Me and the four Horsemen of the Little Stinking

I knew the weatherman was lying when the ATV crowd left at 8:30AM. It was supposed to be in mid-90’s, and I’d bypassed all the close fishing in favor of a trek to the clean water upstream.

A pocketful of experimental flies and the desire to observe the hookup had me three miles up the creek, sans paddle, and today she was the Little Stinking Frying Pan of Doom, accompanied by the other three Horsemen; humidity, rank decay, and the Reflective Pea Gravel of Searing Death.

I’ve got a liter of water, a pack of cheap cigars, and am on a mission from Izaak Walton..

At mile three I stopped and eyeballed the Big Bass stretch; in past weeks I’d sworn off this spot as the Carp are always in patrol mode. They’ll swim close by to lure you into sight casting, but never responded to anything I’ve thrown at them.

So I hunker down behind a screen of brush, and can see the tell-tale bubble stream of feeding fish, but there’s 30 feet of brush between me and the quarry.

Frustration is a powerful stimulant, and I’m addicted.

The fly made it to the water, but the path it took was torturous, like hanging Christmas tree lights around hedges, smooth curves don’t exist, and the line is draped over whatever’s tallest. I figured a half dozen casts before moving further upriver, and the last cast is on an intercept for a pod of three siphoning fish. I’d tried the flesh colored fly earlier and had an Ocher San Juan Worm swinging into their path. I couldn’t see any visible reaction from the fish – but the Nymph Tip started moving upstream and I set the hook.

I didn’t have to fear the fly line as it came up off the ground, but the five tree branches I was connected to enroute to the water was a bit troublesome. The extra resistance likely pulled the hook free – but as the fish went by, the line was headed for it’s mouth, rather than it’s arse, so I figured it was a clean take.

Sweet. Now I just have to lug in a Weed Eater to clear the bank debris and I’ll be all set.


The third digit in the temperature is making itself felt – and optimism has added visions of Sugarplums to the heat waves dancing off the rocks. I continued upriver to the deep stretch, only to find the fish hanging in the deep pool rather than feeding. They were smarter than me, hanging in the coolest part of the hole and avoiding direct sunlight.

Which is sounding plenty good to me by this point, and I start heading back to the car.

Shade is only available in a couple spots, and I plan my exodus around them – stopping to cool down and guzzle water rather than a forced march.


I still hadn’t tried my boa crayfish, and while enjoying a Brownliner lunch; a cheap cigar and bottled water, I knotted it on to test the construction. It’s made of the Mallard Bernat Boa fringe and a pair of rubberlegs for adornment, and it’s light, aerodynamic, and a pretty stark contrast to traditional bulky crayfish patterns.

Tied on a Togen Scud hook, and weighted to “keel” – flip over and ride upside down – avoiding the moss and bottom debris from accumulating on the hook – a problem noticed with the San Juan Worm. The real crustacean is available to the Carp, and Bass like crayfish – so I assumed it would be a good dual purpose fly.

I eased out of the protective shade and slammed the fly into the water to sink it – it had a medium sink rate (10 turns of 1 amp fuse wire) and looked really good when you yanked on it. A pair of “claws” off the tail area are simple trimmed from the fringe, and trail nicely behind the fly when motion is added.

I tossed it onto the far bank and drug it into the water – it didn’t even get damp before the line twitched and a smallmouth grabbed it. I released him and tossed the line further down – and it came right back at me with a big Smallmouth attached – jumping a half dozen times and heading off downriver despite my best efforts.


Three casts yielded three fish, and the fourth cast planted it firmly in a tree branch on the far side, which was appropriate as no fisherman should wield that much raw power..

It’s a really functional fly, the material is tough and resilient, resists fish damage, and is light even when waterlogged – allowing the luxury of using it on lighter rods, and lighter lines.

The natural twist of the fringe and it’s supporting braid allows the “claws” to flop around like marabou, yet everything tucks into an aerodynamic shape when yanked – just like a real crayfish.

Bernat makes a vibrant orange color called “Tweety Bird” that I’d like to try for the red crayfish. It’ll darken a couple shades when wet, and the brown water will darken it yet again, making it a good change up if the  Crayfish are the brighter coloration. The Little Stinking has both colors, but all of the live samples I’ve seen are the bluish Olive. I tied one other in the Peacock color, mixed olive and turquoise, but didn’t have a chance to try it.

Next weekend is a blueline pilgrimage, but I’ll have more than a single prototype in the box for the week following, you can be sure.

… Little Stinking Olive – has a nice ring to it, making all them trout fishermen think it’s some variant of a mayfly. Deceit rules.

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