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Cats Whisker

 
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Paul
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject: Cats Whisker Reply with quote

For all you masochists out there... another essay for you to read LaughingLaughingLaughing

The Cats Whisker is perhaps one of the most effective flies (and yes it is a fly no matter what some stuck up arseholes will tell you) ever invented and has probably caught more stocked rainbow trout than any other fly. It really is an essential reservoir / still water lure should you wish to target stocked rainbows. Approach fly fishing with an open mind instead of just believing what you read and you will do far better. If the fish wants a Cats whisker or blob or booby then give it one, unless of course you are happy fishing something else, but don't ever avoid using a legal method or fly just because someone told you "it's not fly fishing" I have no time for snobbery in fishing, Its sad that some people do.

Anyway I have gone off topic a little...
Here I have decided to tie a simple Cats Whisker albeit a variation of the 'original' catswhisker which was heavily weighted with bead chain eyes. The following fly is unweighted and smaller, simply because that's how I like to tie my flies and how I find them to be most effective for me.

The Dressing:
Hook: Kamasan B175 size 10
Thread: Fl. Orange UTC
Tail: White Marabou
Body: Fl. Yellow Chenille
Wing: White Marabou with a strand of holographic silver flashabou either side.

Tying Instuctions.

1. Catch in the thread and make a few touching turns towards the bend of the hook, take a pinch of white marabou, prepare for tying in by trimming the ends square and removing the fluff as was done in the blob step by step :



2. Tie in the marabou then, while holding it at an angle to the hook shank, whip down the hook shank in touching turns, the aim is to bind the marabou along the top of the hook shank:


Stop whipping when you arrive at the bend of the hook, if you have done it right you should have a fairly smooth even under body:



In reality you don't really have to worry about having a dead smooth under body with this fly since the chenille is bulky and small bumps won't show once it is wound. A smooth under body is far more important with flies where you maybe creating a body from thin tinsel only, in this case any small bump in the thread under body will show through the tinsel and cause ugly bumps in the finished tinsel body.

Having said that It's good to practice creating smooth under bodies I consequently try to do this with all flies I tie.

3. Trim the marabou tail to length by pinching and pulling between index fingers and thumbs (see blob step by step )

REMEMBER, NEVER CUT MARABOU WITH A SCISSORS!!! or you will have a unnatural square ended tail like this:



Instead you want a more natural 'soft' end to the marabou tail like this:




4. Expose the core of the chenille by pinching and pulling away the 'fur':

]

Again this is done to create that smooth under body but in this case it is more important to do, leaving the 'fur' on the core will create a huge bump and no amount of chenille wound over top will hide it.

Tie in the chenille at the end of the stripped core:



5. Wind the thread back down the the eye of the hook in touching turns, binding over the ends of the chenille core as you go:



6. Now wind the chenille up the hook shank in touching turns to create the body, stop short of the hook eye to ensure that you have enough room for the head:



Tie off the chenille with three or four TIGHT turns of thread then trim out the excess. At this point don't worry about hiding the cut end with thread, this will sort itself when you tie in the wing. Hopefully you can see from the next photo why you need to leave room for the head, had you tied tight up to the eye, the end of the chenille would extend over the eye, making it difficult to hide later on:



7. Select another pinch of marabou and prepare as you did earlier, then tie it in, burying the PREPARED ends of the marabou at the same time. Once you have bound it down tight, Tear the wing to length as before It should then look like this:



Should you choose not to prepare the marabou ends as I showed in the blob step by step : you will find that tieing in the wing is harder and will result in a messy and bulky head which will need a lot of extra thread turns (and luck) to make it neat:



8. OPTIONAL... Add some flash to the wing
Some days the flash helps sometimes it doesn't, what I tend to do instead of tying two sets of flies some with and some without, I tie them all with the flash then just cut it out if you need to when you are fishing.

