Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Zuddy's Wicked Leech of the Midwest

When I first began swinging flies for Steelhead, I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, looking back on it now I wouldn't even call it swinging. At that time, I would simply rig a heavy sink tip with a big bunny streamer such as a "mad pup" and back troll through a run, just like I had seen the plug fishermen do. Simple as it was, it worked. It wasn't until I began working for Kevin Feenstra, that I truly began "swinging flies" for Steelhead. The added "swing" made this style of fishing way more fun and effective. Although swinging for Steelhead is one of the most challenging ways to hook them, the take is so awesome that it's very hard to go back to any other form of catching them. If you haven't tried it, I would highly recommend that you do. Even if it's on a single hand rod, the experience is one you won't forget. For more information on swinging for Steelhead I recommend Kevin's latest dvd available at http://www.swingabigfly.com/
The pattern below is one I used much of the fall season this year. It has become one of my go to patterns. I hope you will give it a try.

Step 1: Place a Daiichi 2461 Size 2 hook in your vise and attach dumbell eyes about 1/8" behind the hook eye. Wind thread to the back of the hook, even with the hook point.

Step 2: Attach a black micro rabbit strip securely to the top of the hook and wind thread forward, leaving about 1/4" before the dumbell eyes. Trim the rabbit strip so it is 1 1/2" behind the hook.

Step 3: Wind the rabbit strip forward until it reaches the thread, and tie it off, trimming the excess.

Step 4: Attach a large yellow mallard flank by the tip and trim off excess.

Step 5: Dub some pink, or hot pink Laser Dub, or Ice Dub onto the thread and wind losely up to the dumbell eyes.

Step 6: Palmer the mallard flank through the dubbing and tie off.

Step 7: Attach a large amount of Black Rainbow Polar Flash just behind the dumbell eyes, leaving it about an inch longer than the rabbit strip.

Step 8: Fold the Polar Flash over the eyes and tie the remnant to the underside of the hook. Trim it the same length as the top fibers of Polar Flash.

Step 9: Advance the thread ahead of the dumbell eyes and tie in a clump of Hot Yellow Ice Dub or Laser Dub, as you would a vail on an egg fly. That's it!
Good Luck Swinging for Steelhead!

Monday, August 23, 2010

"The Zudbubbler"

In my world, one of the best things about a warm summer is the explosive strike from a Smallmouth or Largemouth Bass to my popper. I love fishing poppers for bass, it's nearly as exciting to me as big brown trout on dry flies. The instructions below will guide you through tying my favorite popper "The Zudbubbler". When tied properly, this is one effective and durable bug. Nearly any color combination is possible, but my favorites include combinations of yellow, green, black and orange.

Step 1: Purchase some soft foam floor panels. I usually find them at Home Depot, etc. They're made for kid's rooms, they're inexpensive, and one 2'x2' panel will tie hundreds of poppers!

Step 2: Cut the foam into strips (using a razor blade) that are about 3/4" wide (this will actually be the length of the popper body). From the strip, cut bodies that are about 1/2" wide at the front, tapering to about 3/8" wide at the rear. You can see from the photo, the foam I buy has a cool texture on one side... I make this the bottom, because the texture traps air bubble's under the popper.

Step 3: Using a razor blade, trim the top of the body to a downward taper as shown.

Step 4: Using a good size bodkin, poke a hole near the bottom of the body, from front center to rear center.

Step 5: Slide the body onto a size 3/0 #2720 Daiichi Stinger hook. (do not use glue yet). Secure 3/0 Uni-Thread to the hook just behind the popper body and wind back up the hook to just behind the body.

Step 6: Secure a marabou feather on top of the hook. Color of your choice.

Step 7: Secure one barred rubber leg (folded over) to each side of the hook. Color of your choice.

Step 8: Secure a hackle feather (black schlappen shown) by the tip, then dub some Ice Dub or Senyo's Laser Dub onto the thread and wind forward leaving the right amount of room for the popper body. The color of the dubbing is not critical, although I prefer olive or black.

