Big Flies Big Fish

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Published on: Jun. 2, 2000

Last revision: Nov. 5, 2010

has been used in the East for trout since I was boy. It was one of the first flies I ever attempted to tie. I was introduced to its effectiveness on the Gasconade River as a beginning fly fisher.

The Mickey Finn, with its gaudy yellow and red bucktail body, was perfect for murky stream conditions. Not being strictly purists, we added a small gold spinner to the fly to add to its attractiveness and to help get the fly down.

The Mickey Finn is basically an attractor fly. I have found it effective in both the gin clear Huzzah Creek and the Gasconade River. Fish it up against the bank using split shot on the leader when necessary. Because it is an attractor pattern, it is best to keep it moving at all times, using rod tip action or by stripping. As with most streamers and bucktails, the strikes often occur when the fly straightens out downstream. Don't be in a hurry to pull it out of the water and cast again. Letting the fly swim about in the current downstream is not a bad tactic.

Tie the Mickey Finn on a No. 2 or 4 hook 4x long. The body can have a red thread tag at the tail end and either a silver or gold tinsel body, which should be started near the hook eye, leaving room to tie in the wings.

Next, tie in a small bunch of yellow deer hair, using fine bucktail so it will not flare. After applying head cement to the bundle, trim off ends. Tie in a slightly smaller bundle of red deer hair and secure as before, then tie in another bunch of yellow hair, secure and wrap fly head, whip finish and cement the head.

Black Nose Dace

The black nose dace is a bucktail that imitates minnows found in most streams in Missouri. Fish it mainly at the head and tail of riffles and shoals, using weight according to water flow and depth. Fish it on a floating line at the head of riffles in the flat water whenever you see minnows jumping, which is usually a sign of foraging bass.

In the holes below riffles, use a fast sinking line. Cast the fly to the head of the hole and let the fly drift and sink, twitching the fly now and then in an attempt to imitate a crippled minnow. Imagine you are fishing

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