Friday, March 1, 2024

03.01.24 I'm a little late to the party....

    The last few years Blane Chocklett has really brought some great innovations to fly tying and fly fishing. He brought us the Gummy Minnow a ways back, then the Game Changer, now the Feather and 

Jerk Changer. I saw Blane swim the Jerk Changer up in Newport at this years Stock the Box. Like all other flies, the Jerk Changer has its time and place. But the beauty of fly innovation is that you can take techniques and materials and apply them to flies you tie for the fish you target. 

     Last year I was fishing with a buddy who let me fish through a spot. I was throwing a big Surface Seducer with all kinds of stuff hanging off the back. After 1,000 casts he said, "Are you done"? He then

took out a 9 inch Doc Spook and on the second cast I watched a 30 pound bass blow up on it. After we released it I reeled my line in and told him I was good. Bob Popovic's always states fly design is done to solve a problem, like a fishing problem. So I have a problem. It's not a bait to fish problem- it's a fishing next to a spin fishermen problem. And while there's always the "If you can't beat em' join em" approach to things, I choose to stick with the fly but I have to come up with something different. 

     A few years back Chase Smith came out with a Spiral Spook that came to market through Fly Men Fishing Fishing Co. These look, and swim, like a Spook but they are only available in size 1 and 2. I'm looking for a 6/0 or 8/0 version. Below, Champlain Flyworks offers a 6 inch Topwater Game Changer 

which is nice but has the same Surface Seducer head and kind of travels in a straight line during the retrieve, the same action that my poppers have been giving me. I need to come up with something else. 

     When Blane first introduced the shanks to tie on I loaded up. They have sat for years. It's the same thing with the Fleye Foils. I have enough stickers, in all sizes, to tie 1,000 flies. Mine just suck so they sit in a box waiting for my skills to catch up. 

     These days you can't "invent" a fly, they have all been stolen or renamed. I don't care about that, I just need a fly to do what I need it to do. Basically here's my wish list,

  • It has to be big, around 10 inches
  • It has to be castable
  • It has to shed water
  • It has to be a topwater fly, not necessarily a popper. 
  • It has to have action other than in a straight line. 
  • It has to be in scale with a 6/0 or 8/0 hook

     So I sat down like I usually do and just started tying. I know these Game Changers and Jerk Changers use some kind of special brush which I don't have, and I'm not sure if those brushes float. I didn't want to tie another foam head popper, because that's not what I'm looking for. So I went with my go-to which is deer belly hair. If I could spin on these shanks maybe the flies would be buoyant, which will have them on top of the water, and articulated enough to move around a bit? I know it won't be like 

that "walk the dog" action but maybe a tad right to left would suit me well enough. I've never tied with shanks and quickly was puzzled how the first shank gets tied on to the hook. I nearly broke my brain before coming up with the below, which is not the way they were designed. But you gotta learn 

somehow. I just clipped the shank onto the bend of the hook and tied in lead top and bottom so it stays somewhat in line. Hey, it's spun deer hair so it'll float anyway. The trimming went well and I siliconed the head of the fly to have it push more water, maybe? 

     There are a ton of deer hair spins on these two flies. They come in at just over 10 inches tied on a Ahrex Popovic's Beast Fleye Hook in 6/0 & 8/0. Things I like, they meet all the things on my wish list. Things I don't like,
  • Too much gap between the ties, if that matters
  • Takes way too much material, and time, to tie
     If I were to name it, or them, I'd call them "Snake Changers". They're a cross between the Snake Fly/Game Changer (Tabory/Chocklett) and tied on a Ahrex Popovic's Beast Fleye Hook, 6/0 and 8/0 Long. It's the first two go arounds and after about 100 I think I might be happy. Only way to know is to swim them and then toss them to hungry fish. 

    I haven't swam them yet, if it was yesterday's 60 degree day I would have, but someone left the freezer door open because today it was 39 degrees. Maybe there's something here, or maybe this will put me in the right direction to fix my I hate fishing with spinning guys problem.