Step 9: Wind the hackle forward over the dubbing and secure, then wind the thread forward to the hook eye, (cover the hook completely, as this thread will be a good base for the glue used to attach the body securely to the hook). Whip finish.

Step 10: Apply a generous amount of Zap a Gap CA glue to the thread and slide the body in place. Attach doll eyes and rubber legs as shown. As you can see, I also add spots using a green or black sharpie and a red lip (with a red sharpie). Not necessary, but it looks cool:)

Many times, I will also lightly stroke a sharpie on the textured underside of the popper body, hitting just the high spots... this helps break up the solid color from the fish's point of view.
Captain Matt Zudweg guides for Feenstra Guide Service on Michigan's Muskegon River and also owns BoneYard Fly Gear. Check out his product line at http://www.boneyardflygear.com/

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Zuddy's Iso Bugger

Isonychia Mayflies are abundant on my home river and the trout have been especially keyed in on them this season, as our normal Gray Drake spinner falls have been practically non-existent. This has easily become my most productive wet fly for late spring/early summer trout. I fish it using a traditional wet fly swing and give it short twitches during the entire swing. I have also found that using a poly leader (super fast sinking) makes it even more effective.

Step 1: Place a Daiichi #1110 size 12 hook in your vise, wind uni-thread 6/0 light yellow thread so it is even with the hook point. Tie in a small clump of peacock or peacock black IceDub.

Step 2: Fold the forward clump back and tie it off.

Step 3: Fold one strand of Fashabou glow in the dark yellow #6952 over the thread and tie down so it is even with the hook point and on top of the hook.

Step 4: Tie in one small brown hackle feather (with barbs no longer than 1/2") by the tip.

Step 5: Dub some peacock or peacock black IceDub onto the thread and wind forward, stopping about 1/16" behind the hook eye.

Step 6: Palmer the hackle feather forward through the body and tie off.

Step 7: Bring the Flashabou strand forward on top of the hook and tie it off behind the hook eye.

Step 8: Dub a very small amount of yellow IceDub onto the thread and form a small head (especially effective while suckers are spawning).... Or, as in the very top photo, add small bead chain eyes to the underside of the hook. Whip finish. Now get off your computer and go fishing!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Zudweg's EZPZ Wiggler

If you have been Steelhead fishing for anytime at all, you know how effective a Hex nymph can be, especially a Jointed or "Wiggle" Hex. The problem is, they can be time consuming to tie and thus, a heart breaker when you lose them to a snag. "Zudweg's EZPZ Wiggler" is a super simple jointed hex that is quick to tie, quite realistic and steelhead find it irresistible.

Step 1: Place a Daiichi 1750 size 10 hook in your vise and wind tan 6/0 Uni thread to the rear of the hook. Next tie in a Grizzly Marabou Feather (Sand color) by the tip and return the thread to the front of the hook.

Step 2: Wind the Marabou Feather to the front and tie off just behind the eye. Whip finish.

Step 3: Pull off all the long fibers so the rear body looks like this. This part of the fly is complete.

Step 4: Place a Daiichi 2571 size 6 hook in your vise and tie in a pair of large black mono eyes about 1/16" behind the hook eye.

Step 5: Tie in a 1" section of 15lb. monofilament on top of the hook, wind to the rear of the hook and add a drop of Zap a Gap to help secure the monofilament in place.

Step 6: Thread the rear body onto the 15lb monofilament, create a loop and wind the thread over the mono all the way up to the eyes, then return the thread to the rear of the hook. Trim any excess monofilament.

Step 7: Marry two Grizzly Marabou Feathers (Sand color) and tie them in together by the tips, (this will cover the joint between the hooks). Wind the thread forward leaving it just behind the eyes.

Step 8: Wind one of the marabou feathers forward and tie off just behind the eyes (this will act as the legs). Advance the thread to in front of the eyes.

