Friday, October 5, 2012

Fly-Tying Presentation, 10-4-2012

Ron White, Vice President of Central Iowa Anglers (, invited me to give a fly-tying presentation at the club's October 4th meeting.

There were approximately 15 CIA Members in attendance.  I had prepared an outline of things I wanted to discuss about how I go about selecting flies to tie in order to target each of the various fish species I pursue, choosing the right sizes, colors and styles of flies.  And then I would show the various materials most commonly used in tying flies.  And I would finish by tying patterns requested by the audience.

I even practiced the presentation once!  In the end, though, I didn't follow that plan.  I decided I would tie a variety of patterns that have been most successful for me in chasing warmwater fish locally.  I frequently paused to answer questions and tell a few (true) stories.  I explained why certain patterns seemed to work so well for certain species, and how some of the patterns originated.

The patterns I chose were as follows:
Boa Yarn Leech (Yellow) - This is a pattern designed by Rick Zieger (from Iowa).  Its super-quick to tie, and I've caught so many fish on this pattern!  Bass, Catfish, Crappies, Bluegills, Grass Carp, Hybrid Sunfish...even Rainbow Trout!

Springbrook Wunder (Microjig) - This pattern is tied on a 1/80th oz or 1/100th oz microjighead, and was reintroduced several years back by Keith Wunder (from Iowa).  This is a great Crappie and Bluegill pattern, and my favorite fly to use under a strike indicator when the water is cool both early and late in the year.

Clouser Deep Minnow (Gray-over-White) - Designed by Bob Clouser, a well known fly angler/tyer/guide from Pennsylvania.  This pattern will work in any water, and is particularly effective in rivers.  Change size and color of the fly to match the preferences of the fish.  I've caught walleyes on this in a lake in Canada and also in the Des Moines River.

Woolly Bugger - This pattern is attributed to Russell Blessing (from Pennsylvania).  Color variations are infinite.  This looks a little like anything and everything, and looks a lot like nothing at all.  Works great!  One of the most effective patterns for many species of fish, from bluegills to trout.

Nymph - I don't know what the nymph pattern I tied was called, or if it even has a name.  A member of the audience requested I tie a pattern using the non-lead wire I had sitting on the table near me.  I used turkey for the tail; dubbed abdomen with turkey carapace ribbed with gold wire; dubbed thorax over the non-lead wire weight, used a soft-hackle feather tied flat for legs, covered over the top with the turkey.  Great little general nymph pattern.
It was very similar to this Skip Morris "Anatomical Nymph" I tied, but with a different tail:

(Weedless) Black Ops - This is a really great pattern I've use a bit of this summer, and more and more lately.  It was designed by Chris (I don't know his last name yet) of So far, I've caught Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Common Carp, Channel Catfish, Crappies, Bluegills, and Freshwater Drum on it.
What I tied looked similar to this version, but with larger dubbed body and no softhackle:

Foam Bluegill Topwater - I wanted to demonstrate how to tie a floating fly using foam.  The pattern I tied used a combination of techniques from several foam surface patterns.  I used rubber legs on it as well.  For simplicity, I'd recommend interested folks do a search for a Gurgler, Gurgle-Pop or Gartside Gurgler pattern for a similar style and tying instructions.

I was also going to tie a Blue Thunder streamer, designed by Ian Colin James, but figured I'd kept these folks long enough.  Instead, I just showed a finished one that I had tied and brought along with me.

The presentation went well, everyone seemed quite interested!  Hopefully this might encourage a few more anglers to try fly fishing and / or fly tying.  Some were even interested in tying / using flies for ice-fishing.


  1. Wow! Great pictures and information. Wonderful post!


  2. I was taught to tie the Springbrook Wunder by Keith Wunder at Springbrook State Park while attending a Fly Fishing class this past weekend. Let's say I am hooked on the Springbrook Wunder and so were several Bluegills I caught yesterday while working with Healing Waters.

    1. Excellent! Keith is a super-nice guy! The Springbrook Wunder under an indicator has become my top-producing fly for Crappies, and of course it catches lots of bluegills too. A gold version was by far my top producer of Brown, Brook and Rainbow Trout in NE Iowa streams this year.
      Great pattern!