Article by Jason Akl
The air is a little cooler and the daylight seems to last only a few short hours. Leaves everywhere seem to have suddenly turned from subtle earthy greens to brilliant reds and yellows. Fall has once again crept up and taken hold of the landscape and at the same time brought about changes in the river. The low water conditions of the hot summer are now nearly forgotten and thoughts of hooking big lake-run fish are on the minds of most anglers. The fall-run of fish from the lakes to the rivers is not for the faint of heart. The weather can bring sub-zero temperatures, snow, sleet and winds that can chill to the bone even the best-dressed fisherman. Along with the adverse conditions, an angler must also time the run perfectly. On their way in from the lake, the fish will only come when all the conditions are right. Fishing even a few days early or late can lead to hours of frustration.
The salmon and steelhead of the lakes are not finicky eaters but a few time-tested patterns can definitely help your odds of hooking a quality fish. One pattern that has produced world-wide and is a must have for every salmon/ steelhead fisherman’s fly box is the Undertaker. This fly is a revered Atlantic salmon pattern but through out the years has definitely duped equal amounts of giant steelhead and monster browns. This is a fly pattern that is easy and inexpensive to tie, so stocking your fly box with a few is only logical. Give it a try on your next outing but be sure to hold on tight, you never know what will be biting.
Materials Used in Tying the Undertaker Salmon Fly
- Hook: Mustad 36890 Salmon Hook Size 4
- Thread: Black 8/0
- Wing: Black Bucktail
- Beard: Black Bucktail
- Thorax: Three Peacock Herls
- Butt: Green/ Red Floss
- Tag: Silver Round Tinsel
Tying Steps For The Undertaker
1. Start this fly by placing your hook in the vice and attaching your black thread to the hook shank.
2. Tie in some silver round tinsel and cover it with thread wraps until you reach the point above the tip of the hook. Now wrap the silver round tinsel forward five to seven wraps and tie off.
3. Now tie in a small piece of green floss and wrap down (and butt up against the tag) and back up the hook shank a distance of a quarter of an inch. Make sure that you lay the floss wraps one in front of another so that you end up with a nice smooth and even section of green butt.
4. Again, tie in a strip of red floss and wrap it down and back up the hook shank for a distance of a quarter of an inch. The red and green floss should be the same width and match together.
5. In front of the butt tie in three choice peacock herls by their tips. Wind them into a thick bushy rope.
6. Wrap the herl rope forward with tight wraps building a dense bushy peacock thorax. Wrap the peacock herls until you reach close to the back of the hook eye.
7. Clip and stack a small patch of black bucktail. Invert your hook in your vice and tie in the bucktail on top of the hook shank (actually the bottom). Make sure that the hair does not flair our largely or spin around the hook shank. The beard should be quite long extending to the point where the tag starts on the hook shank or the hooks point.
8. Place your hook right side up again in your vice and now clip a second but bigger patch of black bucktail. Tie the bucktail wing onto the top of the hook shank but this time let it spin slightly. The length of the wing should extend almost to the end of the hook shank. Clip the excess short and form a nice neat head. Whip finish and cement. Once the head cement has dried add a tiny bit of black nail polish to the head you just made to spruce up the look a little bit.
Tight Lines and Smooth Threads Jason Akl