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Current Tags for This Pattern
/ Al Troth / Antron / Bass / Black / Bullhead / Classic / marabou / Ostrich / peacock herl / Red / Steelhead / Streamer / Trout / white /
tied by cornmuse
Fly Type: Streamers,
Target Species: Freshwater Bass,
Recommended Region: Central US,
Imitation: General Baitfish,
Hook: Gamakatsu T10-6H Up-Eye Salmon Hook Size 2 to 5/0
Weight: 15 to 20 wraps of .025 lead wire on back 1/3 of shank
Thread: Flymaster + Black
Tail: Cream or White Marabou under Dark Dun or Black Ostrich Herl under Peacock Herl
Body: Cream or white Antron yarn – Aunt ydia’s craft yarn is preferred
Back: Continuation of the Ostrich and Peacock used for the tail
Collar: Spun Black or Dark Dun Deer Body Hair
Head: Spun Black or Dark Dun Deer Body Hair trimmed wide and flat
Tying Instructions: I rarely tie a heavily weighted fly, but I make an exception for this pattern. It was meant to be fished on the bottom and its deer hair head will cause it to float if it is not weighted. I like to have this fly just on the heavy side of neutral buoyancy so it sinks slowly and I invariably fish it on a sinking or sink-tip line. I like this fly big and carry it in size 1/0 and size 2. If you have the tackle to cast it, and want to hunt for monsters, fish this fly in size 3/0 or 5/0 late at night or very early in the morning before the sun hits the water.
One slight variation I make to the Troth Bullhead is in the color of the deer hair head itself. The original fly used natural gray deer body hair. I have found this fly to be a more effective Mad Tom imitation if I use black or very dark brown deer hair. This is a minor change, but one which can be significant.
Presentation Tips: It is a simple fact that the more you know about what a fish eats, and when, the higher the probability that you will choose the correct artificial and fish it in the proper manner to fool the fish of a lifetime. A baitfish of great importance in the earliest part of the season is the mad tom, also known as a stone cat. This little catfish is a slow swimmer who likes to live under rocks at the tail end of riffles. While the crayfish are still in hibernation, and before shad and other baitfish have become active, the mad tom becomes available to smallmouth bass. Though there are several species of mad tom, their appearance is all quite similar so knowledge and imitation of one covers all.
With the scientific name Noturus Flavus, the mad tom, is typically one to three inches long with mature adults reaching to eight or nine inches. They are black to blue-black in color with a cream or yellow belly. The mad tom is found in areas of gravel, boulders and rocky riffles. Like the smallmouth bass, the mad tom prefers water that is moving at a fair clip- though not fast - and is free of sediment and mud. The mad tom lives in the same clean water as the best gamefish populations, so where you find one you will invariably find the other.
The mad tom is a summer spawning fish and its young will be about an inch long by October. Although growth slows over the cold winter months, the typical mad tom that you will imitate in March and April will be between two and four inches long.
This fly is certainly one of the best imitations of a Mad Tom ever created. Effective throughout the season, this is my go-to fly for early season smallmouth bass, walleye and sauger fishing on rivers and creeks. Originated by master fly fisherman Al Troth, the fellow who brought us the Elk Hair Caddis, the American Pheasant Tail Nymph and many other now classic fly patterns, the Troth Bullhead is a BIG fly designed to entice BIG fish. For more than forty years it has done exactly that on trout and bass waters of the West and Midwest.
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