Anyway for a little flash I always add a strand of holo silver tinsel each side of the wing, tie in a strand on one side. rotate the vice if you are able to or turn the hook upside down if you can't then tie in the tinsel on the other side, try to get the tinsel cheeks to lie against the marabou wing and at a similar angle:





Bear in mind as you are tying in the marabou and tinsel cheeks you are adding turns of thread each time which can make for a bulky head, try to keep the number of thread turns down to a minimum here (3 turns) otherwise the head will soon become fat and ugly. If you keep an eye on the head size and shape as you tie in these materials you should be able to place each turn of thread in just the right place to form a nice smooth head, this will mean that you won't need to add as many turns when you tidy the head up later. In other words, form the neat head as you go, and don't count on being able to sort it out at the very end, its not always that easy to do. Wink

Whilst using multistrand threads such as the UTC can help to avoid bulk (since it will spread a little) it can fray easily especially if you have rough hands, its a case of trying both and seeing what type of thread you prefer to use, as your tying improves it is likely though you will tend to favour the thinner multi strand threads simply because it is easier (in my opinion) to tie neater flies.

Alan B has done a step by step offering advice for making the heads of lures small and neat he does it a slightly differnent way to that in which I have described but its still sound advice and may suit you more than it does me Smile

9. Once the head is as neat as you can make it, add a few half hitches or a whip finish (again bear in mind that this will add to the head size) then give the fly a few good coats of head cement to build up a nice gloss:



You can all wake up now, well for a few secs anyway.... Laughing Laughing Laughing
Paul


Last edited by Paul on Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:01 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Paul
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As with all flies, there are thousands of variants, all of which will have their day, In the step by step I stuck to a simple competition type variant which has on occasions done well for me. The common theme for all Catswhisker variants is that they all follow the same basic colour combination of Yellow/Green/Chartreuse and white. Why this particular colour combination works for stocked rainbows is a mystery but at certain times and particularly in the colder months it can be deadly. Having said that the Cats Whisker gets used so much that it is bound to work, should any other fly be used as much then there's little doubt that it too would be very successful.

So long as the basic colours are there it almost doesn't matter what material is used for the body, be it chenille, fritz, dubbing, Anton, wool, tinsel, marabou, thread or Fl. yellow fly line backing. The white marabou for the tail and wing is almost universal to all the variants but rabbit, mink, arctic fox, buck tail or even synthetic winging materials can and have been used with varying success.

Apologies for the state on the following flies they have come straight out of my box and have all been used at some point, most have caught too.

One particularly important areas for experiment is weighting, The original utilized heavy bead chain eyes to create a pronounced undulating movement whilst retrieved causing the highly mobile marabou to 'pulse' in the water:



The addition of a longer tail and a palmered body hackle serves to provide even more movement and disturbance both of which can on occasions improve the fly.



Another common way to add weight to the fly is to use a gold bead instead of the heavier bead chain eyes, this produces a more subtle undulating movement:



Should you need the weight but want the fly to swim in a level plain whilst retrieved then a nomad version may be suitable:



Other unweighted variations worth having are:
A small and basic competition style fly, like that in the step by step. The addition of jungle cock cheeks to the fly can sometimes be a benefit, but more often that not it isn't this one is tied on a double:



A blob version, a particular favorite of perch for some reason:


And finally a booby version:



I'll get around to instructions for this fly at a later date...

I hope that gives some of you some ideas for tying your own, with so many variants out there its hard to settle on one pattern the only way to solve this is take only one pattern you like the look of with you and then worry more about the way you are fishing it rather than the fly itself.

Paul.


Last edited by Paul on Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:02 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Chris
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent Paul, thanks for doing that, a cracking step by step guide and some good alternative versions.

Is there a better colour combination than yellow and white for lures?.....
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks paul, i have always strugled with tying in the marabou at the eye end of the hook. easy now!!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one Paul, cheers for that. Have you tried different colour beadchain eyes? Red for e.g. - something I'm playing with lately.

Chris wrote:
Is there a better colour combination than yellow and white for lures?.....


CHARTREUSE!!! (and white)
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I caught my very first trout on the beady eyed version you have shown shame they are not allowed in matches, a very effective fly. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KevZim wrote:
Nice one Paul, cheers for that. Have you tried different colour beadchain eyes? Red for e.g. - something I'm playing with lately.


I've not ever bothered with the coloured eyes Kev, for me I see the eyes only as weighting to the fly but can see that a bit of colour could work sometimes. The red bead chain seems to work for other flies but since I don't use these weighted flies very often I just don't experiment with them alot.

simmo0498 wrote:
I caught my very first trout on the beady eyed version you have shown shame they are not allowed in matches, a very effective fly. Very Happy


Have always found the unweighted versions more effective than the weighted myself. Although most seem to say the opposite

My first fish was on an orange blob Laughing . This gives me an idea for a thread...

Paul
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