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The Saggy Shad

IMG_1378This fly was so named after the local lake where I do most of my fishing, Saguaro Lake, mostly known to the locals as Saggy.  This is the go to fly when I fish new waters and don’t know whats going on or I just show up at the lake without a plan. Its pretty much a
modification of John Rohmer’s Diamond Hair Minnow with some IMG_1600marabou added in and the tying technique is a little different.  What I was finding was that, in some situations, the flashy DHM would be too shiny in bright sunlight conditions or super clear water and would actually turn fish away.  So what was needed was a less flashy version that kept the same shape and bouyancy as the DHM.  So after a few versions this is the end result.  I’ve caught TONS of fish on these things, in both shad and bluegill versions.
Shad are everywhere and in the lakes of the southwest where I fish, they are key to finding the bass.  Find the food, find the fish as the saying goes.  Seems simple enough but there are those times when anything that is white and almost looks fishlike will work, and then there are those times when exact patterns are required.  Yep, you have to match the shad hatch sometimes, especially when there are thousands in the water and the bass get a good look at your fly.  IMG_6966So having several different patterns in the boat will pay off during these times.  The most important aspect of the shad hatch is size.  Shad can range from very small, about an inch or two, to some huge monster-like shad I found in Lake Havasu that were over  5 inches long.  During the feed frenzy on a large shad school, size matters most and if you can match the size of the school being targeted, you’re about 80%  there.  As far as color and pattern details, this is less important. However it pays to know what the local population of shad looks like as they vary from lake to lake and from season to season, ranging from an all silver to various colors of black and olive backs and body colorations.  Just do your best and try to get it close.  A throw net in the boat will help key in to the right pattern with a good throw or two, if you have those kinds of skills.

The Saggy Shad incorporates the variations in size and color pretty easily.  It utilizes the deadly combination of marabou action with the awesome diamond hair material from John Rohmer Materials at AZFlyfishing.   With the amount of colors available you can come up with an endless combination of patterns that will match anything from shad or minnows to sunfish and even baby bass.1-DSCN0272-001

The construction techniques allow for a very slow sink rate which, when stripped at the right speed, is almost a neutral buoyancy which is key.  I like to use an intermediate sinking rate line and let the rig sink the fly without adding any weight to the fly or leader.   Switch to a Deep 6 type line and I’ve snagged suspended bass down around 25 feet.  Just look for the shad schools on the finder and think slow, dead, freezing shad, drifting slowly to the bottom.  You can daydream of the spring spawn while you do this….you’ll have plenty of time while you’re waiting for your line to sink and wondering why you didn’t go quail hunting instead.


Hook:  Gamakatsu SC15 size 1
Body:  Arizona Diamond Hair, minnow blue
Underwing:  Marabou, grey
Overwing: Arizona Diamond Hair, gunmetal
Eyes:  Spirit Rivers 3D molded eyes




Hook:  Gamakatsu SC15 size 1
Body:  Arizona Diamond Hair, golden shiner
Underwing:  Marabou, light olive
Overwing: Arizona Diamond Hair, olive
Eyes:  Spirit Rivers 3D molded eyes

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