Fly of the Month – Green Headed Monster

J. Stockard Pro Tyer: Paul Shurtleff, Springville UT, You can find Paul @: www.instagram.com/insectinside/, www.facebook.com/pauliescustomflies

I’ll start off by saying that I don’t know much about this pattern other than it just plain works… I am unaware of the history of this fly and I don’t know who the inventor is or how long it’s been around. What I can say, is that I first caught glimpse of and heard of this pattern a few years ago during my search for fly patterns to tie in preparation for a fishing trip in Alaska. I am giving my ex brother-in-law, Bradley Bonnett who is an Alaskan fishing guide, full credit for introducing this fly pattern to me. Thanks Brad! As with most fly patterns I come across and adopt, I have since modified this pattern slightly from the original one that Brad gave me and renamed them as simply “Monsters” because of the versatility and color combinations this pattern has to offer. I’ve also used them in other places than just Alaska with great success…

A lot of Alaskan fly patterns, particularly the patterns for Alaskan salmon are tied “Intruder Style” meaning there is a stinger hook attached to a straight hook shank or Waddington shank by means of either a braided line or intruder/articulation wire typically. Fly patterns of this style are tied like this mainly for the versatility of being able to change out the hook when needed versus changing out the entire fly, which is how these Monsters are tied. Other than the tying style, there is really nothing super special about this pattern except for the ease of tying it and how well it performs. It is basically a “Bunny Leech” with lead eyes and a Cactus chenille head. Where I’ve modified it, is that I’m using an actual Intruder Shank with 15mm Plush Chenille with UV properties from Semperfli for the head. I’ve also added quite a bit of flashabou for fish catching attraction and added the new ML091 barbless Intruder/Tube Fly hooks from Moonlit Fly Fishing… What makes the Monsters special is that because of the way they’re tied, they’re not size specific and can be tied in many different colors/color combinations as well.

The following tying video is of the original color combination that Brad introduced me to, black with a green head, the Green Headed Monster.

Materials list:

Thread: Semperfli Nano Silk in 6/0
Shank: Senyo Intruder shank in 25mm or 40mm length or equivalent. (Any heavy wire streamer hook cut at the hook bend will also work.)
Hook: Gamakatsu Octopus stinger, Moonlit Fly Fishing ML091 or equivalent.
Connection: 30lb. Power Pro braided line or small articulation wire.
Eyes: Hareline Heavy Lead Eyes or equivalent.
Tail: Rabbit Strip (use Squirrel strips for smaller sizes)
Body: Cross Cut Rabbit Strip (use Squirrel strips for smaller sizes)
Flash: Hedron Flashabou or equivalent
Collar: Schlappen hackle
Head: Semperfli 15mm Plush Chenille or equivalent.
Coatings: Semperfli No Tack UV Resin and Zap-a-Gap super glue

Note:
The Intruder shanks can be substituted for any heavy wire streamer hook. Simply cut the hook at the bend after tying the fly with wire cutters.
The Power Pro braided line is available in many sizes, I’ve found the 30lb. size to be ideal for not only Monsters but many other Intruder style flies.
For smaller sized Monsters (1.5″ to 2″ long), Squirrel strips work much better than Rabbit Strips.

Fishing the Monsters:
Fishing the Monsters is much like fishing any other streamer pattern, at least that’s the way I fish them. They have a “jigging” and “pulsating” action in the water. I’ve had the best luck fishing them by making a slightly upstream and across cast, drifting the Monsters through a hole, run or fishy looking area bouncing them off the bottom of the river or stream, then slowly stripping them in taking advantage of the jigging action the fly makes at the end of the drift right before the next cast. With the Monsters, you’ll want a tougher set up. Once the Monsters get wet, they get somewhat heavy, especially when using a sink tip or full sinking fly line. In Alaska I used an 8 wt. rod, but around my home waters, a 6 wt. or 7 wt. will be great. I use a fast action 6 wt. rod on my home waters with floating fly line with a 12′ foot shooting sink tip head and 6 feet of straight 12lb line or 0x-3x tippet to the Monster itself. I use 1 fly at a time. Depending on the area I’m fishing, I forgo the sink tip and simply use floating fly line with the Hogzilla furled leader from Moonlit Fly Fishing and 4 to 6 feet of straight 12lb mono line. If fishing the Monsters in lakes, I’ll lighten up the lead eyes and use a type 4 full sink line and 4′ to 6′ feet of straight 12lb. line to the fly. The best color combo for the Monsters that I’ve used are the one posted, black with a green head or an all black Monster. The finished Monsters I’ve had the most success with have been about 3″ inches total in overall length but slightly smaller versions work exceptionally well in mid to small streams and in lakes too. Alaskan Coho salmon love pink! Monsters tied in all pink or pink with a purple head are fantastic flies to use in Alaska!

2 thoughts on “Fly of the Month – Green Headed Monster

  1. John mallow

    I don’t want to be mean, but the video was hard to see, due to the tier tying a black streamer and wearing a black t shirt. It made it very difficult for me to see. Just constructive criticism.

    Reply
  2. Michael Vorhis

    My eyes too have a little trouble with dark-on-dark or light-on-light sometimes. (It was a nice shirt though.)

    Regarding the fly itself, it looks quite similar in some respects to some Comet streamers I’ve been tying lately for the Chinook (which are on their way in my ‘home river’ as we speak). The bright chartreuse hackle collar against a streamer backdrop of dark blue or dark purple or black, sometimes with just a bit of flash in it, is a contrast combination said to appeal to Chinook salmon in particular. Plus it’s very striking to human eyes as well. I also have some that rely on blue hackle instead of the green, and one never knows for sure which they’ll prefer on a given day–it can depend on water clarity, sky brightness, closeness to the salt, and it seems just plain luck. (A lot of times Comet streamers seem to be tied with black tails by folks who fish them.)

    A really nice tie! Thanks Paul, I like it.

    – Mike

    Reply

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