This fly pattern was designed with a specific target in mind and it performs wonderfully at that. It is also a very utilitarian bug that can be fished at several species and in many conditions. It is incredibly easy to tie, even for novice craftsman at the vise. This is a quick read and the video is a short 5 minutes. Thank you & enjoy.
My Urban Creek
At the edge of my neighborhood is a free-flowing stream that has a mostly sandy bottom covering a gray clay substrate. The water depth is 2 to 4 feet as it ranges from 14 to 22 feet bank to bank. There are trees overhanging the steep banks that channel storm water surges out of the city. That means there is some granite rip rock sections guarding against erosion as well. The stream has a heavy population of redbreast and green sunfish and smaller largemouth bass.
For the most part, the fish size is small. The conditions, food source, water levels, fish density and probably other factors just are not letting these fish grow to very large sizes. For a reference, the panfish are rarely larger than the palm and fingers of my hand. The small bass are are typically 6 to about 10 inches. The smaller other fish, well, are just smaller. When I fish with smaller flies that might seem an appropriate size, I catch dozens and dozens of those fellas.
The fix to stop catching all the little fish was just to stop using small hooked flies. I crafted out this foam and guinea pattern looking to obtain a couple of characteristics. First, I needed a larger hook so I wouldn’t be catching lips of the little fish anymore. Next, I wanted a long shaft hook so I could get a whole guinea feather wrapped onto it. The last thing I was incorporating was some scrap closed cell foam for buoyancy, but just the right amount to ride low and settle in the film line.
This bug monster is what came from a few trial & error attempts I had in the creek. I found that the #6 hook was big enough to thwart those pesky little fish. It also had enough shaft to take on the entire guinea feather. All that soft hackle moving in the water is really hard for a fish to ignore.
I also played with the amount of, and the placement of, the foam. I settled on a slightly forward location that let the hook bend settled a little lower in the water keeping that sinister point in a real danger zone. The bigger fly profile was great at drawing out the larger redbreasts from the rock piles. Watching the small bass swing 8 and 12 feet to come over and investigate was a nice “win” as well.
Tie The McAlpine Beetle
This is a quick video that overviews this easy fly to tie. Very simple steps and easy to obtain materials. This is uncomplicated at the vise and highly successful on the water. Plus, this is a lot of fun to fish as you pulse it through the water and have it dance and swim with tremendous powers of attraction.
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