I have a secret. I’ve never fished in saltwater.
I’ve just never had a chance. In fact, I’ve barely fished in the ocean at all. However, I recently moved to a new house just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, and not far from a handful of renowned carp flats — which I’ve been told offer an experience very similar to bonefish flats. Unfortunately, I’ve just not been able to get the timing right. Whenever the fish are in and the timing is right, something comes up. Sick kids, broken cars or rods — you name it.
I was finally able to sneak out to chase some carp earlier this summer, but during the short drive from my house to the flats, the wind kicked up, giving the previously glassy lake a sizable chop. My sight-fishing plans were toast, but I wasn’t about to give up a day on the water.
Luckily, my carp box had a few flies left over from a planned striper trip that never panned out. Looking through the sleek streamers, I found a good-looking candidate — I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a Half and Half. Half Clouser Minnow, Half Lefty’s Deceiver.
I have another secret. I’ve never caught a fish on a fly in Lake Michigan.
Well, I hadn’t until I started hucking that Half and Half at boulders breaking the waves. I sunk into a patter. A good double haul, a few seconds to sink and a few quick strips and my seven weight bent over. It wasn’t the sight-fishing I’d come for, but I’m never one to complain about smallmouth.
Tim Flagler shows us how to tie this versatile pattern that’s equally at home on the great lakes, a brown trout stream and maybe someday, a jewel-blue flat complete with saltwater.
As always, Tim does a great job providing clear, easy to follow directions for beginners, while casually providing experienced tyers with the small details and unique techniques that come from tying hundreds of dozens of any given pattern. His tips here on proportion and tying in deceiver tails will light up eyes from the most novice to the most experienced tier.