Don's Fly Tying - the Sockeye Pigtail

[the Sockeye Pigtail]

Like 2010, 2014 is the year of the sockeye! Perhaps the DFO estimate of the Fraser River return is not up to an earlier prediction that the sockeye run would be greater than four years ago, but after three trips from Kelowna to the lower Fraser, I am convinced that this year is a sockeye fisherman's delight! I have had the good fortune of being invited to fish the river with my friend Dave Hesketh using his Alumaweld jet boat, two trips in August and one in mid September. Even the September trip produced many good sockeye using our bottom bouncing technique, not exactly fly fishing but still a lot of fun!

Dave's son Dan who now lives with his family in Terrace, BC, developed a hook set-up for sockeye and also spring salmon that I tried with great success this year. So much so that I would like to share it with you as my October tying article!

[A Fraser River Sockeye]



The trick to tying the corky pigtail fly for sockeye is making a needle knot (sometimes called a nail or barrel knot) on the hook shank. In fact, I do not use a needle to pull the leader end back through the loops, but rather a short tube cut from an old WD 40 red nozzle spray tube. I push the leader end through the hook eye about 10 inches past the hook bend with the short tube parallel to the hook shank. Using my left hand forefinger and thumb to hold the first turn in place, I wind about nine turns back towards the hook eye, then the thread the leader end through the tube. The next step is to pull the tube out from the loops while keeping the loops from springing free with your right thumb and forefinger. Pull the leader end tight to secure the knot and give it a final tightening by pulling hard in both directions. You should now have several inches of leader end projecting past the knot. First thread a medium corky then a small bead onto the end of the leader. Tie a tight double granny knot so that the bead and corky can slide just past the hook bend and trim the excess close to this knot. I like to burn the trimmed end with a lighter to ensure the holding knot will not come apart and thus lose the corky. Now the leader just past the hook eye can be pushed back to create a loop or opening at the shank side of the hook eye. Insert a short piece of yarn, to me colour does not matter, but Dan likes peach with a bit of red yarn ahead of the peach. Pull tight and you will find the corky helps to keep the hook from snagging on bottom rocks and thus will give you more salmon hookups!

Your comments are welcome at "dhaaheim at telus dot net"

Http:// -- Revised: September 29, 2014
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