Friday, February 6, 2009

The Season for Scuds

Hook:       Curved Hook #12-20
Thread:    Tan 8/0
Rib:            5x Tippet
Shell:        Ziploc Bag (1/4 to 1/8" strip)
Body:        Fur of Choice and Superfine

Tying Instructions
1) Mount hook, and wrap thread towards the bend.  Tie in the rib towards the bend.

2) Tie on shell material, and wrap to the bend.  *Make sure it stays even.

3) Wrap an underbody of superfine with your choice of fur on top from the bend to the eye.  You can apply dubbing directly to the thread or with a loop.  Flies #18 and smaller I use only superfine.  Leave the thread at the eye.

4) Bring the shell up to the eye and tie it down with a few wraps, *making sure it stays centered on the hook shank.

5) Rib the tippet material up to the eye making sure the shell remains centered and pinched correctly around the body.

6) Clip the extra shell and rib material flush, and whip finish.

7) After you have tied as many as you desire, cement heads and pick out the dubbing a little. 

(* Denotes the start of a key, sometimes problematic, procedure.  Take your time here and get it right!)

Notes on the Fly
I have never liked using the standard store bought scuds. I have two in my possession that my wife bought me a long time ago. Sometimes I even wonder if they would catch anything? I'm sure they do. I have heard and seen the success of the standard scud, but I have no confidence in them, and if you don't know confidence in a pattern is everything.

There are a few things in particular I don't like about a standard scud pattern that I fixed in my version. First thing is the humpback. The scuds I have found on the stream don't appear this way at all, so I have negated this by tying only on the straight part of the hook shank. I also do not add the classic humpback weight to my flies. Weightless scuds float much more realistically in the water column even when sunk with a few split shot.

Second major factor is color. A lot of the scuds I see for sale look like a neon colored nightmare. Not to say these bright colored beauties don't work, I even tie a few of the pink variations, but I have had better luck with the natural colors. Most of my patterns fall into the olive, brown, and grey end of the spectrum.  

Finally is the Ziploc bag strips. I use them because they are relatively free, and I try my best to live by the sacred 3R's. They do not create the neatest looking pattern, as the plastic only stretches so much, but it certainly doesn't hurt the effectiveness!

Give my scuds a try. They are an easy pattern to tie, and when fished in the right bodies of water they can be very deadly. If you happen to find this article useful, successful, or even shameful to your world of fly-tying and fishing stop back and let me know. I would love to hear about it!

See what a real scud looks like here.


bfly said...


It is so great to have you doing a blog. Well done on your first post! I am so excited to see what's instore for "us" readers. You have a lot of great talent, and it is about time you shared that talent here.

Hooray for scuds!!

The New Man said...

Hey Luke!
Congrats on the new blog, looks terrific! I tied my first scud according to your recipe and you were right, "They are an easy pattern to tie." Plus they look very realistic! Thanks for sharing and keep 'em coming! Your friend from flickr,
Paul Menard

Anonymous said...

Great to see you blogging. Looks like I might have to start one if this continues.