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www.grtu.org • cats whisker
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cats whisker

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:02 pm
by Ron Mc
Cat's Whisker

Hook: 2x-long or 3x-long streamer hook, size 8 or 10 (I use Tiemco 5263)
thread: to match body
accent: Krystal Flash
tail: marabou
body: medium chenille
wing: arctic fox (I like the arctic fox zonker strips best) or marabou
eyes: bead chain pair

Start the thread at the eye, and tie in 3 to 4 strands of Krystal Flash to tail length using a few wraps. Make a long loop forward by bringing the other ends back and adding to the tail. Leave the loop hanging over the eye for now.

Lightly pull the tail strands as you finish the base thread wrap to the back of the hook, wrapping over the Krystal Flash. For maximum flash, clip the tail strands to uneven lengths.

Tie in the marabou tail over the strand ends. (I cut 3 equal stem segments from the center of the feather, and twist these together. I throw away the bottom and save the tip for smaller flies.) Make 5 to 6 thread wraps on the marabou before you twist and clip the tag. Then wrap some more.

Tie in the body chenille. While your chenille wrap needs to be from the back forward, I start by bringing the thread forward, tie in the chenille, pull the tag back, and lightly cinch a length of chenille down the hook shank to add body thickness. Make 3 good thread wraps at the back and bring the thread forward again before you wrap the chenille forward. Tie off the chenille about 1/8-inch behind the eye, and trim.

Here, I turn the fly around to the bottom of the vise jaw to simplify tying in the wing. Pull the Krystal Flash loop back past the hook point and make enough thread wraps to hold it back. Trim it just behind the hook point.

Tie in a wing of arctic fox over the Krystal Flash. (I cut 1/4-inch or so from the strip and twist the fur.) Try to make the wing length close to the end of the tail. Don't pull too hard when you trim the tag or the wing will pop out from your thread wraps. (Here again, I turn the fly back to the top of the vise jaw to simplify tying in the bead chain.)

Tie a bead-chain pair on the outside of the hook shank using figure-8 wraps. Build up many wraps of thread in the figure-8's and behind the chain bead.

Whip finish behind the bead-chain. Apply head cement on all the thread.

By Ron McAlpin

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:56 am
by Danny S
A good fly Ron. Didn't you mention in another post (or on another board?) that for a trout version, you tie in the fox on the top of the shank and the eyes on the underside? If I remember right, it had something to do with trying to prevent hooking the crucial vessel or artery.

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:27 am
by Ron Mc
that is exactly what I do, Danny.
I turn the fly over and use a tungsten head.
It's a simple fly and, IMO, fishes better than a woolly bugger.

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:38 pm
by John M. White
Are you using Olive or Chartreuse marabou for the tail? Grey chenille for the body? Olive Krystal Flash?

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:48 am
by mickmcco

Ron can answer your specific questions, but I can tell you that the fly can be tied in a variety of colors, depending on the forage base you're trying to imitate. I tie them in solid olive, tan, gray, and chartreuse, and combinations of those colors. The tail and wing can either be marabou or Arctic fox (which I find easier do deal with and more durable than the marabou).

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:26 am
by John M. White
Thanks for the info Mick. I tied up my first one last night. I used light olive marabou tail, dark olive chenile body, light olive marabou wing (since I don't have any artic fox), chartreuse krystal flash, and small silver dumbell eyes since I didn't have any bead chain for the eyes. After seeing all the guys that swear by the cat's whisker now, I figured I need to give it a shot and add it to the arsenal..... especially if I try fishing for stripers or bass. Ron, Mick, of the color combos you mentioned, which color combo(s) works best on the Guad? Will the use of the small lead dumbell eyes be detrimental? I assume you use the beadchain eyes just to help it break the surface tension, and yet still be light enough to use with a sink tip line. The dumbell fly is a little heavier, and I would think it would be pretty good to use with a floating line, even in fairly deep holes?

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:31 am
by maxh
I was actually having a little bit of a hard time with the arctic fox. My patch started getting a little ratty after the first couple of flies. Any suggestions on how to work with it to maximize the material. Thanks
BTW- I found a great selection of bead chain at Breed &Co. in Austin

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:39 am
by John M. White
I didn't think the marabou was that difficult to work with, and I tied them in dry. You can dip them in water first to make them very manageable when tying them in. I guess my concern would be the durability of the marabou wing and how long it would hold up (especially when catching fish!). I can see why it would be better to use fur for the wing. Thanks for the tip on the bead chain Maxh.

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:43 am
by mickmcco
My only difficulty with marabou is the dye they use on the feathers. I just tied a few black mini-buggers earlier this week and it took me two days to get the dye off my fingers.

You'll also find that using bead chain eyes gives the fly more neutral buoyancy than dumbbells, allowing the fly to hang in the water column more effectively. No need to get your beadchain from a fly shop. Head to Ace Hardware or a similar establishment and buy it in bulk. A four yard pack of "Beaded Chain" in the electrical department of a local hardware store came in three colors (gold, bronze, silver) and cost me about $3.50 per package.

Regarding the Arctic fox, experiment with the amount of the underfur you comb out before tying in the fur. Sometimes, sparser is better, and at other times you want the bulk created by the underfur to remain with the fly. The underfur also makes great dubbing. I've found the Arctic fox to be more durable than marabou.

A great source for Arctic fox in bulk in a variety of colors is Dave Steinbaugh at Waters West Fly Shop in Port Angeles, WA. (www.waterswest.com)

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:52 am
by Ron Mc
hey guys, the fly in the photo is light olive tail.

I think my favorite of all is gray tail, gray body and light olive wing.

If you don't have a sinking line and you need to get down deep, dumb-bells work. My preference is a sinking line.
Also, all summer long, when Jimbo would beg a cats whisker, I handed him a bead-chain fly, he was fishing a floating line and pounded the bass.
He developed a preference for the tan and brown flies and that's probably my second favorite.

On an overcast day, all gray is the best, and another friend has that for his first-choice fly. I ran out of these last weekend - hint, hint

another plus to arctic fox - it gets tangled in fish teeth - the Velcro factor.

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:28 pm
by John M. White
Thanks Ron!

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:32 pm
by mickmcco
The Master has spoken! Take heed!

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:47 pm
by John M. White
Placing my materials order right now..... :D

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:05 pm
by rrhyne56
Cat's Whisker has been tearing up the stripers below Texoma!
Thanks to Mick for pointing to this pattern.

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:54 am
by Ron Mc