Some of Steve’s favorite patterns, in a shot of one of his fly boxes.
I’ve been fortunate to spend many days fishing with and around Steve Huff, whom I consider to be an iconic fishing guide. (“Iconic” is used overmuch these days, but if there’s a soul dedicated to his craft like Steve is to guiding, I haven’t met them yet.) Steve has strong opinions about leader systems, boats, and strategies. But the one I’ve always found intriguing is his preferred style of flies, especially in this day of perfect imitation and miniaturization.
In brief, Steve’s flies tend to be biggish and fluffy. They almost look archaic. And they are far from “perfect” in what we think of as perfection from a expert tier’s perspective. No fancy techniques or innovative materials and paints, just good old-fashioned feather and hair, fiber and fluff assembly. From Steve’s patterns–beginning with his modifications on the early Merkin–I learned most of my opinions about what makes a fly sexy to a fish: that it behaves like prey, and that what a fly looks like out of the water doesn’t matter, as long as in the water the fly creates the right profile and motion.
A Cracked Crab bonefish, redfish and permit pattern, tied by IntheRiffle.com. Continue reading
The Gurgler–authored by the late Jack Gartside–can be used for many, many species. We’ve even caught permit on them. Here, Scott Yetter ties a Gurgler for baby tarpon. Continue reading
FishBuzzTV ties a tarpon fly created to entice fish in clear water. Continue reading
Andrew Chicone, a talented young tier on Florida’s west coast, has taken Simon Becker’s Hover Crab concept and “Buffetized” it for mass production, using a bottle cap to stamp out the fly bodies. He sent us this message on Facebook last night:
“Many moons ago you set me up with a good buddy of yours down on Cudjoe Key, Capt. Simon Becker. We were throwing a floating crab pattern he called a Hover Crab in some really small sizes that looked great. Anyway, I started modifying it so it would still float in larger sizes and I came up with a pretty slick way to bang them out fast… and recycle old fly lines. Thanks to Jimmy Buffett, I’m using a (pop top) bottle cap to quickly cut perfect shells. The larger diameter fly line is easier to work with than silli legs and gives the fly a much better silhouette. It’s a fast tie and the fly line holds marker really well so it can be modified to mimmic the coloration of crabs wherever you may be. I think with the extra buoyancy this rascal could be tied in lager sizes for Tarpon as well!
Check out Chicone’s new Web site at SaltyFlyTying.com.