For the past season or two, I have been obsessing over simplifying my fly tying. Of course, there are situations which demand high-spec, over-engineered flies like the JAM fly or the Game Changer. These flies take time to put together properly in order to get them to behave as they should. I love that challenge, but give me half an excuse to tie a five-minute fish-killer, and I’m right there for it.
Leerfish – the bread-and-butter Garden Route game fish – demand respect and care, but you honestly don’t need intense fly-tying skills to catch them consistently. A simple, sparse Clouser Minnow is essential gear, and so is my favourite saltwater topwater, the Crease Fly.
My preferred version is a simple, quick, cheap and dirty tie that casts easily and smashes leatherbreams. Tied as shown below, you can expect roughly 25 leeries before the fly falls apart. Given the minimal time and cheap materials required, that’s fine with me. In fact, witnessing a fly’s systematic destruction is one of the simpler pleasures in life.
Crease flies in general will forgive much experimentation and modification, but keep in mind that for the fly to swim properly and provide efficient hook-ups, you need a generous hook-gape. The proportion of the hook to the body of the fly is critical to it working well. I also like to keep the tail shorter than most other tyers, which reduces the amount of short strikes and missed fish.
Sheet foam in 2mm and 5mm thicknesses, colours of choice. For leeries, white is hard to beat.
Steve Farrar Flash Blend, colour of choice, in my case Bucktail White.
UV Crystal Flash
3/0 Nylon thread, colour of choice. Hot pink is a good one, the thread will only be visible as a protruding cloacal hotspot. Yep. I think I’ll call this fly “The Prolapsed Crease Fly”.
Hook: I like Gamakatsu B10S hooks, for this fly I use 1/0. For a similarly proportioned fly, SL12S in size 4/0 is also good, but have at it, use what you like and make the fly that makes you happy. Just remember: GAPE.
Cut a small inner body from the 5mm sheet foam. Then cut the outer shell of the head from the 2mm foam. Ensure that it will properly envelope the inner part. The pics show the basic design from which you can experiment and make templates of your favourite ideas.
Dress the entire hook shank with thread, down past the hook bend, and coat with superglue. This goes a long way in preventing invisible rust. I do it for every single fly pattern that allows it.
Make sure you have your thread in position to tie the tail in directly behind the inner foam part. The inner should be placed roughly 3mm behind the hook eye.
Pull a pencil thick bunch of SF Blend from the pack, fold and cut it in half. Tie it in halfway along its length, cut end facing back, and add a few strands of crystal flash over this.
Fold the forward-facing part of the tail material back and tie it down. Throw a few wraps of thread around the tail material to make it stand up at an angle from the hook shank.
Wrap the thread to the hook eye and apply a small drop of superglue at this point and at the tail’s tie-in point. Snip off the thread when the glue is dry.
From here, it’s mostly a matter of gluing on the rest of the fly’s parts. Start by positioning the inner and glue it to the shank using just one or two drops of superglue.
Fold the outer foam over the inner and hold in place. Use a drop of superglue to attach it on both sides to the sides of the inner. Then another drop of superglue to close up the belly.
Snip off the excess belly material parallel to the hook shank.
Optional step this, but I like to seal the mouth with a contrasting foam colour.
All that’s left now is to lavishly decorate the fly using permanent markers, add some eyes and to trim the tail in proportion with the head. Job’s done.
Different body shapes will result in slight differences in action. The skinnier fly above has a subtle pop and pronounced dive, whereas the NYAP-inspired version spits more water and makes more noise. Either way, fish the fly with constant short, sharp strips. Drives those leeries nuts.