Fly Of The Week

Rabbit Fur Streamer
By Carl Edward Wolf, Worden MT
Excerpt from: Patterns of the Masters, 1995
Oregon Council, FFF

Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms
Rabbit Fur Streamer

When thinking about patterns for this book I went through all the flies in my vests and kits. Noting that Rabbit Fur Streamers were everywhere and always in my "never leave. behind" goups, I took a closer look at this fly. Fairly simple in construction and materials it can be tied with a variety of differences once the basic pattern is understood. Key characteristics include unusual things like (1) using smaller and shorter hooks than normally found on streamers, (2) lifelike action of the fly when fished properly and (3) seems to represent prey food that excites everything from bass to trout to oceanographic species of fish.

The action comes from the rabbit fur. In fast water it streams back and looks like a small prey fish with dark, undulating fur waving over a white or light colored underbody. The addition of flash-a-bou as an overbody covering with trailing tendrils of material mixed with rabbit fur gives a realistic, small, darting fish action.

Materials Comments

It seems to work best when thin shanked hooks are used with lead foil bodies added rather than heavy wire hooks. Slightly heavier hooks are used for large and smallmouth bass than for trout, grayling, goldeye and whitefish. In surf and in the ocean medium weight hooks work well. Lead foil can easily be obtained from your dentist. These are thin, cut easily with scissors and can be molded by hand to any shape and cinched down by any thread without cutting or breaking.

Personally, I bend down the barb and sharpen every hook. Preference is for a fairly long, thin but not needle-like point because it tends to allow fish to more readily catch themselves.

Materials List:

Hook:  Mustad 94838, Eagle Claw 59F, VMF 3366; #8 - 2 .

Thread:  Black, 3/0 - 6/0.

Weight:  Thin lead foil such as dental x-ray plates are wrapped in.

Body:  White yarn underbody; round braid mylar piping overbody.

Wing:  Rabbit fur 'Zonker' strip; any dark color.

Tying Instructions:

1. Tighten hook in vise and starting one eye width back on shank, wind thread back to bend of hook. Tie in a 6 to 8 inch length of white yarn.

2. If weighted fly is desired, cut small square of lead foil, fold in half and bend over hook shank. Crimp with fingers to desired shape for underbody and overwind securely with tying thread. Leave thread at bend of hook.

3. Build up underbody by wrapping yarn forward to tie-in point then back to thread and tie off.

4. Cut length of mylar piping about 1/2" longer than hook shank. Fray out strands of one end slightly and slip frayed end over the underbody so that frayed ends project beyond bend of hook [tail]. Tie down piping securely at hook bend, whip finish the wind and clip thread.

5. Re-tie thread beyond hook eye and tie off mylar tubing after pulling it tight over underbody. Clip excess mylar and wind down end tight. Half-hitch or whip finish but do not clip thread.

6. Cut a short (3/8 - 1/2 inch) section of Zonker strip, 1/8 - 1/4 inch wide. Cut the fore end of the hide to a short taper and tie down the pointed end tight with the fur extending back over the tail.

7. Build up a nice tapered bullet head with thread, whip finish and clip thread. Coat head with several applications of lacquer.

Fishing Suggestions

It is fished across and down in swift rivers, especially just below riffles and into pools. A 4 to 10 inch retrieve then release creates a realistic, struggling small fish. In still water bodies, a 'twitch' retrieve lets the rise and fall of the fly flare out the rabbit fur giving the appearance of life. Hits are often very vicious. ~ Carl

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