Tips and tricks for fly fishing Indiana rivers
Recipe for tying the Conrad Sculpin streamer by Jeff Conrad:
Rear hook - Mustad 3366 size 6
1) Tie in a large bump of any dubbing near the rear of the hook shank. This bump will splay the tail feathers out.
2) Cut 1-2 large schlappen feathers into "V’s" with the stems 1/2" to 3/4" long. Stack the "Vs" together to make one side of the tail.
3) Tie the stack of "Vs" in front of the dubbing bump, facing back past the rear of the hook shank.
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 to create the other side of the tail.
5) Tie in marabou near the eye of the hook extending back into the middle of the tail feathers. (not covering or past the tail feathers)
6) Whip finish the tail fly and set it aside.
Front hook - Mustad 3366 size 2
1) Tie in heavy lead eyes directly behind the hook eye.
2) Run the thread back to the hook bend and tie in 6" of hard mono (30-40lb test). Before tying in the mono, score 1.5-2 inches of it by smashing it with pliers. This makes it more pliable and allows the thread to grip in the plier marks.
3) Wrap the mono forward around the lead eyes, back onto the hook shank and tie down leaving 4+ inches of mono extending beyond the hook shank.
4) Slip 6-8 glass beads (size E) onto the mono.
5) Slip the tail fly onto the mono behind the beads.
6) Run the mono back thru the beads.
7) Score the end of the mono with pliers. Tie the mono down to the hook shank, around the lead eyes (again) and tie down to the hook shank. This keeps the mono from pulling out when a big fish takes the rear hook.
8) Tie in 4-6 pieces of flashabou extending back into the tail fly.
9) Tie in marabou extending back over the beads and into the tail fly
10) Tie in clumps of deerhair and spin (or stack) to fill in hook shank up to the lead eyes. However, do not pack the deerhair tightly. The combination of lead eyes and the loosely tied deerhair head should make the front of the fly just slightly heavier than neutral density. This is not a bass bug. The deerhair is there to make a head to push water and to create a sculpin shaped silhouette. It is not there to create a lot of flotation.
11) Trim the deerhair flat on the bottom of the fly and rounded on the top. The head of the fly should be wide to imitate the silhouette of a sculpin.
12) Tie off the head in front of the lead eyes and finish by putting drops of krazy glue on the thread and down into the thread holding the lead eyes on.
You can size this fly up or down. Just remember the ratio of the size of hooks. If you want a smaller fly use a size 4 front hook and a size 8 rear hook.
The fly is best fished on a heavy sinktip, although occasionally can be fished on a floating line.
Another nice variation is to leave the lead eyes off. Killer in low water or when bass are crashing the surface.
I'll get a video of the tying process up here one of these days. In the meantime, if you have any qustions about tying the Conrad Sculpin, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have fun and catch a pig… Jeff Conrad