Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Toad Puppy

Olive Toad Puppy

Last year I was toying around with a new streamer pattern. I wanted something big and juicy that larger browns would hammer. I had some specific goals in mind when I started designing this thing: it had to be big, have a big profile that would move some water, and it had to have a trailing hook. Ultimately I wanted something that was going to get those big browns really mad. They have a tendency to bite at things that invade their territory.

I took some inspiration from some of Kelly Galloup’s patterns I put together a 5” long streamer out of rabbit strip with a head from Hareline Dubbin’s Sculpin Wool. I used a nice big hook for the front- my favorite streamer hook the TMC 9394 in size 2 and I used some beading wire with a size 4 TMC 105 as the trailing hook (turned up). This combination with some copper flash and and rubber legs to help fill out the space under the wire worked out really well. I put in bead chain eyes and lead wire to weight it. 
Toad Puppy variety pack

Kevin and I put it to the test in late April of last year. It was a week after the trout opener and it had just rained. The rivers which had been fairly low and clear because of an early snow melt were on the rise and discolored from some rain. Perfect streamer weather. We put on our rain gear and headed out. We armed ourselves with 6 wt rods and put on Rio’s sinking Versi-leaders on the end of our lines. Those leaders are the bomb for getting flies down. I have a trick I use with them to make it a bit easier to work with huge streamers. I tie off about a foot or so of heavy tippet (15-20 lb) to the Versi-leader, tie a small swivel onto that, and then finish out with a couple of feet of 12 lb Mirage tippet. I use a non-slip mono loop knot to put the fly on the end of this rig.
Spot with Toad Puppy hanging from his jaws

We hit the river fairly early in the morning. The water was cold- about 40 degrees F- and stained grey with about a two foot visibility. Basically, it was great conditions for what we were trying to do. We headed to a place I knew a big brown was hanging out. I had caught him there the year before. Sure enough as I swung that fly through the hole he had been hanging out in I had a hard take. A few minutes later Spot was in my net and after a couple of pictures he swam away once again. Kevin had a hard take at the tail out of a pool a couple of hours later but a dulled hook spoiled his hookset.

The following day I headed back out to work the river again. I ended up landing two more fish- both browns- in a matter of 45 minutes of one another. I thought the second was a rainbow at first because of how it jumped. I would not have hooked that fish if it weren’t for that trailing hook too. Shortly after that I had another fish on.
Pike like the Puppy too!

Big trout like that are often called toads by anglers and I had told Kevin that we were going toadin’.  With that in mind my fiancĂ©e Beth came up with a name for the fly- the Toad Puppy. This fly has proven its worth on big browns (nothing under 20” so far!) and on pike. I haven’t tried it on bass yet, but I suspect it will be a killer.  If you are interested, I have them for sale on my website.  Time to get out toadin’ is just around the corner!

1 comment: