This spring has been a great one on our local rivers and I can thank the King Kong Skwala for my success. Just a few days ago I fished with a good friend of mine and I was reminded how effective the Skwala is. We started with King Kong and finished with him, getting solid eats all day long. When this pattern is tied correctly and with a little care it will last floating all day long with minimal care on your end. Care you ask? Check the Gear Review tomorrow for a floatant shoot out.
Tying the King Kong Skwala is pretty easy but might take a test fly or two to perfect. First lets talk about body cutters. I am using the small Chernobal Body Cutter from Montana Fly Company, it’s a great product that cuts lots of bodies. River Road Creations also makes a great razor sharp pair of cutters in lots of different shapes. When looking for cutters make sure that they are sharp, razor sharp. If it’s not sharp enough to cut your fingers then open another box and look for sharper ones. When cutting the bodies make sure you put the rubber pad underneath the foam to protect the edge of the cutter. One of our local tying masters Drayton Osteen, a Montana Fly Company’s Fly Designer, told me a trick for cutting bodies. Use a plastic kitchen cutting board with a smooth surface but make sure the surface is smooth not the rough orange peel finish. Now lots move to foam. Foam is going to provide the majority of your floatation so using good quality foam makes sense. Rainey’s, Orvis and Hareline all make good foam, if you are on a budget and want cheap foam go to the craft store and use regular Craft Foam. It’s cheap, comes in lots of usable colors and floats. Did I mention it’s cheap? Thread is also another material to think about. Make sure it’s strong and is not bulky. Make sure you put enough tension on the materials so they do not slip on the hook shank. Unwaxed tying thread also helps keep your wraps tight and bulk down. One last thing on the King Kong Skawala, really focus on not crowding the eye of the hook, leaving plenty of room for your thorax. You do this by not tying your abdomen to long. A little under half way is where you want to stop your abdomen.
Skwala time is an exciting time of the year! Usually late March is when they start making an appearance on our waters. There are usually plenty of bugs on the water to get fish looking up and interested so a big Skwala meal floating in the zone makes a good meal for hungry trout. Skawala’s start their lives as nymphs just like all other stoneflies ending their lives laying eggs on the waters surface. Nymphal migration takes place when water temps, air temps and accumulated light levels are all inplace. Nymphing can be good leading up to dry fly time. Rubber legs, 20 Inchers, big Copper Johns, double bead head Skawala nymphs, large Hare Ear’s or any of the various versions of Princes will get the job done. Skwalas crawl to the shore and hatch into adults. Rocky and brushy shore lines are classic migration areas. Skwalas hang out for a few days, wait for their numbers to grow and begin their search for a mate. After the females meet the men of their dreams they return to the water to lay eggs thus continuing their genetics and providing future generations of bugs for trout to eat. Thats what we as fly fisherman like, TROUT EATING BUGS!!!!
When Skwals return to the water to lay eggs this puts them in a precarious position. Crawling on the water surface making commotion is not a stealthy way to make your living in the bug world. This is why twitching your dries can summon up bigger fish but dont get carried away with the twitch, a little bit goes a long way.