83°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

New fly-fishing bait imitates swim motion

When it comes to selecting the right fly pattern to use, fly-fishermen generally follow the guideline to “match the hatch.” Simply, this means to present the fish you are after with a bait choice that resembles, as closely as possible, whatever they already are eating.

Matching the hatch makes perfect sense, but it isn’t always easy.

When it comes to matching the hatch at Lake Mead, for example, an angler needs to consider that bass — largemouth, smallmouth and striped — like to eat other fish. So it makes sense that an angler needs to use a fly that resembles the lake’s primary forage fish, the threadfin shad and gizzard shad. While fly tiers have developed patterns that mimic well the up-and-down motion of a swimming baitfish, the same cannot be said for imitating the swimming motion.

That, however, is about to change.

Last week I had the opportunity to walk though the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show that was co-located with the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades at the Las Vegas Convention Center. There I came across a new product that makes possible the tying of fly patterns whose movement in the water imitates not only the vertical movement of baitfish but the swimming motion as well. The product is called the Articulated Fish Spine and is marketed by the Flymen Fishing Company under the brand name Fish-Skull.

Martin Bawden, CEO for the company, described his new product as “a system of interconnected shanks that are daisy-chained together to form literally the spine of a fish.” This, he said, solves one of fly-fishing’s biggest dilemmas, imitating the side-to-side motion of a swimming baitfish the way hard lures and swim baits do. “Now we are able to cast swimflies,” Bawden added.

Each package or kit comes with enough stainless steel shanks to tie on six to eight flies, depending on how long you make each one. The shanks come in four lengths — 10, 15, 20 and 25 millimeters.

“Fly tiers can mix and match shank lengths to do whatever they want,” said Bawden, who recommends using at least three shanks. “The more joints you put in it, the better the action.”

Basically, you start tying at the tail section and add shanks until you reach the length you desire, and, according to Bawden, you can use a variety of materials to tie the body from deer hair to zonker strips. However, whatever you use needs to be dense enough to force the water to pass around the materials and not through it. That is what helps to create the desired movement in the fly.

As for hook placement, you can tie one in at the front like a traditional fly, or you can tie one at the back. Or, if you want to catch short-biting fish, you can tie hooks in at the front and the back of the fly.

Bawden said the Articulated Fish Spine will retail for $9.50 per pack, and they should be available this week.

You can order this product and watch a video demonstration of its use online at flymenfishingcompany.org.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Courtesy goes a long way among Southern Nevada campers

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of camping season for many Las Vegas area residents and roads will be packed with folks looking to escape for a few days.

A look at Lake Mead water levels leads to other adventures

A lucky wrong turn on the internet resulted in a gold mine of outdoor data beginning with research on the impacts of our wet winter on water levels at Lake Mead.

Ammunition company introduces newest cartridge for hunters

The 350 Legend is a straight-walled cartridge designed for deer-sized game and sport shooting, and Winchester Ammunition says it’s the fastest such cartridge in the world.

Illegal stocking causes trout havoc at Utah reservoir

The trout fishery many Southern Nevada anglers have enjoyed through the years is gone. For the time being anyway. In fact, you won’t even find it listed on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources digital fishing planner.

Here are some tips if you’re looking to buy a tent

Tents have remained relatively affordable and provide camping flexibility. They can be easily stored in a garage or storage shed and transported in a car or pickup truck bed.

Observation is key to successful fishing or hunting trips

It’s amazing how much you can learn by taking the time to observe the game you are pursuing, and it doesn’t matter whether you are watching mammals, birds or fish.

Kayaks become more popular with anglers

If you are thinking about making the move to kayak fishing, do yourself a favor and research the various makes and models. Pay attention to hull design, the deck layout and the build quality. They are not all created equal.

Latest action cameras add sharpness to outdoor adventures

The action camera has changed the way we document our outdoor adventures in recent years and can be secured to everything from safety helmets to chest straps to shotgun barrels to fishing rods.

Lake Mohave heats up as haven for smallmouth bass

If you have been dreaming about catching a smallmouth bass that will put a bend in your fishing rod, Lake Mohave is the place to go.