Skater design

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Sean Beauchamp, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. Curious what hook some of y'all fly fishermen tie your skaters on and also your thoughts on shape of the lip (talking foam here) to keep your flies up and fishing in some more "questionable" water?

    I've been tying most of mine (including deer hair grease liners and muddlers) on Tiemco 8089 and been pretty happy but curious about alternatives, including tubes which previously I've only used for my big dirty water skaters. Thanks.
  2. I tie most of my skaters on Tiemco 3769 sz6-12. On "standard" skaters, I foam-wrap the bodies and leave a small lip projecting upwards/outwards over the hook eye about 1/8" - it is my feeling that the combination of "planing lip", foam-wrapped body, and down-eye hook (lower point of pull relative to center of mass) helps the fly to fish in bumpy or non-traditional water.

    I have been moving towards stinger skaters with the same body / lip construction, tied on a clipped Tiemco 7999 turned so the hook eye rides down. The trailer hook is an Owner ssw rigged on 1/2" of doubled 30# mono so it rides hook-point up.

    I used to use the 8089NP for my coho wogs and poppers but have since switched completely to the stinger with the hook point up, with the end result of fewer tongue-hooked fish.
    Tyler Sadowski likes this.
  3. Thanks for mentioning down eye hooks! I forgot to add that to my post I've been thinking that could possibly help. I've been hitching my muddlers the last two seasons directly down under the hook eye as opposed to a left/right orientation and been really happy the way they ride in the glassy pools and it got me thinkin.

    I've been tying prominent moose wings angled slightly forward on either side of the fly to help keep'r from flipping as well as a sparse white wing on top similar to a chubby Chernobyl to help track the fly better in riffles. Still my issue is a wave catching the lip and dragging the fly under for short periods of time. Down eye may be the answer
  4. Gamakatsu T10-3H. Those and the 6H are some of the strongest and stickiest hooks I've ever used.
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  5. Any skater I tie is on a shank with a stinger octopus hook.
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  6. I'm tying up a few for the rogue/N Umpqua and experimenting with a few different things
  7. Gamakatsu T10-3H. I've experimented with different designs but for the most part I tie big caddis styles with spun deer heads. Of course I'll throw a riffle hitch on anything and skate it.
    WT likes this.
  8. I tie my skaters similar to a string leech. I have a very short section of a downturned eye shank, a length of backing where the majority of the body is tied, then an Octopus stinger. They skate very well. Little weight and lots of wiggle and motion. I can tie long v-shaped deer hair flies and there isn't a long stiff shank for the fish to pry against when hooked. They are a pain to get used to tying and take quite a while even when you get a system down. But they are sure fun to fish. Web search "strung out skater"; this is the fly I first saw it on and started experimenting with.
  9. Add a shiatload of foam on top along with the forward wings you are already doing, and it will make the perfect wake and sinking just isn't an option.

    google pom skater and eliminate the pics where the wings arent forward. I like the 1st pic in the third row. Super simple and acts right on the water.

    Variations of this is the only thing I have skated for years as the action the foam and forward wings gives cant be beat. I do prefer the lighter salmon fly/October caddis like colors for no other reason than you will catch more of the random big trout all year long. The steelhead who is going to hit your waker doesn't care what color it is.

    I will say after reading gsmolt's post I am going to tie some up with the stinger program. Along with what he said just might hook a few of the short strikes you wouldn't have as well
    Sean Beauchamp likes this.
  10. image.jpg

    Here's a pic of my favorite foam skater. I'll have to snap a better shot when I get home. I feel like ya can't go wrong with black and purple until it becomes a caddis show. And the wing makes it really visible at distance and helps me see that it is fishing right. I tie Pom style skaters for my small dime sized bugs and other than having a hard time tracking them they fish well.

    My first dry fly steelhead in 09 ate a strung out skater. I still have the fly hanging in the man cave!
    McNasty, JesseC, constructeur and 2 others like this.
  11. I'm old school in both my hook choice and patterns for flies that I use for skating steelhead. I fish various Wulffs, Haig Brown steelhead bees, grease liners, muddlers and their variants all tied on mustad 94840s or the 2X long version of the same hook. That is what I started with during the first few years of my steelhead dry fly fishing (taking my first fish on a drag free coachman in 1963 - can it really be more than 50 years ago?) and have seen no reason to change.

  12. I've been running jig hooks turned sideways and a stinger. Gives the riffle hitch ride without mangling the tippet or fly.

    Loving this thread.
    JesseC and WT like this.
  13. I'm with Yard Sale, excellent thread! I'm just here to digest, because I have never put the time behind the skater that I should have, and I have always just followed the trend as far as design goes. Idylwilde has always been a big inspiration for me, but as far as hooks I have always just used whatever light wire salmon hooks of appropriate size. Good shit Sean!
  14. I pretty much fish orange elk hair caddis riffle hiched. I like the way they fish in glassy or smooth water. I also fish a purple skater made w/ foam. No hitch required. Overall, I figure that the presence of summer runs is the limitting factor to having them come up. I would prefer that the fish be wild and less heavily fished. Little pieces of water and tail outs.

    Go Sox,
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  15. Same here. Doesn't seem complicated, just hard to find the time and place. Dry fly steelhead aren't picky so keep it simple and loud.

    To be honest though, I could put some work in on getting better at tying skaters.
  16. What advantage does any other fly have over a riffle hitched EHC? I am sure some of you catch a lot more fish than me. What are the advantages of different fly types?

    Go Sox,
  17. Big EHC should work great to make a big commotion visible from further away

    Foam keeps a fly riding higher
    Foam lip lets you make a better "twitch/pop" action as you skate the fly

    Haven't you seen the sick N Umpqua footage from skagit master 2?

    A big size 4 EHC with an orange body is money in the late summer/ fall
  18. Fine line between a big EHC and a muddler. Both favorites.

  19. steelhead caddis is all you need size 6 7989
    David Dalan likes this.
  20. How about the traditional hooks like the Wilson up-eye? I have a bunch in light wire (dry fly) and heavy wire (sinking) from the 70's or 80's for both steel and chinook!

    hooks 001.jpg
    Klickrolf and Nooksack Mac like this.

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