This pattern is tied for swinging for steelhead. Commonly fished with a sink-tip fly line and a single- or two-handed rod, the Swinging Egghead Sucker is not intended to be a realistic imitation of a particular critter, but rather a pattern that suggests sculpins, gobies and other small baitfish – all important prey species for Mr. Onchorynchus. The color range, amount
of flash, motion/action and overall silhouette are key characteristics that make this an effective pattern.
Most winter or spring-run steelhead have a predilection towards naturalselection, meaning that loose eggs, or the small bottom-dwellers that feed on them, are all fair game. While the strike may be intended to destroy the egg or crush the interloper that's made a meal of one, it still gives you a chance to connect with several pounds of energetic salmonid. Conversely, fall-run steelhead readily take advantage of spawning salmon by consuming the eggs dislodged and drifting downstream. The sight of an egg-sucking leech or sculpin imitation could drive a steelhead to kill two birds with one stone. With this in mind, the plastic bead on the front that suggests an egg while adding a “trigger,” borrowing the idea from the egg sucking leech pattern which has been around for decades.
This style of steelhead fly may be somewhat unique, since it is a streamer/spey fly. It's different than what you may be accustomed to using for steelhead. Most anglers in the Midwest spend the majority of their angling time drifting nymphs and eggs, as no one will argue their effectiveness. Over the past five years or so, spey or two-handed (including switch) rods have gained popularity, with more anglers opting to catch fewer fish by using a more “traditional” presentation like swinging. I don’t care which way floats your boat, as long as you are enjoying your time on the water – which is a better way to fish is up to you. This is a great pattern that can be used swinging for steelhead and the feeling of accomplishment after landing a steelhead on a swung fly is unbelieveable.
This fly is also unique for another reason - it is tied on a tube. For those not familiar with the concept of tube flies, the angler runs the tippet/line through the tube which the materials are tied onto (think of a small, clear straw) and then ties on a bare hook. The advantages to using tubes include:
The ability to replace dulled or damaged hooks without discarding the fly
Plastic tubes don't rust or corrode if left wet in a flybox
Using weighted tubes which provide the ability to penetrate the water column
Fish a large fly with a short-shank hook eliminating negative leverage
Use your preferred hook with a pre-tied fly
Save the fly if you hook a snag, losing only the hook (when properly rigged)
Being able to adjust the hook placement – to the fly, hanging back, etc.
Using “Convertible” or Modular patterns by incorporating various tube sections
Painted/colored tubes that minimize tying materials and steps
Try tying on tubes – the blanks/tubes are less expensive than most hooks, and the vise adapter is easy to use and priced fairly – I prefer the HMH Premium Tube Fly Tool. Adapting some of your favorite patterns by tying them on tubes as well as creating new patterns – the possibilities are endless. Tubes are no replacement for traditional hooks, but they offer flexibility for certain situations which makes them ideal. Smile and have fun.
Swinging Egghead Sucker Recipe
Tube: Plastic, 3/32” – aprox. 3 inches in length
Bead: Pucci – 8 mm Orange/Pearl
Thread: 6/0 brown or olive
Tag: fake seal dubbing – Canadian Olive
Rear Hackle: Pheasant – Shoulder Feather
Body: fake seal dubbing – Canadian Olive
Weight: Lead Wire .030
Front Hackle: Pheasant – Shoulder Feather
Under Wing: UV Polar Chenille – Rusty Copper
Wing: Brown Sheep Hair
Flash/Accent: Wing ‘n Flash – Copper, Kelly Green, Dark Brown
Collar: Large Pheasant Shoulder Feather
Head: Ice Dub – Copper
Tying Instructions to follow in slide show.