Maybe I’m a purist. Maybe I’m just cheap. Maybe both.
I’ve been tying flies for 25 years. I like to use natural materials whenever possible, especially if I gather it myself. From peacock hurl picked up at the zoo, I have made a killer summer trout fly, The Super Jumbo Mosquito. From numerous waterfowl hunts I have gathered duck feathers and down and I have made a few unnamed flies that have worked on trout and perch. With a great deal of cutting and bundling, I have made caddis-like flies from goose feathers. Even a few gaudy dry flies from sandhill crane wing feathers that have convinced a few fish to take the chance and give it a bite.
I’ve been tying flies for northern pike for 10 years. For the first 8 years I used store-bought materials. Coloured fibres and Superhair and a few other items such as Chenile to dress them up a bit. I started from Clouser Minnow patterns and eventually just added length.
A few years ago I snipped some brown hairs off my son’s dog, Kershaw (yes, named after that Dodger pitcher). From that came the first Dog Hair Caddis. It landed a few trout but was even more effective on perch off the dock. Another pattern, from my son’s other dog, Doc (yes, named after Roy “Doc” Halladay), and I made a very successful “Perch Snatcher” fly, a bit like a miniature egg sucking leach.
Then came the ideas. Why not use the long dog tail hairs and build some pike streamers from dog hair? I tried last year, tying the first Kershaw Curve Ball Streamer. I took this up north to Cree River Lodge and tossed it with my 8 weight rod and managed to land a few small pike. Call that success. By small pike, I really mean small pike, hammer handles, 20″ and less. The following day using a fly from 100% synthetic materials, a pattern I named the Go Go Ray, I landed a 46″ monster pike. The same fly pattern, along with another of my own creations, the Iron Butterfly Minnow, have helped me catch pike on the fly at Wakaw Lake for a few years now.
Time to put the ideas to the test, beyond tossing a few casts in a place know as the pike fishing capital of the world (Cree River Lodge). One day when all three family dogs where at my house, I took my fly sculpting scissors and took a bit of free materials from all three dogs.
I tied and improved on the original Kershaw Curve Ball Streamer, making it longer with bigger streamer hooks for catching pike.
Then I took the Go Go Ray pattern which was working on the Wakaw pike and used hair from my daughter’s dog, Bauer (named after her favorite brand of hockey equipment). The result was the Go Go Bauer. That next weekend all three dogs caught a fish! The improved Kershaw Curve Ball Streamer landed both pike and walleye. I switched to the Go Go Bauer and landed a pike. Back at the dock that evening, the Perch Snatcher (made from Doc hair) hooked about 20 perch.
I thought the idea of catching a fish with all three dog’s hair was quite a novel idea. Why not all three dogs at once? Next day at the tying desk, I made a few more “Go Go” flies. A Go Go Kershaw, another Go Go Bauer, and a Go Go KBD (Kershaw Bauer Doc).
That evening, with the Go Go KBD at the end of my pike leader, I caught three more pike.
By the way, go check out the Cree River Lodge site Testimonials. That’s me in the second and third pictures, with my best fly-rod walleye and my all-time personal world record pike on a fly 46″ monster.