Lefty’s Deceiver

The Lefty’s Deceiver was one of those flies that, when I first saw it, I wondered if it would catch fish. I thought the same thing about the Clouser Minnow, too. Both quickly dissolved the skepticism. The Deceiver is one of those flies that has great action fished slow, jerked and paused, and dead drifted. It has just enough flash to capture the attention and provides a wide profile while being a very light streamer. Touted as a tremendous saltwater fly, it also has had great success on warm water species, too. Variations that are tied locally include the articulated/weighted version that has proven itself on smallmouth bass streams when tied to match the natural forage. Here, I’ll tie the classic version.


Start by securing the thread to the hook shank and create a bump of thread right where the hook begins to bend and the end of the shank. This will help secure the quills of the saddle hackle. Strip four similar sized saddle hackles and match their tips up. Grab hold of them carefully to ensure they stay aligned and measure them slightly longer than the hook.


Using a pinch wrap, secure them to the hook shank with a couple loose wraps and bind them down as you wrap toward the eye of the hook. I’ve experimented with lengths of the saddle and this length provides great action and a realistic profile when under water.


On this version, I snipped the excess saddle hackle off close to the bend of the hook. If you wanted a bulkier fly, you can take securing wraps to bind the stems down to the hook until you get 2/3 of the way to the eye and then trim the excess off. In either case, end with the thread at the hackle tie-in point.


I’ll pull two strands of Krystal flash and double them over, cut, and then wrap them around the thread and tied in on the far side of the hook. Then, it’ll be repeated for the near side of the hook, as well. Grab hold of all eight strands of flash and trim them to the exact length of the saddle hackle in the back. After that, take a full length of Flashabou, double it around the thread, and tie it in on the far side and do the same for the near side. These strands are trimmed longer than the saddle hackle.

Some may prefer to leave the shank of the hook bare while others tie in chenille or anything else in between. Here, I tied in some pearl flat braid to add flash as the fly looks translucent in the water and it makes the fly look like it has a uniformed lateral line. The braid is tied in at the rear and wrapped to a couple eye lengths behind the eye. Capture the braid and then trim the excess.

Cut and clean a sparse amount of white buck tail and measure it out so the tips extend to half way between the hook bend and the tips of the saddle hackle. Take that measurement and cut the bucktail at a diagonal. Making a few loose wraps at first, take two more biding the bucktail down at a 45 degree angle to the far side of the hook shank and then repeat these steps for the near side. It should look like the fly has wings on either side of the shank. Take your index finger and thumb and gently twist both clumps of hair to surround the hook shank. Rotate the fly to make sure there is an even distribution of hair around the entire shank. Take two or three tight wraps to bind this hair down even more.


Take a darker contrasting color of bucktail, this time, a clump that is a little more generous and clean it. The tips of the hair should extend just past the white bucktail and then use this measurement to trim the butts off at an angle. In this step, the angle matters to have the most amount of tension of thread to bind the hair down. When holding the hair as it would be on the shank, trim uphill at a 45 degree angle starting at the front of the fly. The scissors should angle up toward your left hand (if tying right handed). Secure the hair to the shank of the hook directly over the tie-in point of the white bucktail.


To add variation to the fly, I’ll take about a dozen fibers from a contrasting color to the dark bucktail and will use that to add cheeks. Here, I used yellow and the tips should extend only to the end of the shank of the hook on either side.

To finish the fly, you can build up a good thread head of the fly before whipfinishing and trimming the thread. Add head cement, superglue, or UV resin to the head and make sure it cures solid. You can add stick-on eyes or painted eyes as you wish. Some feel it’s necessary while others disagree. If I’m fishing an area where there is Pike, the fly may not last long enough to go through the extra steps but it’s really up to you. Also, the classic pattern includes red Krystal Flash or saddle hackle fibers tied to the underside of the fly to simulate gills or blood. This step may be omitted or even colored in using a permanent marker. Again, it comes down to preference and your desire to tie an exactly classic replica.



Lefty’s Deceiver

Hook: Gamakatsu SP11-3L3H

Thread: UTC 140

Tail: Saddle Hackle

Body: Flat braid

Flash: Krystal Flash and Flashabou

Wing: Bucktail

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