Monday, June 25, 2018

Atomic Dog v2: Articulated Tube Fly - Part I

The Atomic Dog color scheme was taken from a well worn Beast Fly, tied by R.M. Lytle.

     Over the past few seasons, I've had a lot of success with a Temple Dog/Samurai tube fly variation I call the "Samurai Dog". It has caught striped bass, resident trout, sea run brown trout, smallmouth bass, broodstock Atlantic salmon, and a few other fish for me. My friend John fishes the fly more than I do and he has caught all sorts of good stuff with it, including steelhead and some very large trout. Here are some variations I like to use:

The original is almost all white, but the white/chart works well, of course.

An all orange Samurai Dog is my #1 Naugatuck salmon fly for very dirty water. 

Here's one tied Russian Bullet style (3 cones in the body)

Another Russian Bullet hybrid I call the "Surgeon General," which is
based on a fly called the "Back Doctor Special". (shout out to Pär in Sweden!)

     They have all worked great, particularly the original white Samurai Dog, as well as the orange. I use the white in the spring and the orange in the fall. I use the black in both seasons and the white/chartreuse when stripers are around.

     As great of a fly as the Samurai Dog has been, my only gripe is its lack of length. When herring are on the menu in spring, I felt like the fly was too small. I tied a fly I called the "Atomic Dog (now retired)" but, as good as it looked to me, it didn't perform well. I swapped materials and got a little more length and volume out of it. It caught fish, but I wanted an even bigger fly. 

     I had been trying to figure out how to articulate a tube fly for a while. I had all sorts of complicated, impractical ideas. Finally, the solution hit me. I needed to tie the larger Samurai Dog, but with one key modification, then tie a fly on an articulated pair of hooks. It's a lengthy process, so I will explain the first part now and save the back end of the fly for the next post. The original fly works fine on its own with just a single hook. 

Front section of the new Atomic Dog, which can be fished as-is

Atomic Dog

Tube: Plastic 1.8mm 
Junction Tube: Largest inner diameter PVC tubing (old HMH tubing is perfect)
Tail: Fluoro fiber-fluorescent pink, tied on top of the junction tube
Butt: Ice Dub-pearl
Wing 1: White marble fox and pearl Flashabou, tied Temple Dog style; followed by 2-3 turns of EP Ultra Brush 5"-snow white
Wing 2: White marble fox and pearl Angel Hair, tied Temple Dog style; followed by 2-3 turns of EP Ultra Brush 5"-snow white
Wing 3: Light Blue (or other color) cashmere goat over pearl mini Lateral Scale (as long as possible); followed by 2-3 turns of EP Ultra Brush 5"-snow white
Collar: Silver pheasant dyed light blue (or color to match Wing 3)
Eyes: Jungle cock or substitue 
Head: White or cone (optional)

     You can see Håkan Norling tie the original Temple Dog here. This video is very helpful. If you have never tied a Temple Dog, this video is a "must see". The Striper Dog is essentially a Temple Dog, but with no real body. The EP brush takes the place of the wraps of soft hackle that Norling uses in his fly. Instead of nesting tubes, flexible junction tubing is used to hold the  hook. It needs to have a large inner diameter to accept the articulated hooks. When used with a single hook, the hook must be big and stout enough to stay lodged in the junction tube. I use an Owner Aki, size 2/0 or 3/0. It is made with very heavy wire and has a big eye. 

     In the next installment, I will explain the steps to extending this fly by adding an articulated section. Also, I will explain the benefits of the articulated rear section. Click HERE to read Part II.