By Nick Simonson
All the flutter of a fleeing baitfish with the pulsating action of bucktail and flash come together in the Half and Half, a fly that combines the back end of a Deceiver with the weighted, jig-like action of the Clouser minnow into a powerful package that gets down in the column for hungry smallies, pike and even walleyes on the fly rod. These flies come together quickly on the vise and are easily adjusted to match minnows, dace, bluegills, crayfish and other underwater edibles, making it a streamer to stash between your stores of its parent patterns for bass and other big fish on the long rod.
Hook: Tiemco 3407, Sz 6 to 2/0
Thread: White 3/0
Weight: Dumbell Eyes
Tail: Four Hackle Feathers
Underwing: White Bucktail
Overwing: Gray Bucktail over Flash
Begin the fly by setting the hook in the vise and covering the shank with wraps of thread. Tie in a pair of dumbbell eyes for weight at about the 1/3 point of the hook shank with figure-eight wraps to secure it in place; add a drop of head cement to lock them in (1). Move the thread to the hook shank’s end and tie in the first set of hackle feathers that are about twice as long as the hook shank, in this case a pair of strung white feathers (2). On top of those feathers, tie in a second set, in this case, some thinner grizzly-patterned ones that end in the same place as the first set of hackle feathers (3).
Advance the thread to just behind the hook eye and select a sparse clump of white bucktail fibers that reach to a point just short of the hackle feather tips and tie it in on the hook shank in front of the dumbbell
eyes and a little bit behind them as well (4). This will form the belly of the fly, and no matter what colors you use in the pattern, should typically be the lighter one, but feel free to experiment.
Either flip the hook over in the vise, or turn it in a rotary model, and just behind the hook eye tie in about ten strands of krystal flash that extend back to the tail of the streamer (5). On top of that, tie in a sparse pinch of gray bucktail to form the overwing, and secure it with a number of thread wraps, creating a nose of sorts that tapers down to the hook eye (6). From there, whip finish and add some sealant for posterity and the fly is complete (7).
Get creative with the colors that are available and try synthetic hairs in addition to bucktail for flies that will take the abuse of toothy fish like pike or some saltwater pursuits when on vacation during this cold winter. This fly is the perfect combination of two classic patterns and catches fish in a variety of situations, if they’re relating to the bottom or working the column. It can be tied small for crappies, and larger for predators and works on everything in between and is worth a place in any fly box.
Featured Photo: Tie up the Half and Half in a variety of patterns to match forage or favorite confidence colors. Simonson Photo.