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The Raptor
By Richard Komar

The Raptor originally was designed as a proof-of-concept fly to test the large hook holding and tying capability of the Dingo Mark II rotary vice from Australia. The test was successful and sparked the creation of other Raptors for actual fishing conditions, both freshwater and saltwater.

The erect dorsal fin area uses Whiting American Rooster Saddles. For the underbody, Conranch Rooster Saddles are preferred for their long hackles and undulating fin effects. Siskiyou Aviary Super Spey Rhea Hackle is used in the gill area for its length and vivid color.

The Raptor is tied in six easy steps and you don't need any magnifiers to tie it! The Raptor shown is 9 inches long and 9 inches tall. Ribbing wire can be added around the body chenille and metal dumbbell eyes can be substituted for the doll eyes for more durability, especially when the Raptor has to hold its own against toothy adversaries!

Materials List:

    Hook: Mustad 3407SS Shark Hook, 12/0.

    Top Hackle: Whiting American Rooster Saddles, Black, Black-Laced White.

    Bottom Hackle: Conranch Rooster Saddles, Black, Silver Badger.

    Throat: Siskiyou Aviary Super Spey Rhea Hackle, Red.

    Body: Large Estaz Chenille, Opal Black.

    Thread: Gudebrod, Black, size G.

    Eyes: Plastic Doll Eyes, 12mm.

Instructions - The Raptor:

1. Lay a spiral thread base along most of the length of the hook shank. Tie in the Estaz chenille at the top of the hook bend as an anchor point for the tail. Tie in a pair of black-laced white American Rooster saddles, concave sides facing each other, on top of the hook. Tie in a pair of silver badger Conranch Rooster saddles, the same way, underneath the hook. Wrap the chenille forward of the tie-in point about inch.

2. Tie in another pair of black-laced white American Rooster saddles and silver badger Conranch Rooster saddles as in Step 1. Wrap the chenille forward of the tie-in point about inch.

3. Tie in one more pair of black-laced white American Rooster saddles and silver badger Conranch Rooster saddles as in Step 1. Again, wrap the chenille forward of the tie-in point about inch.

4. Tie in a final pair of black American Rooster saddles and black Conranch Rooster saddles as in Step 1. One more time, wrap the chenille forward of the tie-in point, but this time only inch, tie off and trim.

5. Tie in about a dozen strands of long red Siskiyou Aviary Super Spey Rhea hackle stems, sloping downward.

6. Layer-wrap a large thread base to the hook eye; tie off and whip finish (epoxy if desired). Glue on a pair of doll eyes on this thread base. The Raptor is now ready to fish!

How to Fish the Raptor:

The Raptor should feel at home both in the saltwater and freshwater. It is meant to emulate a mullet, flying fish or any large baitfish. The freshwater Raptor can also be tied in a red and white motif for muskies and northern pike, or in olive, black and white to look like juvenile largemouth bass for big, hungry adult largemouths.

Needless to say, one needs a heavy-duty outfit to cast the Raptor. At least a 12 weight (14 weight?). It easily matches up with wire tippet. Don't plan on fishing such a large fly? The Raptor gives new meaning to the words "dinner fly plate!" If you are a tyer looking for a challenge, a tyer tying for really large game fish or one tying that ultimate gift for another fly angler, then the Raptor is the fly for you!

Oh yes, can you find the size 32 soft-hackle fly in the above photograph? The size 32 was also tied as a proof-of-concept fly on the Australian Dingo vice. Tight Lines! ~ Richard

Tying Medal A Special Note:
Last April '05, I submitted some flies for the Federation of Fly Fishers 2006 International Fly Tying Competition. The Raptor, above, was one of the entries. They didn't have a saltwater-type category for it, but they did have a pike diver category. So...I tied one in a pike-attracting motif of orange and yellow, put it in frame and sent it along with four other flies.

Yesterday, I got this nondescript envelope from Rigby, Idaho. I open it up and out falls this 2 1/2" medal! No letter or anything, no fanfare, just the medal. I immediately knew which fly won! I think these winning flies will be on permanent display at the FFF Museum in Livingston.

So, I just thought you would like to know that an FAOL FOTW won a medal in an international flytying competition! Maybe this could encourage more FOTW submittals? (09/16/06)

About Richard:

Richard Komar is a flyfisher and fly tyer in Plano, Texas and a member of the Dallas FlyFishers. Richard is dreaming of that perfect trip to the Texas Gulf Coast in search of the next IGFA record. Maybe the Raptor is the fly that will make that dream come true!


For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.


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