Dedicated To The Smallest Of Skiffs banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1E040FD1-A1C8-42E5-9519-C8DFC4EC70CF.png
Greetings

After watching an old Walkers Cay classic episode with Flip and John “Dozer” Donnell, I have been on the hunt for a fly recipe. The tarpon fly featured in the episode was a “bread and butter” fly called the red head. “Squirrel and badger” was mentioned...looks like a squirrel tail and some sort of bead or red plastic head.any ideas? Photo file attached.Thanks.

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,441 Posts
You're in luck - that's a pattern I used to tie for shops - many years ago.... It's pretty much a variation of a Cockroach tarpon fly (John Emery's classic pattern). The nose you're seeing in the picture isn't a bead -it's built up tying thread (flat-waxed nylon, fl. orange ,or fl. fire orange, or fl. red). I may still have a master for that pattern (if you're a commercial tyer always save a master so you can re-produce it years later with the exact original colors, dimensions, etc.).

It may take a day or two to dig out my masters box and take a photo or two so stay tuned....

Here's a pic of a Cockroach (my version - back when everyone wanted them tied up so that they could be snelled, long before fluorocarbon came on the scene and no one was still trying to use heavy monofilament for shock tippets...).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks Captain Bob,

Beautiful tie. Is there hair in the tail of your version of the cockroach or just feather? That fly is simplicity and scaled up or down and with color variations can probably hook just about any species that swims.

I look forward to seeing your redhead.

Much appreciated
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,441 Posts
All of the “Keys style” tarpon flies had a spreader (a generous bit of hair -calf tail mostly - except for cockroach style patterns, which have whatever the collar was for the spreader).

The spreader was tied in on top of the hook shank, a tiny bit forward of bend with only a few turns of thread -then rolled evenly all the way around the shank before having a few more turns to finally secure it. After that the tail feathers (wide, webby neck hackles ) are tied in as unit (three at a time) on each side of the spreader (not on top).

The spreader not only reduced fouling of the tail feathers but also added some bulk to the fly.

I’ve always thought that a big fish not only should see the fly but also “feel” it moving in the water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well..here is a treat...

Mr. Moret responded to an inquiry I sent to Florida Keys Outfitters...here is his reply...

“believe the term "bread and butter" fly was a personal phrase of endearment Flip had for the "Apte II Tarpon Fly" which he frequently used.

2 or 3 badger feathers on each side tied at the rear of the shank. Curves facing together to make them ride straight rather than splayed.

Squirrel or Fox squirrel collar and a red or orange thread head.

There are plenty of images if you Google it. The fly was fished best with swimming strips rather than pulses and was a precursor to the worm flies of today.

We have not carried it for a decade, but it was once a basic pattern for tarpon anglers in the Keys”

Cool history
 

·
Fly Fishing Shaman
Joined
·
6,428 Posts
View attachment 59596
Greetings

After watching an old Walkers Cay classic episode with Flip and John “Dozer” Donnell, I have been on the hunt for a fly recipe. The tarpon fly featured in the episode was a “bread and butter” fly called the red head. “Squirrel and badger” was mentioned...looks like a squirrel tail and some sort of bead or red plastic head.any ideas? Photo file attached.Thanks.

Mark
The question is, why are you looking for it? Because you may thing it's the thing that will get your tarpon this year, or for the nostalgia of it all?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
@Backwater ...prob for the history and mojo as well as for fly tying. Frankly I have never had the opportunity to fish for tarpon. I hope to one day.

I suspect (though could never prove) that this pattern would work about as well as any other more recent pattern if circumstances and presentation were right.

Cheers
Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,441 Posts
Back again (finally).... Glad you got that info from Sandy since I'd forgotten about the Apte Too - although I had a few of them in my master's box and they are a bit different in several ways than the old Cockroach...

First things first - here's my Furnace Squirrel (the pattern I thought that photo showed...) on a 4/0 hook - tied just like a Cockroach with a splayed tail -either furnace or badger neck hackles, set up for snelling....


Now here's a few of the Apte Too bugs... they're tied differently (almost the way Deceivers were done with the tail neck hackles turned inwards "streamer style". The body (which can't be seen in the photo) was either gold or silver diamond braid (occasionally pearl diamond braid). The collar or head was always gray squirrel - not red squirrel like the first photo...

Note that one of the Aptes was done with a double wire weedguard -that was a specific request from another customer...

Lastly, this photo shows both the Furnace Squirrel and the Apte patterns together so that you can compare them...


Back then (maybe 30 years ago now, or more...) we used either Tiemco 800s (no longer available anywhere...) or Eagle Claw Billy Pate hooks quite a bit for tarpon flies.. It was only quite a few years later that the Owner Aki and the Tiemco 600s came into prominence in flies tied for shops...

Hope this helps...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,441 Posts
Look for the much cheaper strung neck hackles (natural badger or natural furnace). They’re much more likely to be the wide, webby feathers that you want for tails on tarpon flies... At least that’s what I always used when I was filling orders.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top