Okay, you sickos, don’t get all excited. I’m talking about steelhead flies here. Specifically, I’m talking about a class of modern steelhead fly called Tandem Tubes, the inventions of two esteemed tyers, Brian Silvey and Bob Quigley. Like most of today’s most innovative commercial fly designers, Brian and Bob are continually solving problems, coming up with ingenious ways to help us increase our hook-to-landing ratio. The Tandem Tube and it’s offspring, Silvey’s Tail light, and Quigley’s Jig-a-Lo, are the product of an ongoing evolution in the search for the perfect bunny leech.
The idea of securing the rear end of a long bunny strip using a tiny tube is slick as snot, and the flies have proven themselves throughout steelhead country. But for me, a loyal fan of the classic Samurai design, the pinned-down bunny strip leaves me somewhat uninspired. I know what that bunny wants to do in the water, and confining it to the clunky, lifeless motion of the stinger hook seems like a blasphemous waste of fishy goodness!
So there I was, swinging Quigley’s Jig-a-Lo through an especially sweet little boulder patch, when my destructive nature got the best of me. I pulled out a pair of scissors, whacked the bunny strip right above the little rear tube, and BAM! I had a whole new fly that I knew would drive steelhead wild. A couple of days later, back at the Caddis Fly beer garden, I saw Silvey’s Tail Light in the bins, and knew that my little cosmetic surgery technique would improve the hell out of that fly, too.
So, in the spirit of our beloved industry, where every little tweak of an existing fly deserves a name and trademark, I’ve decided to call my new, completely unproven invention, the Russell’s Chopped-to-Shit-Tandem-Tube-a-Lo! I’m gonna be rich, and you lovely folks are gonna be bangin’ steelies like the Holloway boys. You are welcome!