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Trapper Lance

Panfish Sponge Spiders

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What size and style hook should I use for tying sponge spiders for bluegills?  I use a #10 long hook for the wet flies but wasn't sure the type and style for sponges.

Thanks

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Size 8-10 hooks are OK if you want to catch bluegills BUT if you want to catch BULLgills you should tie on size 6 hooks.  This will weed out most of the mini sized 'gills that will aggresively hit anything most days.

Kim

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My take on bluegill is that the little ones will tug and pull at the foam poppers, giving a false strike. Tried to set the hook on them and getting nothing. FWIW, I never tie anything for 'gills with legs. They do the same; grab the leg and never get the hook. The bigger ones are deeper, requiring something that sinks. I once fished a farm pond in KY with a deep running artificial, trailed by a fly on about 18 inches of mono. Avoided the little ones that way.

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Thanks for the advice.  I've been fishing bluegills here for almost 60 years and have fly fished them for at least 50 years.  I always have legs on my  wet flies and the sponge spiders.  We have gills up to 11" (that's the largest I've caught) and I do miss the smaller ones but can live with it.   If I'm into a bunch of small ones, I keep moving until I find larger fish.

Kim,  is there a certain style of hook I should use or just use a common nymph hook?

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size 6-8-10 dry fly hooks work for me

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you'd be surprised at the dinks taking a size 6 hook

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Trapper Lance, an 11 inch 'gill is a big one. My best one was 9 inches. Where are you fishing?

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4 hours ago, Trapper Lance said:

Thanks for the advice.  I've been fishing bluegills here for almost 60 years and have fly fished them for at least 50 years.  I always have legs on my  wet flies and the sponge spiders.  We have gills up to 11" (that's the largest I've caught) and I do miss the smaller ones but can live with it.   If I'm into a bunch of small ones, I keep moving until I find larger fish.

Kim,  is there a certain style of hook I should use or just use a common nymph hook?

Nymph or streamer (for some patterns) is OK.

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I started off using the large soft foam spider bodies you can buy on line or at fly shops.  I hadn't been tying very long and nobody and shown me how to tie one, so I ended up tying them backwards.  This is what one of the original ones looked like.

1218030687_SFINH2(2).jpg.d0da9063c74c20b8e303ddf7f8a4ce5f.jpg

The way I was tying them they weren't very durable, and if I had a good day they tended to come apart.  I ended up using the bodies as a template and starting making my own bodies from 2 or 3 mm craft foam.  This is what I ended up with.

1850010990_foamspider(2).jpg.65a34fadcf6e6b0d11cc541ea8860c30.jpg

I've modified it a little.  I've shortened the legs.  The back legs are no longer than the marabou tail. The front legs reach to end of the hook eye.  I ran out of those orange dots, so I have single orange dot punched out of craft foam on top for visibility.

As far as hooks, I use a heavy wire hook straight eye hook, either a streamer or nymph, size 6 2XL or 3XL.  It's my productive panfish fly. The yellow one works best.   I've also caught bass, chain pickerel and even a trout on it.  It eliminates the small sunfish, though I occasionally catch a 4 or 5 inch fish on it.  Since I shortened the legs I don't get many "pullers".  I don't believe you need to tie your panfish flies on size 10 or 12 hooks.

P5220478.JPG.052ad68c2df7f742516fa5e4e78b14c3.JPG

621408531_P9260448(3).JPG.e82a797e2e8f8fe2ea940cbf32aae0d8.JPG

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I generally use size 8-10 streamer hooks that are generally 2 or 3 XL.  Some form of rubber leg almost always.  Often I will run a larger nymph or small streamer on a dropper 2 feet below the top water fly.  Lots of fish come up to inspect the disturbance of the larger floater and will take the nymph.

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I use sz12 light wire barbless for foam bugs as spiders are just the tip of the iceberg.Last few seasons i like little deer hair bees.PITA to make but i think they like the texture and don't spit them as much.Small Hippy Stompers in black are an easy tie and float well and easy to see good leg action and more subtle than a popper.Soft hackles are good but as mentioned above the little dudes make quick work of the hackle.I cant recall the name but i tie on a 12 mustad sproat a gold tung bead 1/8 sz.Black chenille body with a thick hackle and the tail is the key,is egg yarn red  or orange,you stretch it back and clip it short and it makes a little bright puff of a tail.I think it was a Chris Helm pattern.Different patterns work on different ponds right next to each other.There are 1000s of bluegill patterns.

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