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Feather Baits

Posted by Sandy 
Feather Baits
September 23, 2016 12:30PM
This all happened because of channel catfish on the flyrod. I've been making two hook snells for catfish this summer. The trout fishing seems to be going to hell fast so I guess I've been trying to look ahead 20 years.

For a fly rod catfish rig I make the snell (basically a Carolina Worm rig) and then skewer it with a looong strip of fresh (not smoked) pork skin. Add the biggest split shot I can cast with an 8wt fly rod and I'm ready to go. Channel cats on the fly rod is experience. A subject for another day. Now back to trout streamers. Back to Feather Baits.

One cat fish thing led to another. After playing with snells for several weeks a light went on and I decided to try making a feather bait, which is a bit like a two hook snell except the front snell locks down onto the stem of a big saddle feather instead of the shank of a front hook. Put a tungsten bead on the front tag end of the snell and attach that to the leader. Or to a barrel swivel and then that to the leader.

They cast like a bullet and sink like a stone. A streamer made from a single feather is as sparse as you can get. And sparser does sink faster. And further down. Are these really worth anything? Hell I don't know. This is a wild-eyed experiment that seems to work. You can't fit them in a fly box so you need a snell wallet of some sort, in order to carry them around.

Big streamers tend to be bushy and hard to cast. These are sparse and they do cast well. Inch for inch no long streamer casts better. This one is made from a single saddle feather but you could use more. This idea works equally well with a rabbit strip. Sort of an alternate way to make a Roadkill Streamer.

Re: Feather Baits
September 23, 2016 12:31PM
So. After 56 years of continuous effort and relentless tying I may finally have done it. I've gone too far. This isn't tip-toeing the boundaries of propriety it's high diving off the edge?
Re: Feather Baits
September 23, 2016 08:24PM
Here's another one. This time I crimped on a big tin split shot and then flattened it out with needle nose. Roughed it up with sand paper and glued on plastic eyes. Still a one feather streamer. Tied on a snell. Still casts like a bullet. And sinks like a stone.

I was thinking, about Striped Bass flies and Barracuda flies. Big flies on a big rod can be a real challenge to cast. This is one way to make 5" inch or 6" inch fly that's not so hard to cast--keep it ultra-simple and keep it ultra-sparse. Tie it on a snell.

Re: Feather Baits
September 26, 2016 04:08PM
I will try that idea for steelhead flies.

Rk Newman
Re: Feather Baits
September 27, 2016 01:40PM
Rick -- and all others:

I fished some yesterday. Briefly only. Didn't have time to really fish. I tied some with a 0x snell. They work as advertized: cast like a bullet and sink like a stone. But the 0x version is too supple. The hook too easily wraps around a snags itself. I made a few with cheap and stiffer 17lb spinning line and they tangled far less often. All "articulated" streamers have this problem. These no more so than any of the others. You don't want the snell too stiff or too supple. 17lb seems about right. I'll experiment with other thicknesses.
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