Fishing | Fly tying

Fly tying: JC’s Skunk Pygmy Sculpin

I’m warming to streamer fishing for trout, but I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a late convert. My aversion to heaving heavy flies into deep water using sink-tips, shooting heads or full-on sinking lines could more aptly be described as an abhorance of the inconvenient. Throwing that much weight with heavy rods just seemed like too much work, and I didn’t go fly fishing for “work.”

But over the years, I’ve become a bit more willing to “go deep” in search of big fish, and that usually means I’m casting big, heavy flies that, in the right wind conditions are apt to leave a pretty messy exit wound in my forehead if I flub the cast (which, of course, is more common than not).

As I watched John Collins tie this week’s fly—JC’s Skunk Pygmy Sculpin—and use the term “fish magnet” in the process, I was a bit surprised when he stuck a size 10 streamer hook in his vise. Size 10? Seriously? That’s for small ‘Buggers and big nymphs, not for a sculpin, I thought.

As John magically attached all the materials to that little streamer hook, I began to get excited. A small-ish streamer with some weight was taking shape before my very eyes, and I was suddenly less worried about piercing an ear on the water and more eager about the prospects of hooking big trout without throwing something the size of a small chicken at them. Watch the video to the end, and, if you’re like me, you’ll get amped up about the color possibiliites and immediately imagine the right body of water for this great little fly with some serious attitude.

I’m waiting for that slightly warmer day on the lower Henry’s Fork, and headed to the fly shop now get sculpin heads. And size 10 streamer hooks!

— Chris Hunt