Wednesday, April 10, 2013
California Coachman - Bluegill Fly Tying #yearofthebluegill
I wish the picture was better but this is what the swapmeister put on his site back in 2006. This is a California Coachman which is a Tom Nixon fly pattern for panfish. I may tie a few up but with a glass bead head. I can definitely swear by this nymph. Fly Fishing and Fly Tying for Bass and Panfish by Tom Nixon is a book that one must have to truly appreciate the evolution of warm water fly patterns. It seems to kind of be the mid-point from the first bucktail streamers and deer hair bugs to the Clouser or even articulated flies.
I learned about Tom Nixon from some folks in a warm water fly fishing group on Yahoo. Tom Delaney hosted the first ever Tom Nixon Memorial Fly Swap or which I participated. It really opened the doors to creativity for me. Tom tried to stay traditional with his fly patterns but also put a slight twist on them for warm water species.
Obviously, the California Coachman is a variant of the Royal Coachman. Whether you are stripping it or drifting this wet fly pattern, it works great for bass and panfish in the proper fishing environments. Over the next week or so, I'm gonna list a few Tom Nixon fly patterns for panfish. Then I will provide some more tying instructions for his bass patterns. It's #yearofthebluegill and a lot of folks are gonna be tossing flies at them this year - well, more than usual.
Tail: Golden pheasant tippet fibers
Body: Peacock herl ruff at tail, yellow floss middle and peacock herl ruff forward
Wings: White duck flight feather sections or white hackle fibers
Hook: #18 - #8
It's more of an ingredient list but it's a starter. If you've got a hole with a bunch of stubborn sunfish, this fly pattern will work great. You'll need to switch it up with different fly patterns because even panfish get tired of the same pattern after a while. Which is why ya'll need to stay tuned for the next post on another Tom Nixon panfish fly pattern.
Strike indicators can be used when drifting for bass and panfish. I don't do it but sometimes they do bit soft or suck and spit quickly. Then again, that would be a great excuse for a hopper-dropper combo. One summer day, I couldn't get anything to take my flies. I tied on a scud and drifted it in swift shallow riffles when small spotted bass started taking it. I had to watch them like an eagle - I had to keep a proper drift and set the hook at the right time because those suckers sucked and spit so fast but it seemed they at least gave it a try. That's a whole 'nother post though.
In lakes and ponds, let the California Coachman sink a bit after casting it but vary the retrievals.