Friday, December 9, 2016

The Strawboss... and other simple and great flies

When flipping through the latest Fly Tyer magazine, I was excited to see Joe Mahler's StrawBoss as one of the featured flies this month.

I learned of this creation, maybe 3 years ago.  I was at a local fly shop that has closed now, called "The Lower Forty" (owner retired after 30 years or so in business) and as we all do, got to chit chatting with the owner and a fellow customer.

The customer had just returned from Florida and I was about to go... We were discussing the fun of fly fishing down there given the variety of species, the amount of water to fish, and access to that water.... He mentioned that while at the barber of all places - and bear in mind, this was the other guy's story, so I have no way to know how true this all is - he met this guy who was a casting instructor and artist.  He said the guy took him out to the grass outside the barber shop and they did some casting on grass and "Wow, he transformed my casting"... He said the guy had some articles and things and I should look him up: "Joe Mahler is his name".

I looked him up, and enjoyed his articles, especially a few about snook from the beach...

Then I bumbled into an article he wrote about a fly he ties (created) called the StrawBoss.  It looked a bit ridiculous.  Almost like half a Thunder Creek Streamer, with the bucktail left sloppy sticking out to the sides, almost like fins.  The fly sounded killer, and as we all tend to do when going on a trip and hearing about a local killer pattern, I tied a bunch... Good thing to!

They caught a bunch of fish.

The next year they caught even more.  It was the best fly fishing I've had down there.  A few nights I probably caught 25-30 fish and over half were snook in the 20-28" range.  Want to experience a good fight on an 8 wt... Catch a snook!

Since, I've tried the StawBoss for stripers a couple times and for freshwater bass - it works.  I bet tiny ones would work for trout, I may try that...

The version in the Fly Tyer Mag article is different than the simpler version I first learned about.  It uses some craft fur, some silli legs, a counter weight and some foam... but the basic shape is the same.  Ill be trying some this winter for sure, and look forward to fishing them.

If you have not tried a StrawBoss, and you fish salt water or fresh for predatory fish... Tie some - you wont regret it...

Here's one of my StrawBoss flies, very, very well chewed.  Probably have caught 40-50 fish on this one.  You can see the discoloration  and broken hair - note, that is WITH some Clear Cure Goo Hydro on the fly's head end... after you catch enough on a fly, I guess everything breaks down at some point :)

Same fly different angle .  They look pretty goofy, they dont have the "sexy" look of a deceiver or flatwing... But dang do they catch fish...

Pulling the StrawBoss out of my box I was reminded of another simple, plain looking, but brutally effective fly... This may be an incorrect name, but I think it's "Lefty's Shrimp".  It's a pattern Lefty Kreh made which is basically a craft fur tail, a bushy dubbing loop of craft fur palmered up and around some bead chain eyes.  Add some stripes with a sharpie and you are done.  That's my #2 Florida fly of all time - both in this pic have caught snook, lady fish, jack's, blues, flounder and a few other species.  Like the strawboss here, they are really beat... but still catch just fine!  

Simple flies work great... Plain looking flies work great too (heck, look at how good walt's worms work, or the MopFly everyone is so excited about of late works)...

Ok, given my lack of blog time this fall, I should wish you all a happy Christmas - or holiday season, pending your beliefs.  Have a super weekend, stay safe and keep living great!