in Fly Tying... May 2010
Fly and Text by Joe Cornwall
Video Production by Jim Stuard
I love the Mickey Fin streamer
fly. Popularized by John Alden Knight in the early part of the 20th
Century, the Mickey Fin started life with the simple moniker "Red and
Yellow Streamer", but was renamed the Assassin by Knight. Following
the demise of Rudolph Valentino in August 1926 the Assassin was again
renamed as the Mickey Fin, a colloquialism for a "spiked" drink.
Gossip had it that the great Valentino died from such a drink, though in
truth it was complications from a bleeding ulcer. Regardless of the
convoluted path to its name, the simple truth is that a mostly yellow fly
with a trace of red is powerful magic when tied to a tippet.
The Internet is a powerful
article on the Global Fly Fisher web site introduced me to Phil
Strobel's version of the Chile Pepper fly well over a decade ago.
The fly is reported to have its origins in the trophy trout waters of
Tierra del Fuego. Being a unique tie featuring the strong yellow and
red hues of the Mickey Fin, it was a forgone conclusion that it would end
up in my fly box. Serendipity is strong medicine. The fly
remains in my kit to this day.
If this fly looks suspiciously
like the Mrs. Simpson featured in the last installment of Adventures In
Fly Tying, that's because it's the same Killer style of pattern.
This is a simple tying style that can result in a fly with a strong
profile, subtle action and rich, natural color. I've found it to be
particularly effective on largemouth and smallmouth bass in the
algae-stained waters of late summer. It's also a curiously effective
pattern for tempting channel catfish. Though I haven't fished it
over trout, its pedigree tells me that autumn browns will find its colors
and profile irresistable.
A golden pheasant pelt is an
inexpensive and useful material for the adventurous fly tier. Full
skins are readily available at most fly shops for under $20, For your
investment you'll geta few dozen of these pretty streamers and enough
materials to tie several dozen Orange Nymphs and a host of other great
flies. Using just feathers and thread, the Chile Pepper is a fast,
easy and effective pattern!
Hook: Mustad 9674, Daiichi 1750
or similar 4XL ring-eye streamer hook, sizes 4 and 6
Thread: Red or orange 140 Denier (6/0) to match
Golden pheasant yellow body feather
Matched pairs of golden pheasant yellow body feathers, up to
Cheeks: Matched pair of golden
pheasant red body feathers
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