My Love Affair with the Girdle Bug-Part 1

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

A Little History First: Before going any further, a little history on the girdle bug is in order. It is believed Frank McGinnis of Anaconda, Montana created the fly in the 1930’s or 40’s. He developed it to mimic the stoneflies on the Big Hole River. The fly was originally dubbed the ‘McGinnis rubber legs;’ its current name is in honor of the rubber legs that were originally taken from a girdle (or at least that’s the folklore).

It is easy to tie and durable as long as you fortify the thread on the head with a lot of head cement, or, my favorite UV Knot Sense by Loon (this is cured in 5-10 seconds with a UV flashlight).  Trout love to chomp on this fly and will cut the head thread in short order. The original fly was tied by wrapping lead wire down the entire shank of the hook. That version of the fly sinks like a rock. However, if you are not fishing on a large western river with lots of current, you will spend most of your time trying to unsnag your fly or tying on a new fly every other cast as you had to break off another snag. The fly is versatile in that it works well as the original version, with no weight at all, and everything in between (more on that later).

Last year I hired a guide to learn more about night fishing. According to the fly shop, this guy catches more fish over 20” in a year than many catch in their life. During the course of our outing he asked me what was my favorite fly.

With no hesitation I replied, “A girdle bug”.
He laughed and said, “You’ve got to be kidding, right?”
I replied, “Nope, seriously it is one of the most versatile flies I know of.”

Here’s how I came to that conclusion.

Continue reading → My Love Affair with the Girdle Bug-Part 1

Simple Flies – Myakka Two Ways

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

The Myakka River flows approximately 72 miles southwest from the prairies of Central Florida to Charlotte Harbor on the Florida Gulf Coast. By all accounts this National Wild and Scenic River provides some pretty good fishing for bass and other warm water species in its freshwater sections and excellent Snook fishing in the lower estuarial waters. The Myakka is within easy reach to Sarasota anglers and one of the favorite freshwater destinations for Sarasota guide Steve Gibson. Steve tells the story of the genesis of his Myakka Minnow after a frustrating day on the Myakka in 2005.

“The Mighty Myakka Minnow was born out of frustration. I’m sure you’ve been there. Imagine a day on the water with fish busting minnows throughout the morning. But after several hours, you still have nothing to show for your efforts. You cast into the spray of minnows, but your offerings are ignored repeatedly. The fish are so keyed into the tiny minnows that they ignore everything else. Although the scenery is nice and weather gorgeous, it sure would be nice to feel the tug of a largemouth bass or hand-sized bluegill. This happened to me several times while fly fishing on the Myakka River near my home in Sarasota, Fla.  After one unproductive outing, I decided to try and come up with a fly which would imitate the minnows the fish were so excited about. I knew that the fly had to be no more than an inch long. It had to look like a minnow. It had to sink. It had to have large eyes. After a few hours of trial and tribulation, I came up with a workable prototype and couldn’t wait to give it a try. Next time out to the river, I had several Myakka Minnows in my box and one tied on my 4-weight fly rod. It didn’t take long to realize that I’d hit a home run. I picked up bass, bluegill, stumpknocker and tilapia while blind-casting. I kept my eyes open for scattering minnows. When I saw fish attacking minnows, I’d cast the Myakka Minnow into the fray.”

Continue reading → Simple Flies – Myakka Two Ways

Fly of the Month – Brain Dead Popper

Written by Paul Beel: J. Stockard Pro Tyer Team Leader and owner of FrankenFly

For this Fly of the Month I explain how to tie a simple Brain Dead Popper. This is a simple popper using the new Brain Dead Popper heads. You can tie them fairly quickly and they are a real fish catcher!

Brain Dead Poppers are block style poppers. Please see the previous blog on more information on these poppers, because you can turn them different ways to achieve various effects in the water. In this post I am just explaining the popper way.

Materials list:
Hook: size 2/0 Ahrex PR330 Aberdeen Predator or TP615 Trout Predator Long
Tail: Marabou Blood Quill
Tail: Legs of your choice
Body: Chocklett’s Filler Flash
Eyes: 8.5mm Surface Seducer Dragon Eyes
Head: Brain Dead Popper

Tying Instructions:
1. Place a hook in your vise.

2. Use Zuddy’s Leg Puller or a bodkin to poke a hole in the Brain Dead Popper so you will be able to slide the popper on the hook shank. It is better to put the hole lower so the popper will pop in the water column better. Please see photo to see the direction you need to place the popper on the hook.

3. Slide the popper on the hook shank temporarily. We are just doing this to mark the position of where the popper will be so we can tie our materials up to that point. Once you have the popper on, just wrap some thread up to the back of the popper. You may have to slide the popper out of the way and hold the position with your thumb or something.

4. Now you can slide the popper off and move your thread back by the barb to begin to tie in the tail. (You will have some bare shank near the front where the popper will go later.)

5. Take a marabou feather (you can use two if you want) and lay it flat on top of the hook shank with it extending from the bend. I usually make it as long as the hook, but you can make it a little longer if you want. Make thread wraps to hold it in place and cut off the stem if it extends pass the mark in the front.

6. Take two rubber legs and tie them on the side of the shank behind the marabou. If you make wraps in the middle of the legs, you should have enough to fold them around to the other side. The ends should extend to about the length of the marabou. Tie both sides down so you have two rubber legs on each side of the marabou.

7. Take your Chocklett’s Filler Flash and tie the end down behind the marabou and legs on the shank and then run your thread up to the front where your bare shank starts. Start wrapping your Filler Flash in wraps that butt up against each other all of the way to the front where your thread is. It may help to use your fingers to brush the Filler Flash back each time you take a wrap. Once you reach your thread tie it off and snip off the excess.

8. It’s time to make some thread wraps in the blank shank area you left so you can have something for your popper to slide over to be held in place. So build up some thread wraps and cover all of the bare shank to the hook eye. Keep making wraps back and forth so it builds ups a bit, but make sure your popper can still slide over it snugley.

9. When you are ready, make a whip finish and cut off your thread. Get ready to slide your Brain Dead Popper on, but first take some Krazy Glue or Zap-A-Gap and brush some over the thread wraps you made. As soon as you put the glue on slide the popper in place. Do it quickly, because the glue will dry fast and won’t allow you to slide the popper all of the way on. Make sure your popper is level.

10. Now take a Zuddy’s Leg Puller or needle, whatever you are using to help you pull legs through and make a hole in the back of the popper. You can see in the photo where I put mine. Stick it through. Put two or three legs through the hole of the leg puller and then pull them through the popper. You can put a spot of glue near each side to make sure they never come out.

11. All that is left to do is put your eyes on. I use Loctite Gel Super Glue for this. Just put a little dot on your eye and stick it on.

12. Your popper is now finished.