Once purely a fishing discipline where flies were predominately fished on or close to the surface, fly anglers are now pushing the boundaries to get patterns even deeper to probe zones not previously reached.
This is mainly the case with saltwater anglers, especially those hardcore anglers targeting pelagics and demersal species in deep waters over reefs and wrecks. Even for estuarine anglers there are numerous situations where getting your fly down deep will greatly increase your results. This month’s pattern, the Deepoxy Minnow, is a great one for fishing the deeper zones and in faster currents. It will sink into zones not previously reachable with similar patterns of this size and will be desirable to a broad array of fish in both fresh and saltwater.
Anglers putting flies into the depths can often produce results when other anglers fail. On many occasions fish are sitting much deeper in the water column, especially when current altering structure offers prime ambush sites. Some situations where this is the case can include around bridge pylons, over rock bars, submerged wrecks and deeper reefs. These zones hold fish consistently and are well worth probing.
Due to the thickness of fly lines, current can pose a problem at times as it slows down the sink rate and puts a belly in the line, which means you aren’t directly in contact with your fly for much of the retrieve. While heavier, faster sinking lines can help you probe these zones, there are still problems associated with fishing these zones. Working these areas during periods when current flow is lessened can be a successful ploy as there is less resistance on the fly line, which allows you to put your offering directly in front of the fish.
The Deepoxy Minnow is a great pattern that will attract a broad array of fish and sinks like a stone to get you into the zone. It has taken a multitude of species including bream, flathead, bass, trevally, estuary cod, mulloway, golden perch, snapper, sweetlip and numerous others.
The best fly line to deliver it into the depths is a fast sinking (IV-VII sink rate) line. These lines have a good degree of tungsten added and are thinner and denser than floating lines to get them to sink fast. They can come in a weight forward taper or a shooting head taper. Weight forward offers more casting control and better presentation while the shooting head offers easier casting and increased distance at the expense of presentation. There are numerous retrieves that can be employed with this pattern and the success of each will depend on the species, fishing situation and mood of the target species. I generally employ 3-5 short and sharp strips before again allowing the pattern to sink.
This simple pattern comprises of only a few materials and naturally there are numerous substitutes allowing you to customise it for your fishing situation and species. The hook used today is the Gamakatsu SL12S, however the Mustad C70 SD or any O'Shaughnessy pattern would suffice.
I like mono thread as it virtually disappears once epoxy is added. The body and tail are formed using olive Mylar tubing, however numerous other materials including Holographic Tubing or Sparkle Body Tube in a variety of colours could be used.
The Brite Pupil Eyes could be substituted with I-Balz, Real Eyes, Real Eyes Plus, Dumbell Eyes, Painted Eyes, Hourglass Eyes or any other adequately weighted eye. For extra weight I have added .035 lead wire, however, lead strips would also provide sufficient weighting. If you wish, you could add another material over the lead wire, such as some flat Mylar tinsel, for good effect. The entire body cavity is filled with UV Epoxy to increase weight and increase durability, as this pattern is going to get eaten regularly.
Cut a 9cm length of Mylar tubing and pass the hook through it centrally about half way along. Push it around the bend, along the shaft and all the way up to the hook eye. Place the hook securely in the vice and attach your thread with a jamb knot just behind the Mylar tubing.
At this point (just behind the Mylar tubing and hook eye), attach your weighted eyes with series of figure-of-eight wraps until they are secure. Next, tie in the end of the lead wire with a series of wraps.
Wrap the lead wire around the hook and down to the end of the hook shank. The closer the wraps, the more lead you will be adding and the faster the sink rate. Wrap the thread over the lead and down to the same point at the end of the shank. Secure the end of the lead with your thread before whip finishing and cutting away the remaining lead wire.
Pull the Mylar tubing tight against the belly of the fly to work out the point that coincides with the end of the lead wire. Using a bodkin or other pointed instrument, tease out the fibres of the Mylar tubing to this point. Pass half of these fibres along each side of the hook shank and secure the Mylar tubing with your thread.
Next pull the upper portion of Mylar tubing over the back of the fly and secure at the same point. Whip finish and cut away the remaining thread. Tease out the strands of the Mylar tubing up to the tie down point as shown.
Fill each side of the fly with some UV Epoxy and work it into the recess with your bodkin or a toothpick until there are no air bubbles and the entire recess is filled. Once adequately even on both sides, shine the UV light on the epoxy to instantly harden it. Also apply a small amount over the thread at the tail and again harden to make the fly even more durable. Your Deepoxy Minnow is now complete and ready to be sent to the depths.
HOOK: Gamakatsu SL12S 1/0
THREAD: Mono Fine
EYE: Brite Pupil Eyes - large olive
RIBBING: Lead wire - large .035
BODY & TAIL: Mylar tubing - medium olive
FINISH: UV EpoxyReads: 1618