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HOLLOW PEARLY ROACH/PERCH FLY

Another Experiment!

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Following on from Dave Lyndsay's excellent foam and rattle semi-buoyant pattern (check out "mcfluffchucker's" blog to see it for yourself), I have been messing about with CREATURE SKIN some more, and I came up with this pattern.

It utilises Dave's brilliant method of heating up the ends of a short length of pearlescent fish-scale body tubing with a lighter, and rolling the ends between your fingers to seal it.  Then by adding a tail with the material of your choice and whipping the results onto a big hook, you end up with something resembling a small fish. Further embellishment with eyes or gills, or whatever takes your fancy, you end up with something that looks real enough (at least to us mere humans) to fool a pike into thinking a meal is on the cards.

I know that there will be the usual detractors who will claim that it bears no resemblance to what is normally considered to be a "fly", but I don't really give a toss what others think; all I'm bothered about when it comes down to it is whether it catches fish. If you want to be pedantic about it, there isn't a fly that exists for pike fishing that resembles a "fly" in any way, shape or form, what we are doing here is making lures, pure and simple. Your classic "baitfish" patterns are a prime example of what I mean here, how these can be considered to be flies by the fly-tying cogniocenti I have no idea. The very word "baitfish" aggravates me to such an extent that I have trouble in believing if any of these fly-designers have ever set foot on the bank at all never mind caught any pike! A contentious viewpoint I agree, but it makes one wonder!

Most of these so-called "baitfish" patterns resemble little more than gaily-coloured streamer flies, so if that is what these folk think pike eat on a natural level then they do not know much about biology! The origin of this term is firmly embedded in the pursuit of pelagic game species in saltwater, such as Wahoo, Billfish and Tarpon, where small brightly coloured food-fish exist in a myriad of varieties. It has nothing at all to do with the pursuit of predatory species in freshwater, where the natural prey of pike, perch and zander spend their lives trying to conceal themselves from the attentions of anything that has large amounts of teeth! I suppose that will set a few tongues wagging, but I've always been a bit on the outspoken side! 

It has been said by some that modern pike flies are little more than Plugs or Spinners, a view that I totally disagree with, as no fly that I make myself has ever been armed with anything but a single, albeit large hook. No trebles, no trailing hooks. But they are LURES, not flies, of that I am certain.

Even the most popular trout flies are nothing more than lures these days, as in my opinion if it don't fly, then it aint a fly! Anything tied up out of bits of tinsel, fur, feather or whatever is not a fly unless it resembles a natural, flying insect or beetle, no matter what materials it is made from. To claim any different in the belief that somehow the use of natural materials qualifies it as a "fly" is pure claptrap. This point of view is firmly entrenched in outdated Victorian snobbishness, and propogated mainly by those who sell large amounts of feathers and bits of roadkill for a living.

Fly fishing for pike is a relatively new sport, and as such I feel that we should embrace the future, not dwell nor languish in the past. And by the way, before anyone else chimes in with their threepenn'orth, yes, I'm in "it for the money" (you know who you are!) as much as anyone else; I'm not a charity, I do this stuff for a living! And I don't sell flies that are tied by underpaid workers in some far flung corner of the Earth like some do, I make the buggers myself and I am as English as they come! 'Nuff said!

 Boobies, Zonkers, Minkies et al are only lures, strictly speaking, so if you think that using feathers, fur and hair of a natural variety qualifies a creation as a "fly", then think again, cos in my book you've got it all wrong. If your fly resembles a fly in it's natural state, e.g, it has wings and things like insects have, then it's a fly. If it is meant to resemble a free-swimming nymph, then it's a nymph, not a fly. If it is meant to look like a fish, then it is a lure, pure and simple. I cannot remember for the life of me the last time I witnessed a real fly swimming underwater, try as I might!

Ranting over, I shall continue.........

The tail is attatched by simply knotting a short piece of our new Chamaeleon fibre around the end of the tubing, and then whipping around it to provide a firm hold. Add some fly-tyer's varnish to the join (Final Overcoat is absolutely ideal for this job as it runs quicker than Usain Bolt!) and the job's a good 'un.

I then tied the tubing on to the hook in the normal fashion with mono thread, added a couple of fluorescent eyes and a short beard hackle, also using Chamaeleon fibre, and then used U.V resin to finish the head. A bit fiddly but a piece of piss! I have to admit though, it's more akin to "craft" than "fly" tying!

The secret to the flat profile of the "fly" is in the preparation of the Creature Skin; if I tell you how to do it I will then have to shoot you! Oh well, I suppose I might as well let on, but when you do it for yourself, your Mrs. might shoot you if she cottons on to what you are doing!

Get the ironing-board out (this is normally when the "better half" starts to take a suspicious interest in your activities) and the iron, set the controls to about half-way, and "sandwich" the tubing between some non-flammable material. I use a j-cloth for this bit, because if I bugger it up I won't get the torture-treatment! Then I gently lower the hot iron onto the material and press down. Lift the iron off again and repeat the process a bit further along, making sure not to run it along like you would when ironing a shirt or such-like, otherwise the Creature Skin will stretch and take on an undesirable shape. Lift the j-cloth and check that all is well, if the tubing looks manky and shrivelled-up then you have the iron too hot and you will have to start again with a fresh piece of tube.

It is a matter of experimenting with the heat settings to find the best results with the equipment you have at your disposal. It is better to start off a bit on the cold side rather than risk a glutinous mess with the wife's belongings! Once you find the right temperature setting, you will gain in confidence and find it all rather a simple process, and it is quite surprising how much heat the tube will stand before calamity strikes!

And that's about it as far as it goes with the domestic chores, the next stage involves the use of more familiar tools so it's back to the vice; you've got flies to tie! Simples, as they say!

A rattle can also be added before the body is sealed at both ends, simply by inserting a rattle into a bit of mylar tubing and pushing it inside the body before tying it firmly to the shank of the hook.

I intend trying this fly soon so I'll add some more ramblings when I know if it works or not, in the meantime, have fun and don't burn your fingers!  

UPDATE.......

Yes, it definately will work as I had a good bite on it on a difficult day on Saturday! It looks brilliant in the water, casts really easy, and sinks really slowly. I have a few more ideas that I am playing with at the moment concerning this fly, and I have to say that they are already improving what is already an obviosly good pattern. I will get a video done as soon as I finalise the dressing and make it as simple to tie as possible. Like all good ideas, it's maybe not perfect first-time-around but with a bit of messin'........?

UPDATE.......

Oh! YES!!!!! It certainly works alright, Will and his mate Craig have been catching plenty of pike on the quiet so far, hope to have some pictures soon lads?!!!!!!!????

We will post some more patterns as soon as we can get some pics.........

I will put up a few more pictures of different versions that I have created when I get the chance, I'll put them on the scolling display above. For now though, happy tying!!!!!

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