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  1. #1

    Default Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    I had a request for a how-to on this fly. It will be a long one, but here goes....

    This is my favorite fly for summertime bass fishing.

    Step 1: Tie in the thread at the back of the shank. I use Tiemco 8089s for this fly too. This is a size 2. You can go bigger if you want.

    Step 2: This is what makes this frog work - the kicker. I bought a spool of that cheap, crappy 50# fishing line at WMT. It's really big and stiff - just what we need for this. Cut off about 6 inches of it and tie it in like this at the back of the shank.

    Step 3: Bend the line over itself so it is splayed out on either side. Tie it down securely so that it will stay this way. Try to tie each side down so that each leg will be positioned about the same angle as the other one.

    Step 4: Select some rabbit fur for your desired color scheme. I picked this one up at Hobby Lobby a couple years ago. Natural died olive - very "froggy".

    Step 5: Use a razor blade to cut strips lengthwise with the lay of the hair. Cut them about 3/16" wide and about 4" long. DO NOT cut from the hair side. Cut from the hide side of the pelt. When the razor blade cuts through the hide, it will comb through the hair on the other side as long as you raise it up. Don't press it flat on the table and cut through. You'll cut off a bunch of hair that way too, just like you will if you cut from the hair side. Cut straight and even strips. You'll probably mess up a couple of them at first. It takes a little trial and error practice, but it's not rocket science.

    Step 6: Use scissors to trim off the hair on the top 1/4" or so of the strip. Then trim each one off at opposing angles to make a little miter joint to roughly fit the angle of your 50# mono kickers.

    Step 7: Tie in the first strip. Make sure you get the correct mitered angle. Tie this trimmed end directly on top of the 50# mono loop that you cinched down earlier.

    NOTE: I forgot.....after fishing these a while, I learned that it can help if you tie the back legs to the BOTTOM of the hook shank instead of the top. When they get soaked, they want to sink. Sometimes, if you have them on top of the hook shank, the frog will try to flip over and float upside down. Putting the legs on the bottom keeps the weight underneath, and that seems to keep them floating upright better. I fixed this one after I finished it by twisting the back legs around, but it's easier to do it right from the start.

    Step 8: Tie in the 2nd leg. Get your little miter right and it won't leave a big clump of junk on your hook.

    Step 9: Poke 2 holes in each leg. I use my cool little deer antler bodkin needle. The hole that's farthest away from the hook will be the frog's knee joint, so eyeball that to where you want it to be. Poke the 2nd hole about 1/4" away from the 1st hole, towards the hook. Holes should be in the center of the hide.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    Step 10: Now, stick the mono kicker through the closest hole first FROM THE HIDE SIDE. Go out to the hair side, and then poke it back through the knee joint hole. Trim off any extra mono, but make sure you leave about 1/4-3/8" sticking out so that the hide won't come off of it.

    Another thing I started doing is to trim the hair off of the hide between the knee and the "ankle" area of each leg. That creates a fat-looking thigh, a skinny calf, and then a foot on each leg.

    Back legs are ready for some kickin' now. I didn't put it in the photo, but be sure and put some head cement or super glue over the thread wraps holding the legs down. This will keep a bass from tearing them loose.

    Step 11: Select some deer hair for the body. You can use all one color or any combination you want. If you know how to stack colors to create patterns, then you can do all kinds of things. I picked out black, white, dark olive, and light olive so I could make a white belly with mottled back.

    Step 12: I'll go through how to spin and stack deer hair for those that haven't done it. I want an olive bit at the very back of my body, and I am going to let it flow back over the leg "miter" area where they're tied in to cover that up. Cut off a clump of hair a little smaller than a pencil. Get all of the fine fur-like hair out of it along with any really short hairs. Hold it together at an angle to the hook shank and loosely wrap the thread around it TWICE. Then wrap the thread over the hook shank ONCE on the BARE hook shank. DO NOT wrap it around the miter area or any thread-covered area of the hook shank. You need a slick area for this.

    Step 13: Pull the thread tight and simultaineously let go of the deer hair.

    Step 14: Pack the spun hair towards the bend of the hook. I grabbed a pen off the desk and took the guts out of it. It works great.

    Step 15: Bring the thread out of the spun puff ball onto the bare shank. Pull the hair back out of the way, and make 4 or 5 wraps up against it to hold it in place.

    Step 16: Starting the multi-colored section here. Cut some white for the belly and spin it on. This time though, don't let go of the hair when you first pull the thread tight. That will keep it from spinning all the way around the hook. You may need to use your fingers to rotate it around to the bottom of the fly after you puff it out by tighting the thread. Make 1 or 2 wraps in the very center of it at this point, but not more than that.

