Sydney Opera Mouse
Published May 29th 2014
A crazy foam construction that looks very little like a mouse and a lot like an opera house
It's easy to tie and doesn't require any special types of foam, just ordinary sheet, which can be bought cheaply in any craft or hobby store. You can of course also use closed cell foam for fly tying, but be warned: you will eat through the small and fairly expensive sheets pretty fast. Spare those for mayflies and extended bodies and opt for the cheap toy stuff, which is firmer and perfect for this purpose.
The only hard part is to cut the foam shapes that form the body. Three pieces will usually do, and if you follow the general outlines that I have sketched here, you will get a decent result. The shape is like the peel of a quartered orange, but with slightly varying length and width. You can cut it a bit narrower in one end and broader in the other, but it doesn't have to be very precise. Foam is soft and forgiving and can be formed and stretched as you tie.
You need a broad short piece, a medium piece and a narrow long piece. The short one should be as the hook shank, the long one just slightly longer. Add to that a large and light streamer hook, a foam or yarn tail, some strong tying thread, and you have the building materials for a foam mouse.
I have made this mouse in two versions: one with the largest and broadest foam piece on top, and one with the narrowest one on top, and the latter does look most like a mouse - if you can say at all that it looks like a mouse. That's the one you will get if you use the shapes sketched below and tie them in as shown - short and wide first, then medium and then long and narrow.
Sydney Opera Mouse
|Year of origin||2014|
|Hook||Large straight eye streamer hook 1/0-4/0|
|Tail||Foam scrap or yarn|
|Body||Three pieces of brown, tan or grey foam cut to shape|
- Pick a hook before cutting the foam pieces.
- Cut three foam pieces as shown on the drawing
- Use a small foam scrap for the tail
- Tie in the tail over the hook bend
- Tie in the pieces of foam in reverse order, one at a time, pointing to the rear
- Take the thread forward
- Bend the top piece of foam forward and tie it down flat
- Bend the next piece forward and tie it down with an arc over the first piece
- Bend the final piece forward and tie it down, arcing the two other pieces
- Whip finish and cut the thread
- Varnish the two tie-in spots and the whole hook shank
Fishing the mouse
Fish this pattern on a floating line and a not too long leader. You can use a wire trace if you are fishing for pike, but honestly - save the energy and the hook, and fish something simpler than this for pike. The fly will be trashed very quickly. A Plipper on a tube is a better choice and even easier to tie.
Thanks to the shape and the light weight, the Sydney Opera Mouse will float, but dive with small splashes when you retrieve it. Swung across a stream or fished against the current it will stay under, which is not the way a mouse swims, so fish it upstream or on still water where it can float freely between your strips.
The fly will undoubtedly do fine as a diver in saltwater or as a diving popper when fishing for bass, so there's lots of possibilities to experiment.
More on mice
- Mouse flies. Published May 8th 2014
- The Plipper. Published July 16th 2006
- Kamchatka Spring Creeks. Published December 1st 2011
- Morrish Mouse. Published February 27th 2013
- Winter Mouse fishing With Molly Semenik. Published July 1st 2013
- Rydare Mouse Fly. Published September 22nd 2013
- Mouse Rat. Published March 17th 2014
- Once in a Blue Moon. Published December 5th 2009