Fly Tying: March, 2019

Simi Seal Leech

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Last year club member Dave Kilhefner educated me about the term “guide flies”, those flies which can be created with a minimal number of materials.  A minimal number would be three or fewer materials, according to Dave.  That magic number of three doesn’t generally include the hook or thread, or weight (which is often optional). I watched Brian Silvey tie one of the flies that he designed— Silvey’s Caddis Pupa.  The recipe he provides has at least two materials that he usually doesn’t include when he ties that fly for himself and his clients.  Obviously that “guide” version is quicker and easier to tie, and in Brian’s view is still just as effective as the complete version. 

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This month we are going to tie the ultimate “guide fly”, one that has only one material ! The fly is called the Simi Seal Leech.  There is a gentleman in Arizona named John Rohmer who is the owner of John Rohmer Materials (azflyfishing.net).  He has come up with a material that he calls “Arizona Simi Seal”, which refers to a material that simulates natural seal fur, which at one time was very popular for fly tying but is pretty much unavailable today.  And John Rohmer’s Simi Seal Leech is created using only Arizona Simi Seal (again, not counting the hook, thread, or weight if you want to add it).  Don’t think that this material can only be used for this one fly, as it is very versatile and can easily be used in many nymph and streamer patterns.

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A sample of “Canadian Brown” Simi Seal showing the complex blend of fibers.

Simi Seal is a blend of natural and synthetic fibers that come in 50 different color combinations.  Of course John’s advertising on the packaging encourages you to “Try Every Color”!  And the 50 colors of Simi Seal is really just the tip of the iceberg because he also has other tying materials for sale, with names like Arizona Diamond Dub, Arizona Minnow Hair, and the list goes on.  All of these are apparently created in the basement of a secret warehouse that is located somewhere in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona using a specially built blending machine.  If my math is correct the number of Rohmer’s dubbing blends of different types totals 258!  That blending machine must really get a workout!

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Simi Seal Leeches can be tied weighted or unweighted.

The Simi Seal Leech pattern is most productive in still waters but certainly has proven to  also be effective in rivers and streams.  The pattern is called a leech but its movement can simulate many life forms in the water, including baitfish, dragonfly nymphs, damsel nymphs, crawdads, etc., depending on the color, how it is weighted, and how it is retrieved.  Weighting with a bead head can produce an attractive undulating motion.  Some fish respond well to a fly with weight wrapped evenly along the shank of the hook resulting in a more level motion as you move the fly through the water. Unweighted versions of the Simi Seal Leech can be very effective especially when fished over weedbeds.  Rohmer has found that dark patterns are effective in low light conditions, especially early morning and late evening.  And he likes adding rubber legs when fishing for browns or bass. 

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Simi Seal Leeches can be dressed heavily or sparsely.

We had a terrific turnout of 15 club members for our last fly tying session.  Join us for our next Fly Tying Night on Wednesday, March 27th to tie up a variety of Simi Seal Leeches.  The club’s Fish-A-Longs for the months of April, May and June are all scheduled for stillwater locations so the Simi Seal Leech will be a good pattern to have in your arsenal. We will also demonstrate how you can easily produce your own version of a “simi seal” dubbing material.  We meet at The Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn and will be starting at 6 pm.  Hope to see you there!

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