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Topwater Chimera Fly Step-by-Step:
- A mythological, fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail.
- Any similarly grotesque monster having disparate parts.
At some point during the long spring COVID lockdown, I found myself sitting at the vise pondering novel redfish flies. It was the time of year when I knew reds would eagerly be feeding on top in the early hours and I wanted to come up with something beyond poppers and gurglers that might elicit a strike.
Flipping through the various texts scattered about my tying station, I came across Bob Clouser’s Floating Minnow. A simple bucktail and flash streamer reminiscent of Clouser’s better know creations, this pattern utilized a pair of foam spider heads to create a pattern that glided along the surface mimicking a feeding baitfish. Creating significantly less disturbance than traditional topwater patterns, Clouser found the pattern excelled at catching bass during low water years.
Inspired by Clouser’s creation, I began rummaging through my supplies and found a small box containing a number of large foam spider bodies that had come with a kit gifted to me some 20 years prior. I had never found a use for them prior, but now had an idea. Fishing a number of longer shank pencil popper hooks from the same box, an idea began to come together.
A few false starts and hiccups later, I was staring at a strange amalgamation of parts strung together on the long shank. It was ugly and I couldn’t be sure it would work, but certainly knew it was worth a try. Pondering what I would call the monstrosity in my vise, it finally came to me: Head of a Goat. Mane of a Lion. Tail of a Serpent.
This was a Topwater Chimera.
|Pencil Popper Hook (Size 1)||140 Denier (Black or Chartreuse)||Large Foam Spider Bodies (2x)|
|Zonker Strip (Chartreuse)||Ice Chenille (Chartreuse)||Crosscut Rabbit (Chartreuse)|
Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:
(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)
Proof of Concept
Rising early on a calm, clear day during the second week in April, I made my way down to my normal spring put in along LA 1 between Port Fourchon and Grand Isle. The water was glass, and I could see fish breaking on bait along the nearest point. Rigging my 7-wt with a Topwater Chimera, I anchored down current of the point.
Launching a cast to the far side of the point, I began retrieving the fly with a series of slow, short strips. Just as with Clouser’s pattern, it glided across the surface creating only a slight wake. And, as it slid over the shallow drop off on the nearside of the point, the water exploded.
My prize…not a red, but a 13-14″ speckled trout.
Returning the fish to the water, I proceeded to work the remainder of the point before moving into the adjacent marsh. Every few casts elicited a similar explosion with at least one fish leaving the water completely and hitting the bait on its way back down! All were specks between 12″ and 16″. While not my target species, it is safe to say the Topwater Chimera is now a mainstay in my marsh box.