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Adventures in Fly Tying... December  2010

Shannon's Streamer
Fly and Text by Joe Cornwall
Video Production by Jim Stuard

 

The Illinois Smallmouth Alliance is a great group of folks with a fascination for "them ole brown fish", an obsession I share.  I've been fortunate to have been invited on several occasions to work with the group, the latest event being their Bronzeback Blowout fund raiser, where I was honored to be their featured presenter.  I've met some incredibly talented anglers and fly tiers in that organization.  One of the more creative thinkers I've had the pleasure of meeting is Rich McElligott, a fellow who provided some original patterns featured in this Fly Fish Ohio article.  Rich took his work with Paton's Bohemian Chenille to new heights with his latest creation, Shannon's Streamer, a fly he named after his granddaughter..

I love that fly tiers can take inspiration from the enormous variety of artificials being developed for use with spinning and casting gear.  I'm eager to see and employ the fruits of increased adaptation of flies designed to fit a particular noise or displacement characteristic, strike-trigger action or depth control mechanism.  Shannon's Streamer is the fly fisher's equivalent of a Yamamoto Senko or Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm or similar stick-bait.  These unprepossessing soft-plastic lures are the ultimate in "dead stick" artificials.  I'm a believer. I've had too many days on the water when my fishing partner, Dave Votaw, has taken me to school by fishing a 3" or 4" pearl Senko on a 10lb fluorcarbon leader to sulking smallmouth that would have nothing to do with my best streamer presentations. Now I have an answer in my fly box, and one that even opens new presentation possibilities not easily achievable with the original fished on a spinning rod!.  With the soft, quiet entry and subtle sonic presence due to its in water bulk, this may be the ultimate finesse offering for highly selective fish!

Shannon's Streamer is a great choice when the water is low and clear, fish are spooky or are uninterested in "traditional" presentations. I fish this fly on an 8 to 10lb. test fluorocarbon tippet (exclusively) using a non-slip mono loop knot to ensure the fly has freedom to move, twist and turn with the micro-currents as it drifts towards its intended target. My leaders will range from 10-feet to 14-feet with at least 3-feet of tippet.  This pattern is best fished on an outfit with some mass, so my choice is a medium action 8-weight. I fish this fly on a floating line because I want a vertical drop presentation. During the very short 6-inch strips that define the retrieve, the fly hops up in the water column and then settles back down with a vertical component rather than a horizontal movement.

I'll admit right now, I've only fished this fly  in white.  I don't even know if I'll bother to experiment with too many colors, but I can certainly imagine a black version having its moments.  It's a simple pattern and there's no reason why it wouldn't work wonders in olive or green, red or yellow, or whatever color you want.  For me, white is the killer. 

This is a pattern I fish in the top 4-feet of the water column, and I fish it to imitate an injured or dying shad, shiner or minnow.  Last autumn, after three months of drought, the local rivers were low and the fish were extremely spooky.  Shannon's Streamer was the only fly that worked consistently.  Outing after outing I enjoyed fair numbers of surprisingly large smallmouth from a crystal clear flow..  It got to the point where I fished Shannon's Streamer almost exclusively for about two months; even going to the point of tying it on in my driveway before I left for the water!  You need to have this fly in your kit this season.  I'll guarantee that I'll be carrying no fewer than six.

MATERIALS

Hook: Gamakatsu SC15 or Do It 254 size 2 to 2/0 or any chrome or stainless 1XL hook.
Thread: White or clear mono 140 Denier or similar in a color to match the body

Eyes: Silver Holographic

Body: Patons Bohemian Chenille or Lion Brand Velvet Spun Yarn.  Experiment with color.

Tail: White marabou blood plume or experiment with colors to contrast with or match to the body chenille.

Adhesive:    Liquid Nails Clear Silicone Small Projects Adhesive or similar flexible clear-cure product.  You could use epoxy, or an epoxy substitute to get a slightly different effect, too

Windows Media Video  QuickTime Video 

 

New High Definition - 720p!

High Definition Windows Media File

 

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Place the hook in the vise and lay an even foundation of thread to a point above the hook barb.  Tie in the marabou plume and wrap the thread back to the eye of the hook.

Tie in the Bohemian Chenille and .begin wrapping back in even, touching turns to the tie-in point of the tail.

Holding the marabou in your left hand, continue wrapping the chenille over the marabou to form and extended body.  Don't wrap too tight or the body will kink, causing the fly to spin.

Make 6 to 8 turns over the marabou and then begin wrapping the chenille back to the tie-in point.

Tie off the chenille and clip the excess. The fly is now ready to fish.  For a more lifelike imitation, I like to add holographic eyes..

Add the eyes using Liquid Nails Clear Silicone Small Projects adhesive and a toothpick. Conversely, you can use epoxy or Clear Cure Flexible Goo.

Tie up a school of minnows and go fishing!

 

 

 

Tight lines and bait-filled waters...

 

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