Muddler Minnows and Their Offspring.

RunNGun

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Thanks for the kind words on our flies. I'll pass them along to her, I'm sure she'll be pleased. I tell her she's doing great but I may be biased. Lol

. In extreme circumstances, after, say, numerous fruitless follows I might tuck the rod under my arm and use a roly-poly retrieve in order to rip the fly back at a ludicrous speed. That can be the last straw for a miffed fish and the takes can be explosive! With Atlantic salmon I try to stop pulling at the moment the fish hits for fear of taking it from him or pricking him in the bony front of the jaw. Better if I can let him turn and the hook slips back to the scissors - but that's not always what happens when stripping back like a maniac!
I've had a lot of luck with wild brookies on slow days in a stillwater situation stripping a brightly colored muddler at a very fast pace. It seems to trigger a feeding/agression instinct in them in higher competitive fisheries. This tactic has made for some voracious attacks on my fly and turned a slow day into a very memorable one.
 

Lewis Chessman

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I knocked up a Donegal Blue Muddler this morning and thought I'd share it.
I'm no great tier as you'll see, but it'll fish fine in a good wave, I'm sure. The over-large head will help keep the fly afloat and create a good 'V-ing' wake to catch the fishes' attention. There's a tag then a rib of silver mylar over the blue dubbed body, a black cock hackle then the deer hair, tips first then the head built up with two more pinches of hair spun in and trimmed back.
The hook is a Fulling Mill Size 10 Trout Longshank.

1-P1030944.JPG

A strand of deer hair needs a trim!
This and the Orange Muddler have done me great service over the years, luring countless Atlantic salmon and sea trout and working best in a two fly cast. When you see a porpoising salmon inspect the Muddler but refuse it and turn away, then feel the line slip through your fingers as it takes the tail fly .....
Well, you know there's a synergy, a partnership, at work between the flies and either one might not catch if fished alone. It is for me the most exciting way to fish because the takes are actually seen and often at close range.

The fly will catch brown trout as well and if anyone in the States/Canada gives it a go for your native species I'd love to know what else it can attract.
I like to fish it on days with blue skies - 'blue sky, blue fly' for me - preferably not cloudless but if so, fine, the Donegal Blue Muddler will be high on my list to get a wetting.
 

redietz

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But perhaps in N.A. sculpin are often referred to as 'minnows' by anglers?
No, but "muddler" was a regional name for the sculpin.

The issue becomes more complex when the fly is no longer fished deep, the natural abode of the bottom-dwelling sculpin. Jumping to the extreme opposite, what does the fly imitate when fished on the surface? Indeed, need it imitate anything specifically?
On the surface? Grasshoppers. There's not a lot of difference between a muddler and the Letort hopper (not my photo).


1613884216692.png

In fact, I've caught fish in the Letort (and elsewhere) floating a standard muddler during hopper season.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Thanks, redietz. It's good to know there is a regional origin to the name 'Muddler'.
I'm interested to know that you have a ''hopper season''. I've never heard of such a thing in the UK. Sure, we have grasshoppers in the Scottish Highlands but not in such numbers that fish get tuned into them. The odd one which might end up in the water is just another 'wind-blown terrestrial' on the diverse menu.
But, yes, I can see how a suitably sized Muddler would fit the bill well enough as an cricket imitator.

Cricket imitator ...... Isn't that 'baseball'?
;)
 

redietz

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Cricket imitator ...... Isn't that 'baseball'?
;)
That would be rounders imitator. And if you've watched a T20 match recently, cricket seems to imitating baseball nowadays.

Hopper season is late summer. Crickets work year round. And yes, black muddlers are often used as crickets. Similar to the Letort Hopper, the Letort Cricket is a muddler variant. Again, not my photo:


1613930831875.png
 

trev

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I had a couple of those Letort Crickets in my box for about decade and I think I never caught a fish on either of them. I liked the way they looked til eventually the hair got ratty, I never associated them with the Muddler.
 

Joey Bagels

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I learned of the muddler minnow as a lad reading magazines like Field and Stream and Fly fisherman in the 1980’s. Purchased my first one in a grocery store/pharmacy that sold fishing tackle in Laramie, Wyoming. I marveled at the deer hair head and resolved to one day tie this incredibly beautiful and mysterious fly. When I finally did start to tie them, i stocked my boxes with a variety of sizes but never caught any trout on them. It took awhile for me to get the hang of fishing them and even now, I keep discovering situations in which they work better than other patterns. The muddler minnow is intriguing in that it consistently turns up on “top 10” lists of fly patterns, but it seems not many people fish them anymore. The wooly bugger stole much of its limelight. But for me, it’s such a versatile pattern, I’m never without a few close at hand. The almost neutral buoyancy afforded by the deer hair and the not insignificant squirrel underwing I tie mine with makes it a great fly for fishing at any depth with long pauses and a tempting profile. Most recently, I’ve been using muddlers for bass and sunfish because they do a great job of imitating juveniles of both and also shiners...in my opinion. But also probably a variety of invertebrates. All I know is they’re tasty looking to fish and that’s good enough for me! Especially since so few people fish them nowadays it seems.
Edited to add: not sure how familiar folks are with Gapen’s original muddlers, but they look a LOT different from the ones we are familiar with today. I prefer their scraggly, bushy, fish-catching look actually and tie my own similarly rough.

Here’s some originals from the man himself.

And more. Not a lot of consistency as you can see.

 
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flytie09

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Fascinating to see the variation by the originator of the pattern.
 

Joey Bagels

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By the way, there’s a good thread on this topic here too:

 

upstreamcast

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The Muddler is a very versatile fly for sure. Love all the pics here. I use various Muddlers for Bass. I float them high, target shore lines (from boat) with accurate casts...wait then twitch, then walk a little, twitch a little, then quick retrieve. Lots of Fun!
 

Lewis Chessman

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Absolutely. I only ever use them ginked up as a wake fly for brownies, sea trout and salmon in Scotland, usually on a dropper with a wee double or single about 6 ft behind. It's pure magic watching a fish arch over them in front of your eyes. If they refuse the muddler they may well take the tail fly on their way back to their lie. Electrifying fishing! :)
 

sasquatch7

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How do you weight yours ? I usually use them with split shot but am thinking of lead wrap or heavy Sculpin head .

PS: I guess they'd be a Sculpin then !
 
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