The Shop Vac
I take no responsibility for this fly whatsoever. It's been around for several years, and guides continue to rely on it because it's just one of those patterns you can't do without. The Shop Vac, as the name implies, seems to hoover fish from all parts of the river or lake. Not necessarily a mayfly, or caddis, or midge pupa, yet extremely fishy under any of these hatches, the Vac is a great searching pattern that fits the bill for any of these aquatic nymph or pupa stages.
The Shop Vac is easy to tie, and you should have it in multiple sizes and colors. My favorites are standard pheasant tail, olive, and black; if you get creative and change your body materials, you can incorporate many more colors. An example would be to use wire for the body. Copper, red, green, even purple are all great colors to try.
1. Dai-Riki 135 heavy wire scud hook
2. Brass, tungsten, glass bead 5/64 for size 18, 3/32 for size 16, 7/64 for size 14 or 16 size hooks
3. Ultra wire ribbing: copper
4. Pheasant tail fiber
5. Z-lon, crinkled version
6. 6/0 uni thread
7. Peacock herl
1. Using a Dai-Riki 135 (or similar) heavy wire scud hook, place the brass, tungsten, or glass bead appropriate for your hook size over the hook point and push it to the hook eye.
2. Tie in thread in a neutral to dark color and wrap the entire hook shank from the bead to slightly past the point where the thread is directly over the barb of the hook.
3. Tie in light wire for the rib on the body and hold aside. Having an extra bobbin with wire on a spool makes ribbing this and any fly an easy task. Hang the bobbin off to the side.
4. Tie in two to four pheasant tail fibers from the tip end. The number depends on the size of your fly as well as how heavy you want your body to look. Wrap the thread forward to just behind the bead.
5. Twist the pheasant fibers into a ï¿½ropeï¿½ and carefully wind forward to where your thread is. Take several turns of thread over the butt sections of the ï¿½ropeï¿½ and then clip short the remaining pheasant fibers.
6. Tie in Z-lon or crinkle Antron in your choice of color. I tie this mostly with white or dun color Z-lon but have seen yellow and black material used here. Try to keep this as tight to the back of the bead as possible, but donï¿½t build up too much thread here.
7. Tie in one or two herls of peacock immediately behind the bead and over the Z-lon material. Take several winds of the peacock and then tie off and cut excess.
8. Make several passes as tight as possible behind the bead with your thread until the bead feels securely tight to the eye of the hook and the peacock collar material. Do several half-hitches or whip finish. Cut off the thread. Now go fish!
Matson Rogers owns Angler's West Flyfishing Outfitters (montanaflyfishers.com) in Emigrant and has been fly fishing all over the world for 30 years. He has a degree in Environmental Economics and is a former instructor at the Western Rivers Guide School in Jackson Hole.