Brown Sculpin

We have tested the Perfect Fly “Brown Sculpin” for the past seven years. It is a not
only a fairly realistic imitation of the sculpin, it also imitates the movements and
behavior of the sculpin. We have tested it with and without eyes. We have tested it
using several different weights added to the hook before other materials were tied
in. The end result was that we decided to use the eyes but not weight the fly. We
are not certain, of course, but we think that when a trout closely examines the fly,
the eyes may well make some difference. There is one thing for sure. Adding the
eyes doesn’t hurt the effectiveness of the fly. There is theory of mine regarding red
used, in this case, in the eyes. I won’t take the time to explain here but red isn’t red
to trout in most underwater situations. It changes from brown to red as the distance
decreases. I think this increases the effectiveness of the fly. Spots of the color red
are being used effectively in lots of different types of fishing lures and there is a
reason behind it.

Not adding weight, allows you to fish the fly in very shallow water. This is important
in many cases, especially during low light conditions where the trout may be very
shallow or hidden in shallow water under overhanging limbs or grass. In low light
conditions, brown trout are very prone to get into shallow water. If the fly had added
weight it would not work nearly as well as it does unweighted in shallow water. When
we added weight to the fly, (internally on the hook) we noticed it adversely affected
its action. The fly did not swim as natural as the unweighted versions. The final
factor, which we consider in many cases for other flies, is the fact that when you
use a predetermined amount of added weight, the fly only works well for certain
depths and current speeds. You may still need to add weight to get the fly deeper
or you may not be able to use it effectively in water that it not deep.

Sculpin stay right on the bottom, usually hidden down between the rocks on the
stream’s bottom. They do move around on the bottom when they are feeding and
that is when they are most likely to be eaten by a trout. If the fly is weighted to the
point is stays right on the bottom, the action is affected. That is why we don’t like
the upside down versions. They seem to work okay for flies used in saltwater flats
and some other situations but not on the typical trout stream bottom.  

We have tested this fly in tanks, swimming pools and of course, many trout streams
for the east to the west coast trying various ways to improve the fly to match the
natural action of a sculpin. We have even placed sculpin in aquariums to observe
their behavior although water in the aquarium doesn’t flow like a stream does/ We
don’t think the results are very informative but it helped us learn more than we knew
about the natural baitfish..  
As most of you know, deer hair adds buoyancy to the fly. The head is spun deer
hair and the beginning of the body is deer hair. Part of the body and the tail consist
of feathers that look and move like the real thing. When you add weight a few
inches (we recommend 4 to 5 inches) above the fly, it helps increase the wiggle or
natural swimming motion of the fly. In the current, It looks and acts like a real
sculpin. We like the weight close to the fly because it doesn’t seem to affect the
trout taking the fly and it keeps the fly only an inch or two above the bottom.

We believe this is the best sculpin imitation there is for clear water trout streams.
We hope you try it. We are feel certain you will like the fly.
Copyright 2014
James Marsh
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Perfect Fly Brown Sculpin
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