Step 9: Pull the second marabou feather over the top of the eyes and tie off. Whip finish. The above photo is what your finished fly should resemble. To make them go even faster I usually tie a handfull of the rear bodies at a time.
Matt Zudweg guide's for Feenstra Guide Service and also owns BoneYard Fly Gear. See more of Matt's work at www.BoneYardFlyGear.com

Friday, February 19, 2010

Zudweg's "The Baby"

"The Baby" is a super simple, but highly effective imitation of an Alevin. A great pattern for early to mid spring when steelhead are feeding heavily on young Salmon and Steelhead Sac Fry. Most of the time I will fish this as the bottom fly on my nymphing rig with an egg being the top fly. Very often steelhead will take when the rig starts to swing at the end of the drift.

Step 1: Place a size 10 Daiichi X510 hook in your vise, attach thread and tie in a pair of Large Mono eyes (black) just behind the hook eye. Be sure to place some tight wraps around the base. This will bring the eyes to the top side of the hook and will keep them from interfering with the hook set.

Step 2: Lash down a sparse clump of Olive Ice Dub just behind the Mono Eyes.

Step 3: Fold the front half of the Ice Dub back and place a couple thread wraps just behind the Mono Eyes to secure the Ice Dub in that position.

Step 4: Rotate the fly upside down and tie in your favorite color McFly Foam just behind the Mono Eyes. Whip finish in front of the Mono Eyes.

Step 5: Trim the McFly Foam as you would on a small egg pattern.

Step 6: Turn the fly right side up and add a drop of Dave's Flexament in between the eyes. Bam, Balam, you're done! Tie up a few and give them a try on your favorite Steelhead water this spring.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Zudweg's "Darth Hopper" Tying Instructions

If you love fishing hoppers for large trout, this pattern is a must for your box. I've caught some of my largest trout on this pattern! It is also very effective with tan or kelly green foam. Regardless of the foam color, the body and leg colors should remain the same. It has also proven to be very effective on bass when tied larger and bluegill when tied smaller.

You will need 3mm sheet foam (found at most hobby stores) and Hareline's Beavertail Body Cutter (size medium)

Step 1: Stamp out a body from the foam about 3/4" from the foam edge, then using a razor blade (or x-acto knife) cut a sleeve to the foam edge. This sleeve will be used to form the head.

You can see from this photo how the foam body should look.

Step 2: Place a Daiichi 2461 (size 4) hook in your vise, wind black thread (I prefer "Big Fly" Uni Thread) to the back and dub a body of Hareline's Ice Dub (Olive) about a third of the way toward the front.

Step 3: Place the foam body on top of the hook with two snug wraps between the middle and rear body segments.

Step 4: Place two of Hareline's Grizzly Barred Rubber Legs (orange/black) on top of the thread wraps with two more wraps.
The legs should hang off the rear by about 1" and off the front by about 2 1/2".

Step 5: Continue dubbing a body up the hook, finishing about 1/16" behind the eye.

Step 6: Tie down the foam body at the next body segment just behind the hook eye with two snug wraps.

Step 7: Tie in a clump of Hareline's Stiff Pearl Krystal Flash using two more wraps. (If you're going to be bass fishing at night use glow in the dark flashabou as a substitute).

Step 8: Fold the sleeve back to form a head and tie off with two snug thread wraps. Step 9: Tie in the remnant of the rubber legs on the top using two snug wraps, then pull the head back and whip finish just behind the eye of the hook.

Step 10: Cut the legs in the center and shimmy each of them to the sides of the body. Cut the legs 3/4" to 1" in length. At this point you should also cut the pearl wing even with the foam body. The sleeve should also be cut shorter as seen in this image.

Step 11: Using a white paint marker, place a spot on the head and sleeve of the foam for better visibility.

At this point the fly looks finished, but there is one more very important step.

To make it durable, you must add a drop of Dave's Flexament to the tie in point of each leg. Do NOT use anything for this step except a Flexible Cement or it will distort the rubber legs. Also, be sure the legs are positioned exactly where you want them before cementing.
If done properly this fly will be durable enough to catch many trout. To purchase this pattern and many other of Matt Zudweg's patterns visit http://www.boneyardflygear.com/