The mark of a good streamer is one that is easy to tie, can be tied in number colors to imitate a number of forage, and one that inspires confidence by how effective it is. And this is one of them. Designed in the 1950’s for striped bass by Lefty Kreh, it has reached legendary status. So legendary, in fact, that the United States Postal Service even dedicated a stamp with the likeness of the streamer.
Because of its effectiveness, it reached beyond saltwater and can also be a very popular fly for trout, bass, and other freshwater gamefish. Since it’s original inception, there have been many variations of the fly. Weights, materials, colors, sizes, and even adding a second hook through articulations can be found in many streamer boxes today.
Like many other tiers, I have my own preferences but feel free to add your own personal touches as you go along.
This particular fly will be “keel weighted” around the bend of the hook. This enables the fly to swim in a correct orientation when stripped through the water as opposed to flipping over on its side. If you want to tie it completely without weight, you may omit this step. Secure the hook in the vice and take a couple inches of .25″ lead-free wire and make 6-8 wraps around the shank. It’s easier to do this on the shank and then slide the weight into place.
Begin your thread a couple eye-lengths from the eye. This will be used as an indicator of where you want the head of the fly to begin, later. Wrap back to the weight and then be sure to make some tight wraps through the wire to ensure it won’t slip. When that’s complete, end with the thread at the very back of the shank. Take some head cement or your favorite adhesive and coat all of the thread wraps and weight before going on.
Select a total of two pairs of feathers from the saddle hackle that are approximately the same size. Here, they are opposing each other and will be tied to the shank in a slightly pitched orientation. The tail should be about 2.5 – 3 times as long as the hook shank. Measure this out and then tie them to the hook and make good, tight wraps moving forward. You can snip out the excess.
The first layer of flash is added to the top of the hook shank. Typically Krystal Flash is used but here, I’ll be using three strands of Flashabou tied directly to the top of the shank.
Select the last two pairs of the saddle hackles and orient them in the same way as the first pair. The length should also be about the same as the first two. Here, I chose a light color for the first pair and a grizzly pattern for the last two for a really interest effect. The outer pair will turn translucent in the water and the inner pair will show through creating a three dimensional effect. Finally, the last couple strands of red Flashabou is added on either side of the fly. The shank is then cleaned up with a couple layers of good, tight thread wraps before advancing the thread to the head of the fly.
A sparse clump of buck tail is tied in with two securing wraps and it should extend to about half-way into the tail of the fly. Let the hair flair and splay out. Then, carefully, take your thumb and wiggle the hair to either side of the fly. This step is then repeated again to the underside of the fly to ensure a complete covering around the shank of buck tail that is the same length.
Select a contrasting and darker color of buck tail that is slightly longer than the first layer of the buck tail and tie it into the head. Once again, let it flair. It may look messy now, but that will be taken care of later. Once secure directly on top of the head, make some thread wraps cleaning up the head of the fly. Take two five or six-turn whip finishes and trim off the thread. It is essential to add some head cement or CA to the thread to ensure durability.
What you’re left with is a messy looking Deceiver. I’ve taken the liberty of running the fly under running, hot water for a minute in order to straighten out the tail and show how the flow of water will shape the fly into the baitfish profile that it’s designed to imitate.
Hook: Mustad S71SNP-DT, Size 1
Thread: UTC 140, Yellow
Tail: Saddle Hackle, Yellow and Yellow Grizzly
Flash: Holograph Flashabou
Body: Dyed Buck Tail, Yellow and Red