My Vancouver Island friend, Dave Upper, catches a lot of steelhead using intruder flies. When I started Spey fishing for river salmon and steelhead, Dave introduced me to a couple of his favourite intruder patterns. The main feature of an intruder fly is the stinger or trailer hook which dangles behind the cut-off hook shank of a second hook. This hook shank is where the fly materials are tied and the trailer hook is attached with either a monofilament or strong braided line loop. I use hooks with short shanks for the trailers and I think they hold the fish a bit better than a regular long shank fly pattern. As well, intruder flies can be tied in a wide variety of materials and colours.
Now my favourite fly shop here in Kelowna, Trout Water Fly and Tackle, have a wonderful assortment of tying materials. However, not all of my fly patterns strictly use materials from such retail fishing stores. The pattern we will examine this month in fact uses a dental floss threader to attach the trailer hook. It perhaps is a bit stiffer than a loop made out of fishing line, whether this is an advantage or not, I really don't know. The GUM or Dentek floss threaders that I use seem to hold the occasional steelhead that I hook without breaking and they are quick to use with the ready made loop.
If you leave a long enough loop on the floss threader past the cut-off shank end, you can attach the trailer hook as the last step. However, I find it easier to attach the stinger hook initially to the floss loop. With the long 4x hook in my vise, I push the single end of the threader through the hook eye and back along the shank, cinching it down all the way with my tying thread. Next, tie in a fairly short tail of soft black rabbit fur. Then, estimating where you will cut the round part of the hook off, wrap a body of holographic silver tinsel through to the hook shank eye. The wing of black marabou is next and I add a topping of blue tinged black dyed pheasant. However, if you do not have this material, just add more black marabou. Finish the fly with a sparse but full hackle of red saddle feather. Finally, with care not to snip the trailer hook loop, cut the round or back end of the front long shank hook. Cement and you have finished one of my favourite steelhead intruder flies!
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