Published Jul 8. 2000 - 15 years ago

Deceivers

A recent article in Fly Tyer magazine sparked quite a debate on the streamer list about the use of this popular and effective saltwater fly in fresh water. The debate found the authors "defending" the fresh water deceiver and prompted us to write a small 

A recent article in Fly Tyer magazine* about deceivers sparked quite a debate on the streamer list about the use of this popular and effective saltwater fly in fresh water. The debate found the authors
"defending" the fresh water deceiver and prompted us to write a small feature on some of our own deceiver patterns.

The deceiver was first tied by Lefty Kreh in the 50's for striped bass in the Chesapeke Bay. The fly was extremely successful and soon spread to all saltwater environments and even into the freshwater world. The original fly has been changed and modified numerous times; however, there are two telltale signs that you're looking at a deceiver. First is the wing placement--the saddle hackle wing is positioned near the bend of the hook. Second is the hair collar which surrounds the wing and prevents it from fouling. As with most saltwater patterns, flash is usually added somewhere in the pattern. Whether you scale down saltwater versions of this fly, adapt other traditional streamer patterns, or create new patterns, you should experiment with this fly in fresh water--its a good one.

*(Fly Tyer, vol. 5, no. 1, Spring '99)

Traditional New England Deceivers

- Will Taylor

One can legitimately question the need for any "new" fly for landlocked salmon or trout fishing. In the smelt-filled rivers & lakes of Maine, a handful of traditional New England streamer patterns provide perfectly credible forage fish immitations in the waters and water conditions encountered. Pattens in blue dunn, blue, pink, yellow, white or purple, with some peacock herl & golden pheasant crest for flash, will keep one in business all season; I would feel very well-equipped with a casting-streamer selection of Gray Ghosts, Ripogenus Smelts, Pink Ladys, Barnes Specials, Black Ghosts and Magog Smelts. So why introduce Deceivers to the streamer wallet?

Why not?

Rainbow smelts are very long, slender fish, very active swimmers, with incredible multichromatic flash. If one were to start ground-up to design an immitation, you could hardly do better than to begin with Lefty's Deceiver for a body-plan. This is a pattern that has proven itself many times over as an imitation or general slender-minnow attractor for a wide varity of saltwater gamefish. With deserved respect for the color combinations that have proven themselves over time on landlocked salmon,
I've designed the following Deceivers, each named for the classical streamer pattern that inspired it.

Deceivers have several unique features to recommend them to fishing and to the tying bench:

  • They tie up a lot quicker & easier than a traditional feather-wing streamer
  • They're a good way to use up some of those saddle hackles not suitable for traditional streamers
  • They very optimally marry the properties of feather-wing and hair-wing streamers
  • They allow the use of modern flash materials that would look gaudy and out of place when merely added to traditional patterns
  • They're very tough, and stand up well to abuse in casting & catching fish
  • They have a very narrow, fishy profile, particularly well-suited as a smelt immitation
  • Varying the dressing density and hook weight can produce flies that fish near the surface or sink quickly for deeper pools
  • They cast like a dream & the wings never foul around the hook

Deceivers will never displace the classical New England streamers in my streamer wallet; I enjoy tying and fishing those traditional patterns far too much for that to be a temptation. But they are earning a place alongside their long-hooked siblings.

Will's Traditional New England Deceivers


PINK LADY DECEIVER

Submitted By Will Taylor

PINK LADY DECEIVER Image

THREADwhite 6/0; change to black for the head
HOOKTMC 7999 #6
TAILtwo pink saddle hackles, flanked by 2 grizzly saddles; then 2 strands pearl flashabou and 2 strands pearl krystal flash each side
BODYwhite tying thread, lacquered to secure the tail materials
COLLARventrolateral, white bucktail; dorsal ("wing"), 3 strands each side pink krystal flash topped with pink bucktail
TOPPING4 strands fine peacock herl
THROATsmall bunch yellow krystal flash, cut short
HEADblack thead; cement with penetrating head cement, finish with Loon Outdoors Black Hard Head Fly Finish
EYES(OPTIONAL)painted on head, white with black pupil

Will's Comments:
This pattern was inspired by Carrie Stevens' Pink Lady, one of my favorite casting streamers for landlocked salmon. (That pattern originally had a pink & grizzly wing, although it often is tied nowadays in orange for some reason).


