Tie in a length of marabou. Tear the tips so the tail is no longer than half the shank.
wandering Cutthroat gorge themselves on stickleback, chub, or salmon
fry lower mainland fly fishers flock to the sloughs and rivers throughout
the eastern Fraser Valley in pursuit. Cutthroat are noted for their
love of fish in their diet so minnow and streamer patterns figure
prominently in the ardent cutthroat fly anglers fly box. Lakes containing
cutthroat are worthy of a visit too. Working in teams, cutthroat
herd their prey much like ocean going salmon slashing through herring
balls. Just about any fly cast into this melee draws a response.
Step 2 :
With the tail complete wind a body of silver Diamond Braid.
End the body a good two eye widths back from the hook eye.
numerous variations of the venerable Tied Down Minnow are one of
the most popular cutthroat pattern styles. This sleek design does
a superb job of mimicking the slender pin like look of so many small
forage fish. The only failing of this pattern is its durability.
After a couple of good chewings the namesake tied down back of the
fly becomes tattered and pulled. The angler either retires the fly
or pulls the back loose turning the pattern into a traditional streamer.
With the explosion of saltwater fly designs incorporating epoxy
it was only a matter of time until these concepts spread to freshwater
tying. To some this is old news as many anglers have been using
epoxy for years and they might wonder what took everyone else so
long. At first glance I wondered what was the difference between
some of the epoxy creations I saw and a Rapala lure. They looked
the same with the exception of the treble hook garnish. Over time
I accepted this epoxy invasion as the bright appearance and overall
durability became too much to overlook. Epoxy now reaches all corners
of my fly box from chironomid to water boatman patterns. A little
dab of epoxy on a wingcase provides pre emergent glitter and a ton
the Epoxy Minnow I start by tying a tuft of marabou to provide the
pulsing action of a minnow's tail, while silver diamond braid makes
for a quick and easy body. To imitate the gills of a wounded forage
fish use a couple of wraps of red rabbit fur dubbing. Rabbit fur
is user friendly and fits in with the slim profile of this pattern.
For the back the variegated look of mallard flank either natural
or dyed realistically imitates a wide spectrum of forage fish. To
add a little flash and sparkle I mix in a few strands of matching
Angel Hair for good measure. Tie down the mallard flank and Angel
Hair both front and rear. Build up a large white thread head to
simulate the head of a baitfish followed by a couple of stick on
eyes. Cover the entire fly except for the tail with a few liberal
coats of epoxy. A drying rack using a rotisserie motor keeps the
drying flies in constant rotation so the epoxy hardens in a uniform
manner the alternative is to use a fast drying epoxy, spinning the
fly by hand until dry.
Step 3 :
Dub the gills keeping them slender, two to three wraps is
the majority of rivers and sloughs I use a floating line 90% of
the time. The floating line allows for a smooth quick pickup to
chase rising fish. It also keeps the fly up in the water column
so the cutthroat can vault up from below to strike the fly. In the
deeper reaches of some sloughs and lakes I switch to a sinking line
of appropriate density from an intermediate to type 3 or 4 Uniform
Sink. Keep a feel for soft takes too, sometimes cutthroat gently
mouth the fly as if they are sampling the fly before swallowing.
Keep the retrieve varied from a quick darting panic-stricken pace
to one of casual meandering. In moving waters I try to mend and
manipulate the fly so it swims broadside and down stream as the
current makes it impossible for any forage fish to head upstream.
This presentation also offers a broad visible silhouette for the
trout to hone in on.
The Epoxy Minnow
Hook: Tiemco 5263 #8-#12
Thread: White 6/0
Tail: Marabou to match Shellback
Body: Silver Diamond Braid
Shellback: Mallard, Either Natural or Dyed and a few Strands of
matching Angel Hair
Head: White Tying Thread
Eyes: Stick on Eye
Step 4 :
Secure in the mallard flank followed by a few strands of
Angel Hair for the shellback. The tips of the mallard flank
should match the tips of the tail.
Step 5 : Build up a neat balanced
thread head. Keep the over all minnow profile of the pattern
in mind. With the head complete whip finish and reattach
the tying thread at the rear of the hook. Stroke the mallard
and Angel Hair together so the Angel Hair rides on top of
the mallard. Tie down the shellback at the rear of the hook,
whip finish and trim the Angel Hair even with the tail.
Step 6 :
Take the stick on eyes and try to place a fold right down
the middle of the eye while it is still attached to the
backing sheet. This cups the eye giving it a rounded profile
making it easier to attach to the thread head.
Step 7 :
With the eyes in place cover the entire head and body with
epoxy. Pay special attention to the rear tie down point
and the head and eye areas. Make sure the coverage is uniform
and that there are no lumps or bumps to the pattern.