Brew N Bugs December 2021
- The Skulpin Bunny is tied and fished in the hook-up position. Therefore, the easiest method is to rotate your vise so the hook faces upwards and build your fly from that position. It is very important that you leave a clear “gap” between your materials and the eye of the hook. The gap provides space for the Sculpin Helmet™ to be fitted from the front of the hook over the materials and be secured in place.
- Start your fly tying thread approximately 2 to 3 eyes width distance behind the hook eye. Work backwards and wrap a thick thread base that completely covers the hook shank. Lay this thread base all the way to the back of the hook to the point where the hook starts to curve. At the back end-point, make 6-10 thread wraps to form a small “thread ball.” This ball at the back will help secure your rabbit strip firmly in place. Prepare a strip of rabbit strip (straight-cut) that will be used for the tail and back of the fly. The strip should measure between 5.0cm to 5.5cm in length (a little over 2 inches). Cut a small "V" to help create a tapered tail at the back of the fly.
- Tie in the rabbit strip. To position correctly, place the rabbit strip as shown against the hook. Important: Make sure the front of the rabbit strip is positioned slightly past the tie-in point at the front of the hook as shown below. Take a red marker pen and make a dot that lines up with the tie-in point at the back of the hook shank. This red dot is the spot where you will poke the point of the hook through the rabbit strip.
- Poke the hook through the rabbit strip.
- Take the hook out the vice, re-position the rabbit strip so that lies straight on top of the hook and put back it in the vice. Brush back the rabbit fur using a comb or wire brush so that it is straight and evenly distributed on either side of the hook.
- Pull back the rabbit fur at the tie-in point so that the leather of the strip is completely exposed. This is important to ensure that no fur fibers are tied down by the thread when the rabbit strip is tied down.
- As you tie down the rabbit strip, the sides of the strip should fold evenly over both sides of the hook shank. Important: All of the thread wraps should be placed in exactly the same place (i.e. on top of each other and not side-by-side). The first 2 thread wraps should be fairly loose to hold the strip in place and then the following 3 or 4 wraps should be tied in as tightly as possible. Use a very strong thread that allows you to put a lot of pressure on the rabbit strip.
- Lift up the rabbit strip and do at least 10 tight wraps directly underneath the rabbit strip. This secures the strip firmly in place.
- Wrap your thread forward to the middle of the hook shank.
- Brush back the rabbit fur using a comb or wire brush so that it is straight and evenly distributed on either side of the hook.
- Measure the cross-cut rabbit strip, so that the tips of the rabbit fur extends slightly past the back of the hook as shown. This correct positioning is important. Tie in the tip of the rabbit strip firmly and wrap your thread forward to the tie-in point at the front of the fly.
- Wrap the cross-cut rabbit forwards using tight, side-by-side wraps. Pause after each wrap and stroke back the rabbit fibers to make sure they all face towards the back of the fly. Depending on how thick the rabbit strip is, you will reach the front tie-in point after using 3, 4 or 5 wraps. When you reach the front tie in point, do 1 extra wrap over the previous wrap. (This extra wrap helps build out a little more bulk at the front of the fly to get that sculpin profile).
- Tie off the rabbit strip. Using your fingers, evenly separate the rabbit fur on the top of the fly down the middle, i.e. to the left and right off the hook shank.Next, pull the straight piece of rabbit strip down over the cross-cut rabbit strip and tie in firmly at the front of the fly. (This is the same “pull over” technique as if you were making the wing case of a nymph). Brush back the rabbit fur using a comb or wire brush so that it is straight and evenly distributed on all sides of the hook.
- The straight-cut rabbit is stretched as tightly as possible over the underbody and tied in firmly at the front of the fly using strong thread wraps. Brush the fiber straight. The basic tail and body of the fly is now complete. It consists of a single, straight-cut rabbit strip running from the front to back of the fly that represents the back and tail of the sculpin. It also includes a single cross-cut rabbit strip wrapped around the shank of the hook to form the under-body and front fins of the fly.
- Fit the Sculpin Helmet to check that it fits correctly. If your spacing is correct, then the helmet will fit snugly against the materials and there will be a small gap between the Sculpin Helmet and the eye of the hook. Apply a coating of Zap-A-Gap or your favorite super glue to the top, bottom and sides of the thread head.
- Fit the Sculpin Helmet over the eye of the hook and position in place.
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