    Step 17: We're going to stack colors now. We'll work colors from the outside of the back to the middle of the back of the frog. I started with light olive, then dark olive, then black. You do one clump at a time, and you use less hair for each clump to avoid getting too much hair in one spot. If it seems really clumpy, then you used too much. Unwrap it and start again with a smaller clump.

    To stack colors, keep your thread in the center of the white puffball. Hold your light olive clump on top of the hook just like we did before. 2 wraps of thread and 1 around the hook at the CENTER of the white puffball. Pull tight and hold the hair to keep it on top of the hook. Now do the same thing for the dark olive, and then the same thing for the little bit of black hair. It will then look something like this....

    Step 18: Pack it back like before. Pull the thread out and make a few wraps on the bare hook up against the hair.

    Step 19: Keep spinning, stacking, and packing to build the body. When you get to where the front legs need to be, then tie in 3 or 4 strands of rubber legs. Leave them longer than you want them to be so you can easily grab them and move them around while you're trimming the deer hair body later.

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  5. #3

    Default Re: Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    Step 20: Stack and pack your deer hair to finish out the head. I like to go solid white at the nose. These flies are big and easy to see, but at dusk a little white nose facing you doesn't hurt. Whip finish your thread, and cement the knot with Dave's Flexament or Sally's Hard As Nails or whatever you typically use.

    Step 21: Take him out of the vice. Use a razor blade (single sided) to cut the belly FLAT and LEVEL. This is really messy, so hold over the trash bag or do it outside or something. Cut close to the hook shank, but don't cut so close that you cut the thread that's holding all the deer hair. It took you half an hour or more to spin it all on there, so don't screw it up!

    Step 22: Once you get a good flat and level belly, then switch to your scissors. Trim the rest of the body to look generally "froggish". Leave the bulk of the body on TOP of the hook shank. Deer hair is bouyant, and you want the floating part to be on top. When you have the wet, sinking back legs on the bottom of the hook shank, this will all work together to float properly.

    Step 23: I trimmed it up this way. Then I used the tips of the scissors to cut some eye sockets, and I glued in some doll eyes. Drop some superglue gel or some other glue that is strong and not watery in the sockets and press the eyes in. These eyes came with long stems that are supposed to be pressed into styrofoam or something. They were too long, so I cut almost all of the stem off with my wire cutters.

    Also, pull the rubber legs straight out to stretch them. Cut them to desired length (allowing for the stretch) with your scissors. When they snap back, they'll be separated like this.

    Side view:

    Belly (Bass's eye view):

    That's it.

    You need at least a 6 weight rod and line to cast one of these, especially if it's windy. Soak it to get it all wet before you cast it. You want the back legs sinking down just like a real frog. It is also good to get a good "PLOP" when it hits the water.

    Cast it up near hydrilla, lilly pads, stumps, or just along the bank. Let it sit a bit after it hits the water, but be sure you get your slack taken up immediately. Keep the rod tip low, pointing at the frog. Swimming strips work best - better than just little short popping strips. Make it swim like a frog. When you do, the legs and "feet" will kick and flutter, and the frog will dive a few inches deep - just like a real frog swimming. Stop your retrieve, and he will slowly float up and stick his nose and eyes out of the water.

    I get more smashes (more than just strikes usually) on the "float up" than anything else. They hear it plop, they see it swim, and then they see it lazily floating to the surface. BAM!!!!

  6. #4

    Default Re: Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    Awesome SBS and really awesome fly txshane.
    I need that fly tomorrow, fishing with big bass in the grass in 3 foot or less of water. Unfortunately I haven't started spinning deerhair yet, that will change after seeing this fly.


  7. #5

    Default Re: Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    Quote Originally Posted by riverbilly View Post
    Awesome SBS and really awesome fly txshane.
    I need that fly tomorrow, fishing with big bass in the grass in 3 foot or less of water. Unfortunately I haven't started spinning deerhair yet, that will change after seeing this fly.

    Thanks. I hope you catch some tomorrow.

    Try the foam version here: Swimming Frog (foam body)

    It's a lot faster and simpler than deer hair. The kicking legs on a frog profile is the main thing.


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  9. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas

    Default Re: Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    Awesome SBS there man.

    The pen-tube hair packer is a nice touch too.

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  10. Default Re: Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    Excellent pattern, may have to try it out, been a while since I stacked deer hair. I bet that has a nice dive, too.
    Corbin Hart
    Auburn University Fly Fishing Club
    War Eagle/Tight Lines

    Make sure to like our facebook page for a chance to win free flies!

  11. Default Re: Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    great fly.. I need to start trying deer hair myself.

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    Awesome pattern and SBS! I'm sure that frog is a killer pattern with the leg movement it must have.

  13. #10

    Default Re: Swimming Frog (deer hair body)

    Quote Originally Posted by mcnerney View Post
    Awesome pattern and SBS! I'm sure that frog is a killer pattern with the leg movement it must have.
    Thanks. It does look pretty realistic in the water.

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