Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Myakka Minnow works well, but some want to change it

The Mighty Myakka Minnow can be tied in a variety of colors and works whenever fish are feeding on minnows.

I get a kick out of people critiquing flies.

Don't get me wrong. They have that right. This is America. Isn't it?

Several years ago, I designed a small, epoxy minnow fly that has performed very well for me. Since its inception, I have caught thousands of fish on my Mighty Myakka Minnow.
Everglades oscars are suckers for Myakka Minnows

If you don't know the story, I came up with the fly after a very frustrating day on the Myakka River. I was casting a small popping bug to fish that were busting minnows along the shoreline. I couldn't draw even remote interest.

When I got home, I was determined to come up with a small, inch-long minnow imitation. I fiddled with several designs before finally settling on one. I've tweaked it over the years, but it has remained virtually the same.

I launched my kayak on the Myakka River a few days later and again was greeted by busting fish. This time, however, the results were different. I began catching bass and bluegill.

Since then, I have caught a variety of fish on the Myakka Minnow: bass, bluegill, shellcracker, stumpknocker, speckled perch, redbreast sunfish. tilapia, channel catfish, bullhead, oscar, Mayan cichlid, peacock bass and gar in fresh water.

Bass dig the minnow, too!
The fly has also taken snook, spotted seatrout, redfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, mangrove snapper, pinfish, grunt, little tunny and tarpon in salt water.

I've also heard it has taken rainbow trout, brown trout and salmon.

Since the pattern can be tied on any size hook, you can make it fit your needs.

However, some people are hellbent on changing it.

"I see you clip the marabou tail very short," wrote one critic. "I would leave the marabou long so that it would  offer a little more action."

Hmmm. Interesting point.

"Instead of Body Braid, I would use mylar tubing," wrote another.

"How about using Krystal Flash as the tail?" one fly fisher posted in a forum. "I think the flash would attract more fish."

I wonder if they want to modify Lefty's Deceiver? Or Del's Merkin?

I bet not.

Now, I'm not even intimating I'm in the class of Lefty Kreh, Del Brown or Tim Borski. However, I do tie some fish-catching flies that stand on their own.

And the Myakka Minnow has caught fish for anglers in Florida, North Carolina, Texas, California, Michigan, Ohio, New York, the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Mexico and other places.

What more do you want?

I had a fly fisher from somewhere in the Midwest a few years ago. We were fishing a local river. I was catching some mighty nice bluegill on the Myakka Minnow while his popping bug was being ignored.

"I have plenty of Myakka Minnows if you'd like to try one," I offered.

He declined, but changed his mind after I caught three more jumbo bluegills over the next couple of minutes.
I cut his popper off and tied on a Myakka Minnow. But instead of catch fish on it, he made two casts, cut it off and retied the popper.

Go figure.

On another trip, I was fishing with fellow who wasn't having much luck while I was catching and releasing a good number of bluegill on the Myakka Minnow. I offered him one, but he declined. I must have caught at least 15 more before we decided to paddle back to the launch to call it day.

"Say, could I buy a dozen of those minnows off you?" he said.

I didn't have a dozen with me, but I tied up a dozen when I got home a sent them to him.

You would have thought he would have tried them on the water.

The Myakka Minnow works. And it catches lots of fish. Any time the fish are feeding on small minnows, it's effective.

There are days when I catch a majority of my fish on it. There are days when I don't use it. But isn't that like all flies?

The Myakka Minnows is not magic. You won't catch fish on it every cast. You won't catch fish on it every trip. But there are times when it will be the only fly that will produce.

For panfish, I tie it on a No. 10 nymph hook. I use monofilament thread. The tail is a short clump of marabou. I tie the marabou in and clip it. I then add 8 to 12 wraps of .20 lead wire. Then I'll tie in the Body Braid just in front of the tail and wind if forward, building up a minnow shape. I will wrap the braid  back and forth a couple of times.

When I achieve the minnow shape I want, I add 3D prism eyes and coat the minnow with Devcon 2-Ton epoxy. I usually epoxy at least a half dozen Myakka Minnows at a time.

I've found that the 2-Ton epoxy works best. If you use 5-minute epoxy, you can only coat one or two flies at a time.

Of course, I have a fly turner to help in the process. The flies must be turned on a rotisserie device so that the epoxy dries evenly.

When fishing the fly, I cast it out and let it sink. I then begin a slow retrieve with my rod tip pointing down the line. I watch the end of the fly line for any sign of a strike.  It seems like the slower I'm able to work the Myakka Minnow, the more effective it is.

Doesn't matter, however, how you work it. If you're catching fish, just keep doing it.

1. Hook: Bass Pro White River 396 nymph hook No. 10
2. Thread: fine mono
3. Tail: short clump of marabou
4. Weight: .20 lead wire
5. Body: Body Braid by Spirit river
6. Eyes: 3D prism stick-on
7. Coating: Devon 2-Ton Epoxy

1 comment:

  1. Steve, great article and even better pattern. Caught Stumpknockers on almost every cast on the Hillsboro River last weekend. Want to fish the Manatee River this weekend. Is the Ft Hamer Rd launch still the best place to get on the river with a kayak?


    Suncoast Fly Fishers
    St Petersburg, Fl