Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tracer Round Tutorial

I was struck by the muse in the bottle last night, sipping bourbon and staring at the vice, when the color of my Buffalo Trace in the glass inspired a new pattern.  It's been a while since I did a fly tying tutorial, and I've never done one here on A Tenderloin, so here we go... Introducing, The Tracer Round.

"New pattern" being a relative term, of course, and a bit of a stretch in most cases -- including this one.  Almost all flies in the modern era are revamped iterations of previous patterns.  With very few exceptions (I'm looking at you and your Game Changer, Mr. Chocklett), most of us tie directly on the shoulders of, and in concert with, our contemporaries.

I do bristle a bit when one among us throws a different set of legs (head, wings, etc.) on a well-loved pattern, and calls it their own.  But barring the occasional leap forward in creativity at the vise, that's how these things most often evolve.  If you can't see the Wooly Buggers in a Sex Dungeon, you need your eyes checked.

Try that as a pick-up line at the bar sometime.

So we watch what the other guys are tying, and add our own twist to the mix.  More presciently, some of the more observant and intuitive among us attempt the fill a void in our repertoire or more completely appease the "needs" of certain fishing conditions with a certain pattern.  The latter is partly where I was coming from with the Tracer Round, alcohol-fueled inspiration aside.

If you've read here much at all, you know I'm a proponent of the big, meaty articulated streamers.  They're fun to tie, fun to chuck, and they work.  They've also left a hole in the spectrum of the flies I like to tie and fish.  In my boxes you can -- concerning size and profile -- reach for either a #8 bugger or the like on the small end... or ginormous, honking articulated streamers of all manner on the big end.  And there ain't much in between.

Hopefully a smaller and lighter articulated fly like the Tracer Round, downright dainty as it is compared to its steroidal streamer brethren, will help fill that void.  To my mind, it can, um... trace (sorry) its lineage to a bunch of Hog Snare, some Voodoo Squatch, with a little Sex Dungeon and Peanut Envy thrown in.  Not to mention a good dose of Kentucky firewater.

Enough with the yapping.  Nobody cares.  Let's tie.

The Hardware:
Gamakatsu B10s #2
35mm Fish Skull shank
Uni 8/0 - Light Cahill

The Software:
Marabou - cream, tan, burnt orange
Fire Fly - gold
Krystal Flash - root beer
Mallard Flank - "wood duck" gold
Dubbing - Awesome Possum, light yellow
Mini Speckled Centipede Legs (Orvis) -  orange, tan
Craft Fur -  cream, tan
Sculpin Wool - tan
Fish Skull Living Eyes - Earth

Tie in a sparse cream marabou tail the length of the shank.  I'm pulling off the "waste" pieces near the base of the quill here, so as to not use an entire plume for something that's gonna be pretty buried.  Just need a little color here.

Tie in a tan marabou plume by the tip, and make 2 wraps forward.  Like a wet fly hackle.  Secure.

Add a few strands each of gold Fire Fly and root beer Krystal Flash.  Trim just longer than the tail.

Tie in a burnt orange marabou feather by the tip, and make 2 wraps forward.  Like a wet fly hackle.  Secure.

Tie in the gold mallard flank by the tip, and dub forward about half the shank length.

Palmer the mallard flank forward to the end of the dubbing and secure.  Repeat with another, larger mallard flank and round of dubbing.  Palmer forward to within about a hook-eye distance of the eye.

Center tie one each of the orange and tan centipede legs, folding over to secure so you end up with 4 legs per side.  Trim just shorter than the tail.

Reverse tie 2 clumps of craft fur.  Cream on the bottom, tan on top.

Fold back the craft fur (the body of a ball point pen works great here), and secure over the body of the fly.

Insert the open end of the articulated shank through the hook eye, and secure with your thread.  Hit it with some cement.

Repeat the exact same steps on the shank, tying the same fly twice and leaving room for a head.

Center tie the sculpin wool on top and bottom, and fold back over the body to form the head.  Secure.

Glue on some peepers.  I went with the spares you get with the sculpin helmets here.  I was thinking "light and small" this entire fly, but you can certainly go bigger with the eyes.

Sip bourbon and admire.


  1. I really dig this fly. It'd been a while since I'd seen a fly that inspired me, and this one did. Thanks!

  2. Hey, thank you! Let me know how it works out if you tie and fish some of your own. Cheers!

  3. Will do! I really like how it looks tied small, but I'll likely be casting a few bigger ones for pike next week...


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