Rooster coming, rooster coming!” My heart was pounding, and all I could do was just stand there high on the sand and watch as the roosterfish cruised the shore. It was a nice one, around 30 pounds. Grant Hartman saw the fish too and, keeping low, made his way to the water’s edge. Grant launched a perfect cast, and the moment the fly hit the water, the rooster’s comb shot straight up. Strip, strip, twitch, twitch, feed him. Rooster on!
Casting to an unteased or unchummed roosterfish is so satisfying. It’s just you, your fly and your ability. It’s an addiction that keeps you coming back and keeps you tinkering on new flies like the G&S; Hybrid, which Grant and I developed together.
Actually, it was Grant who originally created the G&S; (Grant and Steve) Hybrid. He liked the idea of the Rasta Tail on Frank Smethurst’s Rasta Fly but wanted more contrast, along with a body that would generate more turbulence for a swimming tail. Grant worked on those two areas and ultimately got what he wanted. But during a fly-tying session at the los Barriles Hotel, in Mexico, I kept telling Grant that the fly needed a little more. Grant always told me, “My flies catch fish!” But it just wasn’t that pretty. Naturally, I had to tweak a couple things.
I added Jungle Cock for eyes, along with a light-colored belly, and incorporated a more technical approach to the tying process to achieve the fly’s profile.
The addition of a Rasta Tail, like on Dan Blanton’s Flashtail, can enhance in several ways classic patterns like Lefty’s Deceiver, Trey Combs’ Sea Habit, Puglisi-style flies and many other proven patterns, but that’s for another article.
This fly was designed to catch rooster- fish, yet it has also proven itself many times with striped bass, snapper, dorado and sierra mackerel, among others. It’s a great all-around pattern, and I encourage you to experiment with colors and flash for your favorite species.
Hook: Mustad C68S SS or Gamakatsu SC15, 3/0 to 5/0
Body: Tan, white or olive bucktail
Body Flash: DNA Frosty Fish Fiber
Tail: Tan, white or olive-and-polar Unique Hair
Tail Flash: Angle Hair and pearl Doug’s Bug Electra Scale
Eyes: Jungle Cock
Thread: Black and white Danville Flymaster Plus
|Step 1: Tie in a sparse amount of white Unique Hair, topped with a sparse amount of pearl Electra Scale. Repeat three more times, stacking them on top of each other. This controls the overall length of the fly (this particular tail is 5 inches long). Next, tie in the desired back color, such as the light brown mixed with Angel Hair shown here. Behind the bend of the hook, apply Softex to flatten the profile of the tail and keep it from fouling around the hook. This is accomplished by squeezing the Softex between your thumb and fingers after it has started to harden and until you get the flattened profile.|
| | Step 2: Reverse tie a pencil-size amount of colored bucktail atop the hook shank. Reverse tying creates a better profile without the bulk. Next tie a small amount white bucktail underneath, which serves as the rear portion of the fly’s belly. Extend this far enough behind the bend of the hook to avoid fouling.|
| | Step 3: Fold the reverse-tied bucktail back on itself and tie down. Notice the nice profile, without the bulk. Also notice there is no gap where the tan bucktail meets the white bucktail. To get these results, spread the tan bucktail so it meets the white bucktail. Now tie in some tan DNA Frosty Fish Fiber on top of the tan bucktail. |
| | Step 4: Tie in a pencil-width amount of tan bucktail forward on the hook shank, toward the eye. Then tie in the remaining belly with white bucktail.|
| | Step 5: Change to a black thread color, and tie in the Jungle Cock eyes on each side of the fly. Finally, use a black Sharpie pen to color the tail, then coat the head with Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails. You’re done!|