A crawfish pattern for bass, trout, panfish and even catfish
Well, since it's just been Father's Day, I figured I would introduce the world to my favorite dad. His name is "Skip's Dad" and he hails from the mind of Skip Morris. I was introduced to him via Joe Cornwall's "Fly Fishing Warm Water Rivers".
Here in Virginia, the rivers are lousy with crayfish. I went last week to the South Fork of the Shenandoah, and in a meter-square area along the shoreline, there had to be at least 30 crayfish in it.
I fish this fly with either a floating line and 10-foot leader or a clear sink-tip. I cast quartering downstream on a tight line like a steelhead swing. Either use 5-inch quick strips or 30-inch slow strips, I've had success with either.
Sometime when I get around to it, I'll start dead-drifting Skip's Dads under an indicator.
Recipe, partially stolen from Joe's book:
One of my local waters is the Potomac River, it's about a 20-minute drive. I go to a little park area known as "Turkey Run". In June and July, the water is a very comfortable bathtub temperature and the current is slow enough that you can wade safely up above your waist.
The Potomac Heritage trail travels right up the banks of the river for miles in either direction and is used by hikers, runners, and families with dogs. Below Turkey Run, the river slows as it enters a small impoundment. A series of rock islands and submerged plants form a phenomenal nursery for smallmouth food.
View it in Google maps.
If you go, be careful because they will lock you in after dark.
Reaction to Skip's Dad can be varied.
I've felt smallmouth nibble at it gently as they suck it up off the riverbottom. When I get gentle takes, I start fishing with a slow, long strip.
When I find that the fish are slamming the Dad hard, I start using quick 5-inch strips, just enough of a pop so that I see the end of my line jerk.
Sometimes I've cast and had large smallmouth take the fly on the very first strip. It's happened enough that I get the slack out of the line as fast as I can.
Don't forget to let the Dad hang below you in the current. You'll catch bass when you let the fly hang and then give it a couple quick strips.
This is Paul's first day ever with a flyrod, and once he can cast 10 feet and strip line, Skip's Dad gives him a good day on the river.
He'll be back.