This fly was just submitted for the recent pike fly swap and is based on a few different tying techniques used in saltwater to imitate large baitfish like herring and menhaden. The challenge is to come up with a fly that imitates large baitfish without ending up with a mop with tons of material and being extremely difficult to cast because of the amount of materials.
This fly uses an internal "hollow fleye" cage of reverse tied bucktail as an internal support, like the ribs of an umbrella, to provide structural support to an outer layer of Steve Farrar's Flash Blend and Yak hair. This construction provides a large but hollow baitfish profile.
This type of "Hollow Fleye" construction was pioneered by Bob Popovics. The construction probably sounds more complicated than it really is at first read, but essentially it's just repeating a few steps several times.
You can vary sizes and colors to suit, but this version is tied in a Fire Tiger pattern for pike.
Materials used here:
Hook: Mustad 3407DT size 3/0
Thread: Chartreuse Danville Flat Waxed Nylon
Keel: .030" non toxic lead substitute wire
Tail: Yellow Bucktail and Gold Flashabou
Rearmost belly section:
Cage: Yellow bucktail
Sides: Electric Yellow Steve Farrar's Flash Blend
Rearmost top section:
Cage: Chartreuse bucktail
Sides: Chartreuse Steve Farrar's Flash Blend
Middle belly section:
Cage: Yellow Bucktail
Sides: Electric Yellow Steve Farrar's Flash Blend and Yellow Yak hair
Middle Top Section:
Cage: Chartreuse bucktail
Top: a double layer of Chartreuse Steve Farrar's Flash Blend followed by a double layer of Chartreuse Yak hair
Front bottom section:
Cage: Orange Bucktail
Sides: Orange Steve Farrar's Flash Blend
Top Front section:
Double layer of Chartreuse Steve Farrar's Flash Blend and double layer of Chartreuse yak hair tied over top of fly tied in first, then
Cage: Black bucktail
Topping: Black Yak hair
Eyes: Stick on prismatic
So.... here goes:
Step 1. Start thread and put on keel
3 or 4 wraps of .030" Non toxic lead substitute wire at rear of hook into bend to stabilize fly on retrieve.
Step 2. Reverse tie in of bucktail used to form a tail that looks like a hollow cone
Add tail of yellow bucktail and a strip of gold flashabou on either side. Reverse-tie in of yellow bucktail with tips pointing forwards, then forced back towards rear and bound down. (This technique will become a little more clear in subsequent steps.) Tying in the tail this way will help give some structural support to additional layers of materials and help prevent fouling.
Leaving approximately 1" of end of flashabou around thread on far side of hook pointing towards eye of hook and rest extending rearward, bind down with thread, fold 1" flashabou tag back towards rear and bind down with thread. Doubling over the flashabou and securing with thread helps secure it to fly and makes it less likely it will pull out. Trailing flashabou should extend rearward past bucktail. Tie in another strip of flashabou on the near side in the same manner.
Step 3. Reverse tied yellow bucktail belly
Invert hook in vise. Another bunch of yellow buckatil about he diameter of a kitchen match is tied in tips forward on underside of hook, leaving butts of bucktail extending rearward approximately 1/4"
Step 4. Constructing "cage" for belly
Stroke tips of yellow bucktail rearward and build thread dam in front to force tips to flare rearward. Bucktail should radiate like the arms of an umbrella on the bottom and sides of the hook.
Step 5. Covering cage to form belly
Tie in a length of Electric Yellow Steve Farrar's Flash Blend by the middle on the underside of the hook shank. Drape 1/2 of the hank of Flash blend rearward on the far side of the shank, the other 1/2 of Flash Blend rearward along the near side of the shank. Tying them along the sides rather than directly underneath helps prevent fouling. The cage of reverse tied bucktail beneath the flash blend helps to add a profile without adding a lot of bulk.
Step 6. Reverse tie bucktail on top of hook.
Flip hook in vise so it is riding right side up. Using reverse tie in method, tie in a bunch of chartreuse bucktail on top and sides of shank.
Step 7. Form cage for top of fly
Force chartreuse bucktail rearward and secure in place with thread dam. Tie in Chartreuse Flash Blend by middle and extending rearward on each side, using same techniques used to form belly.
Step 8. Repeat Reverse tie-in of bucktail for belly
Repeating tie in of yellow bucktail, this time leaving longer butts extending rearward, and force tips rearward as before.
Step 9. Yellow Flash Blend and Yellow Yak
Repeat Step 5. with Electric Yellow Flash blend, and this time tie in a hank of Yellow dyed Yak hair the same way. The Yak hair is longer than the Flash Blend and will give the appearance of a longer baitfish without adding much bulk.
Step 10. Repeat of Step 6. Reverse tied bukctail on top of shank
Tie in Chartreuse Flash Blend by middle of hank and fold back both halves rearward over bucktail cage. Tie in Chartreuse Yak by middle and drape over top of cage.
Step 12. Forming orange belly at front of baitfish
Invert hook in vise and reverse tie in orange bucktail, force tips rearward and build thread dam to form cage. Tie in Orange Flash Blend by middle on underside of hook and secure a 1/2 length of orange Flash Blend along each side as done previously with Electric Yellow Flash Blend in rear and mid portions of belly.
Step 13. Forming top near front of baitfish
Flip hook so it's riding right side up in vise. Reverse tie chartreuse bucktail on top of shank, force tips back and secure with thread dam to form cage.
Step 14. Sides and top of baitfish
Add a hank of orange Flash Blend along sides and a hank of Chartreuse Yak over top.
Step 15. Forming back of baitfish
Reverse tie black bucktail on top of shank.
Step 16. Form cage and tie in Black Yak
Force tips rearward and build thread dam to form cage. Tie in a hank of Black Yak by middle directly on top of shank at front of hook. Drape both halves of the hank of yak hair directly over top of baitfish, Secure and tie off thread.
Complete the fly
Next add stick on prismatic eyes and cover thread head with several coats of head cement, epoxy or similar material.