Jul 26, 2010

Melchior's Mouse

I had a chance to stop in a great local fly-shop up in the North Suburbs the other day called Trout and Grouse. I like to swing in and bug the fine folks there. Paul Melchior is part of the team over there and has decades of fly-fishing experience drawn from all over the world. Paul runs Angling Escapes as well and specializes in creating destination fly-fishing experiences that have taken anglers all over the globe in search of everything from Steelhead to Bonefish to freshwater Dorado.

Paul showed me this mouse pattern and I was blown away. In fact, I tied one up immediately when I got home and have been waiting to see Paul's final version. Paul explains in his own words below:

I have been a mouse “fan” for many years and have caught trout, bass, etc with them not only on local trout streams but in distant fisheries like Argentina and Chile as well.

I was thinking about the traditional deer hair mice and while they look realistic, because so many are trimmed in the front, tend to dive when they get wet.  That’s not how a mouse swims…they hold their head high, with their body submerged.  I know the Morrish Mouse is quite a popular pattern, with the foam on the top but I thought the design was backwards…the foam should prop up the body from underneath, with the hair creating the profile, and thus my pattern was born.  My first version used just one layer of foam, with the second generation using two layers for greater floatation and a bit more rigidity at the front.

The fly can be swum steadily, pulsed back and even popped a bit.  One or two false casts dries off the hair quickly and the fly floats high and lands correctly each time.  I use a Tiemco 8089 hook so I have a nice wide gap, which I think is vital in getting good hook sets, often on very aggressive strikes.  I use a heavy thread, Flymaster 210 for tying the fly so I can be sure to pull as hard as I want on each bunch of deer hair and also really crimp the foam at the front of the fly.  Clearly GelSpun thread is as strong but tends to cut materials when pulling too hard while the 210, being wider, has more cushioning effect.

Future versions might include some sort of rubber legs out to the side.  I have always been skeptical about tails on mice patterns ever since several Alaskan guides, who fished mice all summer, noted that trout tended to grab the tail and try to drown the real mice (really a lemming in Alaska) rather than eat it whole.  I have never noted any lack of success on patterns without tails.


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