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Monday, December 22, 2014

Turbo Snail

Add Crunch to the Diet

Turbo Snail!
A number of years ago, while fishing a favorite stillwater, I caught a few trout that had big bulging bellies that crunched when you handled them. I first assumed it was maybe a belly full of crunchy crawdads, but looking closer at one of the next fish I landed, there were a few smallish black-shelled snails that were visible in the back of his mouth. I knew trout would eat snails, but I had no idea it could be to such a large part of their diet. It was then it dawned on me, and as I walked back to the truck that afternoon and saw the shoreline littered with bleached little while shell, that these big trout liked a bit of crunch to their diets.

Since then, I've fished a few snail patterns here and there -- mostly simple peacock herl jobbies that didn't really look like snails too much. It wasn't until this past summer that a friend mentioned he was fishing another lake and happened to find big healthy trout also gorging on small snails. And since I was headed to fish for big snail-eating Rainbows the following week, I set about to find a better imitation.

Aquatic Snail
My first goal was to make it a good match for the naturals we were seeing. And secondly, I wanted to make it a relatively quick tie. I went through several iterations of failed patterns until I found the right mix of hook and materials. If you look at the natural snail on the right and compare to the body shape of the imitation, you'll notice the fly is a bit more gradually tapered, whereas the natural snail has a more aggressive taper. The problem with imitating this aggressive taper is that you lose hook gap pretty fast -- especially with this style of a "hard body" fly. So I opted for a 2X long nymph hook and constructed the taper so as not to impede the gap. And I went through a lot of different style hooks before deciding on this specific one. The Daiichi X710 had the gap and shank length we needed, plus it's a super-sharp hook.

In my first few fishing tests, it was a great success and I had no problem hooking fish. I think the shiny and hard surface nature of the pattern gives it the advantage over more traditional less imitative patterns. And yes, the trout eat the snail, shell and all. So don't be put off by the hard body. You'll also notice that, once again, two Loon UV Clear Fly Finish products were used together in this pattern. I find myself using more and more of this stuff. It's great!

Material List:

Hook: Daiichi X710 #14 -- Buy Here --
Thread: UTC 70 Denier, Black  -- Buy Here --
Bead: 2.8mm Tungsten, Black Nickel  -- Buy Here --
Body: J:son Realskin Nymph Body Material  -- Buy Here --
Thorax: Ice Dub, Black  -- Buy Here --





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