Project Description

Plain Old Scud

Pattern Description:

I call this pattern the Plain Old Scud, because there is really nothing fancy about it. Of course you can tie it in a flashback version by adding a strip of pearl sheeting to the back in place of the Swiss Straw I will use here, and I suppose you could even add a bead if you wanted, but as it is presented here is the pattern I have been using for scuds in lakes and streams for the past several years. I stumbled onto the Swiss Straw back a few years back and it not only comes in a perfect olive grey color, it also becomes incredibly juicy when it gets wet. Besides, I hate doing things like everyone else does them so I had to change it up. I typically do weight my scuds as I find they get down to the fish’s level faster when sight fishing in lakes and that keeps me from having to lead a fish by thirty feet to get the fly down to his level. I like this part. I use the same scud in rivers as well, because …well, because it would be silly to have to carry weighted ones and unweighted ones. So there. And yes, before you ask, you can certainly change the color of the dubbing, shellback and tail to match whatever you want. Scuds come in all sorts of colors when they are live and various shades of orange when they’re dead, so just match the natural as close as you can and you ought to be catching fish.

Materials Needed:

Hook: TMC 2487 or 2457 #12-20

Weight: .010 lead wire

Thread: 8/0 Olive dun UNI

Tail (antennae): Dyed Mallard Flank

Ribbing: 6X Mono

Shellback: Swiss Straw

Body: Smoky Olive Sow Scud Dubbing

Step 1

Wrap 12-15 turns of .010 lead wire around the center of the hook shank. Break off the ends.

Step 2

Start the tying thread in front of the lead wraps and make a small thread dam that tapers from the bare shank up to the lead. Wrap over the lead wraps to the back end and build another small thread dam at the back end that will taper back down to the shank.

Step 3

Peel a small clump of mallard flank off the side of the feather and tie the tips in at the bend of the hook so they are about a half shank length long, maybe slightly shorter. Wrap forward over the butt ends of the mallard to just in front of the midpoint on the hook. Clip the excess butt ends. You can see how wrapping over the butt ends helps to taper the underbody from the shank up to the lead a bit more.

Step 4

Tie in a six-inch length of 6X tippet at the middle of the shank.

Step 5

Wrap the tying thread back over the mono rib to the bend, but pull the rib over to the far side of the shank as you go so the rib ends up anchored in place at the bend of the hook (base of the tail) on the far side of the hook.

Step 6

Tear off a relatively wide section of Swiss Straw from the rest of the pack. You’ll notice that this material tears easily lengthwise, but is very tough in cross section.

Step 7

Bundle the end of the Swiss Straw strip up a bit like this.

Step 8

Tie the end of the Swiss Straw in at the middle of the shank.

Step 9

Wrap back over the Swiss Straw to the bend of the hook, taking care to keep the Straw on top of the shank.

Step 10

Now Sow Scud dubbing has some long fibers in it, so to keep my scuds from having legs that are far too long, I cut the dubbing clump into smaller lengths before I twist it on the thread. Cutting it up a bit also makes the dubbing go on a little easier. Just pull out some dubbing and cut it into clumps about a quarter to a half inch wide.

Step 11

Dub a thin strand of dubbing onto the thread.

Step 12

Start wrapping the dubbing at the index point and dub from the front to the back of the hook.

Step 13

Dub all the way back to the bend and forward to the index point again. You want an elongated football shape to the dubbed body.

Step 14

Pull the Swiss Straw forward over the body, letting it flatten out a bit as you do. Tie the Swiss Straw down behind the hook eye with a couple firm wraps of thread.

Step 15

Spiral wrap the mono forward over the Swiss Straw to the hook eye with about 8-10 evenly spaced turns. I try to really pull tightly on the mono as I rib so it bites down into the shellback and dubbing and creates more prominent segments. Tie the mono off at the eye with several tight turns of thread.

Step 16

Clip the butt ends of the shellback and the mono ribbing. Build a smooth small thread head to cover the leftovers and whip finish and clip the thread.

Step 17

Use a piece of Velcro to shag out the dubbing on the bottom of the fly. really get after it and pull the dubbing out so it creates some nice soft legs.

Step 18

Finished fly, side view.

Step 19

Top view of the fly when wet. See that gummy shellback? Eat ’em UP!