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  1. #1

    Default Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    I have a scientific background, and I like to analyze things ..... especially with my fly fishing.

    I've been catchin' nearly 100 big Bluegills every time I go fishing. Both with a UL spin rod (2lb NanoFil line) and my 3wt and 5wt fly rods, both floating lines.

    I've been comparing my home tied Woolybuggers (size 14, 12, and 10) with a tungsten bead and some lead wrapped, some without..... to Trout Magnets, Micro Tubes, and Micro Spoons soft plastic!

    Well, I'm a bit surprised, but the feather will catch three times as much as the top shelf soft plastic? With close inspection I can see how marabou looks so much more life like than even the best soft plastic!

    I can take both my spin and fly rods in my pontoon, and the fish are biting with gusto!

    Life is Good



    Crappie in 5' of water on a black unweighted Bugger:
    Last edited by rickf; 05-17-2013 at 12:35 AM. Reason: add pic

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    I believe you.

    The very first time I ever went Pike fishing I took my 9' 7 weight Lami Glass rod with my old Pflueger 1495 reel and for my lures, a bunch of McNally Magnums in various color combos. Tom McNally in his book 'Fly Fishing' stated that he had tested his ties against the venerable Dare Devil Spoons and some pike Plug lures in Ontario back in the 1960's I believe. He claimed that the long streamer fly with a #6 or 8 double hook trailing in the saddle hackles as a stinger out fished the hardware 3 : 1. Since everything else in his book was spot on, I tied the flies and bought the 9' 7 weight rod to go catch Pike.

    I went with a long time Piker who was familiar with Glendale Lake out near Altoona PA. Dicky was hard core and he was quietly amused at the tall guy with the 9' rod sitting in the front of his little Ranger boat as we launched. At days end the flies had boated 4 nice pike and lost three; the hardware scored none. The Magnums also caught 7 very nice bass, Large Mouth I think they were, (I'm talking 1980 81 here) and the hardware 4. I do remember the numbers, maybe not if the bass were Large Mouths or Smallies but the numbers stuck!

    Dicky confided that the number of fish did not represent a banner day for this fishery but that he was most impressed that the big flies caught more fish than his crank baits. He was averaging 2 or three casts to my one because of my stripping line and having to double haul it all back out for another retrieve.

    So......... I believe ya,

    Thanks for the memories Rick!

    You see, reading posts so often brings to mind times long buried in the stack of other times. They are there but it takes a nudge to bring them forth. That is one of the great things about participating here for me, memories........

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
    I believe you.

    The very first time I ever went Pike fishing I took my 9' 7 weight Lami Glass rod with my old Pflueger 1495 reel and for my lures, a bunch of McNally Magnums in various color combos. Tom McNally in his book 'Fly Fishing' stated that he had tested his ties against the venerable Dare Devil Spoons and some pike Plug lures in Ontario back in the 1960's I believe. He claimed that the long streamer fly with a #6 or 8 double hook trailing in the saddle hackles as a stinger out fished the hardware 3 : 1. Since everything else in his book was spot on, I tied the flies and bought the 9' 7 weight rod to go catch Pike.
    Ard, wasn't that the story where when he was flying to a lodge he lost all his flies when they dropped from the plane.
    The only material there to tie new flies from was a wolf pelt on the wall.
    So he tied up some crude bucktail style flies and still out fished the lures 3 : 1
    As a further test they cast to the pike with the lure and during the 'follow" would cast the wolf fly along side. The pike took the fly over the lure every time
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    1980 81 and you were already an accomplished fly fisherman, while there I was being told that fish come from the sea.
    I am highly qualified to comment in this forum after receiving a Specialized High Intensive Training (S.H.I.T) at the Olde Schitt Institute of Technology (O.S.H.I.T).

  7. #5
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    Default Re: Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    I participated in a special fishing event that consisted of catching landlocked salmon that were kept alive in order to put them in a new fish hatchery and produce young salmon that would be released in streams. The fishing was done from boats early in the season.

    There were 400 fishermen. Of that group, only about a dozen of us fished with streamers. The others opted for swimming lures with only the rear hooks left on the lures. Close to 300 salmon were caught. Of that number, over 80% were caught on streamers. The ratio would have even been higher but after every salmon was captured, it was placed in a live well and was raced over to biologists who removed the hook and placed the salmon in a special holding pen. This going back and forth took away some fishing time.

    I used 10X long size 2 streamer hooks on a stiff trolling rod and 20 lb test mono. The fishing was done in a fast flowing river that was about 4 feet deep. I used a rather heavy sinker about 3 or 4 feet in front of the streamer and fished with a rather short line. The stiff rod and strong line permitted me to land the salmon quickly thus reducing fatigue for the fish. I also caught quite a few walleyes on this rig.

    Anyway, this is just a story to show that fur and feathers do out-fish wood or plastic.

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post

    So......... I believe ya,

    Thanks for the memories Rick!

    Ard

    Ard,

    I believe that the soft plastic just looks better to the fisherman, that's why so many keep buying them.

    In my first pic, the beautiful Micro Spoon plastic has beautiful eyes and a thin bouncy tail, while the woolybugger looks like a clump of feathers! But when you put them in the water, the plastic is only a small blob while the marabou and hackle pulsate and quiver like crazy and look so alive.

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  11. #7
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    Default Re: Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    I love it when we all agree

    Paul,

    The old fellow had a lot of stories didn't he? The one I referenced he had his Magnums tied in red / white and yellow / red. He said that every time he cast near a pike trailing a spoon, they changed the pursuit and grabbed the magnum. But the wolf pelt story is probably in there too. I have that old book upstairs, maybe need to take a refresher course. Soon as the ice goes out I'm taking a fellow to the cabin to chase the pike. I have a few magnums but will make more before we go.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  12. #8

    Default Re: Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    Quote Originally Posted by runningfish View Post
    1980 81 and you were already an accomplished fly fisherman, while there I was being told that fish come from the sea.
    1980 81 I still wasn't even born yet!!!! Lol!
    Seth

    It's not what I catch when I'm fishing, it's what I lose that matters to me...
    ----------------------------------------
    Good decisions come from experience...Experience comes from bad decisions...

  13. #9
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    Default Re: Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    Ive done a similar experiment, with similar results. I fished larger patterns some articulated some not and came to the same conclusion. I think it has something to do with the sound of the fly in the water. I can hear the flies cutting through the air when i cast them. I think that fish can hear them in the water when your swinging or stripping them.

  14. #10
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    Default Re: Feathers vs Soft Plastic

    McNally Magnums are still a very good streamer & for not just Pike! When I was tying commercially, Magnums & Deceivers were about the only flies I sold for those folks chasing Pike. I've never fished for them, but knew about Magnums!

    I fish with plastics still, with baitcasting & spinning gear. It has it's place. I can agree with the better movement of fur & feathers. IMO, there has yet to be anything synthetic that compares to the natural materials when it comes to motion & action.

    I've witnessed days when flies out fished anything else, even bait. But, of course I've seen the opposite too many times also!
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

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