The Coontail Series combines unique natural materials and the best in new synthetics. The use of Finnish Raccoon and Enrico Puglisi's new brushes makes for flies that cast easily, that have lively action in the water, and a durability beyond what you will find in the usual marabou and feather construction. These flies feature big, bright animal eyes from Cascade Crest that are tied in like lead or brass dumbell eyes. They are all tied on Gamakatsu hooks, the best hook made today. These flies can be tied for any species that prey on baitfish and will take you five minutes to tie and our preform flies taking 10 times more time.
To purchase any of the materials listed for this fly, click on the item in the Materials list below.
Mount an SL12S 1/0 hook in the vise. Wrap the thread in at the hook eye and wrap back towards the bend of the hook, covering the hook shank and continue to about 3mm past the bend and wrap back to just over the hook point. Apply cement over the wrappings, I usually use Dave's Flexement, but you can use any tacky cement. I really hate it when a fly comes apart after the first couple of fish chomp it.
Cut a small clump of Finn Coon fur off the hide. Use a pair of sharp scissors and cut the fur right at the base. I keep large, small, and iris scissors especially for hair and fur, but then I really like good scissors. Keep at least one pair of hair scissors separate for this purpose and your flies will turn out better.
Trim the butts of the fur to the length you need for the fly or at least square them. At this point I use a bodkin and daub in more cement into the butt fibers. I met a young fly tyer about 8 years old and he said to me "I build flies", I thought he showed great insite. I build my flies too. There are flies I don't use any cement or chemicals of any kind, but 99% of the time I use cement, it just depends on how durable you want yours.
Tie the butts in at the point you left the thread and wrap them securely in towards the bend of the hook, and return the thread back to the place over the hook point. I usually put in two or three courses. It is not shown here, but you should wrap back toward the bend where your wraps end and post the tail. Posting the tail keeps it from fouling the hook and focuses the shape of the tail. By posting I mean you take the hair and pull it straight up. Wrap four or five courses of thread around the base and then wrap back around the hook shank. You can see this detail in the Destroyer Series.
Step three involves attaching the eyes. At this point you need to decide how deep you want to fish this fly as the eyes determine the look and sink rate of the fly. In this illustration I am showing 6.5mm E-Z Eyes from Cascade Crest Tools, (these eyes are plastic animal eyes but have a piece of tubing that join the stems making them work like dumbells, see the instructions under Tying Tips), if you want to fish the fly deeper than a few inches beneath the surface, add lead, brass, or the dumbell eye of your choice. If you choose weighted eyes you will make the fly fish point up like a Clouser.
Wrap the thread forward to about 1/4" or so from the hook eye. Set the eyes in on the top of the hook shank and cross them in as you would with any other dumbell eye, here again, cement in the eyes. Even snuggly tied eyes can move if they are not reinforced. Wrap the thread back to the top of the tail tie in.
Tie in the tag end of the Enrico Puglisi Anadromus Brush Red securely, pay attention to the sharp end of the wire core of the brush as it will cut your thread. Palmer the brush forward, just as you would a feather (see Tying Tips for more detail), I use a small tool that looks like a wire dog brush. Make three wraps and tie off the brush. Snip the brush off using a pair of fine wire cutters. Cut it close and then burnish the sharp end down to the hook shank; a pair of fine needle nose chainer pliers do the besr job, but anything steel will do. Working with stainless steel core brush material like Enrico's requires a few new tools but they are relatively inexpensive and are easily found; once you try brush material you will not mind the extras, it is a phenomenal.
Apply a little cement and tie in the Anadromus Green Chartreuse brush as above. Palmer the brush forward, cross the eyes, make an extra turn in front of the eyes and tie off. be sure to burnish the nipped end. Whip finish and the fly is basically finished. If you need a weed guard, tie it in now and make a neat head, otherwise just apply head cement.