Sung to Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles” :
in my pond,
make me happy,
make me feel fine.
The chartreuse and Indigo blue “Tiny Muddler” has become a popular fly purchase at BreamBugs.com.
I created this sinking fly to target bream in the local ponds I fish. I had hundreds of Alaskan bead hooks leftover from a trip to Alaska and was trying to think of a way to use them. The hooks were heavy, built to catch large fish like the big rainbows we were after on my trip. I figured since the hooks were already heavy I couldn’t add any weight to turn the hook over so I thought I would try using deer hair to turn the hook upside down with buoyancy rather than weight, thinking the short shank would facilitate the turn over. Having the hook point up is the way to go here in Mississippi where the creeks and ponds are full of woody branches, twigs, leaves, all types of things that a hook can sink into. Water primrose is very common here and the bream hang very close. I find that casts right against or just inside the primrose catch fish more often than casts just a little further away. Having a more weedless fly is definitely a help to prevent constant hang-ups in the primrose.
The fly turned out be very successful and now its a very good seller for BreamBugs.
I often tie TM’s for myself in variations like black and natural deer hair with various dubbings. I like the way the fly fishes and tends to avoid hanging up. The chartreuse and blue was a version I tied simply because chartreuse is a well known fish catching color and bream flies in blue have gotten a lot of press lately. I just put the two together. Sometimes bright colors are what the fish want. Apparently fly fishers have liked the combination because it has vastly outsold the gold and black which is also available at BreamBugs. Either the fly fishers like the combination of colors, or the fish do, one or the other.
Tiny Muddler flies work best when attached to the tippet with a non-slip loop, as seen in the photo here. The loop gives the sinking fly freedom to right itself and be free from the effects of line tension caused from the leader/tippet. When tied on with a knot like an improved clinch the fly can lose some of its independent mobility. From watching the fly in the water I have noticed what may be a value add of the buoyancy design of the fly when attached with a loop . When the fly is stripped it may turn to one side or the other but in the stops between strips the fly will slowly rotate and right itself from the buoyant effect of the deer hair. That slow turn after it stops is similar to the motion of the round popping bugs like the Accardo Miss Prissy which had a unique “slow-roll” on the surface. I heard from many fishermen that they thought the “slow-roll” is what often drew strikes when other poppers didn’t.
Something else I have noticed about using the fly is that putting the tip of the fly rod IN the water when retrieving and using slow smooth strips seems to help in detecting light bites. Help how? To my chagrin, I don’t know. My guess is that the sensitivity is increased somehow. This tactic is the opposite of what I suggest for micro jigs (I use 1/100th oz). Using micro jigs, in order to detect light bites, I keep the tip above the water about a foot, pull the fly and then watch the fly line as it moves on its own just a little bit towards the tip after the strip. When the fly line doesn’t move, typically you have a light bite. But the tiny muddler is only slightly negatively buoyant and it doesn’t behave like a micro jig. It doesn’t fall rapidly after the stop like the micro jig, it just stops. I can’t say why fishing the fly with the tip in the water instead of above the water really helps to detect bites, I just think it does. I know that’s anecdotal information, but then we can’t have a scientist standing by to jump in with the scientific method when we need one. I just do what I think catches fish!