There are so many minnow patterns out there that it can make your head spin. Many of these patterns are simply profile fly patterns with limited action. Profile patterns, patterns that maintain profile and look extremely realistic in your hand, are very effective in certain cases, and the high-low technique can produce very wide-bodied minnow imitations. If that wide profile is a major trigger, then you should really use these patterns. Beware though, many profile patterns are meant to catch fly anglers. They come with detailed eyes, scales, and fins, and draw the angler in until it’s too late-they buy it. On the other hand, you have action flies. These flies may be very detailed also, like with the Game Changer, but in most cases, the action far outweighs the addition of an adipose fin. For me, my fly box is filled with action flies, since the triggers that these flies produce are usually what make these flies so effective. One of my all-time favorites for any predator is the Hollow Fleye designed by Bob Popovics, arguably the most influential and innovative fly designer ever. Normally the Hollow Fleye incorporates bucktail, and this is what I normally use, but this fly here uses craft fur instead and is very effective in certain fishing situations, even more so than flies with bucktail.
There are many craft fur minnows out there, but not all are created equally. This fly should give you all of the features of other Hollow Fleyes plus some others that make it better for certain situations. With all hollow flies you get a wonderful 360 degree profile. If simply used as a profile fly, it would have unique features in this respect. It is important that the fly have this profile because of its action. The fly should give you a walk-the-dog action in the water, or at least a gliding motion, and this is critical to getting the unique triggering characteristics from this fly. The reason why this fly gives you this action is because of the head. The head makes this fly. You need to have a large area on the head to resist water and push it over the head. For this reason, bucktail is ideal because it is stiff and creates a perfect head. The water whooshes back over the tail and creates the awesome action you have with these flies, so make sure you have a head that resists flow with your Hollow Fleyes.
This fly in particular is made out of craft fur for specific reasons. One it allows you to use a floating line with the pattern. Normally, the buoyancy of bucktail gives you even more resistance to the water and gives your fly extra action. However, this also makes your fly almost float, so you need to use sinking lines. It is true that you can tie bucktail Hollow Fleyes sparsely, but then you don’t get the full effect of the bucktail. Craft fur sinks faster than bucktail, and so you don’t have to use sinking lines to get it to sink. This is why you can use floating lines. This is hugely important because it opens up your fishing in flats fishing situations or to fishing the mangrove lines for snook. Another reason I use craft fur is because it allows you to tie smaller patterns, around two inches, but also up to around five inches. Bucktail is normally quite long, and so getting smaller patterns like this is a challenge. This is helpful for certain saltwater situations but also for crappie, white bass, finesse situations for bass, and even trout in stillwaters. This craft fur will not give you the larger profile patterns that bucktail will, so I often consider this fly a finesse pattern in general, or at least one in which a finer profile is better. The fly lands on the water like a feather and sheds water. This is where fly fishing is at an advantage to lures such as crankbaits. If fish are spooked from the weight of these lures, you’re going to excel in these situations. Finally, the fly takes markers, i.e., you can color them with markers to get your own color combinations. Combine this with different colors of craft fur on your fly, and you can get some really cool patterns.
SOME TIPS ON FLY FISHING WITH THIS PATTERN
As mentioned above, the idea behind Hollow Fleyes is to increase the density towards the head, so that it resists water, which pushes the fly around, giving it a side-to-side action. You control the action with rhythmic strips, allowing the fly to finish moving before you strip again. You can burn it through the water, but a million different patterns work for this type of approach. Remember this fly uses action to trigger; that’s why you have this unique fly in your fly box. Also, the fly is better suited for relatively shallow fishing 1-4 feet. For deeper water, use a heavy sinking line and bucktail. Also, feel free to experiment with your strips, since you may discover an action with the fly that really turns fish on. If you have any questions about the fly, go ahead and shoot us an email or leave the question below in the comments.
- Hook: Hook of choice, depending on species (#4 Gamakatsu B10s in the video)
- Thread: UTC 140 or 210, mono thread, or Veevus tying threads
- Body: Extra select craft fur
- Flash: Flash of choice, but Lateral Scale (thin) is highly suggested
- Lacquer: Zap-a-gap (brushable)
- Coloring (optional): Permanent markers