Joe Kissane (Drag-Free Drift, 2001, Stackpole Books) sent along his favorite scud imitation, which like Theo Bakelaar’s scud is tied with ostrich herl. And, like Theo’s it is fast to tie. Joe weights the fly with a tungsten wire underbody, or if he wants an unweighted fly, he makes the underbody of monofilament. Thanks Joe.


Tie in a tail of lemon wood duck fibers or pheasant tail, or other fibers of the color needed, then tie in two ostrich herl filaments.



Add an underbody of tungsten wire or mono.



Wind the herl to the head, tie off, cut away excess.



Press the fibers down and around the hook and coat the top with Flex Seal, allow to dry.

Tippet Glow

Joe Kissane (Drag-Free Drift, 2001, Stackpole Books) recently sent me a great photo, shot by his brother Mike, illustrating the not so invisible nature of fluorocarbon. Mike is a professional photographer and eco-tour guide in Iceland—see here— (the land of huge brown trout, by the way).

Joe likes fluorocarbon because of its long shelf life, and the fact that it sinks. But, as he noted in his email, it is not “invisible.” All leader materials transmit light along their length, which can potentially give them a bit of a glow underwater, depending upon incident light angle, time of day, and water surface roughness.


Brooke on 6X fluorocarbon. Copyright 2016 Mike Kissane.

Bighorn Anomaly

On their recent trip to Montana’s Bighorn, both Chuck Furimsky and Harry Schoel fished a backwater area and to their surprise, each caught a very nice smallmouth bass. Nothing wrong with smallies, to be sure, but where did they come from? No matter, they fought well and made a memorable trip for both friends.

Chuck's bass

Nice Smallie, Chuck!! Where did it come from?

Marlin School

Jake Jordan is conducting his Marlin Schools in Costa Rica, and his clients have been doing quite well. Everyone hooks up on a daily basis and all go away with tales of ones lost and ones landed. These fish are so powerful that if they get out there 300 yards and then jump, they usually break the 20 pound test Mason hard mono tippet. If you want to get your arms jerked nearly out of their sockets and have a chance to land a fish that’s bigger than you, give Capt’n Jake a call or end an email–see his address in the links section to the right.


Hooked and jumping in close. Notice rod position–Jake teaches his students how to fight big fish from the reel.


Just a bit scary.

Tricos on the ‘horn

My friends, Chuck Furimsky and Harry Schoel have been fishing the Bighorn during the Trico hatch. The spinners fall till about 11:00 in astounding numbers. The fish have been running 14-18 inches with a few larger. Great size fish on 6X and 7X and size 22-24 flies. The rest of the day its nymphs until the black caddis at evening.

The ‘horn is a big river and one should have a watercraft if they expect to cross back and forth, so Chuck and Harry bring pontoon boats. To make it easy on them, they rent a small moving truck and keep the inflated boats in the back. All they have to do is drive up, unload, and go fishing. The truck is moved to their takeout by a shuttle service.

Tricos will be falling through September, and on the ‘horn they fall in the billions every day. Unless one sees it in person, it’s hard to believe there can be that many insects in a river–day after day after day. If you have a chance to get there, do so.


Yup, they just move in and go fishing.



Chuck with a nice brown on the Trico.



Harry with a nice rainbow on the Trico.


Bottom Walker

Another great idea from Mr. Goldbead, Theo Bakelaar. This concept allows the fly to ride upside down with the bead scraping bottom, making both noise and kicking up mud. The placement of the bead above the top of the shank inverts the fly greatly decreasing hangups.


Bend a pin, add a bead.


Tie bead/pin assembly at front of hook, addy a body and legs.


A couple of finished Bottom Walkers and a sample of hook with bead/pin assembly in place.

Foam Heads


Our friend Theo Bakelaar is foaming at the vise. Here’s a neat idea for using a circle of foam to make a muddler head. My friend, Mark Rayman, from Colorado, uses a circle of foam to make a great diver pattern. Is foam the new deer hair?


Tie in circle of foam on top of shank to start Muddler head.


Tie foam top and bottom to form head, then finish.


Add eye for final high floating Muddler.


Mark Rayman’s Diver. Diver shield is circle foam.

Folded Foam Humpy


This great idea came from Harrisson Steeves, a friend of Theo Bakelaar. It’s a fabulous idea, and I’m already seeing it as a possible Down and Dirty tactic for many imitations. Fold the foam and glue in place with Instant Glue—Gorilla Glue makes a good product for this.


Cut the foam for the body. In this case a circular piece.


Tie in tail and fold foam up around shank. Glue in place with Instant Glue.


Add wing and hackle.


Fabulous idea. Foam away!

Detached Body Pins

Our friend Theo Bakelaar, from Holland, has been tying many imitations of recent days. He is kind enough to send along photo instructions of his very fine work. Some of his imitations call for an extended body, and he uses J:son detached body pins to build it. These are really slick. They are available from Feather Craft in a set of three sizes. See them at


Cut thin foam strip.


Mount detached body pin in vise, attach thread.


Fold foam along pin attach with thread. Pull thread up between sides to form rings on body.


Wrap body as long as needed, tie off. Leave butt ends to tie into hook.


Some great example is finished flies using this tool.

Two Generic Patterns from Theo

Here are a couple of generic patterns from Theo Bakelaar in Holland. His Little Black One is simplicity to tie, but very effective. Body: black ostrich herl, bak, Swiss straw, tail: red yarn.  It can be dressed with a peacock herl body or with coarse dubbing, or fine feather dubbing, etc.—color of your choice. The back may be Swiss straw, flash material, peacock herl, deer hair, or a host of other materials. In other words, this is a generic pattern that can be pushed in every direction possible. Want to go wild? Add rubber legs or folded hackle, or…. Note the red tail. This is a strong feature in many imitations from England, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. In other words, it works.

The Sili-Skin sand eel is another example of a pattern that can be modified in many ways. The colors of material used, the type of materials used, the length of materials used, the bulk of the fly, the colors applied with the marker, and so on. Fuss a bit, it’s a fun imitation to build from.


Little Black One


Sili Skin Sand Eel


Thread of contrasting or complimentary color–dependent on final imitation design. Tie in a wing/tail of flash material.



Wrap a strip of “skin” around the hook to build the body to the desired thickness. This can be omitted if the body is to be very thin.



Tie in a wing of whatever materials you wish, mix in flash, of a different color than tail, etc.



Fold a strip of “skin” over the fly–length depends on final design.



Trim “skin” to shape.



Add eyes and color with permanent markers.



Lots of options with this pattern technique.