Redfish Ritalin (Step-by-Step Tying series)

Redfish Ritalin, Redfish Crack, or Redfish Meth. Regardless of what you call it, this fly has earned its name(s) for a reason: the redfish are damn near addicted to it. A nondescript crustacean imitation, this bushy, pulsating mess with undulating craft fur tail and beady-eyes just looks too good for hungry redfish to turn down.

With variations attributed to a number of tyers, I’ve seen this pattern tied in every size from 8 to 1/0 and in every color combination under the sun. While it’s a relatively new fly to me, I have high hopes it will become a regular part of my marsh fishing arsenal.

On to the tying:

Materials List:

  • Hook: Gamakatsu SL11-3H Size 2 (or equivalent)
  • Weight: Bead chain or Lead Eyes depending on water depth
  • Thread: Ultra Thread 140 Denier (color to match pattern)
  • Tail: Craft Fur (barred with permanent marker)
  • Body: Ice Chenille or Estaz
  • Legs: Silicon Silly Legs (or equivalent)
  • Collar: Dubbing Brush or homemade dubbing loop
  • Eyes: Monofilament (colored black)

Step 1:

Apply a few wraps of thread behind the eye of the hook. Trim off tag.

Step 2:

Next, tie in your bead chain eyes using a series of cross wraps to secure it to the top of the hook shank. Add a drop of head cement to secure.

Remember, the bead chain MUST be on top of your hook! This pattern should ride with the hook pointing up, and this will only happen if the bead chain eyes are secured correctly.

Step 3:

Trim a bundle of craft fur approximately 2x the length of your hook and tie in at the rear of your hook shank, creating a tail.

Step 4

Using a permanent marker, create a barred pattern along the length of the tail. Be sure to repeat on both sides.

Note: Though not advised, I took the additional step of trimming the tail in my example as I felt the original length was a little longer than desired.

Step 5:

Tie in Ice Chenille or Estaz at base of tail. Apply two wraps to create a thick base and tie in monofilament eyes. Space eyes evenly on either side of hook shank. Apply head cement to thread wraps.

Note: While commercially produced monofilament eyes are available, I recommend creating your own. This can be easily done by melting the tips of 50 lbs monofilament with a lighter and coloring with permanent marker. If a larger eye is desired, a drop of UV resin can be added.

Step 6:

With the monofilament eyes secured, proceed to wrap Ice Chenille or Estaz forward. Tie off and trim excess. Ideally, this material should cover 1/2 to 2/3 of the hook shank.

Step 7:

Using cross wraps, tie in two sets of silicon legs spaced evenly across the hook shank. Legs should extend beyond the bend of the hook, but not past the craft fur tail.

Step 8:

With the legs secured, tie in your dubbing brush and trim any excess wire.

Note: For those with the skill, you can create your own dubbing loop in lieu of a commercially available dubbing brush. If you do go the dubbing brush route, options are fairly endless. The EP series of brushes, for example, cover every length and material combination imaginable. For this tie, I skipped out on the widely available EP series and tried a 2-inch ‘Redfish Brush’ by Sight Cast Fishing Company out of Texas.

Step 9:

Finally, wrap the dubbing brush forward. Be sure to pull the dubbing back after each wrap to help ensure an even, busy collar. Tie off at the rear of your bead chain eyes and trim excess. Wrap thread forward and whip finish. Apply head cement and let cure.

Proof of Concept:

Proof of concept is still in the works on this one folks. While an early attempt utilizing a homemade Ice Dub collar in place of a dubbing brush did land a nice speckled trout on my initial test run, I failed to photograph the catch. For the time being, here’s a photo of that early attempt as a place holder.

Tight lines everyone!


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