The Murdich Minnow was created
by Bill Murdich for Umpqua Feather Merchants, along with his Murdich
Wiggler. The fly was designed for saltwater species and according to
Lines fly shop, a vocal and astute promoter of the pattern, it was
specifically created for striped bass. I was first made aware of the
pattern in a series of emails with a fellow Midwestern smallmouth addict
back in 2007, and came across it again in the bins of a Minneapolis fly
shop in 2008. Not being one who needs a ton of bricks to hit his
head to recognize a good thing, I purchased a couple as models and slipped
them into my streamer box.
The flies worked wonders on
aggressive smallies that autumn, so a few more were tied for the 2009
season. It worked just as well, and perhaps even a bit better, on
the Ohio River wipers, so a few more found their way into my selection.
Everywhere I cast the fly I got a positive reaction. There was
definitely a touch of magic in the recipe, but it was with the discovery
of a "new" fly tying adhesive and the incorporation of Wapsi Hackle
Chenille that the pattern just came alive for me. By December of
2009 I had fished the fly in several states and for species as diverse as
hybrid stripers, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and butterfly peacock
bass with success on every outing.
Chenille was first introduced at the
2007 Fly Fishing Retailer
trade show. According to the Wapsi web site: "Palmer Chenille is
a Mylar based flash product with all of its fibers on a single side. When
wrapped in closely spaced wraps around the hook, it makes a dense, flashy
body." A sample pack from that show that had been bouncing
around my tying desk quickly found its way into a dozen or so Murdich
Minnows. Eureka! moment number 1: this is the stuff that
really makes the head of the fly flow into the tail! Palmer Chenille
has synthetic fibers coming off one side, making a perfect profile. I liked the
effect much better than the original cactus chenille, and confidence in a
fly is a big part of its effectiveness. A little more research
Crystal Trilobal Hackle from Orvis, a material that's very similar to the
Wapsi product, but is available in useful 3/4-inch and 1 1/4-inch sizes.
With this material you'll have to stroke back the fibers on each wrap, but
the colors and sizes are worth it. I'm sure you can find even more
variations on this synthetic hackle theme if you check with your local fly
shop. Now I had a real selection of sizes and colors to pursue variation of what
was quickly becoming a favorite fly!
second Eureka! moment came when I purchased a tube of
Liquid Nails Clear Small Project Adhesive. I'm an inveterate
snooper of the glue and adhesive aisles at the local hardware stores and,
like an inviting fabric shop, I just have to take a glance around to see
if there's anything new that I might be able to use. CSPA, as I
shall refer to it, is heavily viscous with a consistency similar to
silicone caulk, which it is intended to replace in small repairs.
Although it takes a full 24 hours to dry and about 2 hours to set to a
"tacky" consistency, it resists running and dries perfectly clear.
It's the ideal material for putting eyes on deer hair bugs... and palmered
synthetic hackle! It can be worked into the material to give a soft,
but nearly indestructible, texture that its totally transparent to the
host material. In other words, this stuff has a million uses on the
fly tying bench!
When this fly is tied of
totally synthetic materials it sheds water immediately on the back cast,
making a size 2 fly an easy load for a 6-wieght fly line. It's also
very translucent, with excellent flash properties. I love to fish this fly
aggressively on a sunny day when the old adage "bright day - bright fly,
dark day - dark fly" would have us looking for a fly that looks, and
swims, just like this.
The video production of this
pattern was filmed "live" at the Buckeye United Fly Fishers Greater
Cincinnati Fly Fishing Show on February 6, 2010. The Murdich Minnow
can be tied in any number of colors and in sizes from 6 to 2/0 with
readily available materials. Tie a few for your fly box and share
your success with us on the
Fly Fish Ohio Facebook Fan Page!
Hook: Do-It 455, size 4 to 2/0.
Size 2 used on this fly. Eagle Claw 254, Gamakatsu SC15 or similar
hooks all work well. I like a nickel-plated (or stainless)
O'Shaughnessy bend, about 1XL.
Thread: Danville 6/0 monofilament
Body: Wapsi Palmer Chenille, Orvis
Trilobal Hackle or similar in 1.25" size for a 2 to 1/0 hook.
Prismacolor Premier Cool Grey 80% marker
Layered clear white Unique Hair, Flashabou Ice Blue Pearl and Flashabou
Belly and Sides: Wing'n'Flash Ice Blue
Pearl and silver
Liquid Nails Clear Small Projects Silicone Adhesive
Eyes: 5/16" Molded holographic eyes for
hooks size 2 to 1/0