Fly Pattern, Blood Shot Minnow

Fly Pattern, Blood Shot Minnow you can easily tie from common materials.

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Blood-Shot Minnow
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We were introduced to the "blood-shot minnow concept", by Captain Bob Marvin out of Naples, Florida.  After spending five days fishing with him in the Everglades, and after catching 80% of our snooks, jacks and tarpons on the Blood-Shot Minnow, it became one of our favorite flies for fishing black-water creeks and mangrove edges.  It can be effective any where schools of predatory fish are intercepting schools of bait fish.  These flies represent bait fish which have been injured by impact from larger fish.  Often blood collects beneath the

transparent skin and scales when a baitfish is bruised.  Instead of turning dark color like humans, many bait fish turn red or pink.  Wounded baitfish often turns pearlescent glittery pink. At the exact point of impact, blood is much more prominent; most usually near the head.  This phenomenon has been know for years by lure makers.  Nearly every series of bass and saltwater plugs has a red and white model.  Captain Bob's fly was tied like the one portrayed here, except the collar was made from bubblegum pink rabbit strip.   He

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calls it the "Buck-N-Bunny".  Captain Raul Castenada advised us that their favorite tarpon fly for the Campeche, Mexico area was white with a red collar.  Our pattern is a cross between Bob's and Raul's.  It has proven to be very effective on both tarpon and snook.   I would advise however, that you tie some with a collar that is only pink and leave out the red.  Some types of baitfish don't get the red spot where the impact occurred.  Based on our past results, you might want to tie some with a rabbit strip collar instead of hackle, also. Often minor details like this can make a difference in how many fish you hook. Unfortunately, I only had a couple of blood-shot minnow patterns on our last trip to Campeche, and both were quickly lost to tarpon.  The viciousness of the strikes told me, we should have had more.  I have already tied a whole box full for the next trip.  The construction phases of one of those flies is pictured below.


Blood-Shot Minnow Tool and Material List
For this fly you will need the following items:

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Vice
Scissors
Bobbin with tread
Hair Stacker
Hackle Pliers
Saltwater Hooks
Zap-A-Gap Super Glue
White Bucktail
Pearl Flashabou
Fluo. Pink Krystal Flash
Fluo. Pink Saddle Hackle
Red Saddle Hackle

Pattern: Blood-Shot Minnow
Hook: TMC 600SP, #2-#1/0
Thread: pink Danville 210 denier flat waxed
Tail: White bucktail twice the hook length with pearl Flashabou and fluo. pink Krystal Flash
Collar: Hot pink saddle hackle, (with red saddle hackle in front optional).


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Place the hook in your vise, making sure the shank is level.  If you intend that your vise is going to be used in the rotary mode, be sure the shank lines up with the center of rotation.  Wrap a short, thin foundation of thread onto the rear 1/3rd of the hook, trim of the tag end and coat these wraps with a thin, but penetrating layer of Zap-A-Gap. This will guarantee that the fly will never turn on the hook.  For maximum durability, all layers of material should be penetrated with enough Zap-A-Gap to stick to stick to the layer under it.


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When you select bucktail for this fly, take it from the upper 2/3rds of the tail.  Hair on the lower 1/3rd of the tail will be coarser than you will want.  Stack & sort the bucktail so it is fairly even for length.  When your bundle of bucktail is prepared, it should be about 5-times larger at the base than the diameter of the hook shank.  Position the bucktail so that it is slightly in excess of twice as long as the hook.  I use the swivel screw on my Renzetti Master Vise a a gauge for the length of the hair. Tie the bundle on with a narrow band of thread.


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Leave the ends of the hair long so they can be tapered with your scissors.  Clip at an angle, the top and both sides.  This taper will allow all other materials to be added added without bumps or drop-offs. This will also enable the fly to be finished with a very small head.  The forward half of the hook shank is left bare so that a shock tippet on your leader can be snelled directly onto the hook


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Tarpon and many other game fish have teeth that tear flies apart in short order.  Adding Zap-A-Gap to the base of the bucktail will make you flies much more durable. Add Zap-A-Gap sparingly, but use enough to penetrate to the foundation thread wraps you have already glued onto the hook. When you removed hair bulk by tapering the forward part of the bucktail, you prepared that area for Zap-A-Gap to penetrate in a very controllable manner.  Wrapping a layer of thread over this wet Zap-A-Gap will help distribute it evenly.


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Add five strips of Pearl Flashabou and strips of Fluorescent Pink Krystal flass to each side of the tail.  Cut the strands flashy materials off the hank more than twice as long as the bucktail part of the tail. Be sure you have the right quantity of strands in your bundle. Cutting the strands where they meet the package is the easiest.  Drape them over your tying thread and pull them tight so the ends meet.  Run bundle down to the hook and secure it with a coupel of wraps of thread.  Then pull strands back along each side of the tail and wrap the bases down. 

I do the Flashabou and then the Krystal Flash. Trim the ends slightly beyond the ends of the bucktail, then clip them so the the ends are all uneven.  this will giv the fly more flash and the ends of the flash-strands will look like loosened scales.


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Select a fluorescent pink dyed saddle hackle.  Soft webby hackles that have a lot of fluff at the base give the best action when wet.  Gently pull the fibers back along the butt of the stem and prepare to attach it to the base of the bucktail and flashy materials.  There should be a slight residue of Zap-A-Gap which has leaked up through the bucktail.  This will help secure the hackle stem to the rest of the fly as it is wound forward and tied off.  If you feel that this glue insufficient in volume or is too dry, and think you should add more, be careful.


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Adding Zap-A-Gap to this part of the fly is tricky.  If you add too much, it will soak up through the absorbent hackle fibers and they will become ugly and stiff.  It may be hard to tell if fish care about such things, but...  Also if you use very much glue and then then pinch the fly while you are working on it, the hackle fibers are instantly trained in the direction they were pointing at the time.  If you can glue the hackle stems to the rest of the fly and leave the barbules completely natural, then it is a good move.  Use less than 1/2 what you think you

need, then wait a few minutes before the next step.


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Wind this hackle forward and tie it off.  Wind the hackle so that it forms a dense collar.  It is best not to not stroke the fibers back as any wet glue will wind up in the wrong place when you touch the fly. A rotating hackle pliers will make your job easier.  If you intend to tie in the optional red hackle, tie off the pink hackle where the barbules are still fairly long.  If only a pink hackle is used, you might want to to use it all.


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When you add the red hackle, use the tiniest drop of Zap-A-Gap or none at all.  Zap-A-Gap will make your fly much more durable, but the tie-off area is one that gets handled a lot during the tying process.


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It is better to apply the Zap-A-Gap after the head of the fly is finished and the thread has been trimmed off.  Apply a very small drop and let dry over-night.  This picture was shot at very low shutter speed and the glue bottle had to be held in position for too long.  An excess of glue ran out of the bottle and this fly was ruined...and thrown away.  You can notice how all of the red hackle fibers are stuck together.


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The construction of this fly involved exactly the right amount of Zap-A-Gap at each step.  Every fiber is secured to the hook with Zap-A-Gap, and every fiber is totally natural and independent.  This fly will catch lots of fish because it will act wounded, but alive, and it is as durable as possible.


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