Bass Agitator by Nicole March
When I fell in love with fly tying and began to come up with ideas for bass flies, I couldn’t just forget everything I had taught myself with that spinning reel, so instead; I incorporated my old techniques into how I now tied and fished my bass flies. I tried to imitate my favorite go-to lures, with one of them being a very lightweight 4″ suspending jerkbait. Those lures are excellent at aggravating bass on their beds, ones lazily hanging out under docks and in cold water when they are still sluggish. The Bass Agitator is the fly I use in replace of a suspending jerkbait, and it produces well when stripped and paused very slowly. But don’t let the name fool you, this is an excellent streamer for trout!
Thread: Black 3/0
Body:Ostrich Herl (Black, Olive & Red)
X-Select Marabou (Red & Black)
Head:Laser Dub (Red & Black)
Eyes: 3d Holographic Eyes
Affix your hook in the jaws of your vise, start your thread two eye lengths behind the eye and run it to the halfway point of the shank. Next, grab a few strands of each color ostrich herl and tie them in at the halfway point, pull them back and take a few wraps in front of the material. Don’t cut the waste ends off yet.
After my first year of tying, I took a streamer class and was taught that if you want to keep the body of your fly a little bit bulky without adding weight, don’t snip off the excess material. Push it back.
When cutting the waste ends over the eye don’t trim them too close to the thread wraps or you will lose the profile of your fly. Just let the material extend over the eye of your hook, measure approximately half a hook shank in length past the eye and cut them. You can now push them back towards the back of the fly and take a few wraps in front.
Take the waste ends and flare them towards the back of the hook shank, almost like an umbrella being opened, then place a few wraps to keep them in that position. Utilizing the waste ends like this will help prop up, and widen out the front of your streamer without adding any extra weight.
Using the same technique for each color, take a marabou feather and tie it in by the tip in front of the flared back ostrich herl. Palmer the material around the hook towards the eye, brushing the fibers back after each wrap. Three or four turns of each color is plenty, tying off and removing the waste ends before each new color.
Working with laser dub
Laser dubbing is an excellent material to use for forming the heads on streamers. Once tied in, it can easily be brushed out with a little Velcro and shaped, but a little preparation right out of the package will make this quite manageable.
If you were to take a pinch of laser dubbing right out of the package, wrap it around your thread and begin to add pressure to it, it would separate like so.
Now, if you were to separate the fibers beforehand? Well, then you can alleviate the problem!
We will be adding dubbing in 4 small sections, rotating your vise after each one so that you can cover top and bottom.
Take a large pinch of your preferred color laser dubbing and hold it in your fingers with both hands. Pull outward and it will come apart easily.
Now take both halves and place them on top of each other, and repeat. You are going to simply pull and stack, over and over until it doesn’t seem to want to budge anymore. The material is now ready to be tied in. Keep your hook positioned horizontal so that the point is facing down. The first section we will tie in underneath the fly before rotating it.
A slip loop is an efficient way of tying this material in when you want to form a brush-able head on a fly. It’s done by placing your prepped material on the back side of your thread, then folding over the material with your thumb and holding both ends in the front.
While holding the material steady, lift your bobbin and it will slide the looped material up. Now you can position it right in front of/on the marabou waste ends, pull it back towards the hook bend and take one or two wraps of thread to secure it. Remember we are only tying this bunch in underneath the hook right now, so you don’t need to try to spread around the shank.
Once that section is finished, rotate your vise, and repeat on the other side. You can use the same color or a different one, just be sure to finish tying one in before rotating and tying in the next. I used 4 small bunches total, tied in top and bottom, rotating after each one. But use what works for you to fit your needs, and hook length. Once you feel that your flies head is complete, you can push it back and whip finish before cutting off the excess thread.
Before gluing your eyes on, take a small piece of Velcro or dubbing brush, and comb your laser dubbing back towards the hook shank. This will blend the colors and smooth it out so that you have a neat place to adhere the eyes. Any dubbing that was stuck in the Velcro I like to pull off and keep in a small container to use on little flies with a dubbing noodle. If you are having trouble adhering the eyes to your fly, try this tip:
Use your bodkin to lift the eye off the paper, then add a drop of head cement to the back of it. You can now place the eye with the bodkin; glue and all, to the side of the head. Once you have an eye on both sides, use your fingers on either side of the head to apply pressure to the eyes simultaneously. That’s it!