Every year I say to myself "I must come up with some new novelty flies for this year's December FOM, and every year something seems to happen to stop me. Having said that, last month's FOM was the ever-popular "Cat's Whisker" which a few years back was the inspirationfor Santa's Whiskers. First time out with this fly, on the first cast it took a fish so, why not give it a try...?
- Body: Red Sparkle or fine red fritz
- Tail: White Marabou and 10lb nylon
- Wing: White Marabou
- Tying thread: White
- Head: Gold bead chain
- Hook: Size 8-10 Longshank
Start by running on the thread in the usual way, and bring the silk up to the bend in touching turns - this will help the sparkle grip the hook later on. Whip on the bead "eyes" using a figure of eight loop, then run the silk back to the bend of the hook. Tie in a small bunch of whit marabou fibres. The fly original Cat's Whisker got it's name from a few discarded whiskers from the inventors cat tied in at this stage. Well, you may not have a cat handy, or if you do, it may not be sufficiently fond of trout to want to give up a few whiskers, so a couple of short lengths of 10ib nylon makes an adequate substitute. Cut a short length of sparkle or fritz, if using fritz, strip away the fibre from about 5 mm. Tie this in next. Stripping away the fibre prevents an unsightly bulge at this point. Run the silk up to the beads, and follow with tight turns of the chenille. Leave a small space behind the "eyes" to add a wing of marabou fibres. Finish off with a neat head and whip finish.
The first time I tried this fly, I hooked a fish on the first cast. I don't know who was more surprised, me or the fish, but aside from the novelty thing, it does work, perhaps because it gives the fish something different.
At the risk of repeating myself--- Merry Christmas!
Fish Santa's Whiskers on a moderately long leader, allow time for the fly to sink, then retrieve in short bursts. Takes can come at the very last minute as you start to draw up for the next cast, the extra speed inducing a take from a following fish.