Fly tyers are the mad scientist of the fishing world, playing Dr Frankenstein with feathers fur and synthetics. Dustin Schouest takes us into a pattern he likes to tie called the Kalamari Charlie.
One of the first flies I was taught to tie was a Louisiana favorite: the Lafluer Charlie. The fly recipe was based off of the legendary Crazy Charlie, created by Charlie Smith, one of the greatest fly fishing guides in the Bahamas. Using chenille, dumbbell or bead chain eyes, and bucktail or craft fur, Mike LaFluer’s fly has caught endless amounts of redfish and speckled trout all over the Louisiana coast. In fact, a big joke in many fly circles around Louisiana is that “redfish will swim onto dry land to eat a Charlie!”
I myself have caught dozens and dozens of fish off the Lafluer Charlie pattern. From big speckled trout in the main canals to tailing redfish in the duck ponds, this pattern is simple and effective. Depending on how it is worked, it can imitate a shrimp or minnow underwater.
In the dirty water that we sometimes have, subtle movements of a fly can cause a red to eat. That is why this variant, which I call the “Kalamari Charlie” (due to the legs dangling reminding me of a squid or Dr. Zoidberg) uses rubber legs to push more water than the average Charlie would. If the water has some clarity to it, the gold above the bucktail wing will catch the eye of a redfish. Rather than chenille, the body is made of a dubbing loop of ice dubbing spun around the hook.
The colors we are using on this pattern are tied to resemble a bluegill type pattern underwater. The subtle greenish blue and black dubbing, with the orange hotspot and the green bucktail wing, will look just like a bluegill or chinquapin to a hungry bass. And in areas with lots of minnows, this pattern will fool redfish into eating.
*Size One to Four Hook
*Bobbin Loaded With Black Thread
*Medium Dumbbell Eyes or Large Beadchain Eyes
*Green or Amber Barred Rubber Legs
*Light Green/Blue and Black Ice Dubbing
*Dubbing Loop Twister
*Orange Anthron Dubbing
*Gold Crystal Flash
*Head Cement or Super Glue
- Before putting you hook in your vice, use the jaws to mash down the barb. This will make getting the hook out of the fish easier, and cause less damage to the fish when removing. After debarbing, place the hook in the vice, hook point down.
- Start the thread a quarter inch from the hook eye. Lay down a base of thread, then put the eyes onto the hook. This will keep the hook riding hook point up. *NOTE: It may be easier for the next steps if you invert the hook in your vice.
- Work your thread to the start of the bend of the hook. Once there, tie in two lengths of leg material, one on either side of the hook. Double the lengths back on their respective sides, and tie them in. If you need to, put the thread in front of the legs and tie in a few wraps to keep the legs from lying flat. You want them kind of spread out.
- Make a dubbing loop. Do this by making a loop around your finger, and wrapping the thread back onto the hook. Once you do this, take small pinches of the ice dubbing and put them inside the loop. Once you put enough dubbing to wrap to the eyes you put in, Begin spinning your dubbing twister. Spin it a couple of dozen times, until the dubbing begins to look very twisted.
- Wrap and palmer the dubbing to the dumbbell or beadchain eyes. Once you make it to the eyes, catch the remainder of the loop with your thread, and cut the excess off with your scissors.
- Pull out a very small pinch of the orange dubbing and make a noodle on the thread, and wrap it a few times right behind the eyes. It will look like a small collar of orange.
- Bring the thread in front of the eyes. Flip your hook around, so that the hook point is facing up. Cut out a small length of bucktail from the tail itself. The thickness shouldn’t be any more than half a pencil width. Tie it in on top of the hook, being careful not to cover up the hook eye. Cover the bucktail with thread, and make a tapered head.
- Take three lengths of flash and double them back on themselves. Tie them in on top of the bucktail, and cut them to be a little bit longer than the bucktail.
- Do a whip finish or a few half hitches to secure the thread to the hook. Use some head cement or super glue to keep the fly together.
This fly was made with flats fish like redfish, snook, or sheepshead in mind. However, don’t let this deter you from using this for bass in the bayous or speckled trout. The movement of the legs and the bucktail wing are perfect to imitate a fleeting bluegill or a popping brown shrimp. I would fish this under a strike indicator for specks in the canals here in south Louisiana or against the cypress stumps, jigging it for bass or big sac a lait.
Give this fly a try if you want something new for the box. Leave a comment down below about what fly you would like to see next time!