Our Man In Canada
October 31st, 2005

The Stimulated Madam X

By Sheldon Seale

I occasionally fish with people who have many more years experience on the water than I have. They seem to delight in giving "the youngster" advice. One of the things I've been taken to task for is using flies which are too small, especially in the summer when there's no hatch activity. "What are you using those #18 dries for? Don't you know that you need to offer the fish a good mouthful to get 'em to come up?" As usual, they were right. A big, bushy searching pattern often does the trick. It was in response to this that I produced the Stimulated Madame X, a large, impressionistic searching pattern.

When looking for a pattern that works, it's not uncommon to take particularly effective features from two or more different patterns and combine them into something which has the potential to be even more effective. That is the origin of the Stimulated Madame X. This pattern combines the back-end and legs of the Madame X with the head and hackle of a Stimulator. The result is a very versatile mongrel dry fly.

Like so many other large, searching patterns, the Stimulated Madame X is not intended to imitate any specific food item. In fact, it could be argued that it actually imitates nothing and is merely a large attractor pattern. In either case, the arguments are moot—for the fly works. Moreover, it's an easy tie and features readily available materials.

Tying Notes:

1. Start 1/3 back from the eye of the hook and put down a layer of thread along the shank to the bend, returning to the starting point. Clip a small clump of elk hair from the skin. Remove the short hairs and even the tips. Tie the hair in at the starting point with the tips out over the hook bend and parallel to the hook shank, so the tips will stick out about the length of the hook gap or less. Trim any excess hair ahead of the starting point and return the thread to that point. Tie in a length of floss at the starting point, wrap it back to the tail and forward again, forming a neat body. Secure the floss and trim any excess.

2. Clip a larger clump of elk hair and tie it in to form the wing. It is best to even the tips of the hair before tying it in. The wing should extend back to the end of the tail. Trim the excess hair at an angle and wrap the ends down with the thread. Prepare and tie in the hackle for the head. Next, tie in two lengths of rubble hackle on the sides of the fly just forward of the wing, so that they form an X when viewed from above.

3. Dub the seal's fur to form the head. Make sure that you take a wrap or two at the tie in points of the rubber hackle to help separate the legs. Now, palmer the grizzly hackle forward through the head. Be sure to take one turn over the tie in points of the rubber hackle. Secure the hackle at the front, trim any excess feather, tie off, and coat the thread with head cement.

4. A fish's eye view of the configuration of the rubber legs.

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Fishing Notes:

The Stimulated Madame X is an excellent floater and is also very durable. Fish it as you would any large attractor dry fly. Besides being a good trout getter. It also makes a great "slider" for smallmouth bass - it will even dive a little if you give the line a good strip. This makes it an ideal pattern for the "dry and dropper" technique. ~ Sheldon Seale

Credits: We thank the Canadian Fly Fisher for re-print permission!

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