Skip Morris is an incredibly talented and prolific
fly fisherman, fly tier and writer. He has authored nine books.
This fly was detailed in his sixth book; The Art of Tying the Bass Fly.
For me, finding this pattern in that book was a marvelous gift of fate.
The Skip's Dad is a great clear-water imitation of a crayfish and it
counters, almost perfectly, the impressionistic Foxee Red Clouser that
is my other "go to" crayfish imitation. Between the two patterns
I'm almost never in need of a third choice when fishing Midwestern
creeks for smallmouth bass and rock bass.
I call Skip's Dad a clear water fly because it
works best in the slow, clear flows of late summer. It was, in
fact, designed specifically for sight fishing to smallmouth bass in
clear flows. More than this, the Skip's Dad is just the
right size, shape and color to effectively imitate young-of-the-year
crayfish so abundant in late July, August and September. Unlike so
many crayfish imitations that over-emphasize fat claws and square tails,
the Skip's Dad offers up a well proportioned profile, properly sized
claws and an easy tying sequence that makes for much less pain when
ubiquitous rocks and snags claim a half-dozen flies in a day's fishing.
The Skip's Dad is a fly that effectively imitates
a fully-formed hard-shell crayfish of one-half to one-and-one-half
inches in length, a magical size for smallmouth bass. A study on
the streams and rivers of central Ohio demonstrated that smallmouth bass
consistently preferred crayfish 1Ό
inches long to those 1½ inches long.
Bigger is not always better...
The Skip's Dad is not a fly designed to be fished
with an active retrieve in high, stained flows. It doesn't
displace enough water to have a strong sonic signature and it isn't made
of soft, flowing materials with lot's of inherent motion. Instead, this
is a fly that works its best in gin-clear water where the fly can be
retrieved with a very slow crawling motion along the bottom in the
rocky, shaded areas where crayfish naturally congregate. It's a
very effective and realistic visual imitation that's at it's best under
conditions where the suggestive, soft, moving, translucent Foxee Red is
most compromised. Fishing the Skip's Dad under an indicator so it
just barely bounces along the gravel and stone of the stream's bed can
be a super-productive technique!
Hook 2xl to 3xl regular or heavy wire.
Mustad CS53 size 8 shown.
Thread Brown 6/0, 140 denier
Tail The butts of the pheasant tail fibers
that form the shell back
Body Thickly dubbed brown or brownish-olive rabbit, squirrel or
Shellback Pheasant tail fibers
Weight Lead eyes, unpainted.