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Prop Flies
Issue 7 Number 3

Fall, 2009


The Original Online Magazine Dedicated Exclusively to the International Angler

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Propping Up Barracuda - Better hold on tight... 

by Tony Oswald

Pete Parker is widely known as MC of the Fly Tying Video Theater at all International Sportsman’s Expositions (ISE) shows. He’s the big guy with uncommon creative fly tying skills. At an ISE show, I once showed Lefty Kreh a handful of Pete’s unique patterns. Lefty stared at Pete’s flies for a moment, looked at me and said: "We’re all nuts". Who else but Pete would tie a helicopter fly with spun deer hair, complete with rotating blades and pontoons.

Perhaps Pete’s fascination with whirligig flies inspired the creation of his propeller streamer. I’m here to tell you this pattern worked wonders for me and could well be a real winner for you.

Last spring I fished Ascension Bay at the southern end of Mexico’s Yucatan. Pete was there and gave me several propellered streamer patterns to try out. They looked fishy enough, but even Pete wouldn’t claim what they might be good for. "I just tie ‘em." He said laughing. I agreed to give them a try.

Perhaps you’ve seen this: There’s a big ‘cudda near the surface. You cast a streamer or needlefish pattern rigged with wire. Next you start a fast double-hand strip. The ‘cudda follows. Almost within reach it suddenly turns away. In frustration you cast again and again until you can’t even get the fish to look at any fly again. That’s often what ‘cudda fishing is like.

A few days after Pete left for the States I saw a monster ‘cudda hanging around a flat. I opened my stretcher case for a new fly and saw Pete’s propped streamers. I looped one on and cast way off to the side of the fish and slowly stripped, just fast enough to get the prop blades moving. As soon as the blades started to rotate the ‘cudda sprinted over to make the grab. No hesitation - no slow, agonizing, curious lethargic follow. He just ate it.

A fluke? Maybe. I can tell you that I cast to several other ‘cuddas on subsequent outings, all with identical results. Next I’m going to try Pete’s prop fly on tarpon and jacks. I suggest you tie some up and give them a try the next time you’re out. Let me know how you do.

- Tony

The original prop fly used so successfully on a variety of fish species
Here's a detail of how Pete positions the prop on the fly... Detail of prop positioning...
Pete Parker’s Propeller Streamer
  • Hook - #4 Tiemco 811s
  • Thread - Dynacord
  • Body - 1/8" bundle White Super Hair next to hook shank.
  • 1/8" bundle Chartreuse Super Hair
  • 1/8" bundle Peacock Super Hair
  • 6 to 12 strands Black Super Hair
  • Lateral Line - 3 to 4 strands Holographic flash each side.
  • Gills - 12 to 18 strands red Super Hair each side.
  • Head - Layer of hot glue, dipped in Holographic glitter,
  • shaped. Colored with permanent markers.
  • Eyes - 3/16" molded eyes,
  • Prop Bushing - 1/8" O.D. PVC Tube.
  • Propeller - Airplane type prop spinner, approximately " from blade tip to blade tip.
Addendum: On a 1997 trip to Midway Island, Pete’s prop fly turned out to be the pattern of choice for a number of bluewater fish species. The author used one to hook and land a 5 foot grey reef shark. Other anglers on the trip used it to consistently take Butagucchi, Giant Trevally, large amber jacks and even rudder fish.

As well, Gary Borger, on a trip fishing out of Central America, took several big barracuda using a standard, 18" single handed stripping action retrieve. Gary, a widely recognized "fly designer" claims Pete’s propeller streamer is an "incredibly efficient fly". Others in Gary’s group also had similar experiences with barracuda using the prop fly. Since that trip, Gary has recommended Pete's prop adorned streamers to other anglers who have reported similar experiences. Looks like this fly is a real winner!


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