Trucos de montaje

Get the Tails Right
By A.K. Best

Many of the same materials used in tailing nymphs and wet flies are also used in tailing streamers. The only thing to be careful about is the length of the tail beyond the hook bend. It's my belief that many of the standard streamer patterns have what I call "eye wash" or decorative tailing. For example, I've never seen anyone tie or try to sell a Muddler minnow with no tail. Yet, many years ago, Koke Winter and I spent time fishing out of West Yellowstone with Bill Mason, Bob Jacklin, and other now-famous guides and tackle dealers. Bill Mason pinched the tails off my Muddlers, saying, "They work a lot better without them." That would be the last streamer I'd have thought would need no tail. I've done the same thing many times since, and it does seem to make a difference. It pays to remember little things like that.

The reason you should tie in a tail on a streamer pattern is to add something to the fly to simulate the anal vent on the minnow or food fish you're trying to imitate. You should take a good look at this area of the anatomy of the common (and even some of the not-so-common) food fishes that trout and bass like to eat. You'll soon discover that no 2-inch minnow has an anal vent a full -inch long. Once again, read all you can, examine all the flies and naturals you can, and start asking yourself some of the more obvious questions. My personal theory is that a lot of tyers over the years have been tying lots of flies in near-total ignorance of what the natural really looks like, and the too-long tails on streamers became a tradition.

I tie the tail on most all of my personal streamers very short - usually about the length of the hook point to the barb. I use only orange or red yarn and Marabou tufts. My short-tailed versions seem to outfish the standard long-tailed versions of the same patterns on a near two-to-one ratio. I also carry a good selection of streamers with no tails, just in case. ~ AK

Credits: This tying tip is from Production Fly Flying, Second Edition by A.K. Best, published by Pruett Publishing Company, Boulder, Colorado. We appreciate use permission.

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