I am not sure where all of the influences for these patterns came from. I think the earliest idea I had about these patterns occured about 5-7 years ago when I was living in Iowa City, IA. At the time my wife and I lived in a housing development in Coralville that was near a golf course. When we first moved in, I was pleased to learn that the houses were surrounding a golf course that had several ponds. When I inquired about the ponds, I was told," You wouldn't want to fish in THOSE ponds because there is nothing but old, muddy fish in there." I just grinned from ear to ear, as I asked if it was okay to fish in the ponds. " Sure, no problem, just don't interfer with anybody's golf game." I was also given permission to launch my kick boat and park in the owner's back yard.......awesome man!
Just about every night I would go fishing in my back yard and catch loads of really big bass. 4-5 pounders. What made it really great was the yard was mowed to about 1/4" and there were almost no trees near the ponds. It was a joy to cast and I didn't have to wear any waders either! I could just walk and fish. If someone was playing a round of golf, I stopped, let them play through and then started fishing again. If I remember right, I think there were about 4-6 ponds and a large center pond. There were monster bluegills in these ponds too. Something like 8-10" bluegills pretty consistantly. I was in heaven. Big fat, wild fish in my backyard, just about any fly fishers dream.
Well my fun wasn't about to last forever, like all good things, someone just has to come along and ruin it! My landlord sold the golf course to the city for a $1 and the city became the new owner. Well it wasn't long before new rules started about no fishing. I figured screw that, I had grandfather clauses to fish since I was given permission to fish by the original owner. So I kept fishing, eventually, I was chased around in golf carts by a derranged green's keeper, but I would fish, take off and dive behind some hedges and he never did catch me. Sometimes I would sneak around one of the far ponds they couldn't see from the clubhouse and fish until it got dark. My wife and I eventually had to give this place up when she got a new job and we moved. ( Which I was sort of not happy to be loosing. ) I think she was relieved because, she kept telling me I was bound to get caught and charged with criminal trespass.......right.
Where is this headed? About this time I had gotten one of the new Sage 0 weight rods and used it for bass and bluegill fishing. It was just a hoot to catch really fat fish on this super light tackle. Trouble was the line had almost no mass so I had to totally redesign all my flies and create all of these super light bugs that looked really beefy. I used short shank egg hooks, plastic beads and smaller low mass type flies to create a series of flies that gave the impression of being much larger than they actually were. Hence the inspiration for the series I am about to show you called the Bi-Polar Flies.
A few years ago, Hareline Dubbin introduced a material called Polar Chenille ( in the UK I think they call this Straggle Fritz ). Polar Chenille is a chenille that has fine transparent fibers that are woven into a soft core. The fibers are on one side of the strand so it creates an interesting effect as the material is long but as has sparse sort of look to it. The material comes in a standard transparent, UV and in 2007 they introduced a dyed UV and mini Polar Chenille.
I started tying a fly with the UV copper and my friend Rich Andrews promptly labeled this, a "beer fly". "Beer Fly? ", I said......." Well, yes a beer fly is what you get when you tie flies and drink too much beer." Well, I laughed. I thought it looked really cool, so I made some flies using anodized green coneheads, UV copper polar chenille, and hot orange ultra chenille. Totally obxnious might be the best way to describe this one.......
These flies sat around in my bass box for awhile and I hadn't really given them much thought. I used them for bass fishing and caught some nice smallies using them. Last summer ( 2006) I was poking around some of the fly shops near Pulaksi, NY and picked up some cool looking steelhead flies and used those as ideas for some new salmon flies. I tied up a bunch of polar chenille nymphs and had great luck with them. This spring I hooked a hefty lake run brown in a Cayuga Lake trib using one of the polar nymphs. I later wacked a couple of nice rainbows using these and I expect them to be just the ticket for bass this summer. So here are the patterns.
The Bi-Polar Nymph idea is to create something that is a bit beefy and has a large profile, while still being easy to cast. What does these resemble? Beats me. I would think this is your basic dragonfly, mayfly, damsel sort of thing. It is a pretty nasty looking fly but it couldn't be easier to do.
You can make these in almost any of the colors of the material. I choose to use black and blue and had Black dyed UV polar chenille, but any of the colors like olive, brown or brown olive should be good as well. For bass might try some chartreuse or hot orange. Pearl might be a good bet for using these with bluegilles also.
I tied the originals using a steelhead nymph hook ( so it must be a steelhead fly right? ) but you can use about any heavy wire nymph hook. The basic pattern should work for any number of fish. These are very simple flies, that look nice and almost any tier with any skill level should be able to make them. If they look scruffy, so much the better. Before I give you the steps, a couple of extra tools are helpful in making any of these patterns. I use a Jade River ( Wasatch makes a similar one as well ) mini dubbing comb to comb out the fibers. I also use Wasatch dubbing tools to prick out some of the fibers. This helps in making the fly some what scruffy looking.
