For many freshwater fish, a proportion of their diet consists of frogs. Species such as bass, saratoga, barramundi, archerfish, golden perch, jungle perch, Murray cod and even trout will all partake in an amphibian appetizer.
This month’s pattern is a simple yet effective one. Although I know you have never seen a frog with hair, the materials this fly are tied from help to accentuate its movement in the water.
Areas where frogs like to inhabit include creek, lake and swamp systems where bank-side foliage and weed beds are abundant. The fish living in the watery environment adjacent will take any opportunity for a free frog feast.
The hair strips used in the Furry Frog are called crosscut Zonker. This means the strips are cut across the pelt of the rabbit and not along it, as is the case with a normal Zonker strip. This results in the hair lying to one side of the skin strip, making the Zonker ideal for palmering (wrapping) around the hook shank. The hair fibres will lie towards the rear of the fly instead of just sticking straight up.
Zonker strips exhibit a lot of movement in the water, making this frog fly look alive when stripped. In addition, the hair will waft and make the fly appear bigger when it is paused between strips. This makes the fly look just like a real frog because they often bloat themselves to look bigger when imminent danger is sensed.
I have again used a stinger pattern on this fly as it was intended for saratoga. The short point, small barb and thin wire construction make for easy penetration in their hard mouth. If you were tying this pattern for impoundment barra then a stronger hook such as a Gamakatsu SL12S would be a better option. With the heavier gauge hook you would need less lead wire in the fly, otherwise it would sink too fast.
The legs are pre-cut latex curl-tails called Fly Tails, which seem to kick when the fly is stripped. I like to use a different colour for the legs to the body, which accentuates the movement of the legs. The mono eye is used in place of a bead chain, as it helps to maintain the head up and rear down appearance of the fly, similar to a real frog.
I am sure that once you have seen a frog swim you will have no problem working out the correct type of stripping technique for the Furry Frog. As real frogs have a kick, glide and rest action in the water, this fly is best worked with short strips and a pause between each. If you can see a predatory fish following in interest, a series of short, sharp strips with virtually no pauses between may be a catalyst for a strike. This will give the Furry Frog that fleeing action as if it sensed that danger is imminent.
(1) Place the fly in the vice and attach the thread with a jamb knot just behind the eye of the hook. Lay down a bed of thread for about 5mm and then attach the mono eye with a series of figure-of-eight wraps to the top of the hook shank. Cut a length of lead wire about two and a half times as long as the hook shank and use the thread to secure it to the back of the hook shank as shown. Wrap it all the way along the hook shank and around one-third of the way around the bend.
(2) (Pictured from above). Next bend the lead wire back around to follow the wire that is already tied in, and secure it with thread. Wrap the thread back again until it is opposite the point of the hook. Tie in the Fly Tail legs onto the back of the hook shank at this point, as shown, with a series of wraps. Whip finish, but do not cut away the remainder of the thread. Apply some vinyl cement to all the thread areas, from the legs right up to the eyes.
(3) Onto the hook shank, approximately opposite the hook point, tie in the end of the crosscut Zonker so that the hair fibres are facing backwards as shown. Make sure it is tied in securely and then whip finish. Wrap the thread forward to the eye of the hook.
(4) Start palmering (wrapping) the crosscut Zonker forward so that each new wrap slightly over-wraps the last. Keep preening the hair backwards while you do this to get all the fibres facing towards the rear of the fly.
(5) Continue wrapping forward until the crosscut Zonker is all the way to the back of the eyes. Wrap around this spot two or three times (depending on the thickness of the Zonker skin). Wrap the thread around the Zonker to secure it as shown, then cut away the remainder.
(6) Built up the neck area with thread so that the Zonker is secured as shown. Whip finish at this point and cut away the remaining thread. Apply a little vinyl cement to the thread area to create a durable fly. Your Furry Frog is now ready to tempt a variety of freshwater species.
|HOOK:||Gamakatsu B10s #2|
|THREAD:||Flat-waxed nylon black|
|EYES:||Mono bead eyes – large black (Tiewell)|
|LEGS:||Fly Tails – small, blue/purple flake (Wapsi)|
|BODY:||Crosscut Zonker – olive|
|WEIGHT:||Lead wire – large|