Nature Notes: More beautiful, home-made flies

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Days of sleet means even more time at the vice -- and more flies for a box that has remained dry since early November. It's getting quite full. After mastering the woolly bugger and standard Clouser Deep Minnow, I've increasingly turned to experimentation. Soon I'll actually write down the recipes so you can your own. If you have any specific questions, give me a shout here.

Each fly explained after the jump...

  • Punch-Out Popper: My box has many large poppers -- soft- and hard-foam models attached to #2 or larger hooks. Thing is, I catch a lot of small, feisty panfish on smaller versions of topwater movers. This one is tied onto a #6 hook, and the body is far smaller. With the marabou and feather wing, it could be floated on the surface to imitate a dead minnow.
  • Chartreuse Darter: I've been working on various patterns for Big Darby Creek, a waterway healthy enough to support various small baitfish known as darters. This one has bright bunches of marabou on top, synthetic fur on the bottom and some grizzly hackle to give the appearance of banding. It might approximate a small perch, too. Let's hope.
  • Columbus Baby Crayfish: Tom at Mad River turned me onto an easy crayfish pattern using lead eyes (weight), rabbit fur (claws), some flash (antennae) and chenille (body). It's a really easy pattern, though it can be heavy. I developed this smaller, lighter one from his advice, adding bead-chain eyes at the hook bend, peacock feathers for claws and some rubber legs for feelers.
  • Horsefly: This pattern came from a back issue of Fly Tyer, and the author suggested tying it for panfish. The marabou tail should give it good action, and the prickly hackle should give it a realistic feel in the tiny mouths of crappie, bluegill and sunfish.
  • Johnny Walker Clouser: This is a version of Bob Clouser's classic pattern, tied with an extra long #6 hook (4x here). I wanted a longer, larger bass fly that didn't necessarily weigh much more than my others. Also, I threw some red flashabou into the center strip.

    (Photos by Will Shilling)