PUBLISHED: 2:59 PM on Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tying the Weedless Flesh Fly
So, the salmon runs have just about run their course; time to check our egos at the door and pull out those ridiculous looking, yet aptly named Flesh Flies. You heard right.

Instead of mimicking baitfish or aquatic insects, we're gonna' fool those big trout and dollies with flies resembling rotting fish flesh - which should prove once and for all that fly fishermen and fly fisherwomen will tie on practically any feather and fur abomination on the promise of big fish.

Ready to get dirty? Let's tie.

1. I want this particular pattern to run deep, so I've slipped a brass conehead onto a debarbed streamer hook. In addition, I've wrapped lead wire along most of the shank. Wrap the wire before starting your thread base. I know that goes against standard fly-tying dogma, but I need to slip the wire tight against the recessed back of the conehead. Trying to slide the wire over a thread base is, well, try it and you'll see what I mean.

2. Now, spiral a fairly stout brown thread over the wire, and then tie in a few inches of 20-25 pound test monofilament along the top of the shank, leaving most of it hanging past the hook bend. Huh? That's right, we're making a weed guard. Whether sinking a big flesh fly in a backwater eddy or a deep run, there are always plenty of snags to worry about. This little trick with the mono will save you some serious grief. Trust me on this.

3. Most flesh flies are either ginger or white - or combinations of both. Let's work with a ginger-dyed rabbit strip. My Mustad 9674 #4 took 10 inches of bunny hide, so hook size dictates the exact length you'll need. Secure the tapered end of the strip at the hook bend, leaving about a shank's length dangling past for a tail. Don't be too delicate with your thread. Bind it down tight. If you keep breaking thread, try Kevlar.

4. Pull your rabbit strip out of the way while you advance your thread behind the conehead. Now, wind the strip up the shank, just like a bunny fly or a marabou leech pattern. Use the fingers of your free hand to continuously stroke the hair down toward the bend as you wrap. Stop winding about a quarter of an inch behind the conehead. Okay, let's grab that mono we had dangling off the back end. Pull it from underneath the shank to the conehead, leaving enough sag in the mono loop to act as a weed guard. Secure the end with thread and a drop or two of cement.

5. After the cement dries, continue wrapping the fur. Wrap over the bound end of mono and don't stop until you're tight against the conehead. Take a few extra turns of thread and then carefully trim away the hide.

Use two or three half-hitch knots to secure the thread behind the conehead, and then cut away the thread. Wow! What a mess!

Even after death, salmon continue to play a vital role in the health of a river system. When salmon carcasses scatter down stream, their flesh provides food for not only hungry trout, but for all life in the river, including even young salmon waiting for their shot at the open sea.

It's the circle of life, Simba.

Happy tying! Comments: