By Jason Akl
At first examination the Marengo minnow does not seem to be anything out of the norm except for the fact that it looks more like a salt water pattern than a trout fly. But don't fooled this minnow pattern is deadly for catching those lackadaisical lunkers you see and can not get to bite. The name of the game with the Marengo minnow is action. This simple pattern is constructed with fish attracting materials such as polar air fiber and flashabou that have a tendency to breath, shine and swim when they become submerged. As good as these materials are in the water an aggressive approach to fishing this pattern is the key.
No real special gear is necessary for fishing the Marengo minnow type streamer patterns. A medium action 9 foot 5 weight rod will suffice while a 7 1/2 to 9 foot leader is perfect for casting these flies and not spooking fish. Sine this pattern is tied on a tube rather than a hook shank a 3x or 4x tippet is a good is a good idea to absorb the shock of vicious strikes from fish. A key component to this patterns success is to place a small bullet head sinker on the line in front of the fly.
To fish this fly use an upstream and across cast to position the fly above it respected target. If the water is deeper than a 3 to 5 feet a mend of line will be need to set up a drag free drift which will allow the bullet head sinker to quickly pull the to the required depth. Once the fly is in the strike zone begin to actively strip the fly back in. To get the most action out of the fly as possible make sure that you sweep the rod tip in combination with each line strip. Each strip will cause the fly to dart up and forward while the sinker will pull fly back down simulating a fleeing injured minnow. Once the fly reaches a point directly in front of the angler simply holding and twitching the fly in the current for a few seconds at a time will really get fish to take notice of what you are doing. If you fish the entire run or hole and do not receive any reaction from fish take a second and move to a position above the run or hole you just fished. Take one more cast down stream towards the back of the hole. Actively strip the fly from the back of the hole to the front seeing if this change of angle will get any fish to bite.
used in the Marengo Minnow
Thread: White Uni-Thread 8/0
Body: White Polar Aire Fiber
Flash: Copper Krystal Flash
Topping: Black Polar Aire Fiber
Eyes: 3D Prism Eyes
Gills: Red Permanent Marker
Other: Clear Plastic Tube
1. Start this fly by securing a pin into you vice and sliding the plastic tube onto the pin tightly. Attach the thread to the tube at about the 1/2 mark. Clip a small bunch of white polar aire fiber and tie it onto the top of the tube. Slight spin the white fiber around the tube and pull all the fibers towards the back of the hook shank. Secure the fibers on place with a few wraps of thread.
2. Repeat this process of tying in a small bunch of white fiber but this time to the bottom of the tube. Once all the white fiber is secured on place run one blade of your scissors through the fibers to get out any knots or tangled fibers. When you are finished combing through the underbody clip several copper strands of flashabou. Tie this flashabou to the top of the tube so that the flash sits on the top of the white underbody.
3. Clip a small bunch of black polar fiber and tie it to the top of the tube. Adding a drop of cement to this tie in point will help to hold the fibers in place securely. Form a small neat head for the fly and whip finish the thread. Comb this bunch of black polar fiber backwards and again clean out any tangled or knotted fibers. Onto the side of the body stick one of the 3D prism eyes. With the red permanent marker Color on a small gill plate for the minnow.
photo: Jason Akl © 2004