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Skok’s Mushmouth Fly Step-by-Step:
As was the case with last week’s Step-by-Step, this week’s pattern came about as a recommendation from my friend’s in CRAFF. We had transitioned from discussing the river mouths to open water, and, with that, snook had given way to roosterfish. A pipedream no doubt, the mere mention of the species caught my attention as did the pattern recommended: The Mushmouth. Only vaguely familiar with the pattern as a synthetic baitfish in the vein of the EP Minnow, I turned to google to refresh my memory.
The creation of accomplished fly fishing photographer, Dave Skok, the pattern was designed to target striped bass. Similar in appearance to other synthetic baitfish, Skok’s pattern sets itself apart through the addition of a semi-rigid “spine.” An anti-fouling device, this “spine” allows the use of more pliable synthetic fibers than can be used on other patterns. While SF Blend is utilized below, synthetics as fine as Angel Hair can be safely utilized as a result.
|Gamakatsu SC15 (1/0-3/0)||Danville Mono||Stick-on (Large)|
|Flashabou (Holographic Silver)||SF Blend Fiber (Choice of Colors)||Zap-a-Gap|
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Skok’s Mushmouth Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:
(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge or rotate phone to landscape)
Tips and Tricks
- Substitutions – As stated in the introduction, the use of a semi-rigid spine allows for the use of a broader array of synthetic materials with limited risk of fouling (i.e. tail fibers wrapping around the hook). While I’ve utilized SF Blend Fibers above, Angel Hair, Ice Wing and any number of other flashier mylar synthetics can absolutely be utilized for this pattern. Take a look at the materials you have available and experiment. You may find one does a better job of emulating the size, profile and look of your local forage species better than others.
- Less is More – When it comes to synthetics, rule #1 is Less is More. Sadly, I’m often guilty of violating this rule as is evident in the tutorial above. A little goes a long way when working with these materials, so err on the side of sparseness when tying this style of streamer. Failure to do so will simply result in a bulkier final product that will require significantly more trimming. Or, in worse case scenarios, may not swim as desired (spinning/tilting).
- Mega Mushmouth – Speaking of matching the size and profile of your bait, don’t overlook this pattern’s upsized cousin, the Mega Mushmouth. Ideal for imitating Bunker, large shad or even mullet, the Mega Mushmouth follows the same recipe as above, but substitutes a full length bunch of SF Blend fibers for Flashabou when creating the semi-rigid spine. Easily reaching 7-10” in length, this is a great pattern for when big bait is on the menu.
Proof of Concept
Part of my fly fishing arsenal for little more than month at this point, the Mushmouth has now proven its worth on multiple occasions. The first came on my aforementioned trip to Costa Rica. While a roosterfish was not in the cards, Black Tuna were. Spotted chasing sardines on the surface, it took only two casts of the Mushmouth to draw the attention of and land my first tuna. By no means a giant, it was easily the fishing highlight of my trip.
Less than two weeks later, the Mushmouth again found its way onto my line as I targeted striper in Rhode Island. Having caught numerous small schoolies during the preceding 12-hours, I was looking for my first decent fish as sunset approached. Wading a little beyond waist deep as the tide continued to fall, I tied on a Mushmouth and quickly landed a respectable 20+” fish. When the second hit came shortly thereafter, I found myself briefly into my backing before bringing my best striped bass of the trip to hand.
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