RIPOGENUS DECEIVER

Submitted By Will Taylor

RIPOGENUS DECEIVER Image

THREADwhite 6/0; change to black for the head
HOOKTMC 7999 #6
TAILtwo light blue or kingfisher blue saddle hackles, flanked by 2 grizzly saddles; then 2 strands pearl flashabou and 2 strands pearl krystal flash each side
BODYwhite tying thread, lacquered to secure the tail materials
COLLARventrolateral, white bucktail; dorsal ("wing"), 3 strands each side yellow krystal flash topped with medium grey bucktail
TOPPING4 strands fine peacock herl
THROATsmall bunch red krystal flash, cut short
HEADblack thead; cement with penetrating head cement, finish with Loon Outdoors Black Hard Head Fly Finish
EYES(OPTIONAL)painted on head, white with black pupil

Will's Comments:
This pattern was inspired by Eddie Reif's Ripogenus Smelt, a popular casting and trolling streamer for landlocked salmon in Maine, and one of my favorite blue patterns.


MAGOG DECEIVER

Submitted By Will Taylor

MAGOG DECEIVER Image

THREADwhite 6/0; change to black for the head
HOOKTMC 7999 #6
TAILtwo yellow saddle hackles, flanked by 2 grizzly saddles; then 2 strands pearl flashabou each side
BODYwhite tying thread, lacquered to secure the tail materials
COLLARventrolateral, white bucktail; dorsal ("wing"), 3 strands each side silver krystal flash, topped with sparse yellow and then purple bucktail
TOPPING4 strands fine peacock herl
THROATsmall bunch red krystal flash, cut short
HEADblack thead; cement with penetrating head cement, finish with Loon Outdoors Black Hard Head Fly Finish
EYES(OPTIONAL)painted on head, white with black pupil

Will's Comments:
This pattern was inspired by the Magog Smelt, one of my favorite hairwing streamers. I caught my first landlocked salmon on a tandem Magog Smelt trolled from my canoe, and have always since felt it to be a "lucky pattern." This pattern takes tremendous liberty in translating the features of the original pattern into a Deceiver, though perhaps not so much as my Coppermgaumoc Smelt does in translating it into a flatwing.

Inspired by Bob Petti's suggestion of tying a soft-hackle collar to imitate the colors of the traditional pattern's shoulder, I have recently experimented with adding a teal flank collar to this pattern, tying the feather in by the tip, folding & winding the collar, and tying back along the hair collar (see the Morning Glory Deceiver for an example).


MORNING GLORY DECEIVER

Submitted By Will Taylor

MORNING GLORY DECEIVER Image

THREADwhite 6/0; change to black for the head
HOOKTMC 7999 #4 salmon hook
TAILone rather full silver pheasant crest feather, nearly as long as tail, curving up; then two pairs yellow saddle hackles; flanked on each side by 2 strands pearl flashabou and 2 strands orange krystal flash
BODYwhite tying thread, lacquered to secure the tail materials
COLLARventrolateral, yellow calftail; ventral, small bunch white calftail; dorsal ("wing"), 3 strands each side red krystal flash, topped with a small bunch of yellow bucktail
THROATshort silver pheasant crest feather, curving up
SOFT HACKLE COLLARtwo golden pheasant red body feathers, tied in by the tip, folded and wound as a collar and tied back to lie on the hair collar
HEADblack thead; cement with penetrating head cement, finish with Loon Outdoors Black Hard Head Fly Finish
EYES (OPTIONAL)painted on head, white with black pupil

