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PUBLISHED: 11:10 AM on Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Thunder Creek Streamers

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Long before I attempted to become a streamside entomologist - trying to distinguish a caddis larva from a mayfly dun - I simply did what I had always done.

I fished with flies that imitated baitfish. Having been a bass fisherman, it was much easier for me start fly fishing with streamers, which I would swim through the water in much the same manner as a bass lure - or plug - as they say south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

It's basic stuff. A big fish will eat a little fish, and down you go through the food chain.

The Thunder Creek series is yet another in a long line of streamer patterns that is every bit as effective as an old-fashioned hair-wing or feather streamer.

It's a durable pattern that features a lacquered head that you can either paint or glue on a set of eyes. It also employs a unique way of tying on wings. Color combinations are up to you, or you can match up tried and true sets from traditional patterns. Let's give one a try.

1. I'm using a #10 limerick-bend streamer hook, which works well for trout, but you may wish to go bigger for salmon. This pattern usually has a red band behind the head, so I'm using a red thread that is fairly stout. Tie in a few inches of flat silver tinsel and cover the shank with it, just short of the eye.

2. Green and white works well for spring dollies, so let's use that combination. Cut away a clump of white hair from a natural buck tail. Clean out the smaller fibers and even the ends as best you can. The white is our underwing, and it gets tied under the hook, with the tapered ends in front of the eye. The tie-in point is directly behind the eye.

3. Cut out a green section from a dyed buck tail. This will be your overwing. Again, with the tapers forward, tie the green directly over the hook and match the tie-in point. Make several wraps with the thread so both wings stay securely in place. This is where a stouter thread comes in handy. Trim away the butt ends for both wings.

4. Wind your thread down a bit from the tie-in point. Pull the green overwing over the shank so the tapered ends are in the normal position, past the hook bend. Do your best to keep any white hair fibers from mixing with the green. Keep your wing in place with a few wraps of thread.

5. Keeping your thread out of the way, pull your white underwing back under the shank so that the tapered ends also end up past the hook bend. Make several thread wraps and secure the resulting red band with two or three half hitches. Use head cement on the entire head, including the band. Before it dries, add a set of eyes, or paint them on later.

A hint or two: As no two buck tails are alike, look for hair that is fairly straight.

The curlier stuff works well enough for traditional streamers, but it will give you plenty of grief when you're working with Thunder Creek patterns. Also, make sure you've eliminated the short sections in your hair clumps.

If you don't, those short sections will pop up around the head causing the tier to lose whatever religion he or she may have left. Until next time, happy tying! Comments: franklee825@hotmail.com.


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