BI Polar Nymph:
Hook: Mustad R90 or R72, size 6 or 8
Thread: Black 6/0
Eyes: Black Small Flat End Brass or Lead Eyes
Tail and Wing: Mixed UV Blue Crystal Flash and Black Krystal Flash
Body: Black UV Polar Chenille
1) Attach a pair of eyes to the top of the hook about 3-4 eye lengths back. Wrap the eyes in figure 8 wraps. Apply a few drops of super glue to secure the eyes and move thread down the hook shank, stopping above the hook point.
2) Get about 5 stands of blue and 5 strands of black Krystal Flash. ( Use a light and dark color for other combos, say UV Pearl-Chartreuse, that sort of thing ). Lay the strands on top each other and fold in half about 4 times, clip all the loops on each end. Roll the clipped bundle in your fingers back and forth to mix the colors. This makes a bundle of mixed strands. Tie in a bunch of fibers for the tail ( about 10-15 mixed strands). The completed tail should be about the length of the hook shank.
3) Fray some of the edge of the flash material off the polar chenille core ( so it is just the string). Tie in. Stroke the fibers of the chenille to one side and wrap forward. Wind chenille up behind the eye.
4) Grab about 20 strands of mixed Krystal Flash and tie the wing flat on top of the hook shank behind the eye. Clip the wing short to match the ends of the tail. Whip finish and cut the thread off.
5) Using a dubbing comb stroke out the fibers of the body. Take a dubbing brush tool ( I use the long fuzzy one above) and rough up the body. Trim the fibers of the body around and taper to a bug shape. I make "V" shaped cuts and trim the fly to look like a dragon fly nymph. I may clip below the hook shank to give the fly some clearance to hook the fish. Be careful not to trim too neatly as we are trying to make a bug with loads of irregular fibers. That's it. With a bit of practice you can crank out a stack of these in no time.
The Bi-Polar Bugger couldn't be a more nasty, ugly sort of fly. My friend is totally right in that these are "beer flies" of the worst sort. Heck of it is they are so darn ugly, that I am sure that are almost 100% guaranteed to catch something. I think there is kind of an appeal in making something that looks this bad. I plan on making these in some more colors and sizes, I picked this blue/black because I think they make nice salmon, steelhead colors and I suspect the bass will love these as well.
Bi Polar Bugger:
Hook: Mustad 3366 size 4 or 9674 size 6
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: Blue UV Krystal Flash over Black Marabou
Cone: Large 1/4" Blue Anodized Cone
Body: Black UV Polar Chenille
1) Attach a cone to the hook by sliding it over the hook point. You might have to bend the hook a bit to get it to slide over the point. I either put it sideways in my vise and tug on it or I use a pliers and bend the tip out about 10 degrees. If I use the pliers, I then stick it in the vise and smash it back into place by pushing on the shank with my thumb.
2) Wrap hook shank with thread. Tie in a tail of marabou using one full feather. Trim the butts off and run up and down the hook shank several times to secure the tail. The tails should be about equal to the hook shank.
3) Grab 2-3 strands of Krystal Flash and fold material in half several times. Clip the loops and tie in about 10-15 strands on top of the marabou. Clip the ends so that the flash is the same length as the tail.
4) Fray one end of the chenille and remove the fuzz. Tie in the strand.
5) Wrap chenille forward, stroking material as you go. The idea is to try and avoid wrapping the core over the fibers and smashing them.
6) As you get close to the cone, continue wrapping. I make a few extra wraps and try to jam it behind the cone to fill the body. Clip the thread off and comb out the fibers with a dubbing comb and dubbing brush.
The Bi-Polar worm is similar to a pattern I think Andy Burk of California used to make and if I am not mistaken, this fly was also sold as a pattern by a commerical fly company ( Solitude? ) as well. My original pattern I made had plastic beads and used sparkle chenille with hackle to create a massive looking body. I used ultra chenille for the tails. There isn't much difference between this fly and the Bi-Polar Bugger, I just added ultra chenille for the tail the rest is the same. To make this one, use the same directions as above but use a chenille tail about 2 x the shank length instead of the marabou, the rest of the directions are the same. I do like to use contrasting colors. Don't be affraid to try a red tail, black body and say a gold or chartreuse head. Feel free to mix colors.
Tail: Ultra Chenille or Tri-Lobal Antron Chenille
Thread: 6/0 Black
Cone: Hot Orange Large Cone
Body: UV Polar Chenille
Well that's about it. Hope these work for you........Happy Tying!