Will's Comments:
Inspired by Carrie Stevens' Morning Glory. Bob Petti came up with this pattern on paper & posted it to the Streamers@ mailing list, & I couldn't wait to get home to tie one up. I subjected Bob's pattern to the folk process (i.e., I forgot his recipe & had to wing it) & came up with this. At the heart of this pattern is the soft-hackle collar (the traditional pattern uses red Golden Pheasant body feathers as shoulders). Bob in turn credits this inspiration to Jack Gartside's soft-hackle
streamers.
Since Bob introduced me to this idea, I've experimented with adding soft-hackle collars to some of my other Deceivers (mallard flank on the Pink Lady; Teal flank on the Ripogenus and Magog Deceivers); and I think this idea & a few boxes of RIT will inspire a number of new patterns.


MAGOG FLATTAIL DECEIVER

Submitted By Will Taylor

MAGOG FLATTAIL DECEIVER Image

THREADwhite 6/0; change to black for the head
HOOKTMC 7999 #6
TAILvery sparse white bucktail, nearly the length of the desired tail; then one yellow saddle hackle, tied in flat, chicken-side up; then 4 strands pearl flashabou; followed by small bunch purple bucktail
BODYwhite tying thread, lacquered to secure the tail materials
COLLARventrolateral, white bucktail; dorsal ("wing"), 3 strands each side silver krystal flash, topped with sparse yellow and then purple bucktail
TOPPING4 strands fine peacock herl
THROATsmall bunch red krystal flash, cut short
HEADblack thead; cement with penetrating head cement, finish with Loon Outdoors Black Hard Head Fly Finish
EYES (OPTIONAL)painted on head, white with black pupil

Will's Comments:
This is a variation on the Magog Deceiver. The flattail configuration allows the color-layering in the
wing to extend the length of the fly, into the tail.
I was introduced to this flattail style in Ray Bondorew's Striped-Bass streamers. In addition to allowing vertical layering of colors the length of the fly, this style has wonderful action in the water and presents a wider silhouette when viewed from below.


RIPOGENUS HALF & HALF

Submitted By Will Taylor

RIPOGENUS HALF & HALF Image

THREADpale yellow 6/0
HOOKtwo light blue or kingfisher blue saddle hackles, flanked by 2 grizzly saddles; then 2 strands pearl flashabou and 2 strands pearl krystal flash each side
TAILtwo light blue or kingfisher blue saddle hackles, flanked by 2 grizzly saddles; then 2 strands pearl flashabou and 2 strands pearl krystal flash each side
BODYpale yellow tying thread, lacquered to secure the tail materials
EYESsteel dumbell, yellow with black pupil, tied in on top the hook 1/3 the shaft length back from the eye, so the fly will ride inverted (bead-chain eyes may be used for a shallower-running fly). Please don't use lead eyes - it is very toxic to waterfowl.
BELLYwhite bucktail, 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the tail
UNDERWINGyellow krystal flash, 3 strands each side, slightly beyond the bend of the hook
WINGmedium grey bucktail; tied somewhat longer than the collar of a typical Deceiver, nearly 2/3 the length of the tail
THROATsmall bunch red krystal flash, cut short
HEADpale yellow tying thead; cement with nail lacquer, which will render the thread nearly transparent

Will's Comments:
I really love this fly. As is the Ripogenus Deceiver, this pattern was inspired by Eddie Reif's Ripogenus Smelt. The style is basically that of Bob Clouser's Deep Minnow, with a Deceiver tail tied in at the bend of the hook. Great when you have to get down deep in heavy current, or a deep pool or lake.


