|Junior's Craft Fur Minnow is easy to tie and very effective on fresh- and saltwater fish.|
Every once in a while, I stumble upon an idea so simple that I wonder why I didn't think of it?
Joe Mahler, a fly-fishing guru in Fort Myers, Fla., turned me onto a fly created by Junior Burke of Indiana. It's a classic takeoff on the Clouser Deep Minnow created by Bob Clouser of Pennsylvania.
The original Clouser is tied with bucktail.
|Peacock bass are suckers for Craft Fur Minnows!|
Burke's minnow is tied with select craft fur that's readily available in most fly shops. In my hometown of Sarasota, I purchase craft fur at The Compound (4063 Clark Rd., http://www.compoundboardshop.com/). The Compound arguably has the best selection of fly-tying materials in this area. (Note: The Compound will be moving into its new building in Sarasota in late February.) You can call The Compound at 941-923-0430.
Back to Burke's amazing minnow!
The fly is easy to tie. I'd estimate I can crank one out every couple of minutes. So, as you might imagine, I have a good supply.
The fly was originally designed for smallmouth bass in Indiana. Burke advises to fish it on a sinktip line with a fluorocarbon leader.
|The fly paid big dividends for John Weimer.|
It's his "go-to fly."
Mahler, a good friend of Burke's, advises letting the fly sink, then use short, sharp strips with long pauses.
While Mahler uses the fly to fool largemouth bass, I've found it's an incredible fly for peacock bass. Over our last four trips, we've totaled 125 peacock bass to 5 1/2 pounds. In addition, we've caught largemouth bass, monster Mayan cichlid and oscar.
While driving home from a peacock bass trip in south Florida, I began to think about using Junior's Craft Fur Minnow in salt water.
If I tied it on a saltwater hook, there's no reason it shouldn't work.
Tying a few on No. 2 Mustad S71SNP-DT hooks, I set out to find out how marine species liked the fly.
I can't say I was surprised. They loved it!
For freshwater fishing, I tie my Craft Fur Minnows on a No. 6 White River 004 that I get at Bass Pro Shops. Most any strong freshwater hook will work.
Tying the Craft Fur Minnow is simple.
Hook: No. 2 Mustad S71SNP-DT (salt water); No 6 White River 004 (fresh water)
Thread: White flat wax nylon
Eyes: Bead chain (your choice of size and color; I like black)
Body: White extra select craft fur
Flash: 2-3 strands pearl Krystal Flash
Beard: I like red, but Mahler prefers pink. Your choice!
First trip out in the salt with the Craft Fur Minnow was remarkable. I tied a few on No. 4 hooks so that I could use them on my 5-weight TFO BVK rod. I caught several trout from 20 to 24 inches before the wind came up. When that happened, I switched to a 7-weight TFO BVK. I caught trout up to 28 inches.
Next trip, I took John Weimer of the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers in Sarasota. We had another good day. In fact, Weimer beat his personal best trout seven times! His largest trout went an impressive 27 inches. He also added a 5-pound bluefish.
The shallow-water pattern ended, so I opted for a TFO BVK 6 weight with an intermediate sinktip lne the next outing. I caught trout to 26 inches. In one spot, I caught 15 from 16 to 22 inches.
The fish of the day, however, was a 5-pound blue that I caught when I cast into a school of breaking jack crevalle. I hooked a jack on my first cast, but lost it after a few seconds. The fly was immediately eaten by a healthy blue!
On another trip, I caught several trout from 20 to 26 inches and a 28-inch redfish.
I have no doubt the fly will appeal to a variety of saltwater fish. I believe the fly is easy for the fish to see and ever-so-sexy in the water, with the craft fur forever pulsating to entice predators.
Junior Burke may have designed his fly for smallmouth bass, but I'm not sure he realized the wide appeal of this easy-to-tie fish-catcher!