Monday, August 18, 2014

The Hood Rat… A Simple and Very Effective Mouse Pattern

Dan Armstrong works on his Hood Rat

One of fly fishing's greatest visual thrills is to watch the blond back of a big 'bow or the silvery-gold head of porky brown lock in on what it thinks is a helpless rodent. Trout can be extremely aggressive when attacking what they see as a big payday. These big trout will sometimes swallow your fly in one impressive gulp or at other times, pull your mouse underwater by the tail in an effort to drown the rodent before consuming it. In either case, a real mouse would still be alive when swallowed and must wiggle around for some time in the trout's stomach. Imagine what that must be like! (Imagine that chicken you've been munching wriggling around for a couple minutes before it expires. But I digress…) Back to mousing.

In addition to these heart-stopping takes, covering water with a mouse is very engaging. To be successful, you must accurately cast tight to the bank, hit seams, find lies and be able to read small pockets and ledges. Once the cast is made, you must make your mouse "swim" via a practiced swing and strip retrieve. (More on this soon)

And the final reason to fish a mouse… it targets bigger fish. A mouse is no egg or size 20 Adams. A mouse represents a huge caloric bonanza and will draw the most wary fish from their lair. Mousing offer proves the old adage "big trout like a big meal".

So, if you love to mouse or want to give it a go, whether it be in Alaska, Kamchatka, Argentina, Mongolia or Montana, you need to try Dan Armstrong's mouse pattern the Hood Rat.

It works on giant dollies too!

Dan has been guiding anglers every week for a bunch of summers on one of Alaska's best salmon and trout rivers. During that time, Dan has been developing and then refining a mouse pattern that he felt was the go-to pattern . After much trial and error, the Hood Rat was perfected in what is no doubt one of the world's best "research" labs.

While many mice patterns are tedious and time consuming to tie, the HOOD RAT is incredibly simple, fast and highly effective. Dan's mouse pattern floats high, swims enticingly and is very durable. As an added bonus, the fly's keeps score. Each fish that eats it leaves a record via tooth marks in the fly's foam back. I personally caught 20 rainbow on the Hood Rat below on my last trip to Alaska. The fly was a bit scratched up, but otherwise just fine. 

This Hood Rat is bruised, beaten but still quite fishable after 20 bows. 
If you want to order some Hood Rats, let me know and I'll get you in touch with Dan. He will be available in October. Contact me at: 
or 800-211-8530
Here are the tying instructions:

HOOD RAT by Dan Armstrong
Hook: Daiichi 2220 streamer hook #2
Thread: Kevlar
Tail: Natural Bunny
Body: Natural bunny and mule deer hair
Head: Spun mule deer Hair
Back: 3 mm foam dark brown

The hook

Cut 3mm foam into this design, when happy with it, trace a bunch on a piece of foam.

Attach Kevlar thread

Attach bunny strip for a tail. Don't make the tail too long to avoid short strikes.

Attach foam backwards with the larger end facing toward the hook. Make sure you don't cut the foam with the kevlar thread.

Bring thread to front leaving room for the head.

Palmer the bunny strip to the front.

It should look like this

Attach a clump of mule deer hair.
DO NOT SPIN, just tie down.

Trim off the front (in front of your tie-down) leaving the hair facing back for the body

It should look like this

From the front, it should look like this

Pull the foam forward and tie down. Again, don't cut the foam with the thread!!

Spin a clump of mule deer hair for a head.

It should look like this...

and this.

Cut the ears by notching the foam.

It should look like this… add eyes with a permanent marker if you wish. 

I think eyes on a mouse may catch fishermen, but the fish could care less!

It should look like this.

Try tying a Hood Rat, you'll like it!!
Coming soon:

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