Smallmouth Flies: Whitlock’s Near Nuff Sculpin

It’s no secret that my favorite fish to chase here in the Ozarks are Smallmouth Bass, and I’m getting my flyboxes restocked and ready for when smallmouth fishing starts getting serious. You can fish for them in the winter, but it requires the sort of “low and slow” deep fishing that I don’t find all that enjoyable with a flyrod. Plus, I need some time to get my boxes refilled.

Now that I’ve gotten back into tying again and am working on those smallmouth boxes, I remember how well tying reinforces the fishing. When you tie flies, it gives you time to anticipate those trips coming up and, well, to be honest, fantasize about days on the river chasing fish.

Whitlock's Near Nuff Sculpin This week, I’vbe been tying some Dave Whitlock’s Near Nuff Sculpins. Just as with the Near Nuff Crayfish, Dave’s simple sculpin pattern is one of my favorites and thus one of my go-to flies. Both are great producers for me on Ozark smallmouth streaks (they’re pretty good trout flies, too).

I usually tie the sculpin in the olive color, though I have tied brown ones in the past. Most of the streambeds I fish are darker and greener.

Smallmouth Flies: Near Nuff Crayfish

More on this later, but I recently rewatched Dave Whitlock’s video on tying and fishing his NearNuff Sculpin and NearNuff Crayfish. Dave’s tying videos are top notch, and those two flies are my go-to patterns for smallmouth and trout in the Ozarks.

s7_321863_008_01My smallmouth boxes are looking pretty sparse these days after years of virtually no fly-tying, so I started in on some tonight. Got six bodies started on size 6 Near Nuff Crayfish. Need to get some brown paint to cover the lead eyes before I dress them. Will do both of those things tomorrow. Enjoyed tying something I can actually see with my aging eyes (damned trout flies!).

After years of tying on a Renzetti Traveler, I’m back with Dyna-King. I recently picked up a Dyna-King Squire, which sadly is being discontinued (but I got it for 25% on a closeout deal). It’s not true rotary, but I can live with that, because my preferred right-hand tying position (I’m a lefty) just doesn’t work well with the Traveler. Plus, I really love the jaws on the Dyna-Kings.

Was fishing at Roaring River State Park today, and we observed a big crayfish with one claw missing. The relevant thing to this pattern we noticed was that the tips of the pincers on the remaining claw were bright orange-pink, just like Dave recommends painting the tips of the claws on this pattern. He’s dead right.