Untraditional Deceiver Patterns

- Robb Nicewonger

For the creative tyer (or one who can't follow a pattern) the nicest thing about the deceiver is the flexibility of the pattern. One can take advantage of this and tie not only imitation of smelts, but
also other forage fish, leeches, small snakes, and attractor patterns as well. Materials for the tail can be the traditional saddle hackle, marabou, hen body feathers, rabbit strips, rubber legs, etc. The collar can consist of any type of natural or synthetic hair. While the heads can be nice and small or built up very large with prismatic stick-on eyes. Virtually any hook type can be used--regular shank length hooks for small, fat flies or long shank for thin, slender ones. I've included a few patterns that I developed primarily when I was living in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Although I've only been in New England for about a year, I'm sure these will translate well. Some of you more traditional streamer flingers will probably cringe at some of these patterns, but give 'em a chance. Tie a few up and I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Robb's Untraditional Deceiver Patterns


BASIC WHITE DECEIVER

Submitted By Robb Nicewonger

BASIC WHITE DECEIVER Image

THREADgrey 6/0
HOOKKamasan low water salmon hook #8
TAILwhite marabou
COLLARsides and bottom white calftail, top natural squirrel (I used to use peacock herl but like the squirrel better - see the Fly Tyer article)
THROAT8 strands red floss
HEADbuilt up grey thread, marked dark on top with a marker. Eyes are fabric paint - the whole head is given a coat of softex
COMMENTSTied as a small chub imitation.


FLAT WINGED BLACK DECEIVER

Submitted By Robb Nicewonger

FLAT WINGED BLACK DECEIVER Image

THREADblack
HOOKKamasan B940 salmon hook #4
TAIL4 black variant saddles tied in flat covered with a few stands of black rainbow tiewell sparkle flash
COLLARsparse black bucktail with a few strands of tiewell sparkle flash on top
EYESprismatic stick on
COMMENTSThis has been a very effective largemouth bass fly. It could be a minnow, a leech or when tied in lrger sizes (up to 2/0) a small snake.


GOLDFISH DECEIVER

Submitted By Robb Nicewonger

GOLDFISH DECEIVER Image

THREADyellow
HOOKTMC 7999 #2
TAILyellow marabou
COLLARmixed yellow and orange bucktail
HEADyellow with fabric paint eyes, 1 coat of softex
COMMENTSCayuga Lake holds a healthy population of gold carp. When they move into the shallows in the spring they are easy targets for predators. This fly accounted for several large bass and a few rainbows.


PERCH DECEIVER

Submitted By Robb Nicewonger

PERCH DECEIVER Image

THREADgrey 6/0
HOOKMustad 3366 #4
TAIL4 chartreuse hen body feathers
COLLARsides yellow bucktail, bottom orange bucktail, top fox squirrel
HEADblack with fabric paint eyes, coat with softex


JIG-N-PIG DECEIVER

Submitted By Robb Nicewonger

JIG-N-PIG DECEIVER Image

THREADfluorescent orange
HOOKMustad 3366 #4
TAILorange rabbit strip and sililegs (pumpkin speckled)
COLLARfox squirrel
HEADoversized orange thread

Robb's Comments:
This fly was inspired by the classic bass bait rig of the same name. A jig-n-pig consists of a large jig with a rubber skirt baited with a piece of pork rind. Smallmouth anglers in Cayuga Lake did very
well with a crayfish colored set up. This is my attempt to recreate that.

Will's note - I cringed when I saw the name of this fly. But knowing Robb, I knew he just couldn't create a pork-strip disaster. This thing not only has rubber legs & rabbit, it looks good.


CAYAGUA LAKE HALF & HALF

Submitted By Robb Nicewonger

CAYAGUA LAKE HALF & HALF Image

THREADgrey 6/0
HOOKMustad 79580 #4
TAIL4 grey saddles flanked by a few strands of rainbow krystal flash
EYESDumbbell
BODYRainbow braid
BELLYRainbow krystal flash under pink bucktail
TOPGrey over lavender bucktail
HEADgrey thread coated with silver Wet and Wild nail polish
COMMENTSThis pattern was tied to represent the larger rainbow smelt in Cayuga Lake and was very effective in the dead of winter fished at the warm water discharges of the power plants on the lake.


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