By Nick Simonson
As we say farewell to the fly-tying season – not saying we won’t sneak a new pattern in here and there as the openwater bite dictates this spring and summer – there’s one last super streamer to add to that catch-all fly box for bass, panfish and anything that snacks on minnows. The Thunder Creek streamer is an incredible baitfish imitator that pulses and glides with a combination of bucktail and flash to catch any fish that eats smaller fish on the regular. Tied up in natural hues or brighter attractive shades, this streamer has a lifelike quality that simply gets slammed by smallies, white bass and crappies.
The Thunder Creek tied by Nick Simonson
Hook: Streamer 3X Long Size 2-8
Thread: 3/0 White
Underwing: Krystal Flash
Body/Head: Folded Bucktail
Eyes: Stick-on Eyes
Start the fly by covering the front quarter of the hook shank with thread and tying in 15 strands of krystal flash material for the underwing and spreading it around the hook shank before securing. The flash should extend a little more than half a hook shank beyond the bend (1). Next, flip the hook over and tie in a pinch of white bucktail pointing forward out from the hook eye. The fibers should be about one-and-a-half times the length of the hook, and the thread should secure them over the front quarter of the shank, right up to the eye (2). Next, flip the hook back over and tie in a colored clump of bucktail on the top of the hook shank in the same manner and length as the white clump, covering the same area once again with the thread, returning it to the tie-in point (3).
Create the head of the fly by folding the top and bottom fibers backward, securing them down at the tie-in point with a couple wraps of thread (4). Lock the bucktail into place with a few more wraps, whip finish and cement the head of the fly with a coating of thick UV epoxy (5). Once the head has hardened and dried under the UV light, add stick-on eyes (or if you’re artistic, paint them on) and coat with a layer of thin UV epoxy to keep the eyes in place. Once dry, add a little bit of red sharpie to the bottom of the thread collar to simulate gills and the Thunder Creek is ready to bring the noise (6).
The bucktail will keep the fly up in the column, which works great in spring for shallow smallmouth bass and crappies or in summer when white bass are churning and burning in big schools up near the surface. Tie it on a Type III sinking line for fish that are holding deeper in the water column. Adjust the colors to match prey items in a particular water, using grays, blues and greens for shiner patterns, or blacks, purples and browns for chubs and dace. Stacking varied bucktails will allow for a multicolored offering and the streamer can become as intricate as it needs to be in order to imitate a certain food source, and don’t forget to tie up some brighter patterns for those picky panfish.