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landen

Flies that use squirrel

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Y’all are amazing, great suggestions and pictures, covering size range from #18 to 4/0👍👍🎣🎣😎😎

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Squirrels in and around Antigo, Wi aren't so happy that the Mepps factory is there.

6755919019_ac65df7bfe_b.jpg

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That is funny Mike!  I have a standing order for squirrel tails from my nephews.  They don't let the squirrel go.

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4 hours ago, feathers5 said:

Nice. How well do they work for smallmouths?

The top fly was tied for Redfish along the Texas coast, and as far as I know, has not been used for SM. I expect it would do just fine. That bottom fly has been used for SM, and works well. A friend of mine who travels around to fish, copied that fly and said he didn't catch a lot of fish on it, but those he did were of good size, including several over 20". He had fished the Susquehanna in PA up near Harrisburg. 

 I generally stopped tying "crawfish" patterns years ago, with claws & the other features typically included. I did this because I was doing as well with simple flies, like those shown, some of which were color variations of popular Bonefish type flies, such as the Crazy Charlies or Squimp. I also tie a lot of hair jigs for bass, which are often used for SM's, and most folks think of them as a crawfish imitation. They don't have to necessarily imitate craws, but certainly they're one of the prey that they might mimic. As far as bass jigs, they're just a mass of hair tied on a jig head. Very simple, and the flies don't need to be any more complex.. 

So, these types of flies take a lot less time to make, and because the water type environments that SM's are typically found, rocks & ledges, often results in many lost flies. It simply makes little sense to me to spend the time tying a fly that will likely get lost in the bottom snags, when a less time consuming fly will also catch fish and when they are lost, I don't feel as bad about it. 

I don't dislike that type of detailed craw fly, because many are beautiful, and certainly productive, I just stopped spending the time tying them for my own use. 

You may also note, these are variations of the Clouser Minnow style, and that's certainly a proven type of fly. Another friend of mine, Joe Bruce, many years ago devised a Clouser style fly that he called the "Crab Colored Clouser", for targeting Striped Bass in the Chesapeake Bay. That fly worked very well, and has been used extensively as a bass fly too. Whether or not the fish actually mistake these flies for crabs, or craws or shrimp really doesn't matter. It only matters that they do seem to respond very positively to them. 

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5 hours ago, mikechell said:

Squirrels in and around Antigo, Wi aren't so happy that the Mepps factory is there.

6755919019_ac65df7bfe_b.jpg

Here's the story of how the squirrels of Antigo, Wi lost their tails:

https://www.mepps.com/about-us/mepps-history.php

"Just how the hooks on Mepps spinners have come to be dressed with squirrel tails is another Todd Sheldon-Wolf River story. Back in the early 1960's, Todd had experienced a particularly good day trout fishing the Wolf with Mepps spinners. In fact, he had limited out! On the way back to his car, he met a young boy who also had limited out fishing with Mepps lures. But, all of the boy's trout were larger than Todd's. This is not something easily accepted by any fisherman. Todd noticed the Mepps spinner attached to the boy's line had a small tuft of squirrel tail attached to the hook.

Squirrel Tails Wanted Sign

When he returned to the plant, Todd began experimenting with dressed hooks. Bear hair was tried as well as fox, coyote, badger, skunk, deer, even Angus cow. But no other tail provided the pulsating action in the water created by squirrel tail or buck tail.

Sheldons', Inc. was soon recycling both squirrel and buck tails. "Squirrel Tails Wanted" reads the large carved wooden sign near the Mepps plant on Wisconsin's Highway 45. It's amusing to most travelers, but it intrigues others enough to stop. "This is fine with us," Mike Sheldon smiles. "We welcome visitors and offer them tours of the plant. Hunters will also stop because they have tails to sell."

Squirrel

Processing the tails is a lot of work. After trimming, they are washed, not once but several times to remove every last bit of oil and grime. Between each washing they must be dried. Some are left their natural color, others are dyed brilliant hues before becoming Mepps dressed hooks."

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5 hours ago, tidewaterfly said:

The top fly was tied for Redfish along the Texas coast, and as far as I know, has not been used for SM. I expect it would do just fine. That bottom fly has been used for SM, and works well. A friend of mine who travels around to fish, copied that fly and said he didn't catch a lot of fish on it, but those he did were of good size, including several over 20". He had fished the Susquehanna in PA up near Harrisburg. 

 I generally stopped tying "crawfish" patterns years ago, with claws & the other features typically included. I did this because I was doing as well with simple flies, like those shown, some of which were color variations of popular Bonefish type flies, such as the Crazy Charlies or Squimp. I also tie a lot of hair jigs for bass, which are often used for SM's, and most folks think of them as a crawfish imitation. They don't have to necessarily imitate craws, but certainly they're one of the prey that they might mimic. As far as bass jigs, they're just a mass of hair tied on a jig head. Very simple, and the flies don't need to be any more complex.. 

So, these types of flies take a lot less time to make, and because the water type environments that SM's are typically found, rocks & ledges, often results in many lost flies. It simply makes little sense to me to spend the time tying a fly that will likely get lost in the bottom snags, when a less time consuming fly will also catch fish and when they are lost, I don't feel as bad about it. 

I don't dislike that type of detailed craw fly, because many are beautiful, and certainly productive, I just stopped spending the time tying them for my own use. 

You may also note, these are variations of the Clouser Minnow style, and that's certainly a proven type of fly. Another friend of mine, Joe Bruce, many years ago devised a Clouser style fly that he called the "Crab Colored Clouser", for targeting Striped Bass in the Chesapeake Bay. That fly worked very well, and has been used extensively as a bass fly too. Whether or not the fish actually mistake these flies for crabs, or craws or shrimp really doesn't matter. It only matters that they do seem to respond very positively to them. 

I like simple ties, too. I fish the Juniata River in PA that runs into the Susquehanna River. I like simple crab patterns. I'm going to to give it a try. Thanks for your help.

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12 hours ago, SilverCreek said:

Recognize this lure?

dressed-aglia.jpg

The Mepps spinner is made in Antigo, Wi close to one of my favorite trout stream. It is also the home of Mepps which uses thousands of squirrel tails each year to make spinner.

https://www.mepps.com/squirrel-tail/

https://www.mepps.com/customer-service/contact-us/

Here are some uses, fly patterns incorporate grey squirrel tail

 

 

DC48F263-F541-4EB7-A389-F47615D92466.jpeg

BB6B2A96-419C-4B23-8BB7-B7EF0352D319.jpeg

A78072F4-5BDA-41E0-9E03-4D63F0BEAAC4.jpeg

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On 4/25/2020 at 5:36 PM, feathers5 said:

I like simple ties, too. I fish the Juniata River in PA that runs into the Susquehanna River. I like simple crab patterns. I'm going to to give it a try. Thanks for your help.

I have fished there where the Juniata converges with the Susquehanna. There's a camp ground right there. I've fished above there and below there too. The flies I posted are the types that I would use in waters like that. I caught one of the biggest Channel Cats that I've ever hooked on fly gear up that way. I thought it was a monster bass when it hit. I don't recall what fly it was I was using. 

I had gone up there and spent several days with my two youngest sons, and had taken my jon boat. Unfortunately, had some motor problems, so we ended up wet wading the last couple of days. 

That's a good stretch of river up there for big bass. I've known several guys who fish that area and have caught SM's over 20 inches up there. 

 

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