This fly was a collaborative project for between Texas guide Daniel Hughes and myself for the Devil's River in west Texas. Our goal was an all around fly that would catch, everything....in this case everything included carp, smallmouth, sunfish and gar. Since its inception, the leech has proven its worth and accounted for all these species in a number central Texas rivers and lakes. In particular this fly has done very well on carp. However, more recently I caught several smelt on the California coast on this fly. In New Mexico this fly accounted for my personal best catfish. While olive was the original and most productive color, purple and black has been proving itself more and more on the water.
A variant of the shad dart is probably the first fly you will see if you search online for shad flies. Usually these flies are tied in a combination of bright colors like chartreuse and hot pink or yellow and red. For my initial forays into fishing for shad I tied some of these for my box, but as a rule I like to carry "natural colors" with my bright colored flies. Natural colors in my mind means two things, earth tones and match the hatch colors. The shad dart variant featured here is one of the later. I wanted to have a fly that would represent a newly hatched baby fish. While I remain uncertain if this logic was the key to the fly's success, I am certain the fly works. I do however keep some olive colored ones in my box too.
The Bully’s Blue Gill Experience
The Bully’s Blue Gill Spider is a staple of blue gill and river bass fishing in Central Texas. Develop by Roxanne and Terry Wilson, this fly makes use of the aggressive nature of bass and sunfish by descending quickly and fluttering while stripped to mimic a struggling or escaping insect. With a body made of chenille, Bully’s blue gill spiders can be constructed in any color of available chenille. The legs MUST BE RUBBER! No silicone legs! The specific action of this fly requires legs with the flexibility of rubber. Silicone is not flexible enough at short lengths to achieve the same effect in the water as rubber. This versatile fly has even led to controversy in our club as rival sunfish anglers debate which color variant out fishes all others. Woolly bugger chenille in brown with brown rubber legs versus chartreuse medium rayon chenille with white rubber legs is often the local debate.
The Secret squirrel has become one of my go to river flies and might be the "fish catching-est" fly I have ever developed. The key to this fly is the jigging action combined with its size. By tying this fly on a barbless jig style hook for nymphs I obtain a small profile with a hook point that rides up.
The secret squirrel was developed during low water conditions when bouncing along the limestone bottoms of the central Texas rivers was not so much a technique as an inescapable fact of fishing. In combination with my regular habit of "perch jerking," the necessity for a small "jig-like" fly that could hit bottom and not hang up became critical. I would love to say this fly has gone through many hard tested iterations to become what is it, but the truth is that I put the idea together one night at the vice and it paid off big. The only real addition I made from the original first fly was to add lead wraps for a faster sink rate in deeper waters.
This fly is one designed to produce numbers.....The fly first proved itself on the Llano river when it pulled 28 fish (including 4 different species) out from underneath a single overhanging tree and later that day I lost my last secret squirrel to something big enough to drag me around the river and brake me off (ALWAYS RETIE!). At a later date it won Most Fish in the the local one fly tournament on the Nueces River with 69 fish in one day on one fly. (For durability in this scenario, I add super glue after all the steps.) Finally, this fly also has my personal best trout from the Guadalupe River to add to its list of accomplishments and this fish happened on one of those "no one is catching anything" days when I switched over to this fly because I had no better ideas.
Olive is my go to color, but I also tie it in red and tan and chartreuse. Enjoy the video.
I am happy to finally be able to say that my flies will be available for purchase through the Siren Flies website. The flies will be available on the site as I tie them rather than by custom order. For the customer this means flies will ship out within 48 hours of purchase, but if a fly is out of stock it will not be available until I am able to tie more.
The current fly line up is only bass and sunfish flies, but I intended to expand eventually to include several trout and saltwater flies.
Check out all the flies in shop here.
I was asked for a breakdown of Central Texas River flies by a friend. The flies listed here should cover rivers like the Llano, Medina, Guadalupe (non-trout season), San Antonio, Nueces, and Frio. While I will wager these flies will work on the other central Texas rivers such as the Colorado, the greater depths of some rivers may require weighting the flies more heavily then I usually do. Adjust to the waters you fish.