Bucktail Deceiver Streamer Step-by-Step

Bucktail Deceiver Streamer Step-by-Step:


It’s no secret that Lefty Kreh’s Deceiver has long been one of my go-to flies. In fact, in talks I’ve given on my experience fishing the 25 on the Fly Tournament, I’ve outright stated that an Olive & White or pure White Deceiver is one of only three flies necessary to target all 25 species. Still, variety is the spice of life as William Cowper once professed. And, a steamer box filled with nothing except Lefty’s Deceivers might get dull after a while.

Enter Bob Popovics. A man who Lefty considered “the most innovative ever.”

Relying solely on bucktail and a bit of flash, Popovics created a streamer that much like Lefty’s Deceiver is better defined as “a way of tying” than as a pattern. Simply adjust size, color and bulk, and you can mimic nearly ever forage species under the sun.

Taking into account the added benefit of near neutral buoyancy and the natural movement of bucktail, you’re left with a fly entirely different from Lefty’s Deceiver. Yet, at the same time, a fly capable of mimicking all of the same forage species.

B10S stinger or equivalent (#1 – #4/0) 140 Denier or Monofilament Materials Bucktail
Materials Bucktail Materials Ice Wing or equivalentMaterials UV Resin
Materials Zap-a-Gap or super glue

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. A small commission may be paid for purchases made through these links.

Bucktail Deceiver Streamer Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge or rotate phone to landscape)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Bucktail Selection – While bucktails can be purchased from any number of online retailer (including through the affiliate links above), it is always worth seeking out local sources for this material.  These tails can be extremely variable, and, when purchased blindly, you’re never quite sure if you’ll be receiving hair with a max length of 3” or hair with a maximum length of 6+”.  The former may prove too short for larger streamers.  While the latter may prove a waste if your tying needs are limited to small Clouser’s Minnows. 
  2. Color Selection – While I stuck with all white in the example above, don’t overlook color combos when tying your bucktail deceivers.  To accomplish this simply switch from your initial color (usually the lighter shade) to your second color after applying the flash.  A Yellow over White example posted near the top of the article provides an idea of the outcome.
  3. Sticky Situation – You may notice, that Zap-a-Gap made its way into the material list above.  While not utilized in this example, keep some on hand if you’re struggling to secure your bucktail.  If this is the case, and your fly is “shedding,” simply apply a dab of Zap-a-Gap or Super glue to your wraps securing each layer of bucktail.  The only caveat is be sure to allow time to dry between each application. 
  4. Weight – In my opinion this pattern is best fished unweighted.  With its near neutral buoyancy, the bucktail deceiver is at its best when it is allowed hover in the water column between strips of line.  That said, if you need to get this fly deeper, and lack an intermediate or sink tip line, consider experimenting with a few wraps of lead-free wire around the shank.  It may require a few test runs to get right, but eventually you should find the appropriate number of wraps to achieve your desired sink rate.

Proof of Concept

While I don’t have any pictures to prove it, I’ve had success with this pattern when targeting both Striped Bass in Rhode Island and Largemouth Bass nearer to home. For now you’ll have to take my word for it though. At least until the bass start biting again…

Tight Line!


Species Caught on the Bucktail Deceiver to Date:
  1. Striped Bass
  2. Largemouth Bass

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