Salmon fishing & fly tying on the Miramichi...

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

"Double J Smelt" - a black salmon fly.. that was supposed to be a trout fly..

Way back in the spring of 2015, just when the river was warming up and the trout were starting to bite I felt an urgent need to tie up an original or as close to original "trouty" streamer as I could. I seldom fish well-known patterns as I get great enjoyment out of hooking fish with something I dreamed up while at the vise. This streamer would have to be something suitable for casting from shore or hauling behind a boat in spring. It would also have to be a somewhat natural/smelt-ish looking creature with a light coloured bottom and a dark coloured top - like every other smelt fly out there. Ever since I can remember, I was told that red was an essential trout colour and any fly worth it's weight as a trout catcher incorporated red somewhere in it's design. So, earthy with a bit of red with a bit of flash was the mindset and these are the ingredients that sprang forth from my portable fly tying kit while at camp:

hook: your favorite black salmon hook - this one is a 3/0 mustad 3191 tweaked in the vise
thread: red uni 6/0
tag: silver uni oval tinsel
tail: mallard
butt: red chenille
body: silver braid
rib: silver uni oval tinsel
throat: white bucktail or polar bear (if you have any) under several strands pearl flashabou
wing: olive bucktail under black synthetic (to save bulk) under several strands rainbow krystal flash under several strands peacock herl
cheeks: wood duck

I'm not even sure how original this pattern is and it's most likely inspired by many other patterns I've seen. But, this combination of materials was literally pulled from an ingredient limited travel-sized tying kit based on how they'd hide a bit of red behind natural-ish colours. Oh and of course it needed a bit of flash - that's a given as I have absolutely no roots in the purism of traditional fly tying - flashabou or krystal flash are just materials to me whose utility and effectiveness are without question.

The interesting part in all of this is Dad decided to tie one on in the spring of 2015 and apparently it hasn't come off his spring rod yet.. During this past weekend, our NB season opener, this fly absolutely slayed.... trolled literally feet from various other patterns, kelt hammered this fly over and over. I even had a chance to try it out in the same setting (trolling) and for an hour the fish constantly ignored every other fly that swam along side this one. I got back to camp and discussed with Dad how effective this fly had been for me and it was then I realized the pattern had yet to be named. Obviously, the name would be "Joe's Smelt" (after Dad), but after a quick google search I realized the name had already been taken. It required a bit more, but not a lot more thought as Dad, or Joe, fishes with another Joe, of the Holmes variety.. There's an ongoing, inside joke about Joe and Joe or "Double J" as they are referred to while out trolling so the "Double J Smelt" was born.

Here's one that's been chewed on by 20 landed kelts this season, an unknown number from 2015 and who knows how many hooked and lost... Oh yeah, and a bunch of brookies as well:

Here are a few fresh from the vise, just itching to be chewed!

If you have a chance, tie a few for your box - or I can tie some for you for a small fee - muahaha!

Tight lines and treat those kelts with the respect they deserve - 30% of them are consecutive, repeat spawners!