This was the result, and the next weekend when things were really slow at Lakenvlei, I hauled out the MMMF (modified marabou mickey finn) and proceeded to catch a good number of fish, when others were not doing well at all. The fly moves best on a steady retrieve, so the best method was a fast figure-of-eight retrieve.
What also worked (watch out, because here comes heresy) was just letting the fly follow the boat as the wind drifted it. Trawling! There, I said it. I trawled a fly because it works.
Sinking line, small drogue, and Bob's your enemy.
On the way home I ws thinking about making the same pattern in baitfish colours, as it is the time of year that there are fingerlings in the water. Hence the colour combination of white & yellow.
And the name? Its quite wierd, but I have to give credit to the Frank Zappa song that was playing while I was thinking about the fly, White Porn & Lemon Juice
Fly Tying Instructions for the WPLJ
Use a #8 x2 or x3 long shank hook. Put on two sequins (in sequence) with the cupped part facing forward. Put a tungsten bead on backwards. Two sequins are used as one alone breakes quite easily. Using black head varnish, glue the two sequins together & move the bead up and colour it black too. You could use black sequins & black beads.
Lay a base layer of thread, return thread to eye & tie in some red copper wire along the underside of the hook shank as shown. Then tie in some flat tinsel at the back & advance your thread to just behind the bead.
Wind on the tinsel in overlapping turns, trap with the thread & trim it.
Wind the wire forward as shown, trap with thread, and break off the tag end.
Tie a generous clump of white marabou onto the TOP of the hook shank, as close behind the bead as possible. Trim excess.
Follow that with a layer of yellow marabou, followed by a light topping of brown or olive.
On top of that goes a short piece of black marabou. Dub a small clump of black marabou onto the thread.
Finish off by winding on dubbing & then two whip finishes. Pull out any excess dubbing.Your WLPJ is done!
The fly Fish Hate
The WPLJ is an effective fly in stillwater, but has never been put to the test in a river.
After fishing a beat a few weeks ago, I decided to try it out on the way back. Just below a weir, there is a big deep pool, and standing above the wier I cast downstream. Letting the current move the flyline and without a retrieve, a customer was expected pretty soon. But nothing, not even a tire kicker. After experimenting with a number of retrieves and different parts of the pool, there still wasn't even a car in the car park.
Being of stubborn disposition I moved to the side of the pool, and did a 'drown and across' thing. This is where it got interesting.
The multiple currents made a few curves in the line, and my line went out from the rod & curved back towards me with the fly close and visible. A trout swam up to the fly, picked it up, swam away, then spat it out. And I didnt feel a thing on the line!
This is wake up call time, as in don't make assumptions. The assumption was that because the current is causing the curves in the line, the line is relatively 'tight' and you will feel the takes. NO WAY!
LESSON: If you are downstream nymphing, keep the line as short as you can. Rather hide away than use a long line.
Something else I noticed was the fly was swimming a little hook down, which it wasn't supposed to do. This was because I had used a down-eye hook instead fo a straight-eye, so watch out for that.
After shortening the line, I got a bass, after which my attention was drawn to two trout at the tail of the pool who were in the perfect position for me to see their reaction to the fly. My cast spooked the one, but the other followed the fly until I ran out space, never touching it.
In a lower pool I hooked a few, but the real action came later in a faster run, where the same fish attacked it three times without getting hooked. As the fly went upstream past the fish it would wait a while then dash furiously at the fly, attacking it with gusto.
Vindication was mine, the fish absolutely hate this fly! Especially in fast water.
Now this is a good thing, because they attack flies they hate, rather than given them the nose up haughty disdain they reserve for some of our dry flies. The fish further downstream hated it too, even one rather large bass, but unfortunately the hook up to landing ratio was very poor, something that would be remedied by straightening the eye.