Fly Tying 101: The Easter Bunny
Finally! Tarpon season is here! After a winter of wind and rain, we can focus on jumping some big, hard, fighting fish. Hooking one of these monsters on a fly rod is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on! Here is an easy and quick fly that I use for tarpon. The color of each material can be changed to suit what you think the fish will be feeding on. For this one, I'm using the good 'ole purple and black combo. Here is what you will need: Gamagatsu SL12S 2/0 hook 280 thread in hi vis pink (Yes, there is a reason for this.) Magnum rabbit zonked strips in purple Crosscut rabbit strips in fuchsia EP foxy brush (black) Laced hen saddle hackle from Whiting A UV knot or head glue First, I start by wrapping thread; stopping just before the hook point. Next, I add in the purple bunny strip. After it is secure, I wrap around the base of the strip a few times. This makes the tail stand up a bit, acting as an anti-fowling mechanism. Next, I add a couple of turns of the fuchsia bunny strip. You don't want to use too much of this. This just creates a little bit of color contrast in the fly.
Now, it's time for the EP brush. I like this material because it has a little red flash in it. It also makes life much easier, since I'm not very good at making my own. As you wrap this, make sure you constantly pull the fibers back so they lay over the bunny strips. Four to five wraps usually does it. The collar is the final step before finishing the fly. I use the laced hackle because, after it is palmered in, the outside edges are black, while the center is purple. Does this make a difference to the fish? I have no clue...I just think it looks cool! A good set of hackle pliers really helps with this step. Now, whip finish the head and apply the cement of your choice. I like an ultra-violet cured glue. It doesn't change the color of the thread. As for the reason to have such a brightly colored head, I stole this idea from a long-time west coast guide, Mel Simpson. He will wrap a bright piece of yarn or other material on the head to act as a sort of strike indicator. This isn't really necessary on the dark flies. But, when fishing light flies over light bottom, it can help you keep an eye on where it is, and hopefully when it disappears in a tarpon’s mouth. This fly has nice movement in the water. I find a slow, steady strip works very well to trigger a strike. Try this fly out. Experiment with different color combinations. Hopefully you will need to make a bunch this season. Fish on!
Capt. Grif Helwig
Fish the backcountry flats and basins with Captain Grif on his 16 ft Maverick skiff or 20 ft Hewes light tackle boats. A Florida native, Grif will guide anglers of all ages and skill levels on fly and spin tackle. Call 904-699-2315 or visit kwfishcharters.com
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