How to Tie: Brad Wrights Taneycomo Sculpin

What You’ll Need

Hook

TMC 5363 size-6,8

BODY

Flashabou / pearl

RIB

UTC Wire BR (copper or gold)

HEAD

Tungsten Bead 3/32 for 14, 5/64 for 16 and 18

THREAD

UTC 140 (color to match body)

Step 1

Start the thread where you see mine. Just make a few wraps to get the thread started. Make a small base for the eyes to rest on top of when you go to tie it.

Tying in the eyes: As you notice in the picture I already secured the eyes on top of the shank. If you know how to do this step go ahead. For those people that don’t know here we go. You can buy a lot of hour glass eyes that come in many different shapes and styles but the ones that I prefer are the presentation eyes. The reason is when you look at the eye closely you will notice the middle comes more to a “V” shape which really keeps the thread wraps sliding down in the center to keep each wrap tighter. Let explain the reason why. I don’t like the other eyes as much as this presentation eye because of the center part that connects the two sides together. Let’s say that you have some other eyes lying around the house. If you look at the difference between the others compared to the presentation eye you will notice that the lead eyes or dumbbell eyes, the centers don’t taper to a V. It has more of a long post in the middle like an axle on a car. Think about it like this, you have a rod connecting the two tires together. So what I’m trying to explain is because the style of the eye is harder to cinch the thread wraps to the shank without the eye slipping or shifting. I understand that you can use types of glues to secure the thread and the eye from shifting but the key is not to use too much glue because it could be detected by the fish and they will refuse it because it has to much of a smell. I have found out about the presentation eye is it holds around the shank more securely verses the other styles. Of course I always use a little glue to keep the eyes from shifting faster because of the way the eyes are tied on the top of the hook. This will allow the fly to ride upside down (keeled style). So when you’re striping this fly you need to remember that the rocks will get the best of it over a period of time and will definitely shift and create the eye to start turning around the hook shank.

Another tip I would like to share is how you tie in the eye to the shank. I have seen this way tied so many ways. What I have found works best is try not to tie this in and go one direction a lot of turns and then the other direction in a lot of turns. What you want to do is one turn around in a figure eight repeating that same process going the other direction in a figure eight motion. Do enough turns to fill in the “V” and then rotate the fly upside down and do the same thing on the other side. This will really secure the eyes on the shank. Also move the eyes with your fingers to see if they shift. If they do not then I would say that you did well. The next thing I do is when you’re done with the figure eights on each side. You can use a technique called posting. What this means is post around the eyes. What this does is cinch down any loose wraps of thread when you were tying the figure eight. It also tightens it up all together. I believe you will notice a big difference next time you do it this way.

Step 2

One thing I did leave out is when you add the glue. Add the glue when you first start to tie the eyes in. Just get the eye secure on the shank with the thread then add your glue. Do the same thing on the underside if you don’t have a rotary vise just take the hook out and turn it upside down. After you have completed this step your ready to move on. I would say is if you are using a glue make sure the glue dries before you complete the fly. If you don’t you could find some of your rabbit stuck together in the glue when you start to palmer the strip forward. What I do is pre-tie my eyes and then go back and tie the rest of the flies later or the next day.

Step 3

This step is where I talk about posting around the eye. You want to go on top of the hook shank, but under the eyes.

Step 4

Advance your thread to the bend (past the point). Cut a strip of rabbit. This should be about four inches in length. Before you poke this through the hook point wet your fingers and spread the hair apart on the hide before tying it in. This will keep the hairs on the rabbit strip apart so you can see where to poke it through the hook point to tie it in at. Once you poke it through the point you will need to take your hook out of the vise, slide it down, and put it back in the vise once you slide it down. Tie the hide down about five turns of thread over each turn. Don’t go side be side when doing his step.

Step 5

Lift the strip up and tie right in front of the strip locking the hide down. This will prevent the strip or the tail from spinning to one side. Advance the thread up just behind the presentation eyes

Step 6

When you tie down the strip your ready to make your cut. Be sure to cut it off on the top side of the shank. Now you will see a little of the hide showing after you cut it. Tie all that in to create a smooth foundation to be ready to wrap the hackle around. If you have bumpy foundation it will create your feather to have a mind of its own. Because of the stem being so stiff if you do have any ridges it will make the feather slide or shift making you have to maneuver the feather instead of just making smooth turns forward with the feather.

Step 7

Select a saddle hackle. I always use olive grizzly hackle for the collar of all my different sculpin patterns. If you notice I cut it right where the barbs are all the same. I don’t want any of the soft feathers to be used for the collar.

Step 8

Now once you have done that you’re ready to dub the head. I use blends of sowscud dubbings but you can use whatever you want. SLF is a great substitute. Just make sure that it blends with the rest of the fly. Just remember this phrase in the dubbing world. We like to say you can always add but you can not take off once you

Step 9

So once you dub the thread with some dubbing you are ready to tie around the presentation eyes and then the fly is pretty much completed. Do your first wrap behind the eye and in between the hackle. This will kind of lay the hackle back instead of it being so straight up. Next you will want to figure eight the wraps around the eyes. Just do enough wraps to cover the thread and make a nice head. You will need to turn the fly over and do the same thing on

Step 10

Since you dubbed the fly with your fingers you’re going to pick out the dubbing. Something I found that works real well is a gun cleaner brush. It’s a lot faster and it looks a lot better. It grabs more of the dubbing making the head look portioned right with the rest of the fly.

Step 11

That’s it. This is a deadly pattern for big browns at night. Also tie this in dark colors, blacks and grays.