Friday, December 31, 2010

Egg patterns...over easy

I mentioned an egg post coming on soon and well, here it is. In celebration of eggs, I'd like to point out that this post is being fueled by Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog. It's full of rum, brandy, and whiskey, and I'm super glad I bought it today. (The half empty bottle proves that) It's safe to say that I'm definitely enjoying vacation.

So, back to eggs. I read a cool post on Bigerrfish the other day about his sweet looking egg patterns and his thoughts on using eggs. I personally admit to using them on a very regular basis. Many might consider them "junk flies" and that it isn't matching the hatch, but if fish are feeding on salmon or sucker eggs, I think you are representing their natural food selection for that time. What cracks me up about some of the people that frown upon them is that they'll say they would never use an egg or a worm, but they'll easily tie on a prince nymph, which looks absolutely like nothing in a stream. (and don't say a stonefly, because stonefly nymphs don't have two different colored sets of biots and a red collar!)

I'll fish eggs as an attractor pattern about a foot above a nymph or a midge. Most times the fish will take the lower fly, but I do catch a fair share of them on eggs as well. I like to sight fish bright colored eggs because they can also double as a strike indicator in shallower water.

As far as my egg preference, I've tried it all; Glue eggs, glowbug yarn, otter eggs (those pre-molded rubber ones), etc. Glue eggs take forever, glowbug yarn never sat right on the hook for me and it ruins your scissors with a quickness, and the otter eggs always seem to never hold to the hook for me, even though I've tried crazy glue, zap-a-gap, head cement, and hard as nails on them.

I've came to the conclusion that McFly Foam is the way to go. I can tie a fairly perfect egg with this stuff in under a minute. When I first started fishing eggs, they were the ones I bought in fly shops before I started tying and ranged in sizes from 8 to 12. Once I began tying, I thought smaller might work so I worked my way down to 14 and 16, with limited success.

Then this past February, at the Somerset show, I was speaking with a guy who is an Orvis endorsed guide in PA about some of the streams in the Lehigh Valley, and somehow the subject came up about eggs. I told him I was not having much luck and when we started talking about sizes he said "If you're going to fish an egg in the streams around here, go smaller, between 18-22". Well, he was right. I played with varying the sizes and I found that 22s defeated the purpose because they were so small that they were not working as well and an attractor, and that 20s sank slow and required more weight to bounce. I found the sweet spot at size 18. Once I started getting better at tying eggs, I was able to tweak the actual size of an egg on an 18. Here's two eggs side by side, both on an 18 hook. You can see the difference in the actual size of the egg.

Just like anything else, I'll start out with the bulkier egg and work my way down to the smaller ones if they are picky, but I can still get a good hook set on an 18 without having to go down a size and risk losing a strike.

Here's a pic of all I tied last night. Now I have to find room for them in the permanent box (also knocked out some more redneck pheasant tails)

Before I go off to sleepy land from all this egg nog, I'd like to say that if you're in the Philadelphia area and you have young children, go to the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park. Michael had a blast today!


  1. Great post. I use eggs and the McFly foam is the best invention ever. I even taught my daughter how to tie them, simple, fast and fun. I use straws or empty pens to feed the McFly foam and use it as a dispenser. Makes it go even faster and little waste.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Passinthru Outdoors Blog - Sharing the Passion

  2. I'm not an egg guy, nothing against them, they're just not in my fly box. Maybe they should be. BTW, you're right Please Touch is the bomb. Love the gigantic water table.