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Page Rogers' Classic Patterns



Copyright ©1997 Page Rogers


By Page Rogers, contributing editor












Materials List

  • Hook:  TMC 811S or 800S; Daiichi 2546; Partridge CS52; Eagle Claw 254SS or LO54SS; Mustad 7066SS - Sizes 2 - 5/0
  • Thread: Danville’s Flat Waxed Nylon, White
  • Tail:Four to six long white saddle hackles
  • Belly:White bucktail
  • Body:Bill’s Bodi-Braid-Pearl
  • Wing: Pearl Polarflash (Color #2001), topped with light olive bucktail, topped with dark olive bucktail
  • Collar:Danville’s Flat Waxed Nylon: Fluorescent Orange
  • Head & Eye: Witchcraft Prismatic eye (Size 2.5mm), white thread and Five Minute Epoxy. 






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No article on the saltwater "classic" patterns could be complete without a long low bow to Lefty’s Deceiver. The concept for the creation of this pattern was the brainchild of Lefty Kreh, arguably the most famous ambassador of fly fishing, tying and casting alive today. Back in the late fifties, Lefty and his friend Tom Cofield, a writer for The Baltimore Sun, regularly fly fished for stripers in the Chesapeake Bay. These fish were feeding on the alewives which entered the Chesapeake, as the bass did, each spring, to spawn. The Deceiver was the fruit of their conversation and friendship. Forty years ago this pattern revolutionized saltwater fly fishing in that it enabled a sport to be born. Its timeless effectiveness has proven itself throughout a generation of anglers. Even with the advent of new materials and countless knockoffs, there’s just no perfecting something that was just perfect the first time around.

The Deceiver is a streamer type of fly which is simple in its conception and relatively easy to tie. It can be tied in any color combination imaginable, either as an imitation or attractor. It can be tied sparse or full, short or long. From the side the fly can reveal a silhouette imitative of many bait fish; from underneath the silhouette is very thin. Traditionally the fly has been used to imitate herring, spearing, bunker, alewives and mullet. The Deceiver has been used to catch fish in just about every body of water in the world, and is also widely used for taking large aggressive freshwater species. I have friends who, here in Connecticut, regularly use red and yellow Deceivers on released breeder stock of Atlantic salmon. You can consult any number of titles of books on saltwater fly fishing patterns to spark further ideas as to which color combinations and sizes you might tie up; your choices will be largely governed by the size and colors of the bait fish frequenting your waters, and the size rod you wish to use.

Tying Sequence

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Step One

Place hook in vise and cover entire hook shank with tying thread. With thread in the area of the hook point tie in four to six saddle hackles. Tie them in so that you have two or three on each side so that the tail is balanced. Tie them in so that the feathers are curving in on each other, "praying hands" style. Do not let any feathers roll. These feathers are the "rudder" for your fly, take the time to tie them in right, or else they will "fight" the keeling action of the hook. Cover all tying thread on the hook shank with a light coat of Flexament.

Step Two

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Tie in a strip of Pearl Bill’s Bodi-Braid and wrap it forward to the hook eye, covering the entire hook shank, cut off the leftover Bodi-Braid. Bodi-Braid is preferable over traditional tinsels because it does not easily slip on itself and it does not tarnish from exposure to the salt. Then take a fairly generous (in this case) amount of bucktail and tie it in as the belly. Do not "stack" the bucktail, only pull out any shorter or softer fibers before tying in. Note: the bucktail should be twice the length of the hook shank. Again, apply Flexament over your wraps as you are tying in the bucktail belly. Do not be afraid to exert a significant amount of pressure on the tying thread, forcing the Flexament into the threads and down to the hook shank. Attention to this detail will radically improve the durability of your flies.

Step Three

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Tie in a generous amount of Pearl Polarflash (Color #2001), or a combination of pearl & silver Flashabous or Krystal Flashes (if you cannot find Polarflash). Top that with light olive bucktail, then top that with darker olive bucktail. A bucktail wing is more durable than peacock herl; but as you research the many varieties of this pattern you will see peacock herl prescribed as a wing material in many Deceiver recipes. Note: the Polarflash can extend all the way to the very end of the saddle hackles; the bucktail wing should be the same length as the belly fibers.



Step Four

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Again as you are tying in the wing materials, keep adding a drop of Flexament to your tying. As you continue to build up the thread head of the fly, continue to work Flexament into the thread. When your thread head is in a nice bullet shape, whip finish and tie off your thread. Now tie on some hot orange or red thread and tie on a thin collar of thread, as shown in the photo. Just a few wraps of the tying thread will be sufficient, less is more, and keep your thread lying flat. Whip finish and tie off the orange/red thread. Now, check your hook eye, if there are any bucktail fibers clogging the hole of the hook eye you need to get them out by clearing the eye. The best trick for doing this was passed on to me by Bill Catherwood. Simply heat a fly tying bodkin over a flame until it is quite hot, and pass the bodkin through the hole of the hook eye. The hot bodkin will burn and singe these errant fibers and clear the hook eye. Next affix a Witchraft prism eye to your thread head, or, if you like, paint on an eye. Then mix a small amount of five minute or two-ton epoxy and coat the entire head with a very thin coat of epoxy. Rotate the fly until the epoxy has cured.

You are now ready to take your Deceiver fishing. Have fun fooling the fish.

©Copyright: Page Rogers 1998 All rights reserved


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