: Tiewell "Sparkle Flash"-Graphite, Blended with Tiewell "Reflections"-Blue/Green.

    Beard: DNA Holo-Fusion-Red.

    Eyes: 3D Epoxy Dome Eyes-Red.

    Liquids and Adhesives:

  • Bob Smith's "Insta-Cure", Super Thin, 1-3 second cure Cyanoacrylate Adhesive.

  • Loon UV Knot Sense-Clear.

  • Sally Hanson's Hard As Nails-Clear.

    Special Tools/Safety Equipment:

  • Vise: Rotary Tying vise, such as the Dyna-King "Barracuda Indexer".

  • Ekich Automatic Bobbin.

  • UV Curing Lamp/UV Flashlight/UV Pocket light.

  • Orange UV Filtering Goggles (UV Light can damage vision).

  • Smooth Faced, Flat Nosed Pliers.

  • Tapering Scissors.

    Note: All of these materials are available from major fly shops. UV filtering Goggles can be purchased from a safety equipment supplier or your Optometrist.

Tying Instructions: The Deluxe Mako Deceiver:

    Step One. Select three (3) each left curving and three (3) each right curving grizzly hackles from your patch. Strip the excess barbs and fuzz from the stems. Trim the stems and leave at least an inch of stem to lash down to the hook.

    Step One (1A) Stack the matched hackle sets together and make two wings. Next, place the two matched wings together with both cupped sides of the hackle sets facing inwards. This produces a full hackle wing that will be self supporting.

    Step Two (2) Start the green Monocord thread and advance it to just ahead of the hook bend. Build a solid thread base on the hook shank. Leave the thread at the hook bend. Wet the thread base liberally with cyanoacrylate adhesive (CA) and allow the CA to dry.

    Step Three (3) Locate the wing on top of the hook shaft and secure with several courses of thread. Add a light coating of CA to the thread wraps. Secure the tips of the hackles in a vise mounted spring clamp as shown above.

    Step Four (4) Secure four(4) or more full-length Mirror Flash strands immediately in front of the hackles and secure the tips of the strands in the spring clamp. Fold the forward facing half of the Mirror flash bunch rearwards and then bind them down with the Monocord. Roll the fly over and add matching flash strands on the opposite side.

    Step Five (5) Start a single strand of the Pearl Lateral Line at the base of the wing.

    Step 5A Wind the Lateral Line stand forward and secure with a few thread wraps and a hitch or two.

    Step Six (6) Coat the lateral Line wraps with UV Knot sense, or your favorite alternative coating, such as epoxy, and insure that this coating is fully cured. At this point you've got a vise full of fly!

    Step Seven (7) Build the fly's collar by tying-in a good sized bunch of "Mirror Image" fiber on the side of the fly about half way in between the wing and the eye of the hook.

    Step 7A Add a matching bunch of "Mirror Image" collar material to the opposite side of the Deceiver.

    Step Eight (8) Fold the "Mirror Image" bunches rearwards and back along the sides of the fly. Build a tapered thread head forward towards the hook eye.

    Step Nine (9) Trim the collars so that they are extending well past the hook. This gives the fly a full baitfish profile.

    Step Ten (10) Blend the collars into the wings using tapering scissors. This important step shapes the fly into a baitfish shape.

    Step Eleven (11) Add a layer of the pearl lateral line over the head and secure with thread at the hook eye.

    Step Twelve (12) Add a medium sized bunch of red "Holo-Fusion," as shown above, to the underside of the head. This particular hook has a wide gap and will accept a large full beard. This bright "full beard" adds bulk to the fly's profile and suggests bleeding gills. Fold over the forward facing "Holo-Fusion" fibers and bind the beard down. Blend the wraps forward into the tapered head of the fly.

    Step Thirteen (13) Create the Overwing by adding six (6) strands of Blue-Green "Reflections" as shown. Fold-back the forward facing strands and bind them down. Tie-off and trim the thread.

    Step Fourteen (14) Switch-over to the clear nylon tying thread. Rotate the fly in the vise and splay-out the beard using your thumb. Secure the beard with the clear thread. Turn the fly over again and add three strands of Graphite "Sparkleflash" fibers. Double those back along the top of the Overwing and secure it with the clear nylon thread. Add a few drops of CA to the thread and allow the adhesive to wick into head; yet avoid wicking CA into the body of the fly.

    Step Fifteen (15) Flatten the head of the fly using the smooth faced flat nosed pliers.

    Step Sixteen (16) Place the adhesive backed 3D dome eyes on the sides of the flattened head.

    Step Seventeen (17) Add UV Knot Sense or other your coating of choice, such as five minute epoxy, on the top of the head. Prevent the head from becoming too fat and out of proportion by applying the coating between the 3D dome eyes only. Avoid applying the liquid coating over the eyes themselves. Cure the coating on the upper side of the fly head. Next, rotate the fly 180 degrees and fill the space between the eyes on the underside of the fly's head (shown above). Cure the liquid coating fully.

    Step Eighteen (18) Apply a thin uniform coating of Sally Hanson's Hard As Nails acrylic nail polish over the entire fly head and both eyes. Carefully coat the exposed pearl lateral line wraps right behind the eye as well. Allow coating to dry. Apply second coat to head.

    Completed Fly: This size 8/0 Deluxe Mako Deceiver is a formidable fly.

When wetted, it is all hook! Fish it with care. Match this fly with an appropriate fly rod, line and reel. Cast this fly in your color of choice to the biggest fish you can find. Wait for the take, set the hook with a strip strike and hang on! ~ Rich

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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