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Cleaning up with mops

by Bill Piatek

Ok, I know they are the ugliest flies we've ever seen but mop flies have been getting a lot of fish around here. A friend and I saw one guy standing in the same spot catch over 70 stocker trout in a few hours with a purple bead head mop on a fly rod. We counted. :-)

Has anybody tried them for fixed line fishing?


Comments for Cleaning up with mops

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Apr 28, 2018
Caught one on a mop fly
by: Chris Stewart

I've just caught one fish on a mop fly. Surprisingly, though, I was fishing a two hook rig, with the mop on point and a red wiggler on a dropper, and the fish hit the mop fly rather than the worm.

Apr 29, 2018
cleaning up with mop flies
by: David Noll

I've used them twice and they are dynamite. I dead drift them the same as a SRW. The really fun part is they make the other fly fishermen almost choke.

Apr 29, 2018
Mop flies
by: Les Albjerg

Bill - I have caught many trout on mops. Planters just love them! They work well the day after planting. At Wilson Springs they don't work well 3 or 4 days after planting. I have done well with them on sunfish and crappies. My last time out when I didn't have Red Wigglers with me at Wilson, I was skunked until I put on a .4 gram spoon. The pressured holdover stockers just nailed the spoons. I worked a mop fly several times right in front of the nose of a trout and not even a "look-see." Mops work with fixed line, but they aren't a 100% answer to even planters. I like having them in the box! They are useful. Give them a try!

Apr 30, 2018
we'll see tomorrow
by: bill piatek

Hitting a lake where mops have ruled and a creek tomorrow. Creek has been fishing well with dries so I'll try that there.


Dec 22, 2018
The Herl Things - An Elegant Variation on Mop Flies
by: Karl Klavon

In the past I have had a lot of success with a damsel nymph pattern I called the Sparkle Yarn Damsel Nymph, which required threading a 1/8th inch diameter, black nickle bead on a TMC 206 hook, and tying on a single length of separated out 3-ply olive sparkle yarn per fly, tying an overhand knot near one end of each yarn piece kept the yarn together as an abdomen on the fly, leaving a tail/body/tassel for gills of about an inch in length to wiggle behind the hook in true damselfly nymph form. The wrapped sparkle yarn also makes up the thorax of the nymph, with the finishing yarn tuft whip-finished right behind the bead head forming a mini-wing that also wiggles, and the nymph's head and cyclops eye are made by the bead.

This was not a very durable fly because the trout's teeth tend to get caught up in the yarn and shred it, but it is a quick and easy fix by cutting the yarn away and tying a new fly on the old hook and bead head.

But pulling the strands of yarn a part and tying the knots in each strand of yarn was time intensive and tedious task, so I was looking for a quicker and easier fix. Per chance, I happened to notice a new (at the time) fly tying material - Finely Barred Ostrich Plume pieces, available in Olive, Chartreuse, Purple, Red, Orange, White and King-Blue, all with Mini-Black barring, which worked out to be a quick and easy solution to my problems.

This was before I had ever heard of the Mop Fly. But the tie is essentially a more slender but equally wiggly variation on the Mop Fly, but tied with only a single strand of ostrich herl and copper wire ribbing, mostly for improved durability. I have also gone to using 60 degree jig Hooks for better hooking and fewer snag losses, and things have worked out quite well in that regard, as well.

Tying Instructions:

!. With the bead on the hook and the hook in the vise, tie the thread in right behind the bead.

2. Stick the copper wire in the bead and wrap it down on top of the hook shank to the bend of the hook.

3. Tie in the ostrich herl right at the hook bend with 2 to 3 wraps of thread, with the tail about 1.5 times the total hook shank length.

4. Pull the tag end of the herl back and out of the way, then wrap the thread in touching wraps up the hook to the bead head, and then back about 1/8th of an inch and half-hitch the thread.

5. Make one wrap of herl behind the wire rib material, then palmer-wrap the herl up to the waiting thread - allowing the thread body to show through the spaces in between the herl wraps - and half-hitch the thread again to secure it.

6. Wrap the wire forward over the thread body spaces showing through between the herl wraps to the waiting thread and herl there, and half hitch the wire rib material.

7. Pull the herl back and hold it out of the way, while wrapping touching wire wraps up to the back of the bead head and whip-finish, then break the wire away.

8. Now, wrap a collar hackle of herl on top of the tight wire wraps, tie off and whip-finish with the thread.

9. If desired, the tail can be pulled forward and trimmed off just in front of the hook eye for consistent control of size and tail length. And you are all done with your first herl thing.

Dec 22, 2018
A Few Things I Forgot To Mention
by: Karl Klavon

Do you have to tie the Herl Things with Mini-Barred Ostrich Herl - wouldn't regular ostrich herl work just as well?

Well, of course you could tie them with any kind of ostrich herl you happen to have, but the Black and color (Grizzly Markings) just seem to offer something really special over what a plain old Mop Fly has to offer.

The color of wire is chosen to create a Light On Dark - Dark On Light Contrast, with the whole fly color chosen to contrast with the water color or the background the fish will view the fly against.

I am tying my HTs with Fluorescent colored fly tying threads. On the palmered body part of the fly, the thread color and fluorescence is not all that pronounced or obvious because of the palmer herl wrap. But as you finish the fly off, covering the tight wrapped copper wire with thread, wrapping the raised collar hackle on and then whip-finishing to finish the fly off ahead of the collar hackle, the thread wraps will create a Fluorescent - Hot - Spot that will show up quite vividly - depending on how many wraps you choose to add as you finish the fly off.

I am using Umqua Feather Merchants UFMC400 and C450 or equivalent hook style Jig Hooks with the Tapered Drilled Beads, and they seem to work just fine as more thread shows for making the Hot Spots, and I can get slower sink rates than you can get with the Slotted Tungsten Beads. But either will work just fine, depending on what you want to accomplish.

When tying with beads on jig hooks, the bead takes up some of the length of the shank on the finished fly pattern, and that can throw the fly's body proportions off. UFM's U555 Jig Hooks are a 60 degree, barbed, medium wire, Streamer hook that has a shank long enough that the bead does not throw the body proportions off. And the price is right - Around $7.00 per/50 Pack.

Dec 22, 2018
by: bill piatek

I use similar flies out of peacock but that's a great idea to use Ostrich herl. Plenty of it from my Steelhead fly days.

Dec 23, 2018
Ostrich Herl San Juan Worms
by: Karl Klavon

Hi Bill. I just thought I would put this out there here so someone else could give it a try if they wanted to.

After the successes I have enjoyed with the Herl Things, as an experiment, I tied up some Herl San Juan Worms as well, but I never got around to fishing them. In fact, I have never fished a San Juan Worm in my life. And this Fall, I lost the fly box they were in and have not replaced them. But I would be curious to know if they might work for someone else.

The SJ Worms I tied were tied on standard dry fly hooks but they could easily be weighted, with the herl bound down to the hook shank for its whole length, with the head end being shorter than the tail end was long - with FL-Pink ostrich herl forming the worm body. The length of the shank was then over-wrapped with Ginger ostrich herl to form an (for lack of a better term)a raised Egg Case of a lighter contrasting color - from the back of the hook to front - and whip-finished to complete the fly. I used FL-Pink thread and the end result was quite pleasing to my eyes, if I do say so myself. I have no idea how it will work, so here is a chance to find out for anyone out there who wants to try it. And if you do try it, please let us all know how you did - with the good as well as the bad....Karl.

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