North Coast Angler
Fly Tying Techniques
"Spike Mackerel"
Spike Mackerel Fly, (dry)
Skip’s “Spike Mackerel” Fly design utilizes the "reverse" tying techniques combined with standard streamer techniques. Tying streamers with this “reverse method” allows the fly tier to vary the shape and profile significantly. The technique requires tying bunches of bucktail deer hair, or other hair like materials, on the hook shank in reverse of the traditional manner. The deer hair and other materials are pushed or propped back over the initial thread wrapping’s and tied again over the reversed bucktail. How far back over the bucktail wrap determines how much flare or the desired profile is achieved. The spike mackerel pattern requires 5 bunches of bucktail and 3 bunches of Krystal flash. Peacock herl and imitation polar bear hair are used at the head of the fly to complete the pattern. The size, shape and length of the pattern are determined by the size of the bait you are trying to imitate. But generally, the fly is tied 4” long. Smaller and larger are OK as well.
Materials and Recipe
Hook: Gamakatsu (or Aki), SL11-3H saltwater, 3x strong
Thread: 6/0 Gudebrod monofilament
Body: Bucktail, 3 colors; grey-silver, deep blue, dk. green
Flash: Krystal flash, 3 colors; clear pearl, chartreuse and medium blue
Head: Olive Peacock herl, white imitation polar bear hair or fine white bucktail
Eyes: Stick on yellow-black prismatic or painted
Glue: Crazy glue or Zap-a-Gap
Other: Red marker for gill imitation
Step 1
Wrap and tie in the monofilament just above the hook point. Snip a length of grey silver bucktail, 4 ½ inches long. Tie in the bucktail with several medium tight wraps leaving about ¼ inch of material beyond the wraps. This flared excess hair will reduce fly fouling during casting. With your fingers, rotate the bucktail evenly around the hook shank. Again with your fingers push and prop the fibers back toward the hook bend and flare out the fibers around the shank. Make several medium tight wraps over the bucktail moving back toward the hook bend about 1/8 inch. With your fingers, move the fibers around to make a uniform flare and take 4 or 5 tight wraps (allowing the monofilament to stretch) and set with a small drop of glue.
Step 2
Tie in the next course of deep- blue bucktail just forward of the wraps in Step 1. Use the exact same techniques as in Step 1. The length of bucktail should be long enough to match the extension of the grey hair and crystal flash. Next snip off 15-20 strands of chartreuse Krystal flash at the same 4 ½ inch length and tie in (over the bucktail wraps) using the reverse method. Rotate and flare the strands uniformly around the bucktail and tie in over the strands. Secure with 4 or 5 tight wraps and add a drop of glue.
Step 3
Tie in the next course of dark green bucktail just forward of the wraps in Step 2. Use the exact same techniques as in Step 1 and 2. The length of bucktail should be long enough to match the extension of the previous course of materials. Next snip off 15-20 strands of medium blue Krystal flash at the same 4 ½ inch length and tie in (over the bucktail wraps) using the reverse method. Rotate and flare the strands uniformly around the bucktail and tie in over the strands. Secure with 4 or 5 tight wraps and add a drop of glue.
Step 4
Repeat steps 2 and 3, adding a course of deep blue and dark green bucktail. In this step, omit the use of Krystal flash.
Step 5
Snip off two smallish clumps (about 1/2 to 5/8 of an inch long) of white imitation polar bear or fine white bucktail and tie in on either side of the throat below the mid line. This material serves two important functions; first, they mimic small pectoral fins and secondly provide excellent tracking stability to the fly during fast stripping. The fly will track upright rather than twist to one side or the other.
Step 6
Complete the “Spike Mackerel” by tying in 10-12 strands of olive Peacock herl over the head of the fly. Add a couple of red marks for gill openings, stick-on or paint on eyes and finish with epoxy. That’s it! This pattern will take some practice and patience to get right, but it works well for bluefin and stripers alike.
Questions or Comments, email: northcoastangler@yahoo.com
Captain Skip Montello

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