Monday, July 2, 2018

Atomic Dog v2: Articulated Tube Fly - Part II

The first victim of the full Atomic Dog came from a river stuffed with herring.

     In my last post, I provided the recipe for the front half of the revised Atomic Dog. As I previously mentioned, the idea of an articulated tube fly had eluded me for years. One morning in March, I realized I had been thinking of the design all wrong. All along, I was trying to figure out how to articulate the tubes themselves, which never seemed to produce results that made any sense. Then it hit me...articulate the tube fly hook, not the tube.

     The Atomic Dog was an ideal candidate for an articulated rear section. It didn't take long think of a suitable design. All I needed to do was to tie an articulated, Lefty's Deceiver-style pattern in back, then merge it with the front of the tube fly. The rear section would add length, volume, and would significantly increase the action of the fly. Because it can detach from the tube fly, the articulated section would behave just like a single tube fly hook, except with two hooks. Here is the rear section, followed by the recipe:

Articulated rear section 

Atomic Dog (articulation):

Rear Hook: Egret tube fly hook (sz. 2)
Tail: White saddle hackles, tied Deceiver style 
Collar: EP Ultra Brush 5" - snow white
Wing: White bucktail (or other stiff hair)
Head: White

Front Hook: Owner Aki (sz. 2/0)
Articulation: 40lb. Maxima with a short length of plastic tubing 
Thread: White, covering the hook shank and monofilament, and covered in UV cured resin 

So the entire dressing is in one place, I will repeat the recipe for the tube fly section here....

Atomic Dog, front (tube fly) section

Atomic Dog

Tube: Plastic 1.8 mm 
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)

The full Atomic dog, with articulated section joined to tube fly

Some notes on construction and use: 

-The white bucktail topping should extend as far back at the fibers from the EP brush collar. The stiff bucktail fibers help to prop up the wing of the tube fly, preventing it from fouling. Some fouling is inevitable, however, I tested this fly all spring and had minimal problems with fouling (especially after using the length of tubing between hooks). 

-So far, the 40lb. mono has been strong enough to withstand fish pulling on it. That said, it should be checked now and then to make sure it hasn't been compromised. If I remember correctly, most of the fish I caught were hooked with the front hook. 

-Because the rear section takes the brunt of the abuse, I tied two rear sections for every front section. So far, all of the sections have held up pretty well. The front sections definitely show less wear and tear, though. Since the fronts are the labor-intensive part, it's nice to only tie half as many. 

     When I had this idea, the first person to whom I sent a picture was my friend John. At the time, he was tying some Sunray Shadows for Atlantic salmon fishing. He liked the concept and tied some thin, black saddle hackles onto a hook and made and extra long, super mobile Sunray Shadow. I'll check back in with John later this season to see if his articulated Sunray Shadow worked. I will definitely try some for stripers next spring. It might make a good eel pattern. 


     I hope you enjoyed a new look at tube fly design. It definitely opens up some possibilities for those willing to take to experiment. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to fish more flies like this in the future. I have some ideas for a smaller, articulated tube fly for reluctant broodstock Atlantic salmon, so stay tuned...