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.