Lefty Kreh’s Deceiver Step-by-Step

Lefty Kreh’s Deceiver Step-by-Step:

Reviewing my recent posts, it seems I’ve been on a bit of a streamer kick the past month with the Clouser Minnow, Bunny Leech and EP Minnow all making an appearance in our tutorials since March 1. However, the one streamer that may give Clouser, and his namesake pattern, a run for his money has thus far been absent. While I’ve tied more than a handful over the preceding 30 days, I simply hadn’t taken the time to document it Step-by-Step. This post should serve to rectify that error.

Originally designed for targeting saltwater game fish, Lefty Kreh’s Deceiver has since proven effective on piscivorous species ranging from trout and bass to pike and striper. A general baitfish imitation that lefty himself considered more “a way of tying” than a true pattern, the Deceiver can be tied to mimic a wide variety of forage species by simply tweaking the size, color and bulk of the pattern.

While the example below is tied on a Size 1 hook, this pattern can easily be reproduced on hooks ranging from Size 6 to 6/0 depending upon your needs.

Gamakatsu B10S Stinger (#6-6/0) 70 Denier (White)Materials Saddle Hackle (White; 4-6x paired)
Materials Krystal Flash (Pearl); Holo FlashMaterials Bucktail (White)Materials Bucktail (Chartreuse)
Stick-on Eyes (5mm; Red)Materials Throat – Flashabou (Red) Materials UV Resin

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Lefty Kreh’s Deceiver Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Tail Feather Orientation – Take time to consider the orientation of your tail feathers when tying your deceiver. Tied so the feathers angle in towards the hook, produces a fly with a sleek look in the water that moves with quick undulations. Reversed (feathers angled away from the hook), and you’ve created a fly that produces significantly more action with each strip of your line. As an added benefit, the latter method helps to slow the sink rate in a similar manner to another of Lefty’s favorites, the Seaducer.
  2. Bucktail: Length and Bulk – In “The Professionals’ Favorite Flies,” Kreh expounds upon the importance of both length and bulk of bucktail when tying the Deceiver. The length, he notes should always extend beyond the hook shank. His reason’s are two fold. First, this ensures the streamer takes on the shape of a baitfish in the water. Second, and perhaps more important, the bucktail creates “mini-eddies” that impart added action to the tail feathers. As for the bulk of bucktail used, this comes down to the forage species you hope to imitate. Mimicking sand eels while targeting striper? Less is more. Stick to a thin profile. Targeting pike that key on large shiners? Add the bulk to ensure a broad profile that matches the hatch.

Proof of Concept

My Deceiver box (completed in early April) was finally put to good use in late May of this year (2021) as I competed in The Mayfly Project’s 25 on the Fly tournament.

Over four days of fishing the pattern proved itself again and again, accounting for everything from overzealous bluegill to the Tiger Muskie featured here. Fished on an intermediate line to help get the fly down, the pattern (tied as shown) proved an excellent mimic for the local forage species (predominantly alewives).

Click the “Species Caught” links for more photos of the fish that fell for this pattern.

Tight Lines!


Tiger Muskie
Species Caught on Lefty Kreh’s Deceiver to Date:

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