“Is it a good smallmouth streamer?” the grizzled old fly angler asked.
“A good streamer?” the rogue-ish shop owner scoffed. “You’ve never heard of the Millennium Sculpin?”
“Should I have?”
“It’s the fly that fished Kessel Run Creek in less than twelve parsecs. It’s caught tons of fish; and not just the dumb stocker ones, mind you, but the big twenty-inch Corellian brusiers. It’s good enough for you, old man.”
There was a pause. Then the old man said, “Wait, isn’t parsec a measure of distance? And what is a Corellian?”
The shop owner frowned. “Ya gonna buy some, or not?”
There’s one tying technique that I’m not particularly good at (okay, the one that I’m the worst not-good at), and that’s working with spinning hair. I can’t seem to pack it tightly enough, I constantly snap the tying thread trying to tie it in, and I shape bodies that look more like Mr. Potato Head than a sculpin body. After hearing from a few customers that white Muddler Minnows had been effective on some of the local small stream smallmouth waters, I went about trying to put together a Muddler-like pattern than dispensed with the spinning hair while retaining the same shaped body effect.
I refer to it as the Millennium Sculpin for a couple of reasons:
- It’s modeled after sculpin patterns that have come before it.
- It uses “new age” synthetics such as Mirror Wrap and CCT fur.
- It’s doesn’t look like much.
- But it’s got it where it counts, kid.
- Crass merchandising possibilities.
Anyway, here’s how I tie it.
Hook: O’Shaughnessy bend saltwater hook
Conehead: Medium Tungsten
Tail: Zonker over Crystal Flash
Abdomen: Mirror Wrap
Thorax: CCT Fur
Rubber Legs: Round, doubled (see notes)
You’re likely going to have to smash down the barb on the hook to get the tungsten conehead on. It’s good karma, anyway.
Tie on your thread and work it back to the bend of the hook.
Take two pieces of Crystal Flash, double it over, measure it to match the length of the hook shank, and then tie it in beginning at the hook bend.
Measure a piece of Zonker equal to the length of the hook shank, and then tie it in beginning at the hook bend directly on top of the Crystal Flash. Note the little ridge that the thickness of the Zonker creates along the hook shank; it travels about half its length. This is important for the next step.
Grab a piece of Mirror Wrap, about 4″ long. Tie it in immediately ahead of the tail. Begin wrapping it forward, making close wraps, until you reach the end of that ridge created by the tied-in Zonker strip. Make a few tight wraps around the Mirror Wrap and cut away the tag portion. A note about Mirror Wrap: tying in Mirror Wrap can be trickly, as the fibers will tend to face forward if Wrap isn’t positioned correctly during wrapping. Two solutions to this problem: twist the Wrap while you are working with it to keep the fibers perpendicular to the hook shank, or physically grab and pull the fibers back as you wrap to lock them in place. Once you’ve tied the Mirrow Wrap in, make a few wraps of thread back toward the hook bend to help slope the Wrap fibers back toward the tail.
You’ll note in the photo that the lower fibers in the photo have already been cut short. The original fibers are too long to be in proportion with the rest of the fly, so I cut them to length. Grab a hold of the fibers underneath the hook shank, pull them straight down, and cut them approximately equal to the hook gap. Do the same for the upper half of the fibers, but cut them slightly longer. Clean up any stray fibers.
Grab some round rubber legs. I got a package from Cabela’s, and the legs are loosely held together. Gently pry two legs away from the rest of the strip; keep the legs held together.
Double over a length of the twice-thick rubber legs, measure them equal to the length of the hook shank, and them tie them immediately ahead of the Mirror Wrap, sloping back toward the tail along the top of the hook.
Cut a piece of CCT fur, about 4″ long, and tie it in at the same point you did the rubber legs. Begin wrapping the CCT forward, making nice, tightly spaced wraps, all the way to the conehead.
Once you’ve reached the conehead, tie off the CCT and cut away the tag portion. Whip-finish the head and cut away the thread. Grab the sharpest scissors you have for detailed work, and start shaping the head in the same manner as a traditional Muddler Minnow by cutting down the CCT fur.
The finished fly.
A view from the top.
I’ve used this fly in late September and into October of this year, fishing it slow off the bottom near rocky structure. You’ll lose a few to hang-ups, and it’s important to keep the point sharp, but it will catch smallies.
“This is no cave…”