I was invited to fish at Providence Hill Farm in advance of their Breamfest tournament on May 21. Two of my buddies and I had the time of our lives with the numerous monster bluegills. Incidental catches of bass and crappie didn’t hurt our feelings a bit. We didn’t catch any monster bass, but of course we had tiny bream flies on. We did get some monster hits from fish we never got to the boat, there is no doubt some real lunkers are out there.
I used my Tiny Muddler pattern which I have mentioned before and it was very good at bringing in the bigger bream, like the one above.
The Tiny Muddler is tied on a heavy, short shanked Alaskan bead hook, #6 or similar short heavy shanked, wide gap. A fellow club member has found that TMC 105 is a similar, heavy, short shanked, wide gap hook. The idea of the heavy hook is simply to avoid having to add weight, the short shank is necessary for a deer hair “collar” or “wing” to provide enough bouyancy to turn the hook point up and float it along the bottom. In other words, when you stop the strip, the fly doesn’t fall over and it is bouyant enough to prevent it from plowing through soft mud and instead, just bump along above the mud. Diamond braid has been good to have a highly visible version and it has probably been the most successful so far but I also use different trout dubbings on the hook bend.. For the deer hair collar, black, or chartreuse seem to work well. All black and gold/orange diamond braid with a black deer hair collar were particularly good.
My intended purpose, which has turned out to be the most successful tactic, is to fish the fly by stripping it through bedding areas. I keep a tight line by pushing the rod tip in the water to eliminate all slack and then pull slowly, without jerking or twitching but rather maintaining a slow even pull. The tight line helps me to detect light bites. When any abnormal tension is felt, I speed up the retrieve by moving the rod hand as I pull and when weight or tension is suspected, I strip strike or briskly set the hook with the rod hand. A strip strike recommended as the large diameter of the heavy hook doesn’t set as well with a trout set, meaning just raising the rod tip.
This pattern came about as a way to use up a large number of bead hooks I had on hand with a fast, easy tie for bream. The hook point up orientation provided by the flotation properties of the deer hair keeps it from hanging up in small, woody or grassy debris on the bottom but it also eliminates the jerky action of bead heads, weighted flies, micro jigs etc. The fly provides very smooth pulling or stripping and it casts better than lead weighted type flies and also lands softer as the deer hair helps to soften the landing. Intended primarily to be fished in very shallow water but tends to work well in deep water as well. I have never tried it under a strike indicator but I am sure it will work, I just think the tight line strip over the bottom is very productive for the bigger ‘gills and, well, it’s fun too.
I had been requested by fellow club members to do a tying video of the fly. I did a quick one without a voice over which is available here: Tiny Muddler tying video
The deer hair of course must be long and rather bulky through the hook gap and clipped closely on the top of the hook to turn the hook point up. I also tie the fly on with a non-slip loop which prevents any twist in the line from keeping the hook from rolling to a straight, hook point up orientation which an improved clinch could do if there were some torque in the line.
My Tiny Muddler is not available commercially of course, but it will be my personal “Go-To” fly for the tournament. After my experience on the lake I would suggest that contestants consider using weighted flies like Pearson’s spider, the Frazier’s Jitterbee, Terry and Roxanne’s Bully Spider, Bead Head Hare’s Ears, Frazier’s Upside Down Bream Killers, Ligon Bream Killers or beadhead/weighted trout nymph patterns. These are all flies that can be found at BreamBugs.com I would pay attention to Pearson’s flies, and Frazier’s flies. Of course popping bugs may be good, but I just didn’t try them, but Bream Bugs has a wide selection, I prefer the Neal Pultz flies. A popper/dropper is always a good combination to increase your catch rate.
The Breamfest event will start at 6:30 AM and fly fishers will fish until 10:30 AM when the judging will be done which will be strictly by weight. Boat launching will begin one half hour prior to the start. One lake will be reserved for kayaks and one for bigger boats requiring a launch.
There is a kid’s only tournament ($50) as well as casting games for the kids also.
There will be some $25 drawings for some very fine flyrods at the event, contact the shop for more information.
The charity chosen to receive a percent of the proceeds is Mustard Seed.
Open house for the event will be Friday evening from 4:30 to 6:30 sponsored by Circle 7 Outpost and Provisions. Vendors will be on hand including representatives from Sage.
The pdf below has detailed information on prizes, registration etc. Please get phone numbers and email addresses for registration from the PDF: Breamfest Sign Up form and rules sheet
For more information: Breamfest Flyer
For a map to the